- Sep 30, 2014
- Athens, Greece
Kotto Ngrebada looked out the glass panel windows of the skyscraper in awe. "I do not understand the Pelasgians," he told his colleague, Firmin. "Half this city looks centuries old; the other half looks like it came out of the future." Indeed, from his spot near the top of Pegasos Tower at the very heart of Propontis's Galatopyrgos International Business District, Kotto could see both the old, historic centre of the city, with Hagia Pronoia, the Hippodrome, Forum, and other classical Propontine works, as well as the glass and steel spires of the mercantile port districts.
"Half of it is how they want others to see them," Firmin answered, while he fixed his tie. "The other half is how they really are."
Kotto shot a glance at the Grand Palace of Propontis, right beside the National Gardens. He had heard that the Pelasgians were moving their capital to the "Federal City" of Nymphaion, a historic regional capital several miles outside of Propontis. They could move their capital to the moon for all he cared; Pelasgia's heart was still Galatopyrgos district and the three ports of Propontis. It was there that one fourth of global trade passed through; and it was there that the Pelasgians acted as the gatekeepers and intermediaries of most Himyari commercial activities--as the "Pimps" of Himyar, as his father had once said.
"Perhaps," Kotto replied. "Though I don't know which is which." He turned around and faced the steel door of the conference room. "Come. We need a loan for our own capital--if that slum is to ever be a true capital."
Firmin nodded and followed his colleague into the large conference room. There, around a glass conference table, sat a dozen Pelasgians, dressed in various suits that matched their varying olive complexions. At their head was the man himself: Aristotelis Dologos--the current head of the Pegasos Corporate Conglomerate, and, with it, the most important Pelasgian business clan. To his right, no doubt, Kotto noticed a somewhat paler, shorter man, with closely cut hair and a dark suit. A bureaucrat if I ever saw one, he thought. If the Pelasgian feds were here, negotiations would be more complicated than he had thought.
"Please," Aristotelis said, standing up. "Make yourselves at home. Take a seat." He shook the men's hands, as did all of the Pelasgians, and then offered them a refreshment. "Would you like anything to drink? Something to eat, perhaps?"
Kotto shook his head. "Thank you, but the water bottle on the table will suffice."
Aristotelis nodded. "Very well. Let us begin, then. I take it you are here about the loan?"
"Yes," Kotto answered, nodding. "The Republic of Central Himyar requires a... considerable sum to develop its capital city district. We had hoped to turn to you for preferable terms, as some of the former colonial empires in Gallo-Germania are quite... controlling. Not to mention the domineering relationship they seek to cultivate with our people. Any more reliance on those powers, and Central Himyar might as well be a colony again."
"Oh, but of course," Aristotelis answered. "The National Bank of Pelasgia and our partners in the Industrial Bank of Northern Himyar would be more than glad to aid in the development of Central Himyar. We can offer you preferential repayment terms, in addition to any expertise that would be necessary to oversee the loan's implementation. As many students from Central Himyar study in Propontis, we have quite a few specialists of your own nationality."
"That would be excellent," Kotto admitted.
Firmin was not so enthusiastic. "What's the catch?"
Aristotelis smiled. "Catch? We aim to be completely candid with you. You would need specialists to help you utilize the funds, correct? To build bridges, develop ports, plan districts. Pelasgian firms can provide those specialists exclusively, in exchange for preferential terms."
Firmin pointed at the bureaucrat. "And what about him? Why is he here?"
Aristotelis leaned back on his chair. "Mr. Papastavrou here is merely present to oversee the transaction. Our bank accounts for a significant part of the Pelasgian financial sector; the Union Government would always like to ensure that our overseas investments do not jeopardize the bank's stability."
"And does that oversight extend to the implementation of overseas investments?" Kotto asked, frowning.
Aristotelis smiled again. "Naturally."