“Drop the apologies. Seldon requested priority one, and when you’re given priority one in France, mon ami, you get everything you want, including me.” Maurice couldn’t help the chuckle. “That sly fox sent you out without telling you the whole story again, didn’t he? Another favor, eh?”“Stuff it, Maurice. We’ve got to work fast. How much did my bastard of a boss fill you in?”
“Enough, although he left the juicy parts for you later. It must be pretty big because our friends from the Sinai want to get their hands in the pie. They’ve already made contact.”
“What have you told them?”
“Buf.” Maurice shrugged away the Israelis as a minor discomfort. “You know us French. We’re ticklish about our territory. I thanked them very politely—”
“Extremely diplomatic of you,” Richard interrupted, amused.
“Of course. Said we would handle at this end—”
“And would notify them immediately if we needed their assistance.”
“Minimal interference,” Maurice finished. “However, not that I mind working with you but—”
“Why the Côte d’Azur?” Richard asked.
A confirming grunt.
“Must be the weather and the choice real estate.”
Maurice laughed. “Dieu, but it will be good to work with you again, mon ami. It was getting very boring around here. Not much to do, now that everything’s so warm and cozy in the East thanks to our newly enlightened ex-Communist friends. They’re even making us work on local stuff. Boring. I’d rather be working on something interesting, like Kosovo or Algeria.”
Richard chuckled. “Such waste of a new office, huh.”“Oui,” Maurice retorted. “They should have kept the money and given us a raise..."