Corporate Synergies is a modestly epic 14-part space opera of questionable ethics and dubious morality centred on the ongoing conflict between two mega-corporations and their quest to dominate the retail landscape of Earth’s ever-expanding colonial reach.
SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES
The UniRe Regional Management Centre orbiting Procyon was a marvel of human engineering. A self-contained and self-sufficient space station the size of the Earth’s moon, boasting full greenhouse decks with artificial sunlight and producing enough fresh food to feed the entire population of the station three times over. Recreation decks featured large, expansive parks, complete with flora and fauna – real, not synthetic – representing several of Earth’s most prominent biomes.
Sounds like a fantastic place to visit, doesn’t it?
Well tough shit, you can’t. UniRe upper management only. No room for the unwashed masses.
A brighter future
For you and me,
But fuck off unless you work
But you know who can visit? And in fact owns a penthouse condo overlooking a re-creation of a Tropical Montane Forest?
“Ah, Zalia Rushworth! So glad to see you again!”
And of course she smiled her perfect smile, tossed her perfectly-coifed hair and extended a perfectly manicured hand to the man who had spoken. So polished was Rushworth in her outward appearance that she let slip no sign of her distaste for the man, his obesity, his sweatiness, his tendency to stare at her breasts while she spoke or his frequent flatulence.
“Braxton,” she said, polishing her voice into the low purr that she knew would turn the pompous shit into pudding. “Always, always a pleasure.”
The shook hands and then Braxton insisted on a hug, which Rushworth cheerfully (on the outside) accepted. Her smile didn’t even falter when Braxton gave an extra squeeze from behind to press her ample bosom tighter against his own even more ample bosom.
“I understand we may have found a new source of Star Crystals?,” she said when he finally released her.
“Yes, yes, possibly. I suspended discussions with the other corporation as soon as we discovered the possibility.”
Rushworth couldn’t help but chuckle. It was absurd how many UniRe employees were afraid to mention Global Consumer Group by name.
“Yes, but as I understand it, you didn’t order redeployment of the EMD until after you’d walked away from the negotiating table,” she said, her voice sliding out of the purr and into something more formal. “And that’s given GCon time to issue their own redeployment orders.”
“Are… are we certain of that? I haven’t seen any reports-.”
“I have information directly from GCon sources.”
“Oh. I see.”
Though he seemed ready to say more – something either in his own defence or something that would throw a subordinate under the bus, no doubt – Braxton stopped speaking as a third person entered the room. He was as polished and pretty as Rushworth… well, not quite as pretty, but he also hadn’t had as much surgery toward that end. Zhon Cave (pronounced “Jon Kah-vee,” which doesn’t sound nearly as exotic or impressive as the way I pronounced it the first time I met him) was technically one of Rushworth’s underlings, but Procyon was his home base. He was Regional Vice President of Media & Public Relations – an impressive title that meant he handled the day-to-day work in the area while Rushworth did her thing and handled the big stuff.
Cave was always conflicted when Rushworth came to Procyon. Part of him was nervous because when Zalia Rushworth came to the ass-end of space, it was for one of two reasons: something bad was about to go down and she needed to rally the troops, or someone was getting fired. So her presence made him nervous. But the other part of him was excited, because he really, really wanted to bang her.
“Mister Cave,” she said, her voice taking on another kind of purr, this one a little more leonine, more predatory.
He smiled, and got an erection as they shook hands.
“Ms. Rushworth, wonderful to have you back on Procyon Station.”
“One of these days I’ll have to come out this way for pleasure,” she said, effecting a fake wistful tone. “I’d love to spend more time in the biomes.”
“I think we all would,” said Cave, with a chuckle.
Clearing his throat, Braxton tried to re-insert himself in the conversation.
“Ah… yes… the biomes are lovely.”
“Sadly, I am here on business.”
“Of course,” said Cave. “The Biccaneus item?”
Rushworth nodded and though Braxton opened his mouth to respond, it was Cave who spoke first.
“Based on the information we’ve received from our orbital survey teams, we stand a good chance of addressing the supply chain issues we’ve had with Star Crystals.”
Withdrawing a small PDA from his jacket pocket, Cave held the device flat in his palm and activated a holographic representation of what looked kind of like a jagged intestinal tract.
“This is an approximation of the cave system our GPR has mapped out. All the conditions we can see match almost perfectly with cave systems we’ve harvested the crystals from in the past…,” he said, trailing off and locking eyes with Rushworth. “But this – they’re calling it The Hole – is almost three times the size of the Gralahout Caverns.”
For the first time in a long time, Rushworth’s cool exterior cracked and she allowed her true emotion – shock – to show through.
The Gralahout Caverns were the site of a bitter and protracted battle against the Frogmen of Doom Lake. UniRe had lost nearly two hundred members of the EMD to secure the caverns, but the victory had been well worth it – Gralahout was a cave system of just over six-hundred kilometres that had become the single largest source of Star Crystals ever discovered. The contents of Gralahout alone had accounted for $1.6 billion in profit for UniRe. Rushworth’s own net worth, thanks to her stock in various UniRe subsidiaries, had skyrocketed as a result.
If the new cave system on Biccaneus turned out to be an even larger source of Star Crystals…
She almost shuddered at the thought of her earning potential.
“First things first,” she said, regaining her composure. “We can’t call it The Hole.”
“Why not?,” asked Braxton.
Both Rushworth and Cave turned toward him, surprised.
“I’m sorry Mister Braxton, I’d forgotten you were still here. You’re fired.”
As Braxton simply stared in shock, Rushworth waved over two large security guards who dragged the overweight man away.
“We can’t call it The Hole,” she said. “Because the EMD members there have taken to referring to Biccaneus as Big Anus.”
“Ah,” said Cave, nodding. “The Big Anus Hole. Of course.”
“We’ll call it the Cavern of Stars.”
“Isn’t it? Now,” she said, bringing out her own PDA. “Do we have any EMD personnel on Biccaneus flagged as potential public relations recruits?”
“We do in fact have one,” said Cave. “And I’ve made sure one of our camera men has been assigned to her team.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Enjoying CORPORATE SYNERGIES? Check out my full-length novel that involves fewer douche-bags, Radko’s War!