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Freedom Ledger, Business pages



by Dancia Devons


The business world was surprised today by the announcement of the retirement of Grant Conglomerate CEO Jonathan Grant (57). Even more surprising was the announcement of the appointed of his daughter Sarah Grant (28) to the position. Ms. Grant has been a champion of metahuman and alien right and averment critic of her own father.



by Dancia Devons

The Grant Conglomerate has pulled out of a co-project with MARSTECH to develop the new Spartoi Powered Armor for the US Army, citing severe mismanagement of the project.

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Grant Conglomerate Headquarters, 1 Curie Street, Freedom City

15th October 2017


It had been news throughout the business world for many months since taking over the position of CEO Sarah Grant had been trying to clean house, first internally and then association with companies with dubious connections. Since taking over she had managed to survive many attempts to oust her from the company, and with a business acumen, she must have inherited from her father the company was beginning to recover and thrive. But they still needed to make new allies to make up for those they had cut loose over the last year or so, especially with feud happening over in Emerald City.


In fact, it was a surprise that she had arranged to meet Asad already to arrange a new alliance between Grant Congroments and Summit Transnational.

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Amir was happy.  He did a happy dance in his office when the news hit.  Amir was a petty man, and Grant was more than a rival, and if he could prove it, he'd have had that man in prison for efforts to try and take down Summit.


Now he was suspicious, because there was no reason for her to be named CEO, as had minimal experience, and was likely only an appointment out of political and PR necessity.  He'd seen this move, plus she became the perfect scapegoat for failures from here on out, even if they were originally spawned at the hand of Jonathan.


Amir was not entirely an idiot.  He just played one on TV.  And on the radio.  Print.  The web.


So he noted that this meeting was a Sunday, and meant that it wouldn't be an affair filled with a large number of armchair quarterbacking.  Amir wasn't going to be chummy.  He was coming at this from a position of power, Summit was posting record profits from a business method that had been openly ridiculed by Jonathan


So he arrived in the most obscene car he could think of, a purple with teal interior Pagani Huayra.  It snorted, and rumbled, and just quivered with barely repressed need be doing 200 mph backwards, and spitting flame.

A sentiment Amir shared, as he was dressed down, a business casual of a slim cut navy suit, with a pale blue shirt he didn't both to button to the top, or wear a tie.  It was stylish and disdainful.


And Amir was late when arrived at the meeting room, boardroom, her office, whatever.  Plus he half expected a villain attack, an 'accident' that Grant had 'nothing to do with' and was a part of the 'unforeseeable climate of circumstances that was engendered in Freedom City.'  Sentiments there were collectively known in the media as the Grant BS>

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The offices had the feeling of being a new startup, with lots of young and eager people bustling about. Which was understandable seeing how many people had been gently ushered out thanks to less than legal business practices. Though whilst the personal assistant outside of Grants office wasn't much older than his own daughter she seemed fairly efficient and capable.


Ms. Grant office took up about half of the top floor and was an exercise in contrasts. The large windows cast half the office in bright sunlight whilst the other half would have been cast in shadow. There were signs that the senior Grant sat cast in menacing shadows below what a faded part of the wall suggested a massive painting now removed. Sarah Grant obviously didn't agree with such things and the massive wooden desk sat in the corner bathed in light. It was also telling that that corner seemed to be the only part of the office used, she was obviously uncomfortable with such a large place.


Sarah herself made her way to the door to greet Asad, no games of who was the alpha she was happy to treat him as an equal as she guided him to a chair


"Please take a seat Mr. Al-Misri, would you care for a drink? My father..." she said the word like it was a four lettered word "...has a very good collection of very expensive Whiskeys."


As she spoke she made herself a fresh orange juice as she waited for his response.


"There was an apparent misunderstanding over schedules so I hope you don't mind if we're joined by someone else."

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Dancia has originally done a few business post as a favor to a colleague who'd had a hot date, Lola had promised her an invite to the wedding next year. But somehow her fair and balanced reporting had somehow earned her the attention of Sarah Grant, who'd have thought just telling the truth would be such a rare thing in today's media?  


And it had paid off as today she'd been invited to do a piece on Sarah and had been invited up to meet her in person and do an interview, giving the choice between that and the Freedom Fish Festival she'd had chosen meeting any CEO every time. With her hearing, she's heard the entire exchange but as she stood in the doorway she had to play it dumb.


"I hope you don't mind sir? I'm Dancia Devons from the Freedom Ledger site, I'm just here to do a piece on Ms. Grant here obviously I'll leave out anything you don't want me to say."

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Amir's expression was calculatedly neutral, just like his hair was calculatedly tousled, and his suit was stylishly rumpled.  It was a front, a persona that he projected, controlled, so he could control reaction, influence perception on.  Amir was a liar.


