“You chose a motor, why?” Mentel asked as he sat across from his son at the breakfast table. “You made motors.” Osiris answered defiantly as he crossed his arms. Mentel sighed as he leaned back on the stool. “I can understand that you’re a little annoyed, but I didn’t tell you for your own benefit. It never really mattered what I used to do.”
“I had a right to know! You made race car motors, how is that not important?!” Osiris asked as he spread his hands out on the table. “I always just thought that you repaired things, then there was mother being a famous race driver and her father being even more famous... the story that you told me doesn’t fit at all. How could you have repaired her hover bike if she was rich? How could you have not known your teacher was working with her father? Is it all lies?” Osiris asked as the tears of frustration started to form in his eyes.
Reaching across the table, Mentel rested his own hand on his son’s. “I didn’t lie to you, everything that I told you happened as I said it did. The only thing is that it didn’t happen in the exact sequence I told you. Osyria originally met me on that day, when I repaired her bike. At that time, she had no interest in mechanics and she was nowhere near responsible enough to be allowed near the race cars her father owned. Actually, back then, her father was only beginning to build his empire. Xavier on the other hand was enjoying family life and his own little repair and delivery service... I wonder if he still runs it.” Mentel asked himself as he frowned, trying to think back.
Osiris groaned, “Dad, you were saying?” Mentel shook his head and smiled at his son ruefully, “Sorry, where was I? Xavier... ah, yes! Back then, he used to work in his workshop. It was maybe three or four years before he entered the Thunderist entrance exam. Your grandfather, Osyria’s father, used Xavier’s delivery service to deliver motor parts during the years that they started setting up. Eventually their relationship evolved from being a simple supplier/customer type thing. Xavier started to upgrade his existing models and offered a more diverse range of services that dealt mainly for the race car motors. Byrne decided to offer Quentin a partnership, just to see if the mechanic could add anything to the business.”
Osiris rested his chin on his folded hands, his eyes lighting up excitedly. “And then what happened?” Mentel smiled, “Then Xavier completely reformed the organisation and made it profitable. He picked his own delivery drivers as race car drivers. Ah, I should explain that one a little better. Xavier’s delivery service was always faster than its competitors because he used the old sector roads. The ones that don’t have the car-tracks in them. That way, he could use speed in non-residential areas. He combated the illegality by paying the fines as they arose. His profitability was more than enough to cover costs. His drivers made a fantastic addition to the race team during the partnership.”
Osiris was grinning now, “So he recruited you to work for him?” Mentel however grimaced, “Not exactly. My family wasn’t as wealthy as your mother’s. We were hard working, but luck never really favoured us all that much.” Osiris gave his father a puzzled look, but before he could voice a question his father had already continued. “My father and mother ran a business from home. It was originally a tailoring shop that made clothing for middle class people; they thought that their handmade clothing had a market. My uncle helped them out with it, but they went under during the credit crunch a few years back. They owed a lot of money and sold everything to their name. My father started working with my uncle, but it was impossible to avoid all the debts. Suppliers tore into my uncle’s company asking for my father’s debts to be paid. Because of it, the Creeks went under and left middle class status.”
Osiris was looking at his father, “What do you mean they left middle class status?” Mentel laughed as he shrugged his shoulders, “We were poor, Osiris, as poor as you can get.” Osiris frowned, “But how did you meet Xavier?”
Mentel sighed as he rested his temple in one hand and started toying with the wedding ring on his finger. “Xavier was one of the suppliers; he was a cruel businessman that settled for nothing but the best. My father’s excuses rolled off of him and he instantly cut a deal. I was to be apprenticed to Quentin until the debt was paid. Being my father’s only son, I accepted instantly. But my father would have none of it. He protested that he wanted a better life for me, and offered to work instead.”
Osiris was entranced once again, “And then what happened?” Mentel span the wedding ring across the metal table top and caught it in his other hand. “Xavier instantly refused. He said that my father was too old to learn anything new. But that I would be perfect for the job. The next day, I started work for Xavier Quentin. I actually remember it perfectly, it was my birthday.”
Osiris smiled, “I guess it wasn’t the best present for you, having to work to repay your father’s debts.”
Mentel grinned, “I didn’t really care at the time. I was only seven and all I wanted was to see was my father’s smile again. Although... it was a while before I managed that feat.”
“Wow, you were working with mechanics when you were that young?” Osiris asked with his mouth agape. Mentel however was laughing, “You make it sound alien, but you were here helping me since you were two!” Osiris blushed for a moment before laughing back, “Yeah, but I’m a prodigy... I have an excuse.”
Mentel grinned at his son, reached across the table and ruffled his hair. “Well if it makes you feel better, I wasn’t a natural. I had to learn everything the hard way, which eventually became progressively difficult when my mind began to wander.”
Osiris perked up, “Mom?”
Mentel winked, “Sports.”
“But you never did any sports, ever!” Osiris laughed as he sat back in his chair. Mentel however was just smiling at his son, “I guess that there are a few things that I failed to mention. One of which was that I never went to school...”
“That can’t be right, what about Ithan? You said that you went to school with him.” Osiris asked as he caught the spinning wedding ring on the table and handed it back to his father. Mentel sighed, “No, I went to university with Ithan. School however, was a joy I never really got to experience. After about ten years of working with Xavier, my family was free of debt. I had no education; I couldn’t go back to my family because they were living as comfortably as they could. I had no options open for me, and without the basic school education. I couldn’t hope to gain a higher level degree; it was a depressing period in my life. I asked Xavier for his advice; he was closer to me at that time than my own father. He gave me the money to go to college and he pulled connections to get me into Expenditech.”
“Was it a good university?” Osiris asked slowly. Mentel snorted, “It was barely held together, it relied on government funding to keep itself afloat and it was the lowest grade facility in the sector. As far as I’m aware, it’s about to go bust. Anyway, I wasn’t the most social of people when I went to that place. You have to remember that I had spent most of my childhood working on motors and machines, being yelled at by disgruntled delivery men. I didn’t make many friends when I was there, and I really wanted to... experience life. Sounds strange, I know.”
“And did you make many friends?” Osiris asked, his hands outstretched across the table as he sighed. Mentel grinned wistfully, “Not really, but it was a fun experience. I don’t think I would have counted on Ithan as a friend, we were only really acquainted through Speed ball.”
“You played speed ball?” Osiris laughed, looking his father up and down with disbelief written all over his face. “I learned that I was competitive, and that I don’t like losing... at all. And that I have above average reflexes. Don’t let me get distracted though, I was talking about Xavier.”
A loud beeping interrupted the conversation, causing the two Creek’s to look to the answering machine. “Think it’s another scholarship?” Osiris asked as he smiled down at the flashing light. Mentel frowned, “Nah, it’s probably just another job offer, hoping that they can get to you through me.” Osiris grinned, “You were saying about speed ball?”
Mentel smiled, “I got kicked out of Expenditech in my final year. Academics just were not for me, and I decided to go back to Xavier, but this time as his apprentice. Started working more on motors, I worked more closely with Xavier and his personal team, specialised on race engines and the rest is history.”
“You’re not seriously going to finish with that?” Osiris groaned as he span around on the stool. “You have to tell me what happened, why were you kicked out? Why did you decide on an apprenticeship with him, didn’t you want to leave?”
Both Creeks were cut off by the sound of beep emmanating from the table in front of them. "The doorbell? Ah, it should be okay, they'll get bored of trying to get interviews eventually." Mentel said with a grin.