"Look, I'm sorry, but there's no payout on this one."
"What do you mean, no payout?"
Tern had rehearsed this all in her head, but things too often didn't go
to plan when talking to people. Computers and numbers were so much
easier to work with. "An independent candidate won the election. Odds
were negligible, she didn't even make it into my book."
"If somebody had asked, what would you have offered?"
"Maybe two hundred to one."
"Two hun-- that would have..."
"Yes, that would have squared your bid."
"Look, just give me my refund and we'll call it square."
"No. You gave your print, you knew the risks. OPB doesn't give refunds and neither do I."
"Then I'll take it from you."
"No, you won't. I'm neutral; always have been, always will be. I don't
bet against my own book. You'll have to fight everyone who backs my
book, everyone who has won a cent off me. That's a long list and there's
some people who are a lot more scary than you are. They accept my book and don't get refunds; you get the same deal."
"No." Tern hung up the line. Her voice was steady and her mind was
clear, but her hands were shaking. Sometimes she hated this business,
but every word she said was true.
"Soria, it's Tern."
"What have you found?"
"Sisyphus's R&D department is selling something I haven't found on
the black market that's doing really well for reasons I don't really
want to know. I'm sorry, but that's all I've got, and it took pulling a
lot of strings to get that much."
"That's alright, you've done more than enough. How much of my portfolio is on them?"
"About a third."
"Sell some of it off. If they're dealing something under the table, I don't want to be there when they fall."
"Smart move. There's a new start-up doing some remarkable things with
3-D printers selling way low right now that's selling voting interest
"How do you feel about it?"
"Good enough to pick up a couple percent of their stock on my own."
"That's enough recommendation for me. If I sold all except for, say one
hundred shares of Sisyphus and bought into this new start-up, how much
would I be looking at?"
Tern whistled. "Just a moment, let me run the numbers." The line was
silent for a few minutes. "Ten percent controlling interest."
The line was quiet for a few seconds more, and then "It's done. You now
have a ten percent voting interest in Fifth-Dimensional Thinking, Inc,
ten percent of their shares, and an honorary position on their board of
directors. You're also down to a mere one hundred shared of Sisyphus
Medical which is less than five percent of your portfolio.'
"You're most welcome."
Excerpts from Tales of Vidar: Payout