As such he was at least passable at seeing lies.  Like what he had right now in front of him, the display of Grant as one thing, when it was likely not the case at all.  Admittedly he was being suspicious, but Grant had engaged in pettier, and unethical behavior, to hurt Summit and other companies that they were in competition with.


"Pleasure to meet you."  His face betrayed little toward Sarah Grant, "Thank you, yes."  And he moved to the liquor cabinet, and poured himself a glass, making it a quadruple, and he sipped at it.  At the other person entering his eyes narrowed a little bit.


"Can't really object now, hm?  Unless I want it writ large."  He smiled broadly, as he nodded to her.  "Hello Miss Devons."


"So, what is this about?"  His attention shifting back to Ms. Grant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Ms Grant smiled at Asad as she sat down herself, still despite her best efforts she still looked like a child playing at her father's desk.


"Straight and to the point, it's a refreshing thing Mr al-Misri after all I've had to deal with over the last couple of months." she at least inherited a lot of her father natural charm it seemed.


"As I'm sure you are aware I've been cutting links between my company as those of a less reputable nature. Its lead to us being sort of business allies in certain fields, I'm sure you aware of the touchy situation over in Emerald City?"


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Amir knocked back the glass, and took all of it's contents in one swig, "Yes well, I remain unconvinced you aren't some sort of robot, or clone, setting me up for some sort of trap.  Possibly to kill me, possibly to replace me with some sort of double to take control of my holdings."  He managed to say that without a hint of it being a joke.  Droll.  Very droll.  Then he poured himself another glass.


"Free advice, change the decor to match the present image you aiming for, and a different one than your father's, and do it quickly.  I know you think you have more pressing concerns, but you've said that you want the optics to be different,  That's a good first step.  I mean, ask the press over there..."  He jerked his head towards Dancia, before he moved over towards Ms. Grant's desk.


"I know the rough details, I haven't pushed further past what's in the 24-hour news cycle, or actual in-depth reporting."  Another sip of the whisky as he watched them, that calculatedly detached air out in force, his expression guarded.

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Dancia was very aware that this was a potentially awkward situation, but it wasn't what was on her mind right now. Normally she could quite easily tune out all the sounds of the city, but this one sound was cutting through her normal filters. So bothered by it she almost missed the questions completely.

"Mmmm yes, the daughter trying to get out of her father's shadow is a lazy but easily believable story. Best to own the room completely, make it your own." irritated by the noise she was probably a little less diplomatic than normal, so she added, "Though I'm after finding out the real story, not some headline-grabbing non-story."

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He arched a brow at Dancia throwing her cents in, Amir sipped at the whisky, before he used his hand holding the glass to indicate her.  "Honestly, don't listen to her.  She'll chase stories, or editorial mandate will.  Also, her being here is either you being that bad at scheduling, or trying to play image control through a display of transparency.  There is no reason for someone from the press to be here at a meeting like this."


Amir paused, and took a small sip, and let his eyes go back onto Dancia, "Nothing personal.  If you want you can add notes about how Amir is a dinosaur, and was lecherous, or something.  Drunken too..."  And the he finished that glass, as if to make a point and he went and go another.


"Now, back to what you were asking, Ms. Grant, let's cut the chase.  Assume my head isn't firmly in the bosom of a secretary, or Hollywood starlet, or wedged so far up my rear that I really wouldn't ever need to get the schedule check ups a man of my age is supposed to."  Extending a finger on his free hand, he sipped at the whisky, before resuming his line of reasoning to it's natural conclusion.  "What, precisely do you want from me?"

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"Do not mistake my politeness for weakness Mr al-Misri, many of my fathers Fat Cats made that mistake and now they don't work for me anymore." her father steel showed through as she spoke, though it was wrapped in silk

"We have identified a number of companies we wish to invest in." just like that she was all business again "I would like for you to act as a go-between to broker and manage such deals, all above board but we will not make a big deal of Grants involvement. For this, we'll offer you a generous fee, plus you may choose to invest in the companies as well. I promise you I have an eye for such things!"

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He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, as he shook his head.  "Every time, every damned time..."  And then the man faces away from her, and towards the largest window in the room, as if he was addressing it, and he spoke a bit in a ranty-nasally voice, " 'But Amir, we want your help.  But we're going to be as coy as possible, like someone trying to pretend that we aren't wanting to cut through the foreplay and get to the thrust.  Also we think you are a moron, and are in a position of power in this negotiation.' " And then he revert to caricature of a overly confident, false suave voice, as he turned on his heels, as if facing the previous voice. "But, says I, you are coming to me.  If you want to dance, dance.  It's not as if I am a very busy man who's had ex-lovers shoot at him with missiles or anything... "  Wheeling back to Sara Grant, "Wait, that sounds like a not uncommon Tuesday." 


