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EVE Fiction

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"Details" an EON fiction contest submission.

Emiko P'eng
#1 - 2012-11-07 19:35:17 UTC  |  Edited by: Emiko P'eng
“Ah ****! This is a nightmare”

“Okay John, that’s it. It’s now officially well past going down the bar time!”

Mike stood up and leaned over John’s terminal trying to turn it off

“Argh! This is impossible, how on earth do you turn a project that lost 3 billion ISK into profitable project in less than 4 days!”

“It will still be impossible tomorrow! There is such a thing as over thinking a problem you know, anyway I prefer looking at the pretty legs down at the bar rather than you chewing pens”

“Okay Mike! But you know Claire wants the majority of this done by Thursday”

“Yes! And today is Monday! Switch that dam terminal off and get your ass in gear I want a beer! That’s an order!”

It was only now that John looked around the office to see all the other stations empty and dark, while the first of the night shift cleaners were polishing the desks at the other end of the office!

“Anyway I thought you were Claire’s favourite for bringing in that last project with an extra 270 million ISK profit?”

“If you mean by favourite, being given a project that even after they overcame the side effect of killing 5% of those who took it, was about as effective as aspirin, except for a very rare Minmatar viral plague! This means of course the only people who would ever buy it in the first place are also the only ones the Empire would never allow us to sell it to, even if we wanted to, then yes I suppose I am!”

John had been at AmmChem Pharmaceuticals for just over 6 years. While his career hadn’t been one of meteoric rise, he did have 2 promotions under his belt and was the obvious favourite for taking over his bosses Claire’s post when she finally got her move to corporate HQ. On the other hand Mike, who was Head of Security, had been a very good friend since well before they went to college together and it was Mike, who after a stint as an Officer in the Amarrr ground forces, joined AmmChem and persuaded John to join him here as well.

Mike stopped at the entrance of the floor and punched in the kill code that made sure all the terminals on that floor were isolated from the power & the network.

“Well Xanthon-BK was supposed to be the ‘Miracle Drug’ that could cure almost anything and then when it failed, it nearly killed the company instead! But if anyone can get that project to work and make the company money. It will be you! You worry too much about the details”

“I suppose your right, but at the moment, I also think you’re right about the bar, it’s time to forget about the dam project and get a beer”

The two of them weaved their way through the maze that was AmmChem’s Nalu office in the DED Station

As they exited the lift in the lobby Mike checked the status logs on his pad

“Last again! You work far too long and far too hard you know John!”

The security guards who had been slouched over the desk leering at the latest unauthorised girlie mag with the night porter, scrambled to hide what they had been doing while snapping to attention and saluting.

Mike went over and made a mock inspection, reminded them that they weren’t marines now and even though he was head of security, he wasn’t one to stand on ceremony, plus the mag he had was far better than the one that had been hurriedly secreted under the porters lectern!

The ex-marines relaxed, grinned and opened the door for them to leave!

The station corridor was empty apart from the chatter of the station info boards!

Mike broke the silence
“Thinking of heading dirtside for a vacation, thought about taking Jean and kids on that spiritual canyon trek on Sitanan II”

“Humm! Mako is more interested in ancient temples & monasteries”

“Thought you said her father offered you the family holiday home in the mountains?”

“He did but it’s over 8 jumps away and Mako hates gate jumps at the best of times and now is DEFINITELY not the best of times”

Mike stopped turned and looked at John “Nothings wrong is there?”

“No, No, No, nothing serious, just swollen ankles, leaking breasts and mood swings that are faster than she can finish a sentence!”

“Ah! The first is always the worst! Jean started eating carbon you know!”

They both laughed!

“Seriously though get her a nice bauble as a present; nothing cheers a lass up faster and says I love you than a flashy bit of bling”

As they headed to the bar the corridors started to fill with people and flashing neon ads.

“So what made you think about a 100 mile trek through a hot dry canyon with a bunch of monks & nuns”

“It’s our 10th anniversary and I hate long boring ceremonies, especially with a whole load of relatives who I haven’t met in years and certainly don’t know how to talk to! So I thought a spiritual trek was a far better alternative to show our devotion to each other and the gods.”

“Personally I would prefer the 17 hours of boring sermons and awkward chats, over sunburn, sore feet and blisters”

“You definitely need to get more exercise!”

“I am getting enough waiting on Mako at the moment, thank you very much!”

They entered one of the brightly lit bars and after a couple of drinks they went their separate ways.
Emiko P'eng
#2 - 2012-11-07 19:37:28 UTC  |  Edited by: Emiko P'eng
John checked his pad! Mako had given him a list of things to get on route home.

He headed down a side corridor to the emporium. Even at this hour it was still bustling with customers!

“Excuse me Sir! This is the servant's entrance”

While checking the list for the nth time he had almost made the mistake trying to go in the wrong door.

“Oh! Thank you” he mumbled as he quickly backed up and headed in the direction the uniformed woman was pointing

Wandering in the main shop door he glanced over at the U shaped alcove of the servant’s trade counter it was full servants and he wondered at the stark contrast of colours, the servants in their bland pale uniforms against the gaudy but empire approved decorations of the citizen’s counters. It then hit him like a laser bolt; they were segregated from the rest of the shoppers.

