Celestina ran her hand across Tomar’s chest. He let out a small moan in his sleep. She found herself drawn passionately to him. He was powerful. His rise to Chairman of one of the Eleven had been meteoric. To command that type of power so quickly was erotic and sensual. He was handsome and well-built, in every aspect. Their desire was mutual and intense. In bed, their time was volcanic. It was rough and even violent at times, but it satisfied each of their deepest sexual needs and desires. During those times, lying in each other’s arms in pure bliss and absolute exhaustion, they discovered that each of their lusts was beyond just sexual. They both obsessed about power, wealth, and fame, and shared their secret dreams of their own manifest destiny.

She felt the silky sheets that wrapped around her body, touching her everywhere that she wasn’t touching Tomar. She let herself enjoy the sensations. Soft silk. Warm skin. It was so much better than traveling through those damn portals. Only that morning, she had been encased in one of those coffin-like tubes to be blasted back to Koranth for what would be a historic meeting of the Ministry of Interplanetary Corporate Relations. Everything was about to change.

After she arrived, she headed straight to Tomar. She needed his touch. She needed release. She needed to dominate and be dominated. As always, he obliged, as he needed and wanted the same. Of course, she also needed to make sure he was ready. Everything was about to change radically. He assured her that his board of directors was prepared to make Donovackia Corporation the largest Corporation in history. His military was already quickly expanding and preparing for the next planetary exploration mission. The confidential information she had supplied about this planet called Earth, held by the Stameyerson Corporation, and the fact that the Kathor Corporation already had a ship under construction was perfect. Everything was underway as planned.

Their other business was going well also. Tomar had a surprise for her. It was almost like he had sat in on her meeting with Doctor Z. They’d been able to make rath a bit “safer” and reduced the potential near-instant deaths to a quarter of one percent. Moreover, rath was now available in a pure powder form. He was ramping up production as quickly as he could. Within days, they would be able to supply the Ministry with thirty-five times the amount of rath that they were currently delivering. She could begin growing the Ministry’s security force into a mighty military, in its own right, within weeks.

She realized Tomar’s breathing had changed. Before she could finish processing the thought, he rolled her onto her back and was inside her. She let out a deep moan, as every bit of air escaped from her lungs. His thrusts were rough and deep, driving her into the bed, as he bit into her neck, not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to cause erotic pain. She was overwhelmed at the intensity of the sensations ripping through her body. She barely realized when he lassoed her hand with the silk strap tied to the bedpost. As he tied her other wrist to the other bedpost, she knew that he was about to absolutely ravage her. She had done the same to him a few hours before. This was a spectacular way to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting.

*****

A few hours before the Ministry’s meeting was to start, Celestina released to the media one of the proposals she would bring to a vote that day. Analysts in every form of communication on both planets went into overdrive. Some believed that this new, young Chief Executive Minster was the salvation of a regulatory body that needed an overhaul. Others condemned her for pushing changes on a regulatory organization that appeared to function so well. Everyone agreed that it was a radical idea to trim the Ministry to three Ministers from five. It didn’t matter what audio, visual, or holographic medium that anyone tuned in to, the press coverage was extensive, ongoing, and live.

When the Meeting was called to order, the media circus ramped up both inside the Ministry’s meeting hall and outside. Most pundits predicted that the motion would fail. At best, Celestina would only garner her uncle’s support. Most, mentioning his health and frailty, expressed surprised that he was attended this meeting. Debate was significantly limited, and when the motion was brought to a vote, shock spread across both planets. It passed 4-1. Even Celestina was surprised. Merniva Golackick, the other Minster from Zoranth, had voted for the reduction to three Ministers.

As part of the proposal, the Ministry voted immediately for the three members who would remain in their positions. After Celestina Wiroviana, Hareold Wiroviana, and Scharbigot Canchorus voted themselves in as the three ministers, Merniva Golackick had to be removed by force from the proceedings. She went out screaming that the system was rigged and that she should be one of the three.

Celestina quickly moved into action. The Ministry’s rules and guidance documents were amended, and two very significant announcements were made. Effective immediately, the Donovackia Corporation assumed control and would absorb, the failing Stameyerson Corporation. Additionally, the Donovackia Corporation was sanctioned to proceed with a hostile takeover attempt of the Kathor Corporation. Within hours, the Donovackia military seized control of the assets of the Stameyerson Corporation. Now the Eleven were Ten. Within weeks, it would be Nine.

“My esteemed Minsters,” Celestina began as she rose to her feet. “There is one final proposal that I will put to you today as we close this historic meeting. It is one of simple honor; it is a simple symbolic gesture to a grand servant of the people of our planets. Hareold Wiroviana, my uncle, has served his country, his planet, and the Ministry for the whole of his life. While his seat is coming up for election in two years, I move that we make his appointment a lifetime appointment.”

The crowd in the official meeting room stood in ovation. It went without saying that Hareold Wiroviana was a respected civil servant, and sadly, it was apparent to those who saw him, and those that knew him, that he would be unlikely to be alive in two years. This seemed a befitting honor.

The official paperwork was brought forth. Hareold abstained from the vote, and Celestina and Scharbigot passed the motion. To Scharbigot’s eyes, the stack of paper seemed awfully large for such a simple declaration, but Celestina claimed that most of the grand accomplishments of her uncle were listed and spelled out in the documents, as a testament to the greatness of the man.

Later that evening, Scharbigot would take the time to read the motion in detail. His signature and official seal were on it. It was unquestionably now the rule of law that would stand unless the Ministry vacated it at a later date, which would never happen. How can a father not do everything he could to save his son’s life? As much as he hated Celestina for blackmailing him, he had to admit that she was cunning. Buried deep in the motion was an ascension clause. When Hareold died, his seat, with its lifetime term, would pass to his next of kin. If the next of kin were part of the Ministry, the seats would be folded together, carrying both seats’ votes. She effectively created a monarchy for herself.

• • •

Chapter 14 Chapter 16

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