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A Little Productivity

Actually been getting some writing done the past couple of weeks, turning my novella “Lifeboats” into something more of a novel.  By way of a preview, here is what I wrote last night.  The background is a full-scale evacuation of Earth.


Copyright 2012 by John K Berntson

“Sorry, I don’t think I understand you.  Could you repeat that?”
Martin Pearce put down his drink and waited for an answer.  He sat in a plush chair in a nicely appointed office, which was the domain of the media mogul in the other chair, Mitchell Adamson.  Adamson took a sip of his drink before he responded.
“I said, Mr. Pearce, that your time at Free Press Seven has come to an end.”
“And just why would that be?”
“Because I am going to give you an offer you simply cannot refuse.”
“Odd, you don’t look like a mobster.”
“Very droll.  No, not that type of offer, Mr. Pearce.  No, this will be a monetary offer.”
“Really?  Okay, let’s hear it.”
“We shall come to that.  First, however, I would like to tell you about the job I am about to offer you.”
“I have a job.”
“Yes you do and you do it very well, which is why I wish to make the offer in the first place.  You have been a reporter for two decades, Mr. Pearce, and you have built a reputation for being a very hard-nosed investigative reporter.  Solar News could use that sort of reporter.”
“Solar News?”
“Solar News Service is the name of the new company I am forming.  Its focus – well, lack of focus, really – will be news that affects the Solar System at large.”
“Everyone is doing that, Mr. Adamson.  Free Press Seven covers the whole system.”
“Covers?  Perhaps.  But FP Seven is a relic of the early days of internet news.  Yes, you cover news from all over, but you write, primarily, for Earthlings, not for the people who live out there.”
Adamson pointed vaguely at the sky.  Pearce followed the gesture for a moment, realized it was silly, and forced his gaze back to his host.
“Of course we write ‘for Earthlings’ Mr. Adamson.  Most of humanity still lives here.”
“Yes, but the numbers dwindle every year, while the speed of the evacuation increases.  Soon, you will lose most of your audience.”
“My readers – our readers! – continue to follow us even after they escape.  We will continue to have an ‘audience’ so long as people continue to read.”
“Perhaps.  But Solar News Service will exist to inform the people out there, to give them news from their point of view.  In the end, every news story is about how events impact the reader.  So, instead of writing about the people leaving Earth, we will write about the people arriving at their new homes.  Instead of telling the tale of resources being sent away, we will tell of resources being received and used.  Do you see the difference?”
“Well, yes, now that you put it that way.  But I think we already cover both sides pretty well.”
“I don’t want to cover ‘both sides’ anymore.  I want to serve the side that is getting bigger.”
“And you think I can do that?”
“Of course you can do that.  I’ve read a lot of what you write; you have the skill.  All you need to do is change your point of view, just a little bit.”
“As an investigative reporter?  That’s what your audience wants?”
“Needs, not wants, Mr. Pearce.  I am recruiting from various skill sets.  We will have puff pieces and disasters, we will have sports reporters, we will have celebrity and entertainment reporters, we will have political reporters and pundits, and we will have business and financial reporters.  About the only thing I do not expect to have are meteorologists, for obvious reasons.  But behind it all, I want a small team of tough investigative reporters, finding out the things that people are desperate to hide, the things that affect us all.  You will be the first member of that team, if you wish.”
“I very much desire your services, Mr. Pearce.  Here is the annual salary I have in mind, using Earth years, of course.”
Adamson pulled a piece of paper out of his breast pocket and slid it, face down, across the table.  Pearce hesitated only a moment, then picked it up, glanced at it, and then stared.
“The figure on the left is in Golden Currency, Mr. Pearce, as that is what most people are using out there.  The two figures to the right are translations into U.S. Dollars and into Euros, using yesterday’s exchange rates, merely for your convenience.  The offer is in gold.”
“That is quite a bit of gold, Mr. Adamson, quite a bit.  I like it.  But really, dollars will be fine for my needs.”
“No, they will not be fine for your needs, Mr. Pearce.  Not where you are going.”
“Going?  I assumed I would work out of this building.  This is your headquarters, isn’t it?”
“Only for a brief period, while we recruit and organize.  Jupiter is the fastest growing population center and will soon eclipse Mars.  That is where we will be based out of, although I suspect you will spend a lot of time on liners, visiting other colonies.  After all, Mr. Pearce, you cannot cover the evacuation properly from Earth, now can you?”

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