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Marcus Markley IV: Taking the World by Storm!

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Marcus Markley IV

Taking the World by Storm!

 

 

 

 

 

J.A. Green

Dedication

To my incredible family (and you know who you are) who have loved and supported me through these works in progress. Thank you for brainstorming with me and holding me accountable to what is truly important God and Family.

Disclaimer 1

All characters, events, and circumstances are fictional. Any similarity to persons living or deceased are purely coincidental.

Disclaimer 2

This book has been edited multiple times. There are possibly grammatical or spelling errors. While we have edited, revised, and scrutinized, mistakes may exist. If you wish to let us know you found one (or more), please contact me at [email protected], providing page number and paragraph, what the mistake is and what it should be. If necessary a revision will be made.

Marcus Markley et al. are fictitious characters. All characters in these storylines are original and fictitious. Any resemblance of events, people, living or deceased are coincidental.

Marcus Markley: Taking the World by Storm! © 2016.

Chapter 1

The objects were reported to be coming toward Earth’s atmosphere at over 100,000 miles per hour. The Mars team had reported the issues hours ago in hopes the signal would be moving faster than the objects. They could not identify the objects. They may have been medium size asteroids or debris from a now nonexistent planet, galaxies away. It could be some type of transport.

Markley Technologies Space Exploration Division or Mar-Tec Space as it was often referred to continued working to set up a network of stations in orbit of surrounding planets to Earth and on these planets. Mars was the first planet. The Moon had a base that had expanded significantly moving space research ahead generations in a few short years. The Mars Transport Station and Moon Base 1, along with the Space Station all reported the objects. Nobody had been able to identify the objects coming rapidly at Earth.

Dr. Whitehead authorized a global partnership to use nuclear weapons in the Stratosphere and beyond for cases such as this. Whitehead accessed the low orbit stations of Mar-Tec Space to authorize use of weapons, nuclear and other for Earth’s Defense. Weapons around the globe were immediately dispatched from every continent, as well as the stations. Mars had fired their only missile they had successfully to chase after the object in hopes of catching the objects with no guarantees. The Moon had also fired their missile and had lasers on target to send several very high concentration blasts.

A mission of this type had been practiced in virtual scenarios for over a year. The division hoped it would only be precautionary not ever truly necessary, though here they were. An unidentified flying object was coming from outer space towards the Earth due to arrive within the next 2 hours. The weapons raced on target for the objects. The satellite stations sent their lasers in long blasts towards the objects. Moon tried to make contact. Since it was unidentified, contact would be difficult if there was a living being on the object. Nobody knew what the object was even made of, this was all guess work.

Marcus watched the big boards from the back of Command Center. They had just wrapped a message for the go ahead of expanding operations in conjunction with the 5 and ten year goals. He now wished they had moved faster. He thought, should have, could have, or would have, this was about as fast as they could, should, and would in order to do it right. If this was successful though it would be a huge shot in the arm for these programs.

The lasers from Moon and the satellite stations hit within a minute of each other. A constant barrage of laser bursts were shot into the object. A few small pieces broke off. According to projections they would bounce off the atmosphere and cause no damage to speak of to the planet. The missiles continued towards the main object. One minute to contact with the first missile. Everyone focused on the big boards tracking these objects. Thirty seconds to go for the first of 20 nuclear weapons that had been stockpiled for just this purpose.

Marcus and the Enterprises had picked up a healthy supply for some economic backing in some post-soviet nations that were struggling after the end of the cold war in order to instill capitalism. Markley Enterprises had been happy to oblige in exchange for receiving the weapons, they provided the technology and research, including hiring the researchers, maintaining the control. They were all adapted to the Enterprises way and Mar-Tec Space.

The first missile hit causing a major explosion though brief. Over the next five minutes the object was hit by over 500 megatons of nuclear weaponry. When the screens cleared of the explosions, the object had broken into ten pieces. Eight of these pieces would miss the atmosphere and likely burn up on route to the Sun. The two remaining pieces would hit the atmosphere. As they drew nearer the larger one was about the size of a Mini Cooper. The smaller one the size of a SMART car. Missiles were fired and prepped for launch once a firm trajectory was plotted along with multiple alternate paths. Fighters from multiple military agencies were scrambled armed with high powered nuclear weapons.

The larger object hit the atmosphere like a shot heard around the world. Australia, Chile, and South Korea launched 3 missiles each from the Mar-Tec Sites that were only armed for these purposes. It appeared the object would hit the edge of Antarctica between South America and New Zealand. The missiles hit within seconds of each other throttled from Tucson Command Control. Direct hit, most pieces hitting the ocean. This would cause some high surf warning s for a while.

Seconds later, the smaller object hit the atmosphere. It was headed for Siberia. Missiles were fired from Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Philippines, and Japan. They hit the smaller object again within seconds literally evaporating the object in air.

There was a collective sigh of relief. After Marcus’ heart stopped racing, he smiled. He looked over at Dr. Whitehead who was wiping his forehead and slowing his heart rate through controlled breathing.

Chapter 2

Australian Command Center, Port Kembia, NSW, Australia sat a compound that looked like a business park and a fly in airstrip for corporate jets and local pilots working in the park. In reality this park was one large organization with several affiliate organizations to the parent company. The park served on the surface as an aeronautics based Research Park. This was true to an extent. Mar-Tec the parent organization facilitated engineering and innovation as to space research.

Kembia had been instrumental in facilitating the Mars Base after the crash landing on the surface. It was this center with its mission control center working with Tucson that had allowed the project failure to be turned into a project success. As a result, funding and expansion had occurred in the past year. The pandemic had wreaked havoc on its population and resources. Somehow the organization had stayed strong. Many of its workers now living in the Southern Australia Community and its facilities

The base coordinated with The Compound a few thousand miles away and several miles under the South China Sea. Recently a remote link had been added to the private transport lines specifically for Markley Enterprises. The Community that was based for Southeastern Australia between Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney housed some 20 million people. Some of the residents were indigenous to the area. Others had been transferred in to stabilize this area. Many had been selected to live and work in the area as they provided value to the Research Park either directly or indirectly. The Southern Australia Community had prospered well.

Drs. John Weiler and Sarah Parkinson were the designated Executive Directors. Weiler was over the Administrative Operations. Parkinson was over the Research Operations. Both answered to Whitehead’s office, the Executive Director of Mar-Tec Space. Weiler and Parkinson had known each other when they worked for the Australian Space Agency or ASA. They had complimented each other well for over 15 years both at the two agencies. Their teams had been watching the incident in the Mission Center as they had just wrapped a meeting with the MT-S Executive Council and Mr. Markley himself had been in attendance from Tucson.

“John this was like nothing we have ever experienced before”, stated Sarah. “I agree Sarah”, replied John. “Mar-Tec has had some close calls before. Heck, it is one of the things that makes this work so exciting. The job is rarely the same two days in a row. If I did not know better I would have thought this was a scene from a bad movie or one of those tragic space movies from the early 2000s”, said Sarah.

Mar-Tec in recent years had begun developing colonies in mines they had excavated for other purposes. The communities and compounds developed around the globe that sat miles below the earth’s surface had proven quite beneficial in the recent world events. Markley Enterprises had started these projects initially as a replenishment program for the planet and its many resources. Marcus Markley himself had ordained the program as a way of giving back from the bounty the planet had given the Enterprises.

The Space program had been an experiment started over 10 years ago that was a lot of theory, hypothesis and planning for years. Space programs had really been government entities with a few early pioneers in the private sector, most choosing to contract with the government agencies. So much regulatory affairs entered the programs. Whenever there was a crisis either funding was increased with unreal expectations to solve the problem or funds were greatly restricted until the crisis in the government had passed.

The Private Space Exploration Coalition, primarily operated by and funded through Markley Enterprises and by association Markley Technologies-Space Exploration served as the foundational component and agency in which others supported. Marcus Markley was the sole owner of Markley Enterprises and had a vested interest in the success of the contracted vendors and associated organizations. He personally reviewed each partner as to their worthiness and significance of their projected contribution or ongoing contribution. If they could not produce or deliver as promised they were removed and replaced.

Markley took the program extremely seriously. So much so he invested in each company heavily. He did this partly for control, and partly for the innovation. Many alliances were built as a consequence. All companies prospered, or else.

Markley and the other owners were business people, though they knew they did not know space exploration and sciences involved. Whitehead was an excellent bridge at administrating business and science with research and how to maximize potential including how to make a solid profit from the endeavors. Markley had developed a strong team to cover the respected interests which allowed for no nonsense.

The crisis of the meteorites or whatever they were had been abated. The executive council had been reconvened. Markley and Whitehead were facilitating, primarily Whitehead. The teams were delegating their teams to determine what happened and preliminary reports of what had worked and what had not. Marcus was fine taking a back seat and listening to this situation and how the decisions were arrived at.

Stephen Jefferies, Project Director of Stratospheric Colonial and Unique Development and Defense or SCUDD which he was jokingly referred to as the Chief Stud at SCUDD. Stephen spoke up on the videoconference. “Our low orbiting stations provided outstanding support during the crisis.”” This was a great test of our potential and effectiveness”, he stated. We will be reviewing the data. The situation analysis should provide outstanding feedback as to what we did well and where to improve. From what I could tell there was a delay in cooperation between the Defense Teams onsite and the government agencies authorizing release of weapons. Early reports indicate a lag time in the decision process due to multiple layers for approval by certain key governments.

Marcus spoke up: “Steve, please submit your full report to Dr. Whitehead for review. He will forward the final copy to me. If necessary we will get the appropriate people involved to address these issues if diplomatic solutions at lower levels are not identified and resolved. A meeting of the Global Congress Executive Council may be forthcoming as a result of the event. Please make sure, all of you please make sure we are well informed and fully prepared for this meeting 1 week hence. Dr. Whitehead, said Marcus, I would like to request with your permission final reports be on your desk by 9:00 am Pacific Time, Wednesday one week from now, then the complete summaries to me by 7am Friday Pacific Time. The GCEC meeting will be the following Monday”. Dr. Whitehead acknowledged and agreed. The meeting was adjourned and the teams fired up to run on all cylinders reviewing and assessing all aspects to begin the process for the final reports.

Chapter 3

The warm desert air exhilarated him as he drove down the dirty two lane highways between Tucson and Interstate 8. Once he arrived on Interstate 8 driving his 600S, he made a brief stop for a bottle of water and some premium fuel. He added the new MER fuel additive to increase power while lowering exhaust emissions. He thought this was one product very much needed for his 12-cylinder convertible addiction.

Marcus drove across the lower Mojave Desert down towards I-8 and San Diego from Tucson. It had been a long few days of meetings at Mar-Tec Space. He loved what they were doing. They had great leadership and a strong promise for what the strategic vision was short term and long term. As he drove the 6 hours back to the California coast then turned right to drive up the coast late this summer night which turned into early the next morning by the time he would arrive at Markley Mountain, he will have thought a lot about how to best address these projects.

He rolled back out to the highway. It was about 11pm when he crossed from Arizona into California. He cleared the Agricultural Inspection Station. It was not about 150 miles of open road and four lane highway until Indio then into San Diego. He would cruise to I-5 and then onto the 405 near Irvine, onto Santa Monica, the 10 and into Malibu going up the PCH from Santa Monica where Interstate 10 ended. What should have been about a 7 hour drive he concluded in a little over 5 hours. The warm air gave way to coastal breezes. The top was down the whole way.

Marcus thought this is what driving is made for. These were the times he liked best if he was not in the deal. He relaxed on these long drives. He wondered if since he had to fly so often internationally, if should he consider getting his pilot’s license? Unfortunately to fly himself would take too much time away from conducting business which was often done on flights. As he contemplated this he realized it was because of such situations where he often chose to bring people along on flights he would not enjoy flying as a pilot for this. He really enjoyed these times with the top down and rolling through the desert to the coast. He had never done a drive coast to coast. He might have to do this. How would he make best use of his time? He would have to think on this.

Was it time to increase the levels between him and the Space Exploration Program? What would be the right move? Should there be a liaison between the communities subterranean and extraterrestrial? Should there be someone for subterranean and one for space? Some tough decisions were on the horizon. Who would be the right people that he could call upon for these changes?

Marcus knew the Enterprises thrived under his control and his dynamic leaders. Giving up some degree of control and direct contact often meant risk of deviation form the plan, this was never acceptable though he knew some variance in execution and application was reasonable to allow leaders and the programs to thrive. By relinquishing to a leader focused on these projects, the division would be expected to grow and grow exponentially without significant increase in overhead. Most of the selected leaders knew this long before they achieved such a position.

