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Behind The Curtains


V The King
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Somewhere in central Calgari, inside a spacious flat, a mid-aged man was laying on his luxurious chair whilst watching TV. He did not necessarily want to watch anything at all on the screen, but there was a certain news report that he desired to hear one more time and give his mind some impulse. After surfing through a number of channels, he decided to settle with VNN and luckily enough, he saw and heard what he wanted at once:

VNN Report - Gruppo Riva merges with Gerdau!

Recife, Itamaracá: Today, the CEO's, executives and shareholders of the two largest Vinilandese steelmakers, Gruppo Riva and Gerdau, met in downtown Recife and struck the deal where both corporations would merge as one - the former names are to become defunct and the new company to be called "Gruppo Riva-Gerdau". New stocks to replace the ones for the old companies have been issued.

It is currently unknown what will the steel output be for the GR-G since there has been rumors that some steel mills may have their staff downsized or closed while others may be expanded, or new ones built. Estimates place the future output from anywhere from 50Mton to 120Mton, although they have not been worked out thoroughly.

...

Clemilio Riva turned off the television as soon as he finished listening to the summary of the news - his head had received the necessary stimulus. After a tiresome eighteen-hour long trip from Recife, few humans being could think straight without resting first - since Clemilio hasn't had his rest yet, he needed something to push his brain cells.

Indeed, Mr. Riva got up from his sitting spot and picked up the phone. He dialed a few numbers, pressed the telephone against his ears and patiently waited. After five or six rings the person on the other side of the line picked up.

"Hello, is it Alexandre?", rashly pondered Clemelio.

"Indeed, old man.", replied a rather sly, youthful voice which instantly recognized Clemelio's.

"Some people need a stern-talking-to, you know."

"Already? But you just merged your multi-billionaire corporation with another one, and you're one of the most powerful people in the whole of Viniland!"

"I want more, and you know that."

"You sound like a viado when you say things like that. Either way, what can I do for you?"

"I've already mentioned it, you need to talk with some people and they need to agree to some terms."

"Pass me names and addresses... But before that, how should I talk to them?"

"When you go meet them, bring steel. A lot of steel."

"No lead?"

"Nah. I don't want to turn you into a murderer just yet. Your job here is to scare people, kind of like clowns, you know."

"Alright... give me 'em information."

"You know what, it's a rather long list... I'll e-mail it to you. Feel free to make use of your staff, too."

"Ótimo. What will we get in return?"

"Some money and in order to help with your retirement, some stocks too."

"Muito bem. If you need anything else, give me a call."

"Will do. Peace."

Beep.

Clemilio placed the phone on its rightful place and made his way to his bed, where he would find his much needed rest. Before wandering in the land of Morpheus, a wide, bright smile could be observed on his face.

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In the next morning, two prominent citizens of Viniland met in a residence near the world-renowned beach of Boa Viagem, Recife. It seemed odd that two Vinilandese men would forgo a day of fun under the tropical sun for other matters, but unfortunately for them, they had pressing issues to deal with. Roberto Gerdau, the host and co-CEO of Gruppo Riva-Gerdau (GR-G); Adriano Johanes, the visitor and chairman of Água Negra, Viniland's leading security corporation, . Together, they had to come up with a solution to a problem.

"So, 'Beto, it seems like you are not pleased with the merger with Riva. I can guess why's that." , kicked off Adriano

"Of course. It may not seem like it, but those that know Mr. Riva well is aware that he's a goddamn rattlesnake., angrily replied Roberto, "When you're feeling the safest and the most complacent, he'll stealthily buy out all of your stocks, assets, friends, families, dogs... whatever it is, he'll try to buy it. Hell, he'd buy the beach out there if he could. Or his mother's love, which he never had."

"Why, is it not good that your partner spends his money very liberally... in investments and assets? Are you afraid that he might grow more powerful than yourself and eventually be the sole "Rei do Aço""?, wryly pondered the security man.

"This is precisely why you're here, Adriano. I want to stop Riva from having it all. Because there is so much at stake, I know he will play dirty. Since I am not a fool, I will go down to his level so I can stand a chance. And you WILL collaborate. Got it?", menacingly replied Mr. Gerdau.

"Wait a minute, Senhor. Are you trying to threaten me? You're not going to get any of my services if you keep that up.", warned Adriano

"So, you're not willing to collaborate?"

"Not if I am not paid and treated with respect, tio."

""Tio?". I am not that old, kid. Either way, I know your men do a quality job, but you ask for way too much. You better slash the price by half."

"It's proportional to the wealth of the client. Oh well, if you're not coming up with the asking price, then I might as well get up and-"

"Go ahead, if you want me to publish pornography featuring your wife and your niece to be the second worse thing happening to you today."

"What, WHAT?"

"You can ask for a divorce and beat the boy up later, but you don't want to take the embarrassment hit, do you?", Roberto laid several photos of the act on a nearby table as he spoke.

Adriano picked up the photos and for a few seconds glared at them. His eyes widened and his face grew red, out of both shame and ire. Between submitting to Roberto and going on a frenzy, he chose the option that would bear him the least PR burden.

"Er... I'll do a special price for you.", humbly replied Adriano, clearly compelled to act as Roberto wished while he hid his inner anger.

"Good.", powerfully replied Roberto as he handed the man a stack of paper, "Here's a list of tasks that you and your staff must accomplish as soon as possible. The ultimate goal is for me and my allies (you know who they are) to hold a far larger share of GR-G than Riva's bunch. Currently, it's 50-50. I want to make it at least 75-25 (in my favor, of course) in a short notice, as well as desiring to see Riva's influence in politics and businesses clearly diminish. I am trusting you on that one, mate, else you know what is going to happen. You know, your wife being hotter for a boy than to you and all... haha.

