The Price of Demand (Reintegration Edit 2)

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Altman sat at his desk, head in his hands, poring over village development details. He had only just returned from a discouraging trip to Holdswaine when the accident occurred, and the double-blow had him on edge.

“Ridiculous! The whole concept of luck is superstitious nonsense.”

“Now dearest, who said anythin’ about luck?” His wife Kaylene, unnoticed in her entry, sat on the beautiful overstuffed armchair that he kept in the writing room for guests.

He smiled wanly. “The men are afraid something sinister is afoot. Even Waldon is starting to lose his nerve. After the trip to Holdswaine, I could almost start wondering, myself. I got the funds we need, but it cost me more of the electrite samples than I’d have preferred, I’m afraid. And what’s worse, the story of that first accident was the talk of the city.”

“Surely you can’t mean—Mr. Mitchell wouldn’t—”

“Deny us workers because one of the men was kicked by a horse? No, but if you’d seen his face when I talked to him … He’s never liked me, or this village we’re trying to create.”

“Well of course he doesn’t like you. You studied with the Conclave, and then turned your back on ‘em to come out here. You can bet a good part of Mr. Mitchell’s pay comes out of their coffers. Controllin’ information and learning is what the Conclave does; it’s as sure as the sun’ll rise tomorrow that they won’t have forgotten, or forgiven, you.”