Cat's Paw

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by unanun, Dec 6, 2014.

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  1. Science is amoral, many will claim. Science is only concerned with revealing the nature of the universe. But why does an amoral practice always lead to the biggest moral crises in human history? If the natural philosophers and alchymists were aware of the consequences of their actions, would they have pursued their craft? The printing press, gunpowder, levers and machines, mechanization, nuclear power, and nanotechnology ... perhaps if they knew what the people would do with this knowledge, they would have been content to allow humanity to stay as hunter gatherers forever.

    Dr. Gromak probably did not foresee the fractal history that would spawn from his discovery of how to grow carbon nanotubes of limitless length. Drawn from the furnace in a neverending thread, the nearly infinite strength of the nanotube bundles effortlessly stretched hypodermic-like into black space. Space travel became a commodity, and so did asteroids. Resources were sold at zero margin. Big miners gulped small ones, absorbing their niche technology to become gigantic mining conglomerates. On 2100 A.D., the Rol Mining-backed President of the United States dissolved the country with a majority vote. The EU soon followed, parceled into the purview of giant companies with opaque power structures and operations, while the Asian Conference remained an elected government.

    In some ways the world was more peaceful. Each company had an overt mission - to maximize its share of power, profits, and people (PPP). With nearly complete automation of all skilled labour and declining birth rates, the only humans left alive were the ones that could still do things machines and robots could not. Human suffering was largely eliminated, and those left continued the charades of negotiations and secret handshakes.

    But ambition always dreams big.


    A mooring cable was severed by a small nuclear device. Fusion plants were as common and small as batteries, and the failsafes behind them were supposed to be unbreakable. Duracell was immediately placed in stasis, their factories swarming with third-party audit agents in black suits and red ties. Deep as they could dig, they found no conspiracy. Someone had to be made responsible, and Duracell was sacrificed in the hidden boardrooms, its nuclear division funneled off into an independent company equally split between all who were affected by the mooring cable disaster.

    In a way, it did not matter who the true culprit was - the bombing was the catalyst everyone was looking for but could not ask for. With such a glaring security issue, it would be natural for a big fish to seize control of the New Congo elevator in the name of stability and continuing profits.

    What follows will be the sometimes delicate and sometimes brutal dance for control of the cable.

    This is ...

    Cat's Paw
  2. [​IMG]

    UnityCorp smelled profit like blood in the water. Suveranitate, the CEO himself, sat alone in his highrise office, rain pattering against the picture windows to his back, as he watched several news reports simultaneously. The space elevator would guarantee UnityCorp limitless power; its gross income would give them the capability to rule nations, to subsidise countless keystone industries worldwide. But above all, it was the gateway for them to begin their revolution. He languidly picked up a phone and called his advisor. An ad was to be released, and showcased at movies and television channels within Unity's circle of influence. No more were they to be known for just their high-speed internet. No more would they be known for just their expansive railways. UnityCorp would surpass mining industries and go where none had dared go before; the surface of the system's other planets. New homes among the stars for the children of the next generation. By dawn the following day, the ad was on-air. Suveranitate smiled. Things were about to get very interesting.

