In mid May, 2006 Gerry has been Clan Father for three weeks when a special meeting of the Clan Board is requested by a clan member living in Dareena. The Board consists of the Clan Father, the Great Mother of the Clan, selected advisers, and senior clan members. The Board has more authority than the Clan Father alone, and is a great deal easier to organise than a Clan Table; which is a meeting of all the eligible clan members where a quorum of 55% of the members is required, except for the Annual Clan Table held on the last Saturday of April each year: it qualifies regardless of how many people are in attendance. The Board meeting is to be held at 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday.
At 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning Gerry is at Far View, the Amir Clan residence, in the Young Children's Playroom spending time with some of his children. His mother and the clan's Great Mother are there as well. The door opens when an aunt shows a middle aged woman and two young women into the room. They're taken over to the Great Mother and introduced as Wayena Silverstein and her daughters, Juna and Meara. Distant cousins on their first visit to Far View. Wayena and her daughters were born in Berana. They're here so her husband can seek assistance from the clan because he's a migrant and has no other family in the country. All the adults present are introduced to them.
Since entering the room they're all looking around at the children and the room's extensive facilities. After being introduced Wayena sits to talk with the Great Mother and seek her support for her husband's proposal. Twenty-two year old Juna, a very pretty woman, sits with Gerry's mother and talks to her about the clan. Seventeen year old Meara, an average looking teenager, walks to where Gerry is playing a game with a group of three year old children. When they start the next round she joins in and encourages more children to join the game as well, some do. She spends the next hour having a good time playing with the children, and the children are really enjoying her time with them. They get a lot of adult attention, but always welcome more because there's so many children and this is fun attention, too.
At 10:45 a.m. Gerry stands, gently saying, "Sorry, munchkins, I've an appointment to keep and have to go." The children with him sigh. He turns to Meara, "Will you be staying the night, I'd like to take you out to dinner, if you are?"
Curtly, Wayena answers, "No, we're leaving after lunch. Anyway, Meara still has school and university to finish before she has time for an affair. I've already heard a lot about you, Casanova Gerry."
Hearing Meara sigh about the short visit, Gerry firmly says, "I don't know what you've heard, and I don't care. But you're staying the night and not leaving until after you have lunch tomorrow. Mother, please make suitable arrangements." Turning, he leaves the room.
A shocked Wayena turns to speak to Lara, Gerry's mother, stopping with her mouth wide open when she realises Lara is talking on the phone and making those arrangements. Turning to Wayena, Lara says, "He's right, it's extremely rude to just turn up to spend a few hours seeking money and then dash off again. You're staying the night." Standing, she walks out, leaving an amazed Wayena in her wake.
Standing up, the Great Mother says, "Well, I've not heard Lara that angry since the Dareed War. You really do know how to upset people, don't you? And Gerry isn't a Casanova. He may have over thirty concubines and most of the children in this room are his, but his problem is keeping women out of his bed, not getting more in. Except for close family members, Meara is the fourth young lady he's asked out to dinner in his life. And two of the others were for special birthday dinners he'd set up for classmates because their families couldn't afford the cost for a real party." Turning around, she also leaves the room. Leaving a stunned Meara and Wayena in her wake.
Wayena is shocked by this, and all in the room are watching her closely. A three year old girl asks, "Meara, will you agree to marry Daddy when he asks you? I'd like you to be my mummy. Mother's nice, but only visits every other weekend because she's very busy with her career and I'd like a full-time mummy."
While Wayena is stunned by this, Meara is only surprised, and replies, "What makes you think he'll want to marry me?"
The girl says, "Because he likes you a whole lot."
Lucie, another young woman helping to care for the children, says, "Amarayah speaks truth. Like me, Gerry sees with the heart not with the eyes. Thus he sees and knows your gentle heart. I saw how he reacted when you got close enough for him to see your heart properly. He was greatly moved by what he saw. I've not seen him respond to another person like that in a long time, not since Amy died." All the residence adults present are surprised by this because they know she has The Sight, but she rarely speaks about what she sees.