Marcus rolled up to the gate of Markley Mountain at about 4am. Many of his neighbors would be getting up for the day. Some heading to the studio. Others to their high rise offices. Some were fortunate like him to be able to operate from the surroundings of their residence. He parked the Benz in the garage, grabbed his bags and headed into the house. After a quick shower and dressing he headed to the Mountain and into his office. He was at his desk by 5 am. On his desk was a fresh cup of coffee and a large bottle of chilled water along with all the morning reports. He grabbed the reports and the coffee heading for the oversized wing chair in his reading area. His tablet and phone with him he began to read and make notes. The day had begun before he would start his day of doing business.

 

Chapter 4

The global pandemic had devastated the population. A large percentage of those that had resided in more populated areas had taken to underground. Some had chosen to move to underground facilities such as the communities Markley Enterprises offered. Many had chosen to take their chances. As a result most had been severely infected in they were in more remote areas, whereas others had lived in a lager cosmopolitan environment and the antidote did not come fast enough. They had either died or permanently disabled Freedrik Ignacio and his organization had caused a global calamity. This had been his agenda of sorts to shift the paradigms in the balance of power.

The atmosphere had significantly improved from several months ago at the height of the pandemic. There were those that chose to leave the underground communities in order to return to the surface. Others chose to remain in the subterranean environment in order to pursue a better quality of life. There were those that had chosen to create a better life and become a more integral part of their community. There were those that believed themselves more entitled to being taken care of due to the events of these past months. They watched their empowerment wane as the opportunity faded to be a part of something greater.

The new government systems in the United States and many other leading nations had done away with Public Assistance for those unwilling yet able to be contributors to their community or to their nation. Those that were truly unable to work or contribute in some viable form were offered limited services in a more controlled environment where often collectively they were able to generate some type of contribution on some level.

More than the environmental physical climate had changed. The services to the manipulators of the system were shifted dramatically. If an individual was able to work in physical labor, office or administrative work, or food services, they were offered a position within the new government. Markley Enterprises offered similar opportunities. Some individuals did not choose to exercise this option.

Many had special services and were recruited to be in a more active role as they had taken the initiative and chose to demonstrate greater benefit to all in their community and the surrounding communities. For those that chose to try to live off the new system they were allowed to stay until it was safe to be evacuated from the subterranean communities. When the all clear was given by the government these individuals had been released from the communities to pursue their own options. Many had expected a financial or lifestyle adjustment and believed they were owed this.

Those that had entered a Markley Community had signed a contract to forfeit their property on the surface. If there was no real property, they would make arrangements to work off their housing and living expenses while in the community unless they chose one of the more entrepreneurial options. The contract had offered a cash stipend at the termination of the contract if all conditions were met. Most had not met this condition. As a result, they were released to their own devices.

The US government was in the process of re-establishing itself. It was not fully functioning and would not be for some time. Several private security services were contracted to provide support services in physical and intellectual security. Others private service providers were contracted for health care, community services, and assistance to those that could prove a debilitating disability that prevented them from serving in some manner.

If at all possible citizens and residents were expected to contribute in some manner whether picking up trash, clearing debris, answering a phone, stuffing an envelope, or administrating a major computer network. Participants were needed at all levels to bring the country back. If all went well the country would come back stronger and healthier than before.

The population that expected to be taken care of quickly learned their own survival skills when they tried moving from community to community and did not receive assistance unless they were willing to step up and be a part of the community by contributing. All would be welcomed with open arms. Upon assessment if they did not choose a role, the “No Work, No Pay Policy” was enacted and they were not allowed to stay in the community. The result had developed a new type of homeless population.

Those that had chosen to not be a part of the structured communities were forced to live in non-occupied areas, often the abandoned or deserted communities due to the massive loss of life. Thus, there was considerable looting of these communities. Rules were established by local leaders of the structured communities and the contracted services by the federal government to addressing these issues. Law enforcement was provided guidelines with reasonable leniency as to interpretation of these rules. Any misappropriation by the contractors or their employees would be dealt with severely under treason laws to the US Government. The government was in the process of stabilizing the 5 branches of military service. Some militia groups were developing to enforce their own version of martial law.

Markley Security Forces was one of the major contract agencies for security and physical facilities and law enforcement. The Force brought on many refugees that had chosen to join the company in order to restore the peace and the social order. The MSF also developed units to protect the properties now owned by Markley Enterprises or Markley Investments. Many properties had been fenced off with roving patrols. The properties were widely spread out thus physical security was difficult at best.

Marcus and Michael had ordered installation of security systems including video at these sites if only a few webcams and an old POTS line connected to a centrally located recording equipment. All infractions by unauthorized individuals were quickly and swiftly dealt with as best the force could do. In fairness all violators were given options to make restitution. Some were put to work to be allowed a hand up. Others expected a hand out due to the massiveness of the corporation that owned the property. Marcus heard of these instances and became increasingly concerned of this separation of class and what this had done.

He had met with Phil Hendrix at M3, Sergio Aguirre at Markley Health Services, and Diego Sanchez at Markley Community Services. Each was a contract agency to the federal government. Each was also a key part of Markley Enterprises in many different aspects of the organization and on a global basis. They developed a plan in conjunction with Thomas Phydeux at MSF to break through any barriers to provide expedited service to an identified family or individual that was willing to invest, contract, or contribute to the environment. This way anybody that would add value would be welcomed with open arms to be brought into the communities and given a new start.

Not everyone chose to exercise this option. They were then detained until their arraignment hearing. At this hearing their choices were laid out to them. If they expected to be taken care of this would not happen unless they could prove a disability or illness that completely disallowed them from providing any substantial contribution to nation or community at any level. If they could not provide such proof written, physical, or mental and emotional, they were taken to The Facility.

The Facility consisted of 4 locations in the US: East, West, North, and South. The facility was no more than a holding tank for these individuals. They came in wearing the clothes they had on and any possessions. It was here they would live out their life. They were provided no food, shelter, clothing, or any services. The individuals were merely contained in these locations. They either survived or they did not.

The personnel were not required to provide for these detainees, only to prevent them from escaping. Life in The Facility was brutal. Some would say inhumane. Most would say they were given any and all opportunities to survive and thrive prior to coming here.

An individual that was contained at The Facility could request a reconsideration hearing. They would be given such a hearing within 24 hours of filing the request. An individual contained here could make one request for such a hearing. They would be offered the same thing as at the arraignment hearing.

If they chose to join a community, they were monitored on a probationary basis to insure quality of service. Some chose to negate their contract. They were returned to The Facility never to be seen again. Most did not survive in The Facility for more than 168 hours or one week. By this time, they were so emaciated and dehydrated they could not survive, or they had lost their will to live and died thinking they were owed something.

Few complained that were members of the community. Yes there were protestors as some of the individuals lost to The Facility were family or friends of the deceased. They were reminded all opportunities had been afforded these individuals. They had chosen not to be a viable part of society. As a result of these measures, crime was down significantly from the previous 10 years.

Some stated it would have been anyhow due to reduction in population. The officials had to admit to a degree this was true however incidents of crime in the communities were drastically lower. All community members were invested in the community and each other to be successful together and together be stronger. There is a pride in the community and the nation.

These programs were difficult to bring into being and to continually implement. It was sad to see any individual choose death and their own path to destruction by choosing not to be viable. It was disappointing on many levels. Most leading nations implemented similar programs as the US Model. They also reported far less crime and need for additional services, thus lowering overhead to the government, allowing more empowerment to the citizens. Decision making was made at the local levels with national oversight.

Crime and punishment looked very different. Any crimes committed were dealt with swiftly and directly. The legal system was dramatically streamlined. If a hearing was necessary, a select group of a diverse population from a neighboring community that would be neutral was brought in to hear the case and the Court Officer would hand down the judgment in accordance to the jury’s findings and the laws in place.

The Court Officers had wide parameters to work within with broad interpretation. Immediate rehabilitation or restoral if warranted was offered. If there was no indication of remorse or willingness to rehabilitate, the individual was moved to The Facility.

At first this system met resistance. As crime had dropped and community investment improved, there was greater acceptance. Several agencies had come together to develop the US Model. These contract agencies offered to establish similar systems to other nations. Of the now 150 recognized nations, over 75 had adopted this system. The numbers were growing daily it seemed.

Markley Security Forces were an instrumental contributor for these services. Samantha, Thomas’ personal assistant for the past several years was named to head the Global Security Team that provided the contract services for policing, transport to and from hearings and to and from facilities. Sam had learned the business well watching Thomas and his teams under MSF. In these first few months she had structured and developed this organization to be a well-oiled machine. She added degrees of scalability that only a world class organizer and leader could. Marcus and Thomas knew they had made a great choice. Sam had been quickly placed as Executive Director of the Global Congress Community Policing Council, spearheading the policies and practices for these organizations globally that were GC members.

Chapter 5

The estate looked out over the beautiful South Pacific. It seemed as if on a clear day you could see all the way to Antarctica. The white clouds on the horizon looked like they could be the tips of the mountains from the frozen continent. Today was one of those days.

He came out from the laboratory building to get a bit of fresh air. He looked out to the ocean and the beautiful blue waters. There were some white caps out there at a distance. A strong breeze was coming in. The clouds were moving towards them quickly. The radar had been showing a fast moving storm from the East as well as one form the Southwest coming in to meet over the stretch of water between Tasmania, New Zealand, and Australia. This would make the search harder though not impossible.

He returned to the building and walked down to the Command Center deep in the caves below The Coast House. Hank, the Executive Director of the facility gave the order to launch the unit to begin the search. The goal being for the unit to get deep enough before the storms came in and made visibility more of an issue. The unit of 6 submersibles, 4 two man units being carried by 2 larger submersibles that were the long range and base of operations for the team. Eight individuals were assigned to the small submersibles to go deeper. These were the new all-terrain vehicles developed by Mar-Tec Space at The Compound. So far these experimental devices had proven quite durable and self-sufficient for what they were designed. The larger vehicles were refurbished and redesigned Aquila class submarines that Mar-Tec had picked up in a salvage sale from the US government and made their own modifications.

This mission would allow The Coast House operations to identify four lost vessels that had disappeared over the past 10 years in some of the most desolate and deep waters in the world. These uniquely designed units could go deeper than any other vessels of this size and were specifically designed for extreme conditions. The combined unit was successfully launched and descending quickly to greater depths. The next 48 hours would tell the tale as to if this mission had a reasonable chance of success.

Chapter 6

The woman entered the lobby of the hotel not being noticeably visible in a deliberate manner. She strolled up to the front desk to check in. Yes, a double room please, she requested of the clerk. She paid cash for the room and registered as Sonya Alberts, one of her many false identities. She headed for the room on the third floor in the back east corner.

Upon reaching her room she texted a message: Go. She then changed into a different disguise and headed for a back door. The monitoring equipment was in place. She went for her jog to return in 90 minutes. She jogged past the building in question where she received confirmation all was going as planned.

She jogged to the back entrance and entered through a service entrance in a services uniform and identification badge. She opened the utility closet and pulled out the cleaning cart. The woman then headed to the 35th floor with the cart to start her duties. Upon exiting the service elevator on 35, she placed her mobile device on the cart.

As she worked her way through the floor and the executive offices in the Northwestern corner of the floor, she dusted the desks. Her mobile device was transferring all the packet information and security countermeasures that had been installed a week ago by the Security Technology Consultants hired for increased corporate protection. In a matter of minutes, she had the information she needed. She worked her way back to the cart and did the same thing on the 34th floor.

The offices on these two floors were the offices of Bachendorf and Becker, A Consultancy Firm for Management and Executives. Their client list read like a Who’s Who of the Fortune 400. The firm had also recently started a Headhunter recruiting arm to assist their registered clients in achieving Master of the Universe stature more expeditiously. The two floors were completed within about 45 minutes. The woman returned to her cart and took the service elevator to the 33rd floor. She placed the cart in a service closet. She entered a women’s restroom. It was here she exited the building, at least according to any security surveillance. Later review would show no identifying information to place her in the building. Her presence had been completely wiped.

She exited the building 51 minutes after entering. She walked casually back to the hotel with a bag of fast food. She entered from a different side door careful to not give away any facial of body features. She waited until late that night before she exited the hotel. There she walked to a nearby coffee shop and met her Uber driver to take her to the airport. About 30 minutes later she was on a plan bound for Costa Rica.

