Terms and Negotiations
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“Who was at the head of that retrieval squad?” demanded the Commander.
“Kelp, but you know it wasn’t his fault that it failed, right?” asked Foaly, tired.
“Nonsense! When things go wrong, you always blame the person in charge!”
“Aren’t you in charge?”
“…Except when it’s me!”
Foaly sighed. “What is your logic behind that?”
The Commander beamed. “Because I am the Commander, and anything I say goes! What a wonderfully corrupt system this city has!”
“That’s not exactly true, you know. This city has a council-“
“Please, they’re afraid of me! It’s amazing what blackmail can accomplish!”
Foaly’s eyes widened. “You blackmailed the council?”
Commander Root’s face grew deadly serious. “You didn’t hear that. Especially if you don’t want everyone to know about your one-night stand with Opal Koboi.”
Foaly looked away and cleared his throat. “Um, right. Sh-shouldn’t you be negotiating with the kidnapper?”
“Ooh. I’d love to talk to the kid! I need to thank him for that excellent explosion earlier.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Artemis and Commander Root sat across from each other at a large table in Fowl Manor.
“You know,“ the Commander said, “As much as I admire your bodyguard’s ferocity, the ease in which he took out that retrieval squad really makes me mad.”
“Now you know not to try anything so foolish ever again.” Responded Artemis.
Ignoring this statement, and probably not even hearing it in the first place, the Commander rambled on.
“I mean, now people are going to ask me annoying questions like ‘Why can’t your retrieval squads take out a single mudman?’, ‘Why do you give your squads such poor equipment?’, and ‘How in Fronds name are you still Commander when you’re running this force into the ground?’.”
He crossed his hands and deeply sighed, looking a bit worn. “It’s always a hassle.”
Artemis, who didn’t really care, responded with “Perhaps if you gave your squad members weapons that could do more damage than mild annoyance and a cold wet feeling, they may have succeeded.”
“Annoyance can be an effective weapon!”
“Do you know what happed to the last man who annoyed Butler?”
“He lost an arm. He’ll never say the words ‘I’m not touching you’ ever again. I think he learned that lesson.”
“Huh. Even I think that’s a bit much.”
“I have to reel him in a lot. So, about Holly.”
“Oh, right. Almost forgot why I was here.”
“I want a metric ton of gold for her return. I trust that you’ll-“
“Half a ton. No more.”
“We- We’re talking about the life of one of your officers here!”
“Ah. You’re right. I’ll give you a quarter of a ton. But only because, as you recall, she still owes me money.”
Artemis was stunned into silence. The Commander waited expectantly for a response to his proposal, a salesman’s smile on his face.
After a while, Artemis shook his head and responded with “Ninety percent.”
“Eighty. Final offer.”
The Commander beamed “You, kid, have a deal. I hope you know, though, that we’re just going to bio-bomb the place when we get her out.”
“I’m confused. If you think that’ll work, than why did you make me lower the ransom?”
“I’m cheap. Not ashamed to admit that.”
“You’re not even going to ask what I meant by ‘if you think that’ll work’?”
“Nope!” And the commander got up and walked towards the door.
Frustrated, Artemis shouted “I know how to escape the timestop!” as soon as the Commander reached the door.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Commander waltzed out of the mansion, pleased with himself.
Foaly’s voice came in from the other side of his communicator. “Do you believe him?”
“”Believe him on what?” The Commander responded
“That he can escape the timestop, of course!”
“Oh, that. I don’t care.”
“But if he can, then we have to think of another way to get Holly out!”
“You’re the genius, you’ll think of something. Right?”
Then the Commander switched off his communicator and left Foaly steaming back at HQ.
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(Clownpiece will make America great again, by the way.)