Rundles In The Jungle: Episode 12

Peychaud returns to Saag's apartment for a third time, but this time he's working for Randayl himself rather than the estate. He has an excellent idea of what Randayl is worth, but doesn't propose to gouge him. Other than living expenses, he's only charging what Himinola and Son would charge any commercial client back in New Washington City.

Randayl has been working himself into a ~~ nervous wreck ~~ since he finally faced down his father. He ~~ appreciated ~~ Saag's genuine admiration, but he ~~ doubts ~~ his ability to duplicate the feat.

Randayl opens the door.

Randayl: Hi, Tuib Peychaud. Thank you for coming.

Randayl still has a little to learn about the proper lawyer-client relationship.

Randayl's current belongings, such as they are, are scattered about Saag's front room. He hastily clears some of the accumulated clutter off of the couch, and offers Peychaud a seat.

Peychaud: Thanks. Well, I have some notes here from our earlier brief discussion, but you mentioned additional stipulations?

Randayl: Yes. It occurred to me that my father must be truly desperate, or he'd never have come to speak to me in person. I was hoping that I could use that to win a few concessions.

Peychaud: No problem. Let me know what you have in mind, and we'll work out how to make it happen, and then I'll put it in proper legal language later.

Randayl: Well, first of all, I want to be relatively generous in the amount I loan to my father. That is more likely to win him over to agreeing with my other terms. If it works, it'll be cheap for what I'll get.

Peychaud nods.

Peychaud: You have a figure in mind?

Randayl mentions a sum which amounts to several months' income from the estate.

Randayl: I don't think anything less would take care of his immediate problem, and unless it does, he has no incentive to go along with me.

Peychaud nods.

Randayl: Make the interest rate just high enough to make it clear that the money is a loan, not a gift.

Peychaud: Three percent? That barely keeps up with inflation.

Randayl: Fine. I'm not trying to make a lot of money on the deal, and frankly, I'm not sure he'll be able to pay it back at all. But I don't want any judge looking at this to mistake it for a gift.

Peychaud: Understood. All that is boilerplate.

Randayl: Good. Throw him another bone: he's got to donate every month, and give me the selyn credit, but he can be as discreet about it as he can manage. I'll be glad to agree not to tell anyone he's donated, even my mother, as long as he abides by the agreement until the loan is repaid.

Peychaud scribbles the essence of that stipulation.

Peychaud: A bare promise isn't going to satisfy his lawyers. You need to undertake to give something up -- a fair amount of money -- if you break your promise of silence.

Randayl: Okay. I don't have any intention of calling the tabloids on my father, in any case. It would destroy any remaining hold I have over him, and I'm going to need a hold on him.

Peychaud: Then you won't mind a substantial penalty, since you have a very good reason not to incur it.

Randayl: Those are the things we talked about. Here are the additions:

Peychaud: Go ahead.

Randayl: First of all, I want my sisters to get comprehensive changeover training before they turn eleven.

Peychaud scratches his head.

Peychaud: A court isn't going to enforce that kind of specific performance. You'd have to settle for liquidated damages if he doesn't comply, and you can't just set them however you like -- that would be up to the judge.

Peychaud: You could pay the expenses with a trust, but you can't disturb his parental rights easily. An unsympathetic court would see that as coercive. And "taking care of" your children is the essence of parental rights.

Randayl: Well, can we make sure that the penalty is great enough to make him comply? Say, by requiring full repayment of the outstanding balance immediately if he doesn't?

Peychaud: As I say, a judge would consider that coercion. I think you have to give that one up, much as I regret it.

Randayl: I can't. Not after living through what happens to an unprepared Sime in changeover. Maybe we could dangle a suitable reward in front of his nose?

Peychaud: You could forgive the interest payments if he sends them; that's the best that occurs to me offhand.

Randayl: Hmm. Well, maybe we can get back to this later.

Peychaud: Okay. What next?

Randayl: The other thing I want is for my sisters to be allowed to communicate with me. To get my letters and send back their replies without undue censorship.

