Chapter 11 :- Lead, Follow, or Die

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Tomar Donovackia burst into the corporate boardroom a few minutes after lunch had been served. About a dozen well-dressed individuals sat around the long, elegant table. Half of the board members had food in their mouths, as Tomar began to speak. He timed this quite purposefully. The board’s approval technically was required for significant undertakings, and he intended for them to rubber-stamp whatever plans he devised. He wanted them enjoying a meal and focused on listening. Too many questions would inhibit his plans for the meeting. 

“Ladies and gentlemen of the board, thank you for gathering together today. I appreciate that it was on short notice and also appreciate that you all are in attendance today. Please continue to enjoy lunch. I have several items to cover today, and I will be conscientious of your time.”

Tomar moved to the head of the table. He waved his hand across the tabletop, and a small podium materialized in front of him. The other board members remained seated, with most continuing to eat, while Tomar stood over them and began his presentation. He tapped a few distinct places on the podium, and a three-dimensional representation of the galaxy rose up from the table’s center.

“My esteemed board members, we are fortunate to be one of the Eleven Corporations that hold interplanetary licenses to conduct space travel, exploration, and economic development. We all, of course, agree that this system is wise, and none of us would want to revert to the days of the Exorthium Colonial Wars.”

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All of the board members nodded in agreement. They all knew their history. Shortly after space travel and the ability to build portals were discovered, Koranth and Zoranth became connected by a few portals.

The expense was astronomical. Portals were constructed in a matched set on one planet. One of the portals would then be sent by spaceship to its destination on the other planet. The pair of portals enabled a person or objects to go into one portal and be immediately transported through to its other corresponding portal. 

Initially, it was a social and economic boom for countries on both planets, and a few corporations profited handsomely for the massive investment required to build and operate the portals. However, a discovery of a third life-sustaining planet, Exorthium, within their solar system changed everything. Exorthium had limited life forms, as its conditions were extremely unfriendly. While humans could survive on the planet, the toxic environment would eventually kill anyone who stayed too long, but Exorthium had an abundance of mineral resources. 

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