    UnityCorp, based in Seattle of the United States, was a corporation based entirely around the concept of ambition. Beginning as a banking firm but eventually specialising into the public services of transportation and communication, Unity made itself into a conglomerate corporation. Buying or investing in promising small businesses or minor corporations as they first became founded, UnityCorp was an amoeba that ate all it touched and grew in size as it did so. It was the big fish; so driven was Unity by its own ambition that it began work on products that would be considered far-fetched by the average man. Holograms, interactive light projections in empty 3-dimensional space. Eden City, a plan to convert Ascension Island into a prosperous, green city to house the rich and elite of the world. The cyberbrain, a complete remake of the brain allowing to user to see and interact with the internet and technology like it were in realspace. And now, the colonisation of new worlds. Only time would tell if UnityCorp's ambition would pay off- or if it were a blind bet, a long struggle for no gain.
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  3. [​IMG]
    Charles Orange was a poorly executed throwback to the 1950's. He was one of the few people on Earth to own a working 1950 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe, with a sleek jet black paint job, of course. His well-kept hair and devilish grin served him well, taking his family's modest pharmacy chain and turning it into a large corporate empire. Expansion into Asia proved a great boon, but there were a few "legal hoops" that one had to jump thorough in order to "maximize profit."
    There are many Orange Pharmacies on Earth, all of them making a fair amount of money. Charles lived a very comfortable life, much more comfortable then many other people. But, as capitalism such worked, Charles wanted more. He felt like he needed more. So, he outlined some plans. Some grand plans.
    Pharmacy was already what Orange did, and its what they still do. Drugs were already used to help; to heal. But there were always people that wanted a bit more flavour in their bland lives. So, Charles dreamt up the LifeSalt. LifeSalt is simply intended to make you feel good. It comes in different varieties: Passion, Joy, Ecstasy to name a few of the planned ones. Just place the LifeSalt under your tongue, and let it work its magic in 3-5 minutes. Careful thought is going to marketing it as a "mood stimulant" and taking extra special care to clarify that it isn't an illicit drug, but 101% safe.
    More plans for foods that would require little to no organic content and would be be easy to synthesise in a very small time with very small infrastructure and very small amounts of resources. However these plans are being put on the backburner, almost all R&D funding going into LifeSalt.
    #3 ShibeWrath, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2014
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  4. AGS.

    Small, nondescript, and stamped on every celestial navigational chip inside the short range haulers that plied the asteroids. Nobody even knew what the acronym stood for, but every time a spacecraft was assembled, the navigational system supplied by one of thousands of specialty contractors used an AGS chip at its core.

    Drell was actually responsible for AGS' vast array of mapping satellites. Only by meticulous, constant mapping of solar phenomena and beyond could the asteroid miners make it back to the space docks around the moon and the elevators, disgorging barges one mile each side full of ore. A lost barge was months of profit flushed into deep space.

    Albatross quietly existed for a hundred years. Drell was a newly minted vice-president, though he still drew heavily from the old guard. It was he who gave folded instructions inside instructions inside instructions to a colleague, who passed them to someone on the street with a wad of requisition, who then went to the local convenience store to buy a pack of Duracell DuraFusions to pass to another fellow. AGS was not to rock the boat, being the hull upon which all space travel was built upon. But that did not stop Drell from dreaming of becoming the entire ship.

    Chapter 1
    small shifts


    The low rumble of the board gave way to dead silence.

    "AGS has no interests in the portable energy sector." The one who spoke was the executive of the caretaking company for one of the mooring cables. The african leaned forward on the enormous circle of metal, his hands winking across several holo-buttons on the surface. "Furthermore, I do not see any bid by AGS."

    Drell smiled congenially, placing his palm flat on the table for the biometric scan. "Albatross intends to put forward a bid for controlling share of the Duracell Fusion Battery division. We find value in the integration of the power source with our navigation specialties."

    Chapter 1

    Duracell's fusion division yields 100 million requisition per quarter.

    There is a bid for financing the repairs to the mooring cable. The winning financing bid will earn a 10% return on their investment in one quarter in the form of dividends from cable fees.

    Many mining companies been forcefully 'liquidated' by the 100 km long nanotube cable whiplashing into Africa. The winning financing bid to buy, clean up, and refurbish the mines will earn a 10% return on investment in the form of mining operations, in one quarter.

    All companies will earn 100 million requisition from business activities at the end of the quarter.
    #4 unanun, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  5. Suveranitate frowns. A company which he had never heard of was attending the board meeting. He was distrustful of any companies he had never heard from before. Furthermore, this company-which-he-had-never-heard-of was quite confident enough -- and by association, in Suveranitate's mind, quite capable enough -- to place a bid on the dealings. This was unacceptable. He pages his assistant, demanding to know who this audacious individual was, and what this "AGS" company was. And then he makes his bid, declaring aloud as he does so.