"Cala a boca.", replied an angry Adriano, "I'll have my men perform all of those tasks. Oughtn't to be a problem. You can pay me after it's all done. Don't say anything else, alright? Let me know, though, if there's anything else once I'm home. Bye."

As the ashamed man left Roberto's residence, the magnate gave a few minutes for him to be out of the area. Then, he went to his room, put on some bathing clothing and left his home for the nearby beach.

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Despite being past midnight, Salvador's downtown was still swelling with people, for the city had a highly active night life. However, the farther one went from the core, the more deserted the city became - which is natural. Because Salvador had Viniland's highest crime rates, it had the somewhat unusual sight of a large police force being deployed to ensure the safety of the streets - such measures tend to not be needed elsewhere in the country. However, despite law enforces being a clear presence, it was not enough to stop some crooks... especially those who were more cunning than your average José.

Geraldo Pinto was the name of the mid-aged man who lived by himself in a bungalow within one of Salvador's suburbs. As many of his fellow residents, he was enjoying a soccer game taking place in Kelowna - thanks to timezones, it was not a problem to watch the game from where he was that late in the night. As most Vinilandese are, Mr. Pinto was a staunch fan of the sport, and he could care less if the whole world around him was exploding, so long as he was watching his favorite team play and the game happened to be good. Thus, he would do little else other than stare at the TV for the next two hours.

What if someone was to break into his house? Would he notice it? That question was answered that night.

A mysterious, slim individual, sporting an all-black clothing (including masks and gloves) noiselessly entered the house of Mr. Pinto through an open window on his bedroom (for the hot day called for increased air flow within the house). Maintaining his stealthily attitude, he explored the room for the man's personal information - credit cards, bank cards, passports, passwords, anything counted. During his search, however, the individual heard Mr. Pinto shout "GOL!" from the nearby living room. He carried on with his business, considering he probably would keep watching the game. A mistake.

"I'll go to my room and get some caipirinha.", said Mr. Pinto to himself, loudly enough for the intruder to hear.

Sure enough, the mid-aged man went to his base, bent down and searched under his bed, to find a half-empty bottle of the drink he was coveting. Gleefully he stood up with the caipirinha on his hand. Scarily he stared at the trespasser as he awaited the man with a hunting knife pointed towards his victim.

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"What is this supposed to mean? Who are you?", questioned a panicked Mr. Pinto

"My name ain't 'yer business., replied the individual, "You gots to do me a favor."

"What is it?, was the confused reply of the victim.

"Go to 'yer system or whatevs, then do 'yer identificatin', then you gots to sell ALL of 'yer shares you gots 'fer lil'. ALL of 'em."

"Who hired you? Who?"

"N'one, 'yer windbag. I hate 'ye, 'yer companies and 'yer face. If 'ye do 'tis, 'en you ain't gonna get 'yer face slashed and I'll be satisfi'd!

"I have no choice, I guess..."

Poor Mr. Pinto! An influential businessman and shareholder, being told by some young crook to sell all of his shares at the price of half-a-dozen bananas. And there was nothing he could do, for crying for help was a guarantee to be cut into pieces by the delinquent. Obedient to the intruder, he turned on his computer, went to his stock market management program, logged in and made the demanded transactions, which was to sell his stocks at 25% of the current market price. Some of his shares were immediately bought, while the other ones took a few moments to be found and purchased.

"There you go, scum. Happy?, asked a defiant Mr. Pinto.

"I'm happy. 'Brigado, merdinha, and I hope 'yer team loses t'night, whic'ever it is!", stated the individual.

Soon, the intruder left the house through his window and disappeared in the shadows of the night. On the meanwhile, Mr. Pinto contacted the local police of the invasion and somewhat unusual threat that had to be complied. Some investigation could not find traces of the man, but it concluded that the trespasser was probably hired by someone to deal a financial blow to Mr. Pinto, however, given his poor reputation across the country, it not only might've been one of his many business enemies, it could've also been a genuinely poverty-stricken citizen, who was resentful of him, given the intruder's inexpensive gear. The police will pursue further insight in the matter, but currently has no leads.

While the on-site investigation occurred, and searches for the man took off, the criminal was safe and sound in a residence in another corner of Salvador - before seeking refugee, he opened the storm drain in a deserted street and dumped his clothing on the sewers of the city. Then, like a normal citizen, he walked to the house of a friend - no one other than Alexandre Matos.

"Cheers, Dudu, how did you do?", wondered Alexandre.

"Nice'y! My steel sur' made the ol' fossil scar'd 'fer life!", replied the successful individual. " 'Ye bou' 'em shares?"

"Yes, snatched many of them. Although the more important ones were those pertaining to Gruppo-Riva Gerdau, of course. Now Mr. Riva and his friends owns 60% of the shares, as opposed to Gerdau and his cronies' 40%.", Alexandre let out a laugh after each number.

"'Gud, can I has reward now?"

"Sure enough. I'll give you some dough, but after we go to a bar and drink a lot. I'll pay for it all, of course.

"Woooo!"

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As the two men got into a car and drove away, the night fell silent in the suburbs once again. The serenity was only broken by the sirens of the cars, who ignorantly sought for a trespasser who had probably placed himself beyond the reach of the law.

Edited by V The King
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