JW Media Fanfic and Fandoms Site

My Fanfic
Casualties of War
The Price of Survival
Second Chance
Interlude on the Bantu Wind
Homeward Bound
Anything Goes
Cup of a Carpenter
As Time Goes By
Great Expectations
A Civilization Gone With the Wind
The Past is Prologue
Keeper of the Flame
As Time Goes By -- Epilog
The End of the Beginning
Ask the Right Question
Death of an Enemy, Death of a Friend
The Politics of Embezzlement
DS Fest Trip to "Collinwood" (Seaview Terrace Newport RI)
Related Links
The Politics of Embezzlement

Originally published in The Sonic Screwdriver # 4 printed 1988

"Did the data finish processing yet?"

The computer tech grunted and pointed at the screen In front of him, where information was scroll­ing out.

"That's it, then."     Edwards, the smaller of the two men, nodded with satisfaction, then turned to his co-worker, smiling broadly.

Davidson wiped a sweaty palm on his trousers. "Good thing, too. If it hadn't worked, you know the boss would've blamed it on an error in our programming."

"Of course. He never makes mistakes." Edwards flashed the other man a mischievous grin. "That's why he's still working over in the auxiliary computer centre. Guess he doesn't expect any prob­lems with his project."

"Well, I doubt even he expected the simulation to be this successful. The crystals seem to be the answer." Davidson gathered the data tapes and headed for the door of the small laboratory. "You know what he's like if he's not the first to know about these things."

He wound his way through the corridors of the vast computer complex, his excitement growing as he went, and poked his head into several auxiliary rooms similar to his own lab, seeking his super­visor.

As he raced into yet another room, he barely missed tripping over a pair of black-clad legs protruding from under one of the computer consoles. Close call, that! He'd learned much from this man, who was unquestionably one of the best computer techs in the Federated worlds, an acknowledged genius -- but sometimes, he wondered if anything was worth suffering the man's foul temper.

Faint sounds from beneath the console showed the man was still hard at work, ignoring his presence. "Mr. Avon?" No reply. He summoned up his courage and tried again, louder. "Mr. Avon!" .

Kerr Avon reluctantly slid from beneath the console, sat up, and pinned his assistant with an icy glare. "And what is important enough to merit this interruption?"

"Those simulations you had me set up on the aquatar project...

"You have the results?"    The intent look in his eyes belied his expressionless face and the even tone of his voice. He gathered his tools, then rose and fastidiously dusted himself off.

Davidson smiled.    "I thought you'd want to see them right away. They look extremely promising." He led the way back to the experimental lab.


Hours later, the two men were still deeply engrossed in analysis of the test results. Next would come the task of translating their arcane mathematical knowledge, distilling its salient points for the reports to the next level of the hierarchy.

Finally, it was done. 

"Kerr, my boy!       Come in, and have a seat." Frel Henning, manager of the computer complex, smiled unctuously and indicated the chair in front of his desk. Avon stiffened at the liberty, but masked his feelings and managed an ingratiating smile in return.

"As you know, my boy, it's time for your annual performance evaluation."

Avon nodded. He was never one to suffer fools, but in this case, the power the other man held gave him no choice. "Before we begin, sir, I believe you should see this." He took a copy of his project report and pushed it across the desk.

"What is it?"

"The results from the latest simulations on the aquatar project. As you will note, they have been quite successful. With additional funding, a working teleport..."

"...would not be possible."

"I beg your pardon?" Something is seriously wrong! This information should guarantee a promo­tion, not to mention a fat raise...

"Teleport. Crazy idea, anyway, like something out of a bad holovid.     I've recommended Development Section give it up as a bad idea."

"I don't understand, sir. These projections show..."

Henning glanced offhandedly at the report. "The Federation has neither the time nor the resources to waste on such idle speculations as these. There are more important priorities. Projections are one thing; results are all that matter. The subject is closed.

"Now, your evaluation. Your technical expertise is quite remarkable. However, your personnel file shows some problems In dealing with co-workers, most especially with your subordinates. I will not stand for that, Kerr. We're a team. Let's show some of that old team spirit, shall we?"

May I ask if this 'team spirit' of yours includes condoning gross incompetence?"

"To whom in particular are you referring?"


Oh, my boy, you must be mistaken. He's one of the best men I have.  In fact, I've recommended to head the team to re-vamp security on the Federation Banking System. It's a high-priority project, very sensitive. Extra funding has been allocated to make certain it's a success. Everyone is being reassigned, now that the aquatar  project is to be disbanded."


"I see." Avon's eyes grew hard and cold. "And my reassignment? Is it perhaps to a less pres­tigious project? One that is less of a technical challenge? Not to mention less well paid?"

"I am sorry, but I have so many excellent people, and so few places worthy of their talents... Besides, you're not really management material, my boy. You see how it is, I'm sure."

"Naturally." Avon's smile was feral.

Henning smiled back, a broad and totally false smile that nearly split his round face. His eyes met Avon's, which were cold and piercing as a pair of laser probes. "As long as we understand each other, then. Now, if you'll just sign this form...."

The computer tech left Henning's office, cold rage building inside him. The most promising project of my entire career, snatched away before it can be completed! Then, to be shunted off on some stupid, routine assignment,   while an utter incompetent is given the plum job ...!

Kerr Avon was not a man to either forgive or forget slights easily. Rogers, in charge of security for the Federation Bank? What a farce! A five-year-old child could get through his safeguards!

And what a shambles that would make...!

A predatory smile spread across his face as he considered the havoc a highly qualified computer tech could cause. The consequences would be great, both far Rogers and for the man who recom­mended him for the job. And one could buy a good many things with a few million credits... He and Anna could run away together to one of the outer planets, where all that money would buy them luxury and security for the rest of their lives...

Still smiling, Kerr Avon went to meet Anna and tell her of his plan.