 

Chapter 7

Admiral Susan Johnson, the former First Officer to James Weatherford on MARS1 now headed the Moon Base operations. She sat in her office 200 feet below the surface of the moon in the now developed research facility for Mar-Tec Space. Admiral Johnson had been given her choice of assignments upon safe return to Earth after that unique mission. She had wanted to return to space as soon as possible. She knew the Moon Base would be instrumental in the furtherance of the programs being developed to go both towards and away from the Sun.

Specialist Jackson knocked at the Admiral’s door. “Enter”, Johnson said. Jackson entered the office standing at attention in front of the Admiral. At ease Jackson. Have a seat. What can I do for you? Admiral, I sent you the report on substance MB 1013B. Yes, Jackson. I have reviewed it, though not comprehensively. What about it?

Ma’am, it seems that based on the composition of the substance there is a strong probability of our discovery of a new compound harder than iron ferrite. This substance may be quite beneficial as to some of the building projects scheduled for this moon and some of the other facilities off-Earth. I would like to request and recommend further testing in different environments to test more comprehensively this substance as an option for consideration of building materials that would not have to be developed and shipped from earth but could be mined here, conditioned here and molded here if we had a manufacturing and production facility here to be shipped to our different remote sites. We have been told this base will serve as the hub between Earth and our remote stations. What better than if we can find an indigenous material that does not have to come from Earth. Mix this with natural substances form the planets we will reach out to and we may save billions in development.

Johnson thought about this. Jackson you may be on to something. The idea does have merit. Write it up and get it to me within 72 hours. I will send it with the weekly research report to Tucson. We will need to come up with a better name than MB1013B though. I have given that some consideration said Jackson. As this discovery came during Admiral Forden’s watch, perhaps something to honor him and his initial team that settled and started our current base in the earliest forms. A tentative idea would be Forden Team Steel or FTS. Add it to the report and let the executives figure that out. Knowing Mr. Markley, he will like the idea of honoring the first team.

Chapter 8

The hallway was quiet. He had listened carefully before opening the panel door. He slid the panel open slightly before entering the hallway. He was in one of the safest places a person could be. He still felt the need to be very cautious. He walked down the hall to the second to last door on the right. He punched in the code and entered. He was in the common area of multiple suites for executive offices. He headed to his with his cup of coffee and a protein bar.

The projects were coming along nicely. He grabbed a stack of folders and headed for the oversized chair in his reading area. He sat down and picked up the first file for review. The Sing Bau Jon facility had endured the attack a couple of years ago under the leadership of Damien Minsk. Security had been strengthened in most all ways. The transit systems between the local facilities were fully completed. The personnel staffed and heavily trained and armed to protect the facility. Most staff now lived permanently on site in these facilities, sometimes shuttling between local units, depending on need or project.

The Palau Group had wanted to make a difference and change the world. They accomplished this though not in a way they had planned and its leader as ruthless and tough as he was paid the ultimate price and in the end lost everything. Michael began to reflect.

A few years ago he was working for USURP in his remote location in the northern territories of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. He had outposts in all three states that would not be easily found. He looked over at the pictures on his bookcase. He sometimes missed these places of solitude that were his.

Marcus and the Markley organizations had taken especially good care of him since coming on board with UBIQUITOUS and eventually The Property Company. The Soda Company had been a fun venture while it lasted. He still held a Board position for the company as did Franco and Marcus. The company was mostly legitimate; it always had been. The company and its operations though had provided some excellent cover over the years.

Michael took a long sip of his coffee. He went back to his files. He was tasked with whether these facilities needed improvements or if they had served their purpose or if they need to be reclassified for other operations. He had completed initial inquiries and asked the facility leadership for their recommendations concerning their facilities and the remote sites intertwined or how they might be further integrated into other operations, if they even should. He had a 5-page report with each facility summarizing these recommendations to consider. A few had given him some ideas of how to proceed, going further than what was proposed.

Michael finished his coffee. He made some notes on the files for further review. He sent a message to Ti-Ling as to a few questions he had. Michael moved to the next file. The Mountain Facility where the Columbia Consortium had been based for several years. Thornton and Jennifer had modernized many of these facilities within the mountain. Since the pandemic the personnel was permanent yet several that had not been onsite were lost to the virus. The operation had been devastated there.

Thornton and Jennifer were not at the mountain as much. She worked from the Impanema Compound when she was on the surface. She held residences here at The Compound as well as Markleyville in the South America Community near Rio. Her office here was in this suite as well. Thornton had chosen to base his operations out of Changi Island, Minsk’s old compound. This had allowed him greater access to the South Pacific regions and the compound. If he was not working from Changi, he was in his offices here at The Compound or on mission.

The compound was becoming the hub of more activities and operation. It was easily connected to Changi, to Nguyen’s compound, the Resort, The Training Facility, Guest Island Resort he had stayed in as this facility was picking up steam, and even Marcus’s Saipan Estate.

The underground transport systems were continuing to grow globally. There were many latent passages to private facilities. More links were being connected regularly to the Markley private network as well as the public network. Few accidents or incidents had occurred on the transportation network. The high speed rail trains were getting longer and faster. Michael was often using the private facility systems. The hybrid vehicles were being replaced with the Mar-Tec vehicles as the tests for the all-terrain capabilities were proving more and more successful in most all terrains. Only a few units though had been sent to space. Marcus was working with Dr. Whitehead and his team though to begin integration and testing between Moon and Space Station for the time being.

The Enterprises had many plates spinning. Michael often wondered if even Marcus knew everything going on. Of course Marcus did. He had excellent leaders in place and required total loyalty of his senior leadership of which he counted himself fortunate to be a part of. Marcus and his teams required loyalty or you were not given a position within the enterprises. Any disloyalty would be grounds for immediate dismissal. If there was a need or concern, reprogramming of dismissed personnel was implemented.

Nothing was left to chance. This required great trust by the personnel at all levels and not to become corrupted by power or opportunity. Even Marcus sought accountability for his actions by his senior team and advisers. Knowing Marcus, he would be making adjustments to tighten operations soon as the pandemic and new governments were coming together. He served in an advisory position to the GC governments now, pledging his services and those of Markley Enterprises. Michael was curious as to what this would look like when the time came.

Michael returned to his files. The Pensacola Pharmaceutical Research Facility near Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA was up for review. The facility had proven a valuable location for Pharmaceuticals legitimate and less than legitimate. Michael had been to the facility a few times. Most people her did not know him for who he was but a corporate officer in real estate and facility management. The local teams did not know him.

His true identity went no further than Jennifer and Thornton. He began to doze in his chair. He nodded off thinking maybe the 21 hours days were catching up. Getting some time hunting in Montana at the retreat might be in order. He began thinking about a big elk coming off the mountain, dropping in the canyon. He took aim, tracking, tracking, tracking, steady your breathing. He is in your sights, hold…and BANG! Michael felt a pop at his neck. He startled himself awake. Before he fully woke up he was being pummeled with foam darts by Thomas, Jennifer, and Marcus.

Sleeping on the job Michael, Marcus said trying to keep a straight face. If these had been real guns you would be dead. Michael smiled. If those had been real guns you would have all been detained and the weapons incinerated far before you ever got to me. Thomas laughed you are right, but they are not real. The three let loose another barrage of foam bullets. Michael charged Thomas and ran past to his desk. In one swift movement he opened his lower file cabinet drawer and withdrew 2-18 count assault rifles filled with foam bullets and began returning fire. The game was on. They played for about 30 minutes blowing off steam.

Marcus then invited them to the conference area where a small spread was set up and they began the semi-annual meeting of The Team.

Chapter 9

The Team served a very unique purpose within the Markley Organization. It was at these meetings that the objectives of Markley Enterprises and that of the more covert organizations that were not usually well publicized converged to advance the organizations on a level few would ever truly know about. The Team made up of Marcus, Thomas, Michael, and Jennifer were able to address issues that under other circumstances would be highly suspicious and possibly unethical.

Marcus started the meeting. Team thank you each for being here. I realize much of the work we do can be very intense and even stressful to some. I personally thrive under these conditions though it is good to blow off steam occasionally. I thank you each for your service. You are good friends and I consider you my family.

We have had several dramatic changes since we started almost 3 years ago. The organizations have grown and prospered. Pharmaceuticals, Security, Defense and Property have all prospered though the mission shifted due to the world events of the pandemic. I see we have been profitable. More importantly we have been able to provide extraordinary services to the depth of which most will never know.

The expansions into the communities developed and exploded in a way I had never initially thought possible. Much of the success as to this development was due to your efforts with your teams to bring security, investigate, and infiltrate The Palau Group and Freedrik Ignacio. These communities including the one we are in at this moment have progressed exponentially as a result.

The truth is between the space exploration programs and our subterranean communities globally along with the development of the infrastructure it was very taxing at times. We extend resources further than I would have liked. We had to recruit people in a manner that was not our norm.

Thomas spoke up. “Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures”. Michael added, “Marcus, we have literally developed millions of acres of land at all levels and established a community system that has made our companies and our global political-economic systems stronger than they have been in years”. Jennifer listened and then added “I am not sure if what you are saying Marcus is a good thing or not. Frankly I am not sure we really know yet. The military presence in most parts of the globe are in a more peaceful state than they have been in over 20 years”.

Marcus smiled as he looked around the room. “This is all true”, he stated. “You each were a vital part of this system as we continue to move forward. We have saved tens of millions of lives”. You were all a part of that. Thomas looked around the team and stated,” there was a need and we filled it”.

Marcus chuckled. I am often critiqued for usurping my power and influence to bend people and organizations to my will. While there is an element of truth to this, it is us as a team and the work that has been done that makes what was necessary possible. Most citizens of the world will never know the full impact of our organizations and what was required.

We did not do this for the credit. We have opened opportunities for those that chose to, to advance their lives. Many of which we are partnering with to assist them in being successful. When they are successful, we are successful. The impact, influence, and power that comes from this is a stronger community. The community may be The Compound or the Markley Community Networks on all levels.

Team, Marcus continued, we need to tighten up our forces and our work as we wind down form the critical events. It is time to solidify our operations and shore up and loose connections. Loyalty throughout all organizations and at all levels is critical. We hired in many at tertiary levels. It is time to reel in our organizations if there are security risks. I suggest we assess and reassess who is now in our organization or affiliated to our organizations at different points. I am charging this team with this. It is essential that we review the acquisitions we have made and strengthen them instead of have ourselves exposed.

Please each of you individually and collectively assess your independent organizations then lend a neutral set of eyes to your fellow organizations to identify risks, threats and strengths. What can be improved to make us stronger? What can be divested and absorbed elsewhere? We are through the immediate crisis. We are now in the rebuilding stage. If there are spinoff organizations to better handle many of these concerns propose a plan to me and let’s look more carefully at that.

The world is a very different place. Whether people realize it or not we are a big piece of shaping how this will come out over the next several years until infrastructure by other organizations and governments can return to power and stabilize areas on their own.

A few ideas we need to explore are how Markley Security Forces with our ties in the defense and arms industry how we will form a defense contracting organization. Likely Markley Technologies along with M3 can be a big part of this. This organization can be a long term project with global reach subterranean and above ground in coordination with our space and air defense groups. I will be meeting with Stacey as to Markley Investments and HFG’s connections and then the Global Congress as to how we establish defense initiatives regionally and nationally. We will look at what kind of financial stimulation is necessary. Our enterprises will all be a part of this process setting up the Enterprises for generations to come.

The team continued to discuss these ideas and a preliminary assessment of the organizations for the next several hours. Early in the morning the meeting broke and the parties went their separate ways. Marcus headed to the Commons for some down time.

Chapter 10

The Commons was pretty quiet. The giant eating area offered most anything as to common cuisine from around the world. The dining area was divided into sections for a different kind of atmosphere that appreciated the diversity of culture and thinking. There were more Asian inspired eating areas, an outdoor barbecue looking area, a park setting near a “lake”, a fireside area, and more industrial looking eating areas. There were areas that looked like a large cafeteria and others that were diner style booths.

Marcus liked an area in the far back corner near the executive eating areas. The area had high booths that were semicircles allowing for a reasonable amount of privacy yet not disconnecting from everybody completely. He stayed away from the executive dining area mostly unless necessary as he did not like feeling that everyone was not invited and those that took pride in position versus engaging with the masses.

Marcus walked into the front of The Commons and selected the Bakery Café that was just starting to gear up for the morning runs. There would be construction crews coming in from the night while others would be heading out. Some engineering and research types would be coming through. It was early enough he could be in back and have some solitude while late enough that there would be those transitioning for the day.