Wayena and Meara are stunned. Meara says, "Should he ask, I'll give his request careful consideration, but I hardly know him. I'd need time to learn what he's like."
Looking up, Lucie says, "What's he like? I doubt anyone will ever know all of him. But he's solid, he was in charge of the patrol that fought at Tim's Halt. He won't speak about what he saw at the farm Thistledown, but others who saw it throw up when asked." Meara's eyes go wide, because she'd read about that at school. "Already he runs several successful businesses he created, and gives large amounts to local charities each month. In many ways he's softer than a plush toy, and in some others he's harder than diamond. I know he's personally executed captured murderers and he's risked his life to save children. Our Gerry is a very complex person. How old do you think he is?"
Quietly, Wayena says, "Eighteen, nineteen."
And Meara softly says, "Seventeen, eighteen."
Shaking her head no, Lucie says, "No, he's not that old, but his grandfather says Gerry is much wiser than he. The clan agrees, that's why we voted him in as Clan Father this year, the youngest ever. So get used to the idea you're staying overnight. No one has out stubborned Gerry before, and now, as Clan father, he has the authority to make things happen. He's been a member of the Guards for some years and is a Captain, acting Major. You don't get that rank without having the skill to go with it. Also, he's a qualified doctor, engineer, and scientist, so he's smart as well. He's the current Amiri Amur Elder, too. But the best way to get an idea of what he's like is to watch how he interacts with the children, especially the slow ones. Ask them what they think of him, watch him at lunch and dinner tonight."
Meara nods, and goes back to playing with the children. She really likes children, and would like to work with children when she finishes school.
The Board Meeting
The meeting starts at 11:00 a.m. when Isaac Silverstein presents his story. He's a smart chemist and been working on some ideas. Sadly, he had a business associate he trusted. The associate lodged all the patent paperwork in his own name and is getting rich marketing Isaac's inventions through a company the associate owns outright. Isaac has another idea and wants clan funding to set up a business to develop and market the idea, he gives a summary of it. Because the room lighting is set to highlight Isaac the rest of the room is very dark and he can't make out any details of the board members.
When the members start to discuss the idea, Gerry asks, "Are you more a scientist than a businessman?" Isaac nods. "As such, I'm sure you posted articles about your work in various scientific journals. If you've copies of them with you, I'd like to see them." Isaac opens his briefcase and hands the journals to the Master at Arms; he'd brought every document he could think of as having a possible bearing. The Master at Arms hands them to Gerry. While reading the articles, he asks, "Do you have copies of the patents your old partner lodged?" Isaac hands them over. Gerry studies them closely. He notes the journal articles are older than the patents and they include a lot of the same information that's in the journal articles, word for word.
Picking up a phone Gerry calls and speaks to a patent lawyer he has on retainer. He then makes another phone call. Turning back to Isaac, he says, "This isn't worth discussing. You haven't got the business smarts to do this without getting ripped off again. It'll be better for you to sign an employment agreement to work at our clan owned research facility and get a proper wage while getting recognition and royalties for your work. I've set up a meeting for you on Monday morning, she'll send you a confirmation e-mail later today. This way you can look at some non-commercial research of interest to you as well." Isaac smiles, and nods.
Gerry continues, "I've also arranged a lawyer to sue your old partner, your journal articles prove prior art and his patents won't hold up in court. We can tie him up in court for years, the easiest option is for him to sign over the patents and pay royalties. Worst case scenario is you can legally sell the same product, so we can go into that business and just wipe him out. Since your meeting will be in Carmel you can stay here until then." Isaac has a wide smile when he nods, this is much better than what he'd asked for. He leaves very happy, and so do the board members because this doesn't require any decisions by them and is a neat solution to all of Isaac's problems.
.... There is more of this story ...