There was a small smile as he looked at her, Amir al-Misri, the dilettante billionaire, and a master of the indolent retort.  "First, don't bare your fangs at me like that.  I am not a lackey for your old man, and drawing such a parallel is beyond insulting.  Second, that request didn't necessitate reaching out to me directly, except as grand theatre.  Legitimately it is a service listed on our website, and internet encyclopedias."  He set the half-finished glass down on her desk.


"Anyway Sara," he continued, his tone flat, "you can submit the proposal through the proper channels, it will be reviewed under due diligence, and you will get our answer.  Your brand is toxic, and that will be a point of consideration.  As is prior bad acts, and poor faith tactics engaged by Grant Industries Limited, whatever,  towards Summit Transnational."

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"I apologise Mr al-Misri but despite my best efforts, I am still my father's daughter. But I do not see you as a fool, quite the opposite if I didn't think you capable then I wouldn't have asked you join in this venture. Actually, it's quite refreshing to have someone who's not afraid to speak there mind around me, hopefully, if we enter into successful endeavour I might be able to occasional ask for your council on some matters. But of the current business at hand..."


From one of her drawers, she took out a large file and placed in front of Asad.


"Despite what you've might have read I am a capable and diligent businesswoman. And unlike my father, I am not going to resort to underhanded practices. This meeting was always a courtesy to yourself Mr al-Misri. It may be seen as old-fashioned but I like to see my potential allies face to face."

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Amir smiled, faintly, "You are your father's daughter.  As I said, this is a service offered by my company..  I will pass this along this along to that department.  They are very good at it too."  His expression amused, in the way a cat might be when being bargained with, "If you are wanting me to do this, well..."  He stepped away, moving to the window, and he leaned against it. "You cannot afford me.  At all."  He folded his arms across his chest, as his shoulder was pressed to the window.


"Now, this sounds like I am being petty.  But, this is strictly business.  I have nothing to gain with an overt alliance, and in fact I stand to lose in this instance.  Given the less than sterling reputation your name carries at the moment.  And whether or not people enjoy all of my ventures..."  He trailed off, still smiling.  "So the part missing here is why did you ask me here.," he almost drawled, putting emphasis on that.  "To gaze on my handsome face?  Because the animosity between your father and I lends a sense of credibility.  Though depending on the publication I will be just another person tanking the public's perspective, and this seems to be happening without the knowledge of your shareholders."


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  • 3 weeks later...

As fun as watching Amir taken apart Sarah Grant's proposal, and to be honest Grant Conglomerates probably deserved a lot of the grief, Dancia couldn't help but be distracted. In her ear was the high pitched tone from some kind of control signal and being so strong it had to be really close by. Trying not to act like she was distracted whilst trying to act impartially was taking a lot of her mental activities. 


Doing so she almost missed the important moment and didn't have time to shout out a warning, instead, she threw herself across the table grabbing Sarah and turning as they fell so her back was to the window.

Amir would have to look after himself, as she was pretty sure he was more than capable of doing...

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At first, all Amir could see was the strange scene of the reporter throwing herself over the table, but it wasn't long until he could see what might be the cause. Outside each of the windows was a humanoid figure looking like it was clad in Ancient Greek armour, possibly powered armour or robot it was hard to tell either way. The guns they were armed with modern and with a whine they began to fire and whilst the glass was toughened it wasn't enough to stop the bullets. It slowed them enough that Amir was fine, but the woman shouldn't be except that the reporter seemed to taking the bullets without any harm. Though that was a question for another time there were the armoured figures to deal with.

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For Amir some measure of the laws of physics were suggestions.  Loose suggestions.  This would include them, as he burst towards the robot.  Man in armor?  Whatever.  I'll talk to her later, but I have more pressing concerns right now.  "Seriously, do any of you idiots pay attention to my movements?  Oh, no, let's pick a fight when Amir al-Misri is at a place.  It's not as if he has powers that can totally ruin our plans or anything!"  He said, unable to resist taunting as his hand descended on the gun of the one nearest to him, and he broke the weapon with a solid crunch in his left, as right came across with a heavy cross right to it's head, before he was out the window after the fake legionnaire.


Arms out stretched, he sent out lances of incandescent, rippling force that struck then.  "I recommend you morons re-prioritize your target.  Because I am the biggest threat!"  When in doubt, Asad would always get the opponents attention.  He was good at it.  Just like he had gotten good at fighting, no longer just swinging for the fences.

