Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Apologia on Extortion, An Acceptable Dragon Practice

There are some people who will read Live and Let Fly and may come to the conclusion that I’m selfish.  After all, the world was in peril, bad guys were on the loose, and I was holding out for a bonus.  A big bonus.  Well, all I can say is, those people are right—if I were human. 
But let’s face it; dragons have different standards.

Before I start, let me define apologia:  a defense of one’s opinions or actions.  It is not an apology.  I am not the least sorry for holding back information from my temporary employers while some evil overlord no doubt moved forward on her diabolical scheme.  I will, however, be glad to explain why.  Here’s the scene in question:
Mordash just leaned forward, his hand out, his eyes glinting. "I'll have our people analyze these—"
Grace started to hand him the files.
I set my large paw between them. "Not so fast. There's one very important detail we're missing," I said. I pulled out of my pocket one of the most important tools in the private investigator's repertoire.
The receipt book.
"What're you doing?" Mustache Mordash asked as I took out my small inkpot, opened the lid and dipped my writing claw into it.
"Our rescue was strictly an independent operation, remember?" I tossed Rakness a dark look but spoke reasonably enough. "So any information we might have acquired on said operation would be our own—"
"You mean to sell this information to us? I thought we were trying to protect this country; both our worlds, for that matter. What kind of patriot are you?"
I looked at him like he was a stupid mortal and didn't mention that I wasn't a citizen of the United States—or any nation, come to think of it. "Funny thing about saving the world," I mused. "It always manages to get un-saved. Kind of wrecks the job satisfaction factor. Philanthropy, though... Grace, how much did the Christian Brothers say they needed to start that school in Territory?"
Grace's eyes lit up. "Well, seven hundred fifty thousand, but the diocese and FlintCorp are contributing."
"Right. Some kind of matching funds deal." Even though I had already done the calculations in my head, I wrote them down. Dramatic effect. Very important.
Mustache blanched. "Are you out of your minds? You said yourself the forces of evil could be rising—"
"Exactly. Which is why a morally-based education for the underprivileged youth is so important. Now if we consider operating expenses for the first year..."
Mustache glowered. "And if the information you 'hypothetically acquired' is useless?"
"Then I'll be glad to negotiate a discount the next time you hand us a mission and some commercially available tech toys and abandon us at twenty thousand feet." I ripped off the top copy with a flourish and handed it to Mustache. He looked from my hand to Grace's, but she'd already returned the thumb drives to her sleeve pockets. He snatched the bill out of my claw.
"Let me make some calls," he growled. He spun his chair around, dismissing us.

#1. Dragons are immortal.  I tend to have a long-term view of things, having seen the extinction of the dinosaurs (known as The End of the Biggie Sized Meal, as far as I was concerned), and the rise and fall of empires.  Even if I hadn’t succeeded, things would have been chaos for awhile, but hey, the world recovers.  Been there, seen that.

#2  Dragons are confident.  I was on the case—me, Vern.  I defeated Quetzalcoatl when I was barely the size of a Labrador, and without any help from secret government agencies.  If I hadn’t given them the information, I still knew it, and they could have just followed me.  Might have been easier, come to think of it.

#3  Dragons are treasure seekers.  Thanks to St. George, I don’t get to enjoy treasure anymore, however.  In fact, I life in a dump of a warehouse on the bad side of Los Lagos, Colorado, with (at the time) a leaky roof and no hoard.  Since raiding museums and banks is frowned upon, I get my jollies where I can.

#4 The money went to a good cause.  The school I helped fund with BILE’s money is almost finished.  I can’t collect treasure, so I go for good deeds, nowadays.

#5  I was ticked off.  Not the best of reasons, but angry dragons are dangerous; better to get my satisfaction by extorting some extra cash from my employer than to flame his desk, don’t you agree?

Incidentally, I didn’t want to do this blog.  I’ve got my hands full training up an apprentice superhero.  So I held out until Karina offered me a half a lamb to do this.  Bribery, or simple payment for services?

Decide what you want.  I’ve got a veal lunch waiting.

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