Copyright© 2015 by Lumpy
When the girls finally fell asleep I continued to stare at the ceiling, thoughts bouncing through my head. The big question I kept coming back to was, what now? Now that I know what I am, what do I do about it? Do I continue on with my life as if nothing is different? On the face of it that was the easy answer. Just continue being a teenager, go off to college, and get a job. Be one of the masses.
But the more I thought on that, the more that idea started to unravel. There was a responsibility here. If what Mrs. Bell said is true, then I was the key to where we were headed. Wasn't I accountable to the human race and my role in it? If I ignored this and just lived my life as if nothing were different, then would my genetic line be one more of those dead branches like the Neanderthals? That seemed like a waste, more so since I had brought the girls into the equation, no matter how unknowingly. They are a part of this now, and if I bore a responsibility to the human race, I had an even bigger responsibility to them.
If I were to choose option two ... to work towards expanding my genetic line, and eventually pull the human race forward with me ... what would that entail? Just getting the girls pregnant and have as many kids as possible? Again, an easy sounding answer until it was honestly considered. I could see the path to how the expansion of my genetic line would go. If I had two kids with each of my girls, and each of those kids had two kids, it would be millennia before there were enough of us to affect the destiny of the human race. Of course, we could always have more kids, and they have more kids, and on and on to increase that pace. However no matter how the numbers work out, it would be several hundred years before we made an impact. The bigger sticking point was that, even to me in my privileged middle class life, it was clear that the world was a screwed up place. There were serious doubts in my mind that the human race could make it long enough for that to happen.
There was apathy from the mass of humanity towards the legacy we were leaving for our children and their children. We were using the earth up as fast as we could and we continued to fight each other, the weapons getting bigger and more deadly. Iran, North Korea and Iraq were all trying hard to get weapons of mass destruction and had no qualms about it. Religious zealots and pure crazies ... both those abroad and the home grown kind, like the guy who blew up the FBI building in Oklahoma ... were on the rise. It was pretty depressing to think about.
What that really meant was, if I committed to working towards our genetic destiny, I couldn't just have kids. I had to find a way to set my future generation up for success. But how to do that?
I was smart enough now to know that there was no way I had the ability to answer that question. I needed to bring in people with real world experience, and get their thoughts on that. For now my only options were Mrs. Bell and Doctor Chang, although I was already ruling out the Doctor's advice. She was just too singularly focused and seemed to have no problems blowing up any obstacles between her and her goal. While she may be a great doctor, long term strategy was not her strength. That left just Mrs. Bell. I loved her dearly and valued her experience and knowledge, but she wasn't enough. We needed more points of views. This was something that we were going to have to discuss, not just our plans moving forward, but putting together the people to actually make those plans.
I realized then I had cleared one hurdle on my own however. My mind was made up, and I knew the path I would take. I just had to find out how to make it work. With the big question out of the way I found it a lot easier to finally fall asleep.
We were up pretty early again the next morning. It seemed like the roller coaster that was my life couldn't quit. I had a meeting after school with Mr. Colleta about the settlement, followed by another meeting with Marcus and Ted to talk about the new company. It had already been decided if we were going to go into business together then I shouldn't be his employee anymore.
I had to wonder what He and Marcus thought about having a high school kid as a partner and what they considered to be my role in the new company. As part of my decision on where to go with my life, I knew I couldn't just be the bank. This seemed like a good stepping stone towards getting things set up, but I needed to be in control for that to happen.
Besides stuff with the new company, I also had a football game on the weekend, and then Sunday I was going to be testing to get my G4 ranking. I was actually pretty excited about that. Levi had already started working with me on some more advanced techniques not normally taught until you hit the Expert level, but he thought it was prudent considering all the scrapes I had been in recently. He was however adamant that if I were going to start learning this stuff, I needed to work hard to progress to build the rest of the fundamentals to go with what I was being taught. I knew it was going to be a long day, though. When I tested for my G3, it took almost six hours and I lost almost five pounds during the test. It was grueling.
The first thing to deal with was the morning meeting with Mrs. Runkle, and I knew she wasn't going to be thrilled. We started off by her reviewing my and Alison's assignments and the notes from our teachers.
"Everything is looking good you two. I am glad you are both meeting the standards we put down for you. Both your teachers say you are having no issues with the increased pace."
Alison jumped in before me, "Thank you Mrs. Runkle. I don't know about Cas, but I am really enjoying the new speed of our assignments. I feel like I am being challenged and I'm really loving it."
"Yeah, I agree with Alison. School work was always kind of boring. Being pushed to do better and go further has made a big difference for me."
"Well, you two keep it up. I expect our weekly meetings to continue like this."
As Alison got up to leave, I edged closer to her desk.
"Can I have a minute, Mrs. Runkle?"
"Sure, Cas. What's on your mind?"
"Well, you know how you agreed to have Zoe test into the program. I would like to get that set up so she doesn't get further behind."
"Sure thing. I think we are going to schedule testing for next Monday after school."
"Great. Also, I would like to ask that we invite Vicki Hollabrand and Tami Smith to test also."
She just stared at me for a minute. "Correct me if I am wrong, but they are your girlfriends also, right? You are in some kind of group dating thing with them and Zoe."
"Yes, ma'am. They are my girlfriends."
"Caspian, this is not some charity program or a way to spend more time with your girlfriends. This is a serious pilot program that I really want to see succeed."
"Mrs. Runkle, would you consider me and honest and earnest person?"
"Have you ever seen or heard of my acting frivolously, or purely for my own benefit, regardless of the affect it has on others."
"I guess not."
"Then I hope you will believe me when I say that these girls deserve to be in the program, and they will do well. I am not saying simply invite them. Have them test into it, just like Zoe. I believe they will surprise you."