More importantly, he was annoyed enough, and these looked like not living things enough that he was just going to throw caution to the wind and cut loose on them

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It was quickly apparent that the armoured figured were robots and they apparently were linked in somehow as they seemed to act as a coherent whole. They also seemed to be more interested in someone inside the building as they kept trying to get past Asad to attack the room again, not that he couldn't easily deal with them without effort. If someone was trying to attack a superhero these were a really terrible way to do that.


Inside the room, Dancia took the opportunity to get Sarah out of the room gently picking up the young woman and nudging her towards the elevator.


"Go quickly you're safer further inside the building, Asad has the situation in hand and I follow along when I can."


Her plan was to go help when she was sure that Sarah couldn't see and connect her with her other identity.

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"Okay.  Robots!  Excellent!"

See with other people possessive massive amounts of super strength, they might, perhaps have thunderously explosive punches.  That wasn't the case with Amir, there was no excess force, there was just mountain shaking impacts.


Now, he struck a lot better than before.  Pivoting, feinting, and then knocking one of the robots' heads off.  Dancia probably wasn't a watcher of his movements in that particular circle, but Amir took things seriously.  He had trained, and he was doing his best to push them back and keep them from charging in the building, before finally he was just made enough to explode.


Which he did, converting the power absorbed into an arcing burst of power.  All heat, light, and force.

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Whilst the robots were obviously well made they were no match for Asad and they were quickly reduced to so much junk. The last one wouldn't be much trouble for Asad but as he prepared to attack the robot jerked as what appeared to be a letter opener shot through its head at high speed.


Stood at the window with her arms cross was Dancia exuding confidence and seeming nothing like the quiet young reporter from even a few minutes before.


"I think we need to talk! We'll only have a few minutes before security and the FCPD turn up to the scene, and I'm sure you have questions."

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Amir's expression changed to a sort of bored thing, as he adjusted his labels, and sighed a bit, picking a bit at a tear at the seam where the sleeve met the rest of the jacket.  "What is there to talk about?"  He pushed off of the air, and landed in the ruined office.  His brows lifted as he looked at her, a bit puzzled by her assertion, more than anything else.  "I am fairly certain there are at least three other people that are under my employ that are bullet proof."  Casually he put one hand on his hip, the other into his pocket as he surveyed.  "Well this will, at least, encourage a redecoration."


He didn't know what Dancia might want.  "Step away from the window, there are people taking pictures, and frankly my knowing is a non-issue, but others might not be."



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"Unless they can see my poor ruined jacket, my favourite by the way, I'm just a reporter who happened to be on the scene when the story happened." she did take a step back just in case however


"Even if you were as dumb as you act, and we both know you're smarter than that, you must see that something strange is going on here!"


She took off her jacket and examined the bullet holes, before putting it back on not really having a choice in the matter.


"I plan to investigate what's going on here and I could use your business knowledge here."

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He snorted at her, "If I was smarter and more effectual I would be on the Liberty League, or UNISON, or something.  Wouldn't I?"  He pursed his lips for a moment, "Give me your jacket."  He said as he moved into the office, or what was left of it, and he took off his own, and held it out to her on a finger.  "Keeping up appearances is what people do everyday."


"My money, you want my money and contacts to winnow it down from every single person that Grant has pissed off with access to hire, or send out, these things."  His expression was a bit wry as he watched her.

"I see a lot of strange things day in and out.  This.."  He gestured with his free hand, "Is just an extension of corporate culture when super science and empowered humans are a thing."

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Again she took off her jacket and offered it up to Asad


"Should I be worried if you ask for my blouse as well? If the tabloids are believed I look just like you type, though I will admit I missed a lot of gossip over the last year or so." she smiles at Asad suggesting she wasn't completely serious


"I will admit I do wish to use your business contacts, I'm not a business journalist and I don't fully understand the comings and goings of this lifestyle, whilst I understand the superheroes world pretty well. And whilst you might not believe it but I'm quite happy with the level of money I currently own."

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"You misunderstand."  And he took her coat, burned it with his power to match what he was going to do next.  "I don't mean you want my money for yourself, you want my money to use to figure out what is happening."

"There is a thought, and while I appreciate the candor, and eagerness which you offer your body up, but.."  Pausing he held up his hand, and sent out a burst of energy at her, able to hold in enough to not even come close to hurting her, but scorched the shirt she had under the jacket.  His focus was clear more on making a scene.

Then he took off his jacket, and offered it up to her, "This will work.  Drape it around your shoulders."  Checking her shirt, and the jacket of hers, before he dropped it. "Close enough.  When the press arrives I'll take lead, you will need to go to in the ambulance, however."  And he moved to her, and put his arms around her shoulder, and then led her towards the door.  "You're in shock.  A lot of shock with what happened, don't acknowledge people initially, just be distracted seeming.  I will be going with you and Amy.  We'll see from there."

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