He asked the lady behind the Coffee Bar for a large black coffee. She smiled and asked if he would like a few fresh Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies, they had come out of the oven about 10 minutes ago, meaning they were still warm. Marcus’ eyes lit up. He had loved his mom’s homemade PB Chocolate Chunk cookies; these were almost as good. He smiled as he walked away with a plate and his coffee.

Marcus was not well known by sight in The Compound. He walked through a few dining areas in order to enter his favorite area. As he was doing so, he passed a few tables of construction workers that appeared to be coming off shift for the night. It appeared also there were a few Financial Analyst types having an early breakfast meeting as well and trying to ignore the construction workers. Marcus chuckled at the diversity.

The construction teams were talking about the night and what they got done as well as ribbing each other. The analysts were looking rigid and not quite awake, though they too laughed at some of the comments emanating from the construction people.

Marcus stopped and asked them how the night went. A big guy in dirty jeans and a bright orange Oxford dress shirt looked up at Marcus and said “Good morning”. Marcus stated: “It looks like you are all having a good time. Was tonight a good night?” The man smiled, “Yeah we had a pretty good night”. “The project is coming along. We just need the Facilities People to sign off on the next project so we can begin the next phase”. Marcus nodded. He asked: “Really, are they delaying the process?” The man chuckled and looked at this stranger, then replied “Yeah, as always”. The analysts stared at the guy, then turned back to their coffee and breakfast.

Marcus asked the man “Are you working on the Mar-Tec Space expansion project in the Simulator Area?” The man looked sternly at the man who was asking a lot of questions. Most of the rest of the team fell silent. The man asked “How would you know about that project?” Marcus smiled. “I have my sources”. The man stood up. He stood about 6’9” if Marcus had to guess and weighed probably about 400 pounds, most of which was solid muscle, definitely someone you would not want upset with you. “Mister,” the man started, “are you some sort of inspector checking up on us”, he said a little cautiously.

Marcus smiled. He stated “No. my job is not an inspector. Analysis is part of my job. I am more of a Project Coordinator. You know I oversee several projects at any given time. I have to make sure though that the systems are working and the operation is firing on all cylinders.”

The man looked at him. “Mister, I have never seen a project coordinator up this early or ask this many questions”. Marcus smiled kindly. “I would venture you have met few people like me that are dedicated to their job and the success of the organization. So, may I then venture that it is the mentioned project you are working on?” The large man stated, “Yes that is the project”. Marcus nodded”

May I then assume that there is a breakdown in communication?” The man laughed slightly. “Yes, a communication breakdown that is one way of putting it. The Project Director is in his office from what we know and reading the reports. Instead of monitoring progress real time, he reads the reports and is on average 1 week behind before decisions are made. This creates delays and a loss or time, resources, and productivity.” Marcus frowned. “I am sorry to hear that”. Marcus took out his phone and hit a virtual button, sending a quick text. About 10 seconds later his phone beeped. He nodded.

Marcus glanced over at the analysts, they had stopped taking and were listening in. Marcus opened an application and entered some information. A few seconds later, his phone beeped again. He looked at the response and smiled. The man looked a little worried.

Marcus looked up at him. Marcus at 6’4” and 200 pounds felt small next to this man. He apologized for the intrusions. “Sir, may I inquire are you Mike “Bubba” Gump, The Project Lead for the Simulation Lab Project?” The man nodded, I am, and who are you? Marcus said “for now I am a concerned manager as to how we can best meet your needs”. Mike grunted. Marcus then turned to the analysts. He stared at a man in a white neatly pressed dress shirt, black suit pants and thick black framed glasses. “Sir, May I ask if you are Steve Hoth, the Project Director over the Mar-Tec Space Expansion Project?” The man rose from his chair. “I am”, he replied. “Steve, it is great to meet you. Have you met Mike? He works on the project as one of your project leads. Steve looked at the mountain of a man and was reminded of a Giant Peach or a small sun. “No, I do not believe I have had the pleasure”.

Marcus smiled, gentlemen I would like you to meet each other. You know, I am a strong supporter of teams and building the relationship with team members. I am sure there is at least one of the Project Managers between you two. I am wondering Steve, have you been getting the reports in a timely manner from your Manager Team as to progress.” Steve nodded, “I believe I have”. Terrific stated Marcus. “Is the project going well? Have there been problems?” Steve responded, we are running slightly behind schedule. Marcus frowned. “We are?” he stated, why is that? We have missed some landmark milestones and the resources were not able to be released in time”, he stated rather defensively. Marcus paused. “Steve”, Marcus asked “what caused these milestones to be missed?” Steve looked at Marcus quizzically and did not answer.

Marcus looked at Mike. “Mike, do you know of any reason for missing the milestones?” “I am not sure” said Mike. “I know the resources have not been available when we needed them. We find ourselves sitting around and doing busy work which runs up our costs”. Steve looked at Marcus and at Mike. Steve stated “I have had to cut costs as the overhead for personnel and productivity have become disproportionate” “Oh my” said Marcus, “that is a problem”. Then, should I assume resources were cut to offset this shift? You have been trying to save on expenses in order to bring the project back in compliance”, asked Marcus?

Steve became more agitated. “Mister, I do not know who you are, but what gives you the right to ask these questions?” Marcus stepped back a little. “Steve, how far over budget is the project due to these shifts? What is your plan to fix it?” Steve began to posture towards Marcus. Marcus looked nonchalant. Steve was maybe 6’1” and 165 pounds. Marcus was a 9th degree Black Belt in Martial Arts. Steve stated “I demand to know who you are”. Marcus looked him deep in the eye and said “You demand? Steve, you are in no position to demand. I suggest you answer my question” Steve refused.

Marcus stepped back, picked up his phone and typed a text. Thirty seconds later Steve’s phone beeped. He had a text. His boss’ boss had texted him at this early hour. The text simply stated “answer the question!” Steve was confused by this. “Who are you”, He asked? Marcus and Mike stared at Steve waiting for an answer. Steve relented. “We are around $10,000,000 behind and 6 weeks delayed”. Marcus looked at him. ”And your plan?” Steve chuckled. “Are you serious? Markley Enterprises is a Multibillion dollar conglomerate. The money is insignificant. These types of project have cost overruns and delays”. Marcus asked him, “Have you worked on any other major projects for Markley Enterprises?” Steve replied “I have not”. Marcus asked, then how many projects by Markley Enterprises have ever had cost overruns or been delayed form finish time?” Steve laughed, “It has to be in the hundreds if not thousands”. Marcus looked at his phone. He typed a quick message. Fifteen seconds later Steve got another text. “The answer is 3 in 15 years. Those managers no longer work for the organization”. Steve gulped. Sir, who are you? Marcus looked at him sternly “Let’s stay on the subject shall we. Even Mike took a step back at this point.

“Steve, how will you fix this?” Marcus asked. Steve beginning to sweat profusely commented, “Markley himself is worth Mega Billions. The Enterprises is worth Many Billions, maybe Trillions in assets. What is 10 Million?” Wrong answer, thought Marcus. Marcus looked at Steve. “Steve you are right $10,000,000 is a relatively small number for the organization. Will you be writing a check or paying cash?” Steve laughed. “I do not have that kind of money. “What. I am confused”, asked Marcus, “it is a small amount of money comparatively? You were entrusted with the responsibilities of this project. You are responsible for bringing it in on time and on budget. If it is under budget and meets the objectives, you get the difference. If it is over budget, you pay the difference. It is in your contract. So what will you do?” Steve asked “how do you know my contract? You do not know anything about me”. Marcus smiled, “Oh, I know. Can I assume you will be working with Mike and the teams to correct this problem immediately?”

Marcus turned to Mike. “Mike can you assist Steve with this issue?” Mike smiled, “I think I can”. “Excellent” said Marcus. “Mike consider yourself a Consultant to Mr. Hoth.” Mike smiled, well thank you sir, but on whose authority? Steve demanded, yeah on whose authority? Marcus looked at Mike then Steve. You know what, Marcus said, he paused and hit a button on his phone. Immediately Security came up to them. “Is there a problem here” asked the guard? We were called to escort Mr. Hoth from the premises. “What” said Hoth? Sir, please come with us. Who are you asked Hoth? Marcus turned to Mike “Bubba” Gump the new Project Director as Hoth was taken away. “On Mr. Markley’s authority you are now the PD for this project. Good Luck! by the way, Marcus Markley is my name”. Marcus walked to the back of the room.

Marcus walked back to the semi-private area that he had originally been heading for before this interaction. He neared the very back booth, when he noticed someone sitting at the back corner booth, his unofficial booth. He looked into the booth to see who was there. He was pleasantly surprised.

Stacey was chuckling at the interaction that had just taken place. She had been sitting quietly listening to this interaction from a few tables away. She was laughing, because she knew how this was going to go. She had worked for Marcus long enough that she knew he would play coy until the last possible moment.

Marcus smiled. What are you laughing at Stacey? She looked up at him and stated Marcus I’ve known you for several years. Those guys didn’t have a chance as to how that was going to play especially once he started playing the Markley Enterprises cards.  I knew you would not give yourself away until the last possible moment, if at all. Marcus chuckled also as he knew this was very true. This was how he often would engage and will try not to intimidate people by letting them know that he was the owner of the company.

Stacey what brings you to the compound? I’m a little surprised to see you here. Stacey smiled and stated I thought I might find you here today. I knew you had meetings with executive board members last night. And I know how you have a fondness for fresh baked cookies and fresh coffee early in the morning.

Stacey had worked for him and with him for almost 10 years now. She knew Marcus probably better than he knew himself at times. He asked if he could sit down and join her. She stated I hoped that you would.

Marcus sat down with his coffee and cookies. Both were still warm. Stacey you still have not answered my question. Stacey paused. I thought I would find a quiet place not quite isolated from everyone. I like places where I can sit and reflect but not be completely isolated. I like a place I can sit and observe people, individuals, and groups to learn their dynamics and what is really on their mind. As you know our meetings does not keep us in touch with the public or our companies.

Marcus chuckled. You sound like me. Stacey smiled. Where do you think I learned it? Marcus we’ve worked together for a long time. We have learned each other’s idiosyncrasies. It is these times that allow us to learn the most in a passive environment where people are raw. Marcus paused and thought about that. Stacey, I could not agree more.

Stacey how are things at Markley Investments? What is going on with HFG? She looked at him a little frustrated but try not to let on. Marcus everything is good with the organization.

Marcus much of our conversations over the years have been primarily business focused. We are have known each other pretty well over these 10 years. I know your business well. I know how you live your life. I understand you like to be somewhat reclusive and understated. We both know that you have resources beyond most any mortal man. You have connections to make things happen that no one else would be able to.

We are right now in the culmination of many projects coming together because you have such dynamic resources in such an incredible team. I understand that your free time is minimal and sporadic at best. I’m sitting here at 4 o’clock in the morning. We are 6 miles below the ocean floor. We’re in a compound that is larger than some countries with access underground that stretches around the world. This is all possible because of your vision and putting the teams and resources together to make this a reality.

I’ve been in on part of this process. As you know I have very little family outside of the organization. I’ve been very fortunate to build some incredible relationships including getting to know you on a professional and personal level.

Marcus I know you have all the trappings of success. If I may be so bold as your friend, and hopefully close friend and colleague, do you ever find yourself wanting more in a relationship? You have accomplished so much in your professional life. Have you ever thought about developing more personal relationships that allow for a greater degree of intimacy and closeness?

Marcus paused, sitting silently for a while considering what was the message that Stacey was conveying? He asked her to clarify. She looked at him a little puzzled. He was such a mastermind in business. Didn’t he want more in his personal life?

Marcus, she started, you’re still relatively young man but not quite 40. Your build an empire that stresses around the world and beyond this world. It is unclear as to what the next 30 to 40 years will look like for you. Markley Enterprises will likely continue to grow and prosper in all areas under your supervision. Then what? What will happen to the organization and everything that you’ve built after you were no longer able to watch over the company assuming nothing happens before that?  There are already people that want to see you dead. There are people that want to take your business from you and all that it entails. Have you given any thought to your legacy and successor?

Marcus looked at her. Stacey, are you asking to be the successor to Markley Enterprises? Stacey looked at them, and smiled, not exactly. I’m very secure in my current position. I am concerned about you and your

interpersonal relationships and developing something more than just colleagues.

