The golden room was already full of armor when the man in the shimmering papersilk suit stepped up to the podium.
”Thank you for attending this invitation to tender. I am Surian Cheraelar, Vice President of Special Collections for Gilea & Company. You all come highly recommended by our colleagues at Ultimate Argument Risk Control, and we look forward to working with those of you whose bids are ultimately selected.”
”I believe you all know General of the Wing mor-Raktas Venirek, of UARC, who will hold overall command of this campaign under our oversight. You will, of course, be at liberty to develop specific plans utilizing your own strengths to take your assigned objectives, but will answer to the General in matters of overall strategic coordination and operational conduct.”
”Detailed information is in the briefing books being handed out now, but to summarize, the government of the Calyet Guard is in default on loans provided to it by this bank of three-point-two trillion esteyn, and has elected to repudiate this debt.”
”Your task, therefore, is to distrain upon such governmental assets of the Guard as are necessary to collect the outstanding loan, interest, collection costs, and default charges. We have identified a number of assets suitable for this purpose, primary among which are the state treasury hard currency reserves, stored at the capital on Calyet; the contents of certain governmental research facilities, located in the Calyet and Riyet systems, including the data stores; the antimatter storage and synthesis facilities orbiting Relnagat, in the Riyet system, including the fuel stockpile itself; and the Calyet Third Fleet, based out of the Loryet system.”
”I must emphasize that you are acting as contract enforcement in this matter and we may have further dealings with Calyet in the future. It is essential that collateral damage – and any freelance looting – and civilian injury must be kept to an absolute minimum in the course of this operation.”
”Likewise, minimal damage must be done to the assets in the course of obtaining them – which we recognize will be particularly difficult in the case of the Third Fleet, but such starships are only worth their prize value. This operation is being bid out as a fixed-price contract with incentives – and while you will see that we have made allowance for recovery damages, if additional assets are required to make up for unforeseen losses in recovery, those costs must be borne by the responsible party.”
”These are the essentials of the operation on which we’re asking you to bid. We’ll now take a short break to let you familiarize yourselves with the details, after which the General and I will take your questions. We look forward to seeing your proposals.”