Peychaud: Same story: it's specific performance and it's contrary to parental authority.

Randayl gets up and starts pacing the room.

Randayl: Well, then, how about this: He gets half the sum he wants when we sign, or at least as soon as it's available. And the other half after my sisters have taken changeover classes -- I'm sure we can find a way to confirm that they actually attended. And an additional sum each, say, six months, as long as I have unhindered communication with my sisters?

Peychaud: Ah, excellent. Well thought out, Tuib Randayl. That should stand up just fine.

Randayl: Good. Then we'll cut the initial sum enough to leave him hungry for the rest.

Randayl mentions another sum.

Peychaud: By making the loan contingent on a fact, we don't actually compel him to do anything in particular. We just say you won't lend him the money unless such-and-such is already the case.

Randayl: Good. I gather my father will be in serious trouble if he can't repay his debts, and soon. That's why he came here to talk to me, rather than contesting the will. Which he could have done successfully, I expect: he knows a lot of judges. He's desperate enough to settle for part of the estate now, and give up any possibility of getting it all later. I guess.

Randayl gets an ~~ unpleasant ~~ thought.

Randayl: What happens if I become... unable to inherit?

Peychaud: I'm not sure I understand. You have already inherited, unless your father contests the will.

Randayl: Yes, but what if I'm no longer around to inherit? What happens to the estate then? My father knows some pretty unsavory types. I don't know if they work on this side of the border, but...

Peychaud: I understand. Well, I'm not an expert in in-T law.

Randayl: You know more about it than I do, I expect.

Peychaud: But reasoning by analogy, the property has already passed to you, so if you died now, it would go to your heir. Since you don't have any relatives by Nivet law, probably the Nivet government would get it.

Peychaud: But since the property itself is entirely on the Gen T side, the New Washington government might be able to claim that the property belonged to nobody, and seize it. After that, the question would be one for the diplomats.

Peychaud: However, what's clear is that your father wouldn't get it, since he never had title to it in the first place.

Randayl: Perhaps I should make a will, clearly giving the money to some person or organization?

Peychaud: Certainly. Everyone should have a will.

Peychaud learned that at age five.

Peychaud: You'll need a Nivet lawyer to help you with that, though. I'm definitely not qualified, though I can give you some names of business partners.

Randayl: That would take too long. I've got to get my father warned off before he heads back to New Washington, so he doesn't do anything too hasty.

Randayl: Can you draw up a draft? It doesn't have to be legally binding as it stands. My father just has to believe that I'll have such a will in effect before he can hire a suitable assassin. Can you draw one up that gives the money to, say, an assortment of charities? Pick ones that are known on both sides of the border, and which my father is unlikely to support. I'd like at least some of them to be powerful enough to fight if he tried to contest.

Peychaud blows out his breath.

Randayl: I'm perfectly willing to have one of your colleagues make it official, as soon as possible.

Peychaud: Well, I suppose I could draw up the list and then get someone from Spork and Rot'nbair to do a rush job on it. They're a good reliable family firm, just like us. A couple of days should do it.

Randayl: Okay. I'm meeting my father to finalize the agreement on the loan tomorrow. Can you bring the list with you, so we can discuss it at the same meeting? I want him to know about it. In detail.

Peychaud: I think so. You can always extend the list later, or remove some of the beneficiaries.

Randayl: Thank you. I don't wish my father ill, but I don't think I can afford to trust him.

Peychaud: Quite so. When drawing up any sort of legal papers, even with friends, always act as if you will both die tomorrow and your heirs hate each others' guts.

Peychaud learned that at his father's knee too.

Peychaud: Anyhow, I'll see you at the meeting tomorrow. Have a good night.

Peychaud gets up to go.

Randayl: Good night, Tuib Peychaud. And... thank you. For me, and if it works, for my sisters, as well.

Peychaud nods.

Peychaud: And for all of us.

Peychaud goes out, a bit surprised at the strength of his feelings.

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