Marcus thought he was catching on. “So Stacey what are you saying exactly? I suspect you have something on your mind. I think I know where you’re going but I do not wish to overstep my bounds”. Stacey laughed “you will not overstep your bounds but you’re going to ask me to overstep mine. OK Marcus, let me be clear”.

Marcus, I like you. I like you a lot. I like what you stand for. I do not always agree with your message. I believe you always have the best of intentions for your people, for the organization, and for the well-being of the general populace. Not everyone will share your ideals. That is to be expected. Increase your organization and the bigger the target you will become. You of all people know this.

Yes I realize you are worth billions. Honestly, I do not care about that. I have more money than I know what to do with. I love my current position. I love the company I work with.

I have a problem. I think I have very strong feelings for my boss. While I admire his professional accomplishments, I enjoy his quirkiness and almost awkwardness what is one-on-one in an uncomfortable situation. Most would not recognize this because he hides it so well on the surface. Only because I have known him as long as I have am I able to pick up the subtle cues as to his discomfort, such as right now.

Marcus I do not know how you feel about me as a person, and as someone other than the President of Markley Investments. I am not looking to try to take your business. I have no interest in your money. However, I would like to be a part of your legacy if you have some more personal feelings for me as I do for you. If you do not, I understand and we will never have this conversation again. If I I’ve overstepped my professionalism and offended you in some way, that is not my intent. You have often told me you appreciate my directness and that I tell people what I’m thinking and how I feel. That has often helped me in our business dealings. I have not been this nervous in a very long time. Please let me know your thoughts on this matter.

Marcus listened and took this all in. Stacey you know the company’s policy as to workplace relationships. You also know I have made unique exceptions on very rare occasions. I have given some thought as to succession. I often am very concerned that if I had an heir apparent they might automatically be at risk due to the status and endeavors that our organizations encounter. That does not mean that I have not consider this idea and how to address this issue.

I have plans in place to keep the business unified as part of a long-term strategy over the next hundred years. The bottom line is after I pass I have no say in the matter anymore except as corporate guidance and strategy that I leave behind. I would like to see more than this. The Enterprises is more than my legacy but the legacy of my family. We have had some incredible alignment and family building activities with our close leadership and the many people that have helped to make this happen.

Cutting to the chase. I have very much enjoyed working with you over the past 10 years. I would be lying if I said I’ve never thought about what it would be like to have a more serious relationship with you on an interpersonal level. As others would say if you and I were dating and became more than just a couple. I have entertained this idea many times. I very much enjoy your company. The bottom line is I’m not good at these kind of discussions or relationships.

Ever since my parents’ passing I’ve been afraid to let people get very close to me for fear of losing them. I’m very thankful for the organizational family that I enjoy and a close senior leadership team. I think of all of you as family. However, I have always had this hole in my heart since my parents passing that I would like to fill, sharing my life with someone else.

I have never found the individual that I would be willing to take the risk with. Part of the problem is at this point with the affluence and influence that I’ve gained is the sincerity of the individual for loving me and not what I bring to the relationship materialistically.  I do believe if you and I were to pursue a relationship that this would not be so much the issue.

I know you are extremely successful in your own right. If you and I were to part ways now you would do exceedingly well for yourself beyond anything I could ever do for you. That does not mean I want you to leave. I would like to pursue a relationship with you. I must let you know I am very married to my organization and everything that we have built.

I do not want there to be jealousy that you feel that you are having to compete. While I care deeply about you, it is my life goal we continue to build this organization to be bigger, better, stronger, and more influential for generations to come.   I’ve committed to putting my personal needs second to the needs of the organization. I enjoy many toys as a way of compensating yet you and I both know it does not replace the need for companionship.

Many years ago when I was a teenager I read the story of a young man and a young woman that had known each other through grade school. They become very good friends until they parted and went off to college at separate institutions. They visited each other many times at each other’s campuses and on holidays and they were back home. Eventually, they graduated and started their careers. The friendship continues to grow, however they never dated per se. The friendship became stronger and stronger though. When one started dating another individual, the person they were dating could never understand a close relationship that a boy or girl had with the other.

During a weekend together one time on a camping trip, around the campfire the boy now a young man told his female friend of how he had been dating a young lady that just could not understand how close he was with a female friend. She laughed as she had had the same experience multiple times. They laughed over the circumstances.

He then became much more serious and said you know we have known each other for 15 years. We have laughed together; we have cried together. We have shared many experiences together. We’ve grown together in a way that no one else understands the closeness that we enjoy.

During this time, we have stayed faithful and pure to each other and our beliefs. He asked her if she would consider advancing the relationship beyond just friendship. She stated it made sense. They had not really thought of each other in a romantic way. But they had always used the other as the standard in comparing a possible life partner. They both agreed that it would be best to try this relationship. They courted for about two years.

They went about their lives while continuing to build the relationship. Two years later they were married. The article was written by their grandchildren after the couple had celebrated 60 years of married bliss. I have always wanted that to be me and whoever I might share my life with.

I do not think I have 60 years left in my life however I would like to have that kind of relationship. I think you and I have spent 10 years together through good times and bad. I would like to try a relationship.

Stacey smiled. Marcus that is a sweet story. I do not think I knew that about you.

I know you can make Billion dollar deals for breakfast and upgrade an entire organization by a simple text. I know you are professional and distinguished in business settings. I also know you are happiest when you are in your convertible, including a certain ‘65 ‘Stang. You smile most when you stare at the beach with In N Out by your side. If you will let me I want to be a part of that.

We both have our lives. We travel a lot. We work long hours. It will be an adjustment. I do not want special favors as a possible partner in my position. I just want to be with you.

Marcus thought about that and smiled. Stacey I would like that. I really would. I am not good at these types of relationships as it is risky and far easier to negotiate a multi-billion-dollar deal then deal with personal emotions of a partner. I am inexperienced here, thus not very good at this type of relationship.

Marcus, several years ago when I was in college, one rainy day I sat in my bedroom on a study break and made a list of what I was looking for in a life partner. The list had 23 characteristics. It was not about handsome good looks, or be wealthy and keep me in diamonds. It was about having someone to share my life with. Someone to build a life with. The fact is we both have a pretty good life at this time. I value the time I can get with you in these types of moments over a cup of coffee and conversation.

I want to take walks with you on the beaches, long drives up the coast, or long train rides in the underground tunnels as long as I can be with you. It is not about private jets, and fancy hotels. It is about curling up next to you on a rainy night and reading or snuggling. It is not about crazy intimate sexual relations. It is about the intimacy between two people that really love each other. I think I can find that with you.

I would not be putting myself out there like this if I did not think it was possible. I have had very few close relationships with another person. I have really thought about this and watched you. I want to try a relationship with you.

Marcus smiled at Stacey. They drank their coffee together and talked for about another hour before they had to go their separate ways. They both agreed that a relationship was worth pursuing. Marcus started giving this more thought as to how he would be as a husband if things went that way or a father. What did he have to offer as a father, this would take some consideration?

Chapter 11

The large Australian Command Center near Port Kembia provided some excellent testing areas for the final sign off on the two person Markley All Terrain Shuttle or MATS. The Shuttle was scheduled for this final test flight at high altitude before doing a test flight to the Lunar Base. Test Pilots Colonel Zigmund Platz and Colonel Sylvia Helms. The shuttle had [performed exceptionally. The ground crew for this shuttle had made the final adjustments, adding the latest updates to systems. If this went well, shuttles would start being sent to the bases throughout the Mar-Tec Space Exploration System.

The shuttle was rolled out of the hangar and left on the tarmac as the pilots finished their briefings from the Mission Commander. Soon Platz and Helms boarded the shuttle for this high altitude flight. Platz fired up Engine 1. The engine spun up quickly and near silent, sending a blast of heat for almost ½ a mile directly behind the vessel. Helm steered the shuttle down to the far end of the remote runway. “Mission Command”, came Platz voice, “We have ignition. All systems are go. We are taxiing to the end of Runway 4R for takeoff. MATS1” “You are clear on 4R, Proceed!” Came the response. The shuttle hovered to the end of the taxiway. The vessel then turned toward the runway. Platz activated the vertical ascension program. Two propulsion units were revealed as panels on the bottom of the vessel were revealed. Helms activated these two propulsion units to 1/10 power to allow hover. “All systems green on hover mode”, stated Helms. Platz, responded, increase power on propulsion to 1/5th power. Increasing power, came the response. The shuttle began to rise from the runway. Minimizing Engine 1 thrust! Roger, minimized thrust on E1. Platz radioed, Command, we have success at 1/5th propulsion. Requesting permission to greenlight the high altitude mission. Proceed, came the command.

“Colonel Helms, please increase propulsion to ¼, hold for 10 seconds, then proceed to ½ power and hold”. Roger proceeding to ¼ power vertical ascension, holding 30, then proceeding to ½ and hold. Moments later, the Shuttle was a few thousand feet in the air, then several thousand feet in the air within about 90 seconds. Colonel Platz, we are 15,000 feet and holding in stationary ascension, awaiting instruction. Platz, Roger Helms, we are green across the board. Command, we are green, proceeding as planned”. Roger MATS1, Happy Trails!

MATS1 engaged Engines 1 & 2 to ½ power thrust, reducing vertical thrust to ¼ power. GO! Came the command from Platz. The shuttle shot forward in a streak and was out of sight in the blink of an eye. Platz and Helms monitored their systems. We are 75,000 feet at a land speed of about 41,000 mph. in a vertical climb of 20 degrees.

The two pilots looked down and saw what was left of Antarctica, they were clearing the South Pole. And headed up the center of the Atlantic on their current trajectory. Moments later they were through the atmosphere, headed for Space. They crested at about 1000 miles above the Earth and levelled off for several minutes.

They passed by the Space Transit Station, as it orbited several thousand miles above the Earth according to their monitors. All systems are normal. Oxygen holding. Colonel Helms please activate the Space Flight Mode. The displays changed. One set of touchscreen shifted to a modified set for space exploration.

“Transition complete, Colonel Platz”. Platz stated, “Colonel we are going to go for a spin”. “Looking forward to it Colonel”. A few seconds later, the craft began a steep climb into space. Two of the four propulsion engines activated and thrust increased. “Airspeed 175,000 miles per hour.

We are headed for a loop around the moon, then back to Earth. Roger that, Colonel. Sending a message to Command to indicate records and systems check. The shuttle flew very smooth and was quite agile. The team tried some loops and wide turns. The ship handled everything they threw at it. About 2 hours later, they were on the return trip topping out at a speed almost 335,000 miles per hour by earth land speed.

The experience had been incredible. The team began their descent as they neared the atmosphere slowing to less than 50,000 mph. They were coming in over the Indian Ocean according to the navigation monitors. The craft had worked flawlessly. The team made wide sweep and landed several miles west of the compound in a deserted area and used the tracks to roll in the last few miles, bringing the vessel through the side gates of the compound and into the hangar for final inspection and review. If all tested out well, in 3 days, they would be headed for the Lunar Base for a visit and some R&R.

Chapter 12

The signal was weak, a soft bleep on the monitor. “Captain, we have something”. What is it?” asked the captain. We have a signal. It is faint. It is in the estimated location using scenario 3B for the ship. The captain thought about this. Was it possible after this time that there could be a signal? Was it a trap? He considered this. “XO, Starboard. Depth 1200 feet. Follow that signal. The Executive Officer repeated “Starboard. Depth 1200 feet, aye”. The sub began to dive.

The signal gradually became stronger though never strong. Several hours later, the submarine neared a large sea cliff, they were at the end of a shelf. The Captain called his senior team together. “We are in a location that is not well mapped. We do not know how deep this drop-off is. It is very possible this is why the vessel or crew was never found. We are getting a signal that something is down there. Sonar shows nothing. The risk is high. The maximum depth of this vehicle is rated for 4000 feet. We are 1600 at present. I have informed Command at the Coast House. We are left to our discretion. What are your thoughts, concerns, or ideas?

The XO and Senior Chief Communications Officer agreed we slowly dive to 3500 feet if necessary and assess along the way. It is important that we take soundings and carefully record our findings should there be a need to send rescue to us. The Captain agreed. “Send Command our present location, open a communication line to command”. “Sir”, said the Senior Chief, “we cannot raise an antennae high enough if we reach 4000 feet”. “Roger that, Senior Chief, however we are going to be in communication until we cannot”. “Aye, Captain”, stated the Senior Chief.