‘Segregated, humm!’

He jumped when a concierge, who had come over and enquired what goods or services he required, broke his concentration!

After showing the concierge the list that his wife had ordered he was escorted over to a desk where his list could be completed and delivered

Thinking about Mike’s idea he got the assistant at the desk to show him some necklaces while he waited for his items to arrive.

On the way back to the flat, he pondered the stores servant section again!

In the travel tube station he noted that the last 2 carriages were allocated to ‘servants’ and they had their own area marked out on the platform, ‘segregated again!’ he murmured, then he realised he had said that aloud and some of the others on the platform were now looking at him, he smiled nervously and buried his attention in his pad.

The next few days were a blur, even though Mike had to physically kick him out every night. He had cracked it; the computers chewed on his model and spat out increasingly promising figures. The whole premise was risky and unheard of but he knew deep down if he could polish the model enough and the gods were on his side, the board would go for it.

When Thursday finally came Claire nearly kissed him after he presented his proposals. She was onto HQ before he had even left her office. They were so impressed they gave him another 2 months to perfect his plan.

The next couple of month involved a whirlwind tour of the main industrial plants & stations of the region along with late nights at the office. Mike even allowed him to sleep in the office rather than keep arguing with him about going home.

All the while Mako was getting closer to her due date and he hated himself for concentrating more on the project than on her and their unborn child. But he knew also that if this worked then they would all be able to live very comfortably for a long time.

Emiko P'eng
#3 - 2012-11-07 19:38:31 UTC  |  Edited by: Emiko P'eng

He was nervous this was the biggest presentation of his career so far. The outline he had proposed only 2 months previous now had the meat on the bones. But would it be enough, his audience included two senior directors, who had travelled all the way from HQ in Amarr, as well as all the local board and Claire!

He stood up and activated the holoprojector. After nearly two hours it was finished, already most of it was just a blur, he vaguely remembered the nodding heads, Claire interjecting questions to get him to clarify certain points. One of the directors even grinned at one of his jokes.

But it was now over and the final questions had been asked and answered. Claire had suggested a quick break followed by a discussion without John present.

Now he had been called back for the verdict. He looked at Claire, but she was sat stony faced and silent as the senior of the two directors from HQ spoke.

“So the succinct version of your proposal to recover the huge loses incurred for the development of this drug that in the end only cures an extremely rare infection that is only found in Minmatar space anyway. Is that we deliberately infect some of the empire’s industrial servants in the outer regions with this pathogen. Then get some Minmatar anti-slavery troublemakers blamed for bring the virus to the Empire, let it spread through the servants and finally ride into the rescue with a renamed and branded Xanthon-BK as a cure for the induced plague!
At the same time we spin to the media that seeing the looming economic turmoil if a cure was not found we poured in resources to development the renamed Xanthon-BK to combat the ‘plague’ and save the Empire lose of money. Hopefully making a ton of money in the process and getting a positive media spin as the saviours of the day”

“Um! Blunt and to the point. But Yes! That is a fair summary”

The other director shuffled his feet then spoke

“You stated that the critical factor is the length of time after infection before we start administering the cure? You also gave a figure of 350 million dead both of which seemed a bit arbitrary”

“Well if we arrive too soon, it will look like far too much of a coincidence, especially by the Minmatar who will be looking to clear their name.
If we arrive too late, we will still make the money, but the media will remember the deaths & economic chaos more than our part in the cure, plus there is a chance another company could come up with a cure as well and finally the chances that virus could mutate and spread from the segregated servants to the general population increases.

While 350 million as the number deaths required among the servants, it must be high enough to be noticed over their normal mortality rate and therefore be enough of an inconvenience to their owners to warrant outside intervention. But not high enough to cause major panic or have a major economic impact on the empire, as that would entail a more serious investigation by the Empire into the cause of the outbreak. As a result the model I have developed shows that 350 million is a fair compromise especially when spread over the empire as a whole”

The senior HQ director stood up smiled, walked over to John and offered his hand. John gulped and grasped the outstretched hand.

“Brilliant lad, absolutely Brilliant”

Claire broke into a broad smile. The director continued

“Well if this project yields just half the profits and kudos your model predicts, this will be the making of AmmChem’s year and maybe the decade. Of course we will need a team to exclusively look after this project and I have a feeling that the manager of that new team is shaking my hand at the moment.”

Turning to Claire the director continued ‘Of course we will also need a director at HQ who has intimate knowledge of this project and can act as the overall project leader so they can give the board regular updates in person”

After the obligatory drink and prayer to success John left the meeting room still trembling with nerves.

Outside was Mike who was talking to the director’s security detail, on seeing John patted him on the shoulder

“So lad how did it go”

“Bloody brilliant they loved it”

“Good for you! I knew you could do it! Well I have more good news for you, the hospital rang while you were in there, Mako just had a boy”

John nearly fainted

This truly was the best day of his career and life so far, the gods were really smiling upon him today!

AmmChem and his fortunes were definitely on the up!