"Okay, Cas. You can have them come to the same testing session. I wouldn't normally do this, but you're right, you have built a pretty good reputation among the teachers, so I will give you your head on this one. Please don't make me regret giving you the benefit of the doubt."
"I won't. Thank you, Mrs. Runkle."
That afternoon after school, Mr. Colleta met me at the entrance of the school to pick me up and drive us both to his office. I said a quick hello to his secretary and we moved into his office. "So first, the settlement is all finished and the money is already in escrow. You already gave me power of attorney in these matters, so I signed the documents for you but I wanted to give you the chance to look them over before we moved forward."
I did a quick once over each page, but didn't have enough knowledge or experience in the area to really know what I was looking at.
"Do you feel comfortable with everything that is here?" I asked.
"Yes, I do."
"And the main stipulation is that I will not sue them over the shooting?"
"Or the two previous fights."
"Does it cover future acts they may do against me?"
"An excellent question, actually. They did try to slip something like that in but I had them pull it before I would agree to push this through. No, it only covers the events of the shooting and the two fights, and only precludes you from taking civil action. While it does have a non-disclosure clause to it, it does not prevent you from talking to the authorities about criminal action nor testifying to a grand jury or in court, which is something I wanted to bring up."
"The prosecutor contacted me just before the weekend about your giving a deposition for their trial. I already told him it should not be a problem, but I wanted to check with you.
"No problem. I am happy to help and honestly those two are a danger to everyone around them."
"My feeling is he is going to use your deposition to push them into a plea deal. They are young enough that they can't be charged as adults, so there isn't a lot he can throw at him. Honestly I think he is just trying to get this case off the books. It shouldn't be hanging over us for too long."
"Okay, now that that is all settled, let's go over the next thing. I looked over everything that your two potential partners put together, and I have spoken to them and their attorneys. We have a meeting with them shortly but I wanted to discuss it with you first."
"The first point I stressed is that, since you are the primary financial backer, you should have the largest stake. They agreed and the split will be 60-30-10, with you taking the controlling interest and Marcus getting the smallest percentage of ownership. Because you are a minor, you are not allowed to own stock directly. Instead I will set up a trust that will hold the stock for you."
"The company will be set up as a C Corp, with a board of directors that we will have to discuss. The company structure will be such that you will be named as CEO, once you are of age. Ted will move to COO. Prior to that, Ted will serve as CEO and Marcus as CTO. Once you are past the design phase you are going to have to find a CFO and most likely break off a piece of your share of the company for him. That is why I was able to argue for such a large portion of the company. The CFO will probably end up with a five percent stake when all is said and done. Well, that and the fact that this project would never get off the ground without you."
"Once we sign everything, we will open a corporate account into which Ted will deposit his seed money. You will deposit half of the money you allotted. The remainder of your money will be given over to the company as certain design and production benchmarks are met."
"Everyone has more or less agreed to this, and their attorneys have already looked at the paperwork, so all that is left are the formalities of getting together and signing everything."
"Next, there was a big push to have this money placed in a trust, since courts don't like handing this kind of cash over to a minor. So we will be putting the money into the same trust that will be controlling your interest in the company, and it will be able to be used by the person you assign to control the trust until you come of age to support yourself."
"I haven't talked to her yet, but I would like to put Mrs. Bell in charge of my trust and you to be the trust's legal counsel. I guess I probably need to have myself and Mrs. Bell meet with someone about how to deal with the trust's finances. Do you know someone we can talk to?"
"Yeah, I don't know anyone directly, but I can get you some recommendations."
"Great. Set me up a meeting with him for later this week, and we can get that ball rolling. So, now we head over to the meeting with Marcus and Ted?"
"Yep, let's go."
Mr. Colleta's office was only about ten minutes from Ted's, where we were scheduled to meet. However, since both men worked there, we were the last ones to arrive.
I knew their attorneys knew I was going to be involved, and knew I was a minor since my portion was being set up as a trust, so I was a little surprised by the skeptical looks they gave me.
"Hey, Ted ... Marcus. You guys ready to go into business together."
Marcus looked like the cat that ate the canary as he replied, "I just can't believe that this is actually going to happen. I had all but written it off, and honestly even after our conversation the other day, I never took it seriously. But, here we are."
Ted was shaking his head, "I kept telling you not to doubt Caspian. He has never ceased to amaze me."
"As much as I would like to sit here and let you two gush about my virtues, let's get down to business. Now, I know that we have most of the details worked out, and everyone is in agreement about what is going to happen here, but I do want to get one thing out on the table. Ted, Marcus ... I know I am young, but I want to actively participate in the decision making of this company. I am not going to 'big foot' you, and I want to keep everything as friendly and informal as possible when we get things going, but I made sure Mr. Colleta here put my voting interests in a position of power. I will get a say so in the majority of the Board of Directors. Again, this isn't a threat or a complaint, because I am confident we will work well together; but, I want you to know what I expect, and that I know I can force the issue if need be."
Ted and Marcus were both nodding, but one of their lawyers broke in, "Don't worry, kid. I am sure everything will be just fine, and whoever you appoint..."
I cut him off sharply, "Not whoever I appoint ... me. Sure, by the letter of the law, I have to have a trustee who overseas my interests, and will be supported by board members appointed my trustee; but, in reality, I will be doing the decisions making."
"Look, kid, you can't expect..."
Ted cut him off this time, "Tom, you should be careful here. I know Caspian is young, but you need to seriously consider that he is most likely the smartest person in this room and I have seen his determination before. You need to treat him with respect, unless you want to lose mine."
He swallowed hard but Ted was already ignoring him, "Sorry about that Cas. I know I speak for Marcus when I say we have no problem with that. In all of our dealings so far, you have shown you are more than capable of handling this. I for one am looking forward to it."