“XO, takes us to 3500 feet, full visibility and recordings!” “Aye, depth 3500 feet, full visibility, full recordings.” repeated the XO. The vessel began to descend into the large cavern. They passed 2000 feet. The structure began to groan and shift due to the increased water pressure. “Engineering, counterbalance the environments”. “Aye counterbalancing”, came the responds to the Captain.

The submarine continued its journey to 3500 feet. “Communications, report!” “Sir, the signal is stronger. We are moving in the right direction. We are not picking up other noise in this area. We still have nothing on scope”. The Captain asked, “XO, what is our depth?” “Sir we are at 3000 feet”. “Continue to 3500”. “Sir, continuing to 3500”.

Minutes later, the XO reported “Sir we are at depth 3550”. “Very good XO, hold at 3550”. “Communications report” came the command. “Sir, The signal is strong. We have a faint blip that there is definitely something down there. Roger that, Communications, Thank you. Continue to monitor.

The Executive Team conferred. The Captain asked for input to consider options. “Sir”, said the XO, I recommend we send a two man expeditionary vessel. We have one of the MATS. It is rated to 6000 feet tentatively. I suggest we rig it for remote, unmanned expedition at this time. It is a good time to test the equipment. If it holds and our sensors pick up anything, we can bring it back and man the vessel with a crew and supplies. The Captain smiled. I like that idea. Make it so! After we launch the vessel, return us to Depth 3000 feet and hold during this mission. Roger, will launch the vessel after so equipped. Returning the ship to depth 3000 feet.

Several minutes later MATS was equipped, launched, and being remotely driven. The Sub returned to the depth of 3000 feet. They radioed location and mission status. MATS proceeded to a depth of 4500 feet and was about 5 miles due East in the chasm, recording as it went. The sensors began blinking. Communications monitored video and sonar on the MATS. Sir, we are picking up something about 3000 feet south of the MATS and 4 miles east. Engineering, can the MATS go to 7500 or potentially 8000 feet in depth. Sir, Specs do not allow for that. We would be exceeding maximum tolerances. It is a significant risk. It should be able to handle deep space. We cannot speak for deep water.

Communications, take the MATS to 7000 and assess, then report. Transfer video to Com. Roger, transferring video. Taking MATS to 7000 feet. The video showed the MATS descending gradually. All sensor readings were normal. Sir, MATS is at 7000 feet. All systems go. Roger, what do we see? Sonar shows a large metallic object about 500-1000 feet due south. We are over MATS at this time and ¼ mile east. Roger, take MATS slowly to 8000 feet if necessary. When we reach the object begin surveillance. Roger, proceeding to 8000 feet depth.

The MATS reached 7500 feet and a large vessel came into range. A voice came over the radio. Sir, Communications, we are picking up several objects in the area. No movement or signal from these objects. They range in depth and location. This could be a trap. Roger communications, it could be or a navel graveyard.

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Chapter 13

The Coast House Command Center was buzzing with activity as to this new find. Hank met with his executive team. They may have just found a bounty of old relics, derelict vessels long lost over the times of the mariners. The other side of this could be a trap by others that were hiding in the chasm for another reason. Determining how to proceed became the challenge.

Hank told his Intelligence chief to get the Intelligence Center working on any and all vessels currently reported in the area of where the sub is, as well as any possibly lost vessels that have gone off the radar recently. Check the histories as to missing vessels and cold cases as to sunken ships or other craft. The Chief replied that he had teams working on this and should have a report soon.

Hank turned to his Logistics and Operations Chief, get a team of vessels for recovery moving in that direction. I want full capabilities for claiming property of these vessels and all possessions internal to them. Prepare the vessels also for defensive maneuvers should this become necessary as these waters are known to be a bit unsavory with people in the area making their living.

Hank was wrapping up his meeting, He reached his workspace on the Command Center Floor when his phone buzzed. “Stephen! How are you” asked Hank. “I am kind of in the middle of something. What can I do for you?” Stephen replied “Hank, our sensors are picking up strange readings in the south Indian Ocean in a small tributary off the Grand Chasm. Do you know of any activity in this area?” I do actually, said Hank. “Do you have sensors in the area?” “We have a few that are patched into different agencies. If we bring those up, it will trigger alerts to those agencies. Is that acceptable?” No, it is not at this time. Who else might have sensors or monitors, asked Hank? Stephen said, let me call you back. May I take this issue internal to ME?” Hank replied, “That is acceptable with discretion, only need to know”. “Agreed, I will call back shortly”. The line went dead. Hank went back to the boards. He had two video monitor screen shots of the video feeds and another two on the same monitor with the sensor readings.

Hank’s phone buzzed. “Hank”, said Stephen, “I have Dr. Phillips of M3 on the line with us. We also have June Jones from the Intelligence Center who works with M3 and SCUDD. They both have intel and sensors that might be helpful to you”. “Good afternoon Maria and June”, said Hank. They both said their good afternoons. Hank stated, “We are not sure what we have here in the cavern. We realize it could be some sort of trap. We are more prone to the line of thought that we have found many lost vessels that have been forgotten”.

Maria spoke up. “Hank, our sensors indicate that we have considerable unnatural material in the area. Due to the depth and location it is difficult to get a clear read as to what actually exists. We would recommend the use of the MATS you have available for further exploration”. June added, “We have developed a profile of vessels lost in the area over the past 200 years. Some are of legends and may be more theory rather than fact. As you know this is not well charted area or terrain. I am sending out the profile for your review and consideration to all parties on this call. We recommend caution though I know that is preaching to the choir”.

“Our sensors indicate there are materials of considerable age that are of a metallic source as well as textiles, June added. “This indicates possibly bodies and old sailing vessels”. “How would you know this” asked Hank? “We have access to consider data and old records due to ongoing acquisitions. We store everything and catalog. We have researchers that dig for the unusual. The sensors though are primarily due to the communities in the area as well as our transit lines through the region a few miles deeper. We have sensors for the tracks of course run by the Enterprises. We also have M3 sensors for geographic, terrain, and atmospheric monitoring in case of significant shifts and if work is necessary to maintain safe routes and prevent anomalies”. “Ah, that makes sense” said Hank.

Hank asked “then are we agreed to proceed with a salvage and recovery operation?” Stephen suggested maintaining a defensive strategy as well as others may become interested. June and Maria also agreed these were recommended plans.

Chapter 14

The day had been long though as exciting as ever. Marcus still enjoyed the thrill of the pursuit completing new business deals. He had been meeting with several of his executives in different aspects of Markley Enterprises. As such he had asked a few of his advisers to join him at the Saipan Estate. Bill Sr and Henri, his two longtime friends and trusted advisers had accepted the invitation, each staying in their own suites on grounds. The three had been working together in the conference center off Marcus’ suite, near the library.

Marcus had arranged for the two men to have workstations and a work area for their personal assistants in the Conference center. The meetings were done. It was time to wind down for a while, before getting some sleep. The men went out to the pool area entering one of the sizeable cabanas overlooking the magnificent pools that had an eternity effect and looked like they filled the China Sea from this angle.

Gentlemen it has been a long time since we have been able to sit and enjoy each other’s company without some disaster happening around us. Bill and Henri chuckled. Yes, serving on your boards Marcus are never a dull moment. Whether it is Global Congress Executive Leadership Council or a HFG-M meeting, you know how to liven up a meeting.

Bill, Henri, I was speaking with Eli a few days ago. He has been reminding me more of my mortality as he has aged considerably and is not in the greatest of health. He is living at my home outside of Frankfort and consults to Markley Investments and HFG-M part-time, which as you know for Eli is only 50 hours per week instead of his usual 120. I am concerned as I have no family. We have built a great empire and there is no legacy. Bill chuckled, well I have family and they did not want the business only the money, so think before you start a family. It may not be all that you think it should be. Marcus stated, I understand that as I am the one that bought your business and allowed your family to earn without the headaches of the business and continued your legacy a little longer.

It pains me if someone were to get the business and break it all up. At the core, all units depend on each other. The dynamics are carefully integrated in order to allow for maximum results. I am thinking about what that would look like. I am still relatively young being in my late thirties. I can raise up a successor. I am unsure who to identify and who would want such the responsibility?

The three men conferred for some time over this question developing a short list. Marcus would consider this further over the coming months. The continuation of the Markley Enterprises legacy would be a difficult, possibly one of the most difficult decisions he would ever make. Bill and Henri had been a big help and he would truly consider their advice.

Around 10 pm, JoJo, the server reminded Marcus the launch was about to start. Marcus invited the men to the Library to watch the first flight of a 2 person MATS to fly to the Moon and be permanently stationed there. The men would once again watch history in the making in a way they had been a major part in bringing it to life. The men made their way to the Library where the wall monitors were synchronized for a larger panoramic view. The bottom monitors allowed a view of Command, the vessel, and vital statistics of the men and the shuttle. The flight itself would not be long. Marcus felt like an 8 yr. old boy again watching a rocket blast off. This time though He owned the rocket and the pad.

Chapter 15

Australian Command checked the clock, ten minutes to lift off. The pilots were in the MATS1, making the final preparations. “Command”, stated Platz, “How do we read?” “MATS1, you are clear. No significant weather changes. You have a clear trajectory for the moon base. All systems are green”. “Thank you Command”, stated Platz.

“Colonel Helms, I show all systems go”, stated Platz. “Confirmed, all systems go” stated Helms. “Ignite Engine 1”, stated Helms. “Roger, Engine 1 ignited”, came the reply. The vessel surged forward slightly as the brakes held fast. As the engine reached idle capacity, both pilots checked all systems and confirmed with command, all systems were green. Pilot vital signs holding strong.

MATS1, Command, you are clear for departure. All airspace is cleared on your approved flight path. Roger Command, clear for departure. Flight path is clear. The MATS 1 slowly taxied to the far end of Runway 2L and turned for departure.

Marcus and his close friends were watching from a few thousand miles away. All got excited when they heard the radio traffic. All three were giddy schoolchildren when the MATS reached the far end of the runway. They had all eyes on the monitors, these were captains of industry in their own right returning to a lost childhood of years ago.

MATS1, you are clear for takeoff. At your discretion. Good luck and God speed. Roger, Command, ready for departure, we are prepared, heading for Moon Base 1. MATS1 Departing, came the reply. Platz released the brake and made the necessary adjustments. The vessel smoothly moved forward, accelerating rapidly. The vessel reached take off speed with no objections and slowly climbed to about 10,000 feet, made an arch off to the northwest gaining at a sharp altitude. Moments later the vessel was gone from eyesight. All monitors showed a productive and successful liftoff. The vessel gained altitude quickly, soon reaching the Stratosphere and onto the Moon base. In the distance the pilots reported being able to see several of the low orbiting satellites, then soon the high orbiting satellites.

The vessel had a slight shimmy. Colonel Helms engage Space Engines 1 & 2 at ¼ thrust. Shut off Engine 1. Roger. Space Engines at ¼ thrust for 1 & 2. Engine 1 terminated. The shimmy settled and smoothed. The vessel continued to climb smoothly on a trajectory towards the Mar-Tec Space Station which it would pass within a few miles before proceeding on to Moon Base 1.

The cruise through space for the next few hours was smooth and relatively uneventful. All systems were go. The MATS1 neared Moon Base 1. Helms contacted the base to get clearance. MATS 1 we have you on the monitors. Your course is clear. Your parking space is marked and ready. Helms joked back thank you for the priority parking. Our pleasure MATS1.

The 2-man vessel glided smoothly into the nearby area for landing at the base. An Oxygen tunnel was waiting and being prepared for their arrival. Airlock was being prepped from the arrival gate newly built for the new vessel, soon there would be a wing dedicated to these vessels with maintenance bays. The MATS landed all according to plan. MATS 1 successfully at Moon Base 1, Mission accomplished. MATS 1 shutting down. The engines shut down. A bubble was established around the MATS 1 as a type of temporary shelter. The pilots exited the vessel and headed into the facility while maintenance teams began working on the vessel to insure no damage had occurred.

Chapter 16

MATS5 at depth 7900, came the call. Roger that MATS5, Depth 7900. The video feed back to the submersible showed there was a sunken aircraft carrier below the airplane, which was next to an older cruise ship. MATS5, any life readings or readings from thermography. Command, no such readings at this time. We are picking up signals.

MATS5 to MATS7 what have you got on visual? MATS7 to MATS5 we are at 8400 Depth. We have visual of some older wooden sailing ships, possibly clipper class. Vessels are in varied states of decay, though look well preserved for their potential age. We have tried to get closer to the ships. There is concern as to stability. We dropped a sensor to get a depth reading to the bottom of this chasm. It recorded out at 9999. We are not clear as to whether 10K depth is the floor or if the sensor maxxed its reading. We suspect the latter, rather than the former.

Command to MATS, we have sufficient video and readings for now. Return to Command. We will congregate to confer when we are all back on board to debrief and lay strategy. MATS5, Roger Command, returning to Command. Beginning reintegration process. MATS7, Roger Command, returning to Command. Beginning reintegration process. Command to MATS, Copy, See you back on board.

Hank had been listening from the Command Center at The Coast House. He would take these next few hours to review the video footage and all the recordings as to what they had found. He contacted Maria and June to begin the next phase of this project, assessing what the search found. They would review and try to determine which ships and other vessels may be in the area. June had already sent over potential vessels and their cargo manifests as best as a preliminary report could. A more detailed report would be forth coming.

The Coast House had been originally established to patrol lost transports in this region of the world. The truth was that the operation sent equipment and had operations globally. Now that the Markley Transportation Network was in place. Projects could easily be staffed with outposts assigned and co-located equipment and personnel.

The network and the operation had saved millions in the organization’s short life of the past 2 years. If the find that had been conveniently discovered was as massive as they thought, this could potential fund the organization for many years and increase its viability in the Markley Enterprises family of companies. The laws were pretty clear if vessels had been lost at sea, that recovery operations would be allowed to keep the major percentage of the bounty, though there were exceptions if it was national treasures.

The operation had enjoyed several successful missions. One of the pet projects the operation had been given was to thoroughly map the ocean floor globally. This would be an ongoing mission for a few years due to the sheer massiveness of the area to be mapped. Improvements in technology and sensor placements would allow for greater navigation and planning in projects as well as locating lost vessels, land, air, and sea from throughout history.

It was still likely there would be areas that could not be as well mapped as preferred, though The Coast House was working with a Special Team coordinating with M3, Mar-Tec, SCUDD, and the Intelligence Center to improve overall documentation and availability of live readings from sensors. The Coast House would literally have the oceans networked. What most people did not know is that by doing this, in association with SCUDD, and M3 who ran the Communities, the globe was mostly networked and would be better mapped than ever before.

They were not there yet, but in the next few years, the teams would have Sea, Air, ad Land mapped. Land would be mapped at surface and below the surface as would Sea. SCUDD and Mar-Tec, including Mar-Tec Space were mapping the depths of the space above the surface. A massive project with many moving parts. It all came back to how this would advance the Enterprises and its many operations.

It was costing the Enterprises Billions of dollars. Many aspects were privately funded through strategic partnerships and alliances. The Enterprises maintained the majority share though, thus the accountability and the responsibility laid with the Enterprises and its entities. Of course so did the profits or losses. Losses were rarely acceptable, and if so, not for long. Any executive in Markley Enterprises needed to have a strategic plan for generating a profit quickly. The Coast House likely just did exactly that, though it would not be easy to raise these vessels.

The Recovery Fleet was nearing the sight. This would set off alarms to other recovery companies and local governments. The submersible that served as the current command was literally in stealth mode due to its depth and available technologies. It would connect to the refurbished aircraft carrier that had been mothballed about 20 years ago. Markley Technologies had acquired it in trade for some technology upgrades to the US Navy.

Mar-Tec had taken the vessel to an undisclosed location and re-outfitted this floating city to become a major hub on water for most any project. One of its capabilities was to mobile dock multiple submersibles while in motion if necessary. Considerable staff and equipment could be placed on this vessel with minimal visibility. It had the ongoing mission of serving as a hub for the Coast House Oceanographic Mapping Project or CHOMP. There were many other vessels and craft that had been acquired by Mar-Tec over the past 15 years that would be seen as derelict in military service, though served the organization and the Enterprises quite well after the companies got ahold of them and made their own special modifications. Literally Mar-Tec had its own Naval Fleet and Air Force. These acquisitions greatly assisted in these scenarios to the different agencies. The Coast House operated on loan several pieces of these forces in land and air with Mar-Tec crews manning the actual vessels. It made for an interesting partnership at times.

Hank reviewed the manifests. He began studying the crafts they thought they had found as to structure and architecture as well as possible layouts. Maria had sent an email that The Blue Whale (Mar-Tec ACC1 or MT1), the aircraft carrier, would be outfitted with specialized deep water equipment for 1 and 2-person craft, the second generation MATS in testing phase, as well as diving suits and underwater tools for excavation and removal of parts as needed.

Hank received an email from Markley Transportation Network and Markley Logistics that transportation carriers were being given alternative routing to begin removing salvage discreetly from the site to be assessed, analyzed in a more discreet setting free of curious onlookers. Labs, equipment, and personnel with Mar-Tec were already being established. Hank had to admit, being a part of such a large organization had its advantages, some of the concerns he had considered were being taken care of before they were even reality. All stated waiting on him to deliver the plan and the details could be worked out. Hank smiled, the Coast House was on the map.

Chapter 17

The Moon landing had gone well. Marcus who truly enjoyed watching this new innovation that his company had provided such an active part of and his people were so loyal to bringing to success had achieved one of its major milestones. Now they could continue to refine and build the next generation. You continue to consider this as he discussed the matter with Henri and Bill. As he will be in the prizes as well as different aspects within Mar-Tec for innovation and research design, improvement we’re always necessary and learning was ongoing based on experience and feeling our way to success.

Marcus knew it was not acceptable to just be OK with what they have accomplished. Continually moving forward, in a meeting, and creating new opportunities is what the Markley Enterprises family was about. It meant taking risks. It meant being challenged. Markley Technologies or Mar-Tec was constantly being challenged in new ways. They brought the mission upon themselves internally as well as bringing in the extra challenges that would make them stand out above the rest. Being exceptional was integral to the Mar-Tec philosophy. Going the steps beyond was a key philosophy within Markley Enterprises and its different entities.

The three-man sat out on the patio enjoying the southern hemisphere’s skies over the ocean from this luxury retreat. All-around there were beautiful ocean scenes and they found themselves looking up at the clear dark night sky and what that would entail.

The men were enjoying some mango tea and a cool evening breeze that blew over the patio. The men discussed their accomplishments. Marcus always enjoyed listening to Bill and Henri’s war stories. Both men were at least 25 years older than he. He learned so much as to what they had accomplished.

He kept the tea flowing for a while and then moved to a nightcap for Henri and whiskey for Bill. Marcus did not drink alcohol thus he maintained his tea. Both men often teased him for not drinking. Bill often harassed him that real business men drank. He might never be successful if he did not learn to drink. Marcus would smile and say, well, I will have to take the risk. Perhaps he could find another way.

Marcus continued listening as the stories became larger and more dramatic now that the alcohol was kicking in. Marcus drifted for a while thinking back to the smell of cheap wine and toxic smelling cheap booze that had been so prevalent at his aunt and uncle’s house when he had been forced to live there for a short time. He swore he would not become a part of that life. While Bill was far more successful, Marcus had seen Bill when the alcohol had caused him to say and do things he would never have considered under other conditions. Since his disappearance a few years ago, he had dramatically cut down his alcohol consumption.

Marcus remembered a few nights where his uncle had tried to get money from Marcus and threated him with physical violence. Marcus had refused. The uncle with bottle in hand had tried to attack him. Marcus had grabbed his wooden baseball bat and jammed it at the uncle’s foot and as he made a beeline for the front door. The uncle tried to catch him but had stumbled and was yelling about his foot. The next morning the uncle did not remember any of it except wondering why his foot was bruised. He had drunk so much; he literally had lived in a blackout the night before.

Marcus had seen the downside of drinking for those that could not control their alcohol. He remembered the night that had lead him to greatly expedite his exiting his relative’s home. One night while his aunt was at work at one of the downtown casinos in Las Vegas, his uncle had come into his room while he thought Marcus was sleeping. The uncle tried to access Marcus’ wallet. Because of the previous incidents, Marcus always had his wallet with him. He rarely kept cash or his debit card in his wallet.

The uncle had knocked over a few things and swearing. Marcus continued to feign sleep that the uncle might just go away. The uncle left and came back with a kitchen knife. The Uncle was sloppy drunk, slurring and could not walk straight. As he neared, Marcus rolled the other way out of the bed as an escape route. The uncle grabbed him and lunged at Marcus with the knife, missing by a good foot. When his uncle’ right wrist holding the knife cleared the far side of the bed. Marcus grabbed his aluminum baseball bat and broke the uncle’s wrist. Marcus grabbed his bag and anything of value which was very little and climbed out the window, rarely to return to the house. Marcus soon found himself working double and triple shifts as his 18th birthday was near.

Many nights he slept in his car or a back store room in one of the casino hotel restaurants. Since he worked so many hours, he stated it was easier to sleep there, use the employee showers, and study in his car or a coffee house, if not the library. A few months later, he would be 18 and could leave. When he paid his uncle rent, it was always in a public place. The uncle never said anything. The first time he saw the uncle a week later, his arm had been in a sling. The uncle stated he broke his wrist playing baseball and took one to the wrist. Marcus never corrected him.

Marcus tuned back into Bill’s story of how he had found diamonds in one of his first mining expeditions almost 50 years ago. The original story he found a stone worth about $100,000 at the time. As he aged the diamond became worth more, now in the low $1Million range. As he became drunker, the tales became taller.

Marcus informed JoJo or Jo to have the beds prepared if they were not already. Jo stated it is done. As Henri, finished his nightcaps, and Bill wound up his latest fish tale of his conquests, he excused himself to retire for the evening. Bill decided he would move to his suite and read, taking a bottle with him. Marcus said his good nights. The jet was schedule to take off at 10 AM tomorrow morning.

He was now alone under the stars under the stars looking out over the South China Sea. He listened to the water lap up to the shore around the island. He began thinking about Stacey and what a relationship with her would look like. He chuckled at how ironic the skies were. A few hours ago, his companies had made history landing a 2-man all-terrain vehicle at the Moon Base, another first by the Enterprises and their partners. Now alone on the patio he was looking up at the very stars he was developing a plan for his companies to assist in exploring someday.

The moon was working its way across the night sky. On it was his base, his shuttles, and his MATS is good he thought. He now was laying here looking at the Moon and the stars and they took on a whole different meaning. He thought about Stacey and him sitting here under the stars together maybe even holding hands or enjoying a 2-person chaise together. He began to smile.

He laid there for a while. He sent a text to Stacey. “Laying here alone on a chaise on the patio at the estate. I am looking at the stars and thinking how much brighter they would be if you were here to share them with me. A few moments later his phone buzzed, she had replied. Laying here on a chaise in Pensacola Beach at the Executive Suite for Marketing, looking at the same stars from a different angle, glad that we are sharing the stars together. We just have different views, perhaps we can meet up soon and see them from the same angle. Marcus replied. I would like that.

Chapter 18

The crews were coming together in meeting in the general vicinity of the salvage project.  Several of the freighters we’re making slight they versions out of the known shipping lanes to pick up pieces of the salvage. The materials were then taken to a lab in various appointed designations destinations for further investigation and determination as to value, age, and contribution to the overall project. There will be a historical factors as well as a financial value as well as geographic and navigational concerns that would be addressed through this project. Mostly enterprises and its different entities were all about information management and maximizing effectiveness and productivity along with the profitability. Profits were not always measured solely in dollars.

The naval command ship was processing many different distributions throughout the region. It had research that were going down to the dive sites. It had vessels transporting salvage to the freighters on their alternative routes. Supplies were being brought in. Equipment and resources were removed or improved. An entire infrastructure was developed through a network of ships in the general region in order to reduce suspicion in the area.

Admiral Jamison who was the chief executive officer or flag officer on the command center coordinated and facilitated his teams to the different units and components of the project.

Euripides or Rip Shipp, the captain of the Coast House Submarine Command ship continued to coordinate his project teams. The different vessels and crew that were exploring and monitoring the salvage area went out supplemented by three other vessels. In which he now facilitated. The teams have developed certain processes and procedures in order to implement a most expeditious extraction as well as to coordinate efforts to make best use of the resources.

Different MATS including the different generations were able to explore and extra key portions of the different vessels in which will carefully catalog in order to not compromise integrity of the fine as well as that of the site. Some of the bounty dated back into the 1600s when the ships sailed in a very different way or had been blown off course and were lost at sea. Support resources were brought in, in order to strengthen and reinforce some of the salvage sites. Due to extended exposure and corrosion sitting in this chasm.

Special dive suits for the extended dives in which they will working as well as salvage equipment and materials were teams carefully extracted and explored the different vessels that were being recovered. As they continued they were finding many vessels. Another set of vessels went even deeper down or had become set off to the side when they expanded the salvage area.

The Intelligence Center was exploring currents in order to determine if this was perhaps an area that the currents from around the area or much larger oceanography area washed things in here and this served as a sort of filter for washing the debris over a large area into this chasm where it would reach a final resting place.

The Intelligence Center was reporting that many gaps in historical records through some of the shipments were being answered. Some of these vessels were going to be reconstructed and refurbished in order to restore them and put them on display or will be used for other purposes. It was important that they take a comprehensive approach in order to advance the study. Analysis comes during evaluation in order to repurpose. The Intelligence Center was able to advance information on several fronts in order to improve overall effectiveness and results.

Hank at The Coast House was working with Mar-Tec to acquire more naval equipment including vessels and resources. It was important that they continue to expand out their abilities in order to achieve greater potential. Markley Enterprises was also working at the compound in order to step up and strengthen their resources. This could serve to advance these types of projects dramatically.

 

Chapter 19

The past few years in the space exploration industry had brought to light increasing concerns as to planetary security. While this sounded like the plot to a bad science fiction movie, Mar-Tec’s awareness of potential interplanetary anomalies had dramatically increased. Several of their top researchers had presented on global warming, end of life catastrophes and the like. While the company sought opportunities to improve life, they too had to address the doomsday scenarios.

 

The recent manifestation of biochemical terrorism by The Palau Group had proven that despite the steps taken Earth was at risk of self-destructing not so much of natural causes but by human hands, the very hands some believe that were created for caring and nurturing the very things they were destroying, life on Earth.

Markley Enterprises had made substantial advances in restoring and preserving the surface of the earth as well as advancements in its mining compounds. Many aspects of the organization had literally gone underground. There were the critics that stated this was harmful to the planet at a deeper level, the case could also be made that about 90% of all resources used in developing the building materials were natural and organic with essential reforestation, water purification and recycling, and soil conservation or revitalization.

Mar-Tec Scientists across the board along with several strategic partners were developing less harmful forms of developing building materials that actually supplemented and revitalized, replenished and restored natural products and its surrounding elements to make the planet stronger internally and externally wherever ME and its subsidiaries touched the natural resources.

Many watchdog groups chose to target ME and its companies, most would fail to realize the actual carbon footprint and advancements the companies were making globally on the surface and below. Marcus and his leaders listened closely. They wanted ideas and innovations that would allow for a more symbiotic relationship by man with the natural resources we have been given. Though good ideas came, the majority of the time ideas that were not thought through completely and were not currently feasible were proposed. The company had received innovative suggestions as to altering the chemical compounds of paints, colors, and stains that were used to be less harmful chemicals.

On more than one occasion Marcus, leaders, and scientists had called the advocates to task to substantiate their claims or ideas. Several watchdog groups tried to alter the discussion, Marcus stayed on point. The press often realized that the advocates pushed an agenda they themselves did not understand or would not support by voting with their wallets.

Marcus asked one very outspoken advocate directly about this. The process you are proposing would cost approximately $20 per gallon more to use this chemical combination with lesser results than our current not as organic compounds. We have tried in our research labs. I can show you the results. Would you personally pay $50-70 per gallon for a paint that does not protect, last, or color as well in the name of being more earth friendly?

Understand to paint a 2,000 square foot house costs about $500 in paint and about $3,000 in labor depending on variables for a repaint. This 3500 investment will last on average 12 years for an owner occupied residence. My rentals the turnaround is usually every few years as we paint after each tenant. What you propose would cost an additional $300-400 in paint and does not work as well.

Our competitors though smaller will not do this as it is cost prohibitive. They will go out of business, hurting the industry and free enterprise that sustains the economy. Granted we will need more painters as the work will be done more often, maybe.

My company is then seen as driving the competition out of business because we can produce it for about $20 per gallon and others it will cost more per unit, thus their margins come down and costs go up. Say we sell it at a loss of a $15 premium in hopes of driving the volume to where this is profitable, what then will this do to the others in the business? Will you be supporting them, or will you expect me and other large organization to flip the bill?

The advocate stated Mr. Markley you are worth several Billion dollars. Your companies are worth many Billions all told, you can afford the change. Marcus looked at the gentleman very sternly. As a business person, if my costs whether labor, materials, logistics, or production go up, these costs are passed on to the consumer. This is elementary business economics. You raise labor rates, the cost is incurred in the product and the end user pays the price. I work on margins quite often while also often investing in research to discover ways to lower costs or improve quality or longevity to the product.

Please before you expect me to carry the cost, look at the costs we already carry then look at the cost we each carry. I am looking for ways to improve our products and systems. Sir, what have you done to make these improvements or investments? I have done my homework. Mr. Markley you and your company are worth… Marcus stopped him. Sir … Mr. Peters, you argument is moot. But let’s look at the numbers.

In the 20 years since I first went into business starting from scratch with a solid financial adviser I started with 5,000 dollars I earned waiting tables and serving customers in Las Vegas as a teenager living with my alcoholic relatives after my parents were killed. From there I made some sound investments, some riskier than others. Sometimes I made a lot of money, other times not so much. In five years’ time on paper I was a millionaire.

I rented a bedroom from my mentor while studied under his tutelage while putting myself through college and an MBA program without any student loans or government assistance. I put most everything except a small salary of $2,000 back into the business. Another 5 years passed and I was worth tens of millions on paper. I had more diverse investments. I continued to pour back into the businesses what is now Markley Enterprises.

The practices I used when I was 18 are the same practices I use now. I am just better and more experienced. I have learned a lot along the way, including many mistakes, likely many more than most. As a result, Markley Enterprises paid in the neighborhood of 50 Billion Dollars in taxes globally last year. That is more tax money than some countries take in annually. I personally paid over one Billion in taxes last year. I do not look for loopholes or sneaky back doors. My personal accountants use the tax laws as they are written and keep it all above board. The same is true for the companies.

Last year Markley Enterprises alone employed over 500,000 individuals globally. As such we provided resources for work, clothing, food, and shelter that improved the economic situation for many. Last year, my companies and Markley Technologies in particular invested over 175 Billion Dollars in research to improve the quality of life on earth in the way of our natural resources. This sum is larger than many countries combined spent last year. I am not looking for a pat on the back. I am a business man. I strive to find ways to make money and expand my visibility while improving overall results, pure and simple.

Marcus then paused and pulled a few sheets of paper that he had been given by his assistants. Mr. Peters, Are you David J. Peters PhD of Emeryville, California? Yes sir I am. Dr. Peters are you the Executive Director for The World Advocacy Consortium out of Richmond, CA. Yes, Mr. Markley I am. You have been in this position according to my records for 15 years, is that correct. Yes, that is correct.

Dr. Peters I show you had approximately $75,000 in student loans for your Bachelor’s degree at UCSF. I show a combined student loan incursion of $120,000 for graduate studies, in which I will venture you received your PhD. I show the PhD is in Philosophy and Eastern Meditation. I am not sure how that makes you qualified academically as the ED for your firm. I show you started WAC 20 years ago while in college. I will then venture that as the founder you inherited the position.

According to your 501©3 filing for last year you made $275,000 in salary from an organization sustained as a non-profit donation based, publically supported organization. Your organization was granted 10 Million dollars in public grants and subsidies. WAC raised another 10 Million in development and foundations or private sponsors. Your organization has aligned with several other similar organizations to protest environmental contamination yet has failed to lobby for successful change or offered substantial innovations from the research you are funded for. I show the organization has a nest egg of over 40 Million in different accounts and investments, including accounts with Markley Investments and HFG-M.

I further show you personally defaulted on your student loans $175,000 out of the owed 195,000 plus interest. You claimed insolvency at the time. Yet, the same year WAC cleared 5 Million in donations of which you claimed 2% for executive salary and another 2% for administrative overhead and operating costs. Interesting that you claimed salary equal to that which is allotted to operating the organization for one year. I show you collected speaking fees in summary of another 100K that year. I am unclear how 200K is insolvency at age 25 and few personal bills. By the way Markley Financial was one of the companies you defaulted on that held your student loans. If you review your paper work, you will see we were the underwriter. Mr. Timmons is on his way to you to serve you for nonpayment and accumulated fees.

You may say I inherited Millions thus it was easy for me. Let’s put that to rest as well. My parents did leave a trust for me. After expenses it was worth around 3 Million which I could not touch until age 25. I could draw 1,000 per month for school and living expenses. Upon graduation and as deemed by the administrator, my mentor, the funds could be released to me. You will find, I never touched a dollar of the money personally, it went straight into Markley Investments where it sits to this day.

Mr. Peters I see you too are from an affluent family. I show mom was a prominent corporate attorney and your dad was a well know thoracic surgeon in the San Francisco area. I show you claimed financial hardship when applying to college though that year and you at age 17 and still legally a minor and emancipated, required financial assistance to the University of California at San Francisco, your parents claimed earnings and paid taxes on over 1.5 Million dollars plus investments.

I also see this removed eligible monies from other that requested assistance from households with a combined household income of under 50K and multiple dependents whereas you are an only child as am I. How do you explain this when you are using WAC to advocate to the poverty stricken?

I show you parents passed a few years ago. My sincere condolences. I do show though that you personally inherited over 25 Million in cash and assets, yet are currently in court with your landlord where WAC is located over unpaid rent and utilities while being in the process of being evicted. Can you explain this? Before you try. Markley Investments holds the notes on your parent’s properties that have outstanding payments due.

Mr. Timmons is bringing you your summons and serving you your papers as we speak of foreclosure on these properties. We also are part owners in the commercial/industrial property you rent for WAC. Think carefully before you speak. A side note, I know where the money is hidden off shore and the Swiss and Caribbean accounts being used to shelter the money, the investments, and the returns from US tax laws.

The point of all this. I am no saint. I am about serving the populace as are you. We both want a better life for people. We also though protect our interests personally and professionally. I too have skeletons. Many seek these out or make accusations because of the success achieved. In my original question I asked if you could and would pay the extra $20 per gallon for eco-friendlier paint. We now all know you can. Would you?

Likely not. Yet you would have the audacity to rally against the companies trying to provide alternatives. My companies have tried to make a positive difference, and yes for a profit. You and your companies have taken from the very people you claim to be helping with minimal investment of your own resources while making yourself wealthier and then hiding it.

The cameras turned to Mr. Peters. Reporters started to ask questions. Peters holding his packet of summons, subpoenas, and legal notices, backed away from the microphone and headed for the back door. Marcus watched him go. Once Peters was out of the room, the cameras turned back to Marcus. He smiled and stated the events seen here are sad. I know I am no saint, nor do I claim to be one. We all have to make tough decisions. Many times our decisions do not make sense to others or they cause short term negative impact. This last year many lost their homes, their lives, and their livelihood or families due to a greedy few.

We are rebuilding. We are trying to make the world a better place than before. We have a long way to go. Everybody can help. To those in this room or listening to this broadcast, we welcome your ideas as long as they can be substantiated or are tangible. Work up your innovations then let’s see what you have. Maybe together we can all make things a little better a little bit at a time. It is time to get back on track and move this agenda along.

It is at this time I would like to introduce to you, stated Marcus, Stephen Jefferies, Project Director of Stratospheric Colonial and Unique Development and Defense or SCUDD. Mr. Jefferies… Stephen came forward. Marcus shook his hand as he returned to his seat. Stephen looked out at the conference room. Thank you for coming today. The past few years have been a unique combination of experiences and anomalies. As you know Mar-Tec Space and its partners have breached the surface of the Moon and Mars. Both now have working research facilities with sustainable living facilities. In the last year we have begun bringing in outside vendors to conduct their own research in these locations. It comes down to progress.

***

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Marcus Markley IV: Taking the World by Storm!

Taking the world by storm is the fourth installment of the Marcus Markley series. Marcus and his team are back with a few surprises. Markley Enterprises and its many subsidiaries further develop new opportunities while resolving many of the hardships that have occurred since the pandemic. The objects that come at Earth have set off a sequence of events the likes of which the planet has never seen in recorded history. The events will cause Markley Enterprises to look at the challenges on the Earth, in the Earth, and beyond the Earth.

  • Author: J.A. Green
  • Published: 2016-07-11 22:35:11
  • Words: 117885
Marcus Markley IV: Taking the World by Storm! Marcus Markley IV: Taking the World by Storm!