    "UnityCorp intends to put forward a bid as well. A reliable power source is essential to supply the energy needed to construct and maintain transportation and network lines across Africa."

    Of course, any man worth his salt in the business of corporate politics knew that Suveranitate had ulterior motives. Suveranitate, and therefore UnityCorp, always had ulterior motives.
  6. With his classic charm, Orange says: "Orange GmbH will be putting in a bid. We make food and pharma, but money and opportunities to expand are always," He pauses, taking a breath and looking at Suveranitate. "helpful."
    He readjusts his trademark orange tie and leans back in his chair, exhaling. He still keeps his gaze directed to Suveranitate, growing more focused by the second.
    Orange always played dirty, and people knew. Despite the PR department's best efforts to minimize the damage, Orange was seen with a suspicious lens. He quite fancied the public thinking of him as a scoundrel. In a romantic way, one could see the image of a businessman that takes risks just for the thrill of it appealing.
  7. Drell twisted the skin on his ring finger - an odd tick, considering he was not wearing a ring. Unity and Orange showing up were unexpected. AGS suffered and benefited from its low-key operations; while it was able to conduct business and quietly build its umbrella holdings without much notice, it did not gather much intelligence on other companies. Why did it need to? It had an essential product, just like how the telecom giants carved up America. Poor Bush the third - he should have let the ATT lobby take over the entire Senate while he still had any power left.

    "AGS believes that coupling a reliable source of energy with our celestial guidance will enhance total asteroid mining throughout. In our view, it is the wisest choice to cede controlling share." He leaned forward, placing five fingers onto the metal surface. The ones and zeros ticked upwards.

    "We are prepared to make a very generous offer." 130 million flashed on the table. Murmurs from the shadows. "In addition, we are also willing to help finance the reconstruction of the mooring cable as an offer of goodwill." A second row of digits flickered: 130 million, in total doubling his offer to the board.


    "Orange?" The adjutant at AGS headquarters closed her eyes to hide the involuntary twitching; programmers felt it made them more accepted. "Pharmaceuticals."

    "So why are they putting in a bid for the fusion division?" Drell's thoughts hissed through the encrypted channel, his mouth moving imperceptibly behind his steepled fingers.

    "There are some rumours regarding their activities."

    "But ..."

    "Only rumours."
  8. (Smelling some Ghost in the Shell influence?)

    Suveranitate narrows his eyes and adjusts his tie angrily. A bold move. Suveranitate didn't like that confidence, nor did he like Orange's. It seemed that the cable had attracted a unique crowd.

    "I raise to one-fifty," he says, voice calm and gravelly. "One-fifty on the reactor. One-fifty on the mooring cable."
    He didn't bother to explain his interests this time; they had no right to know anyway. An investment was an investment. And he preferred to stay out of humanitarian aid- bit then a thought crossed his mind.

    If he funded the reconstruction of the damaged mining companies, he could potentially strongarm a few into his control. Eliminate the middleman from the supply-and-demand chain of superconductors. A significant drop in cost for the production of superconducting wire for the communications branch; increased production, increased availability, more customers.

    Without speaking, he places a humble bid on the third item. No need to draw attention to it.
  9. "Well, then, I'll raise my bet to one-sixty." Charles says, smiling at the UnityCorp CEO.
    It did seem strange that Orange would want batteries and power tech, considering what they produce currently. But the crafty CEO had plans. Many plans. Grand designs were being formulated in Charles' mind, soon to be executed.
  10. Suveranitate snarls. What the hell would Orange want with this investment? Was this just to spite his competitors? Was this a publicity stunt? UnityCorp would have no part in it; they would not feed the fire.
    "One-sixty for what?" asks Suveranitate bitterly. He was not in this business to play games.
  11. "One-sixty for each." Charles exhales. "Did I make you mad, Stevie?" His famous grin appears proudly across his face, taunting the man to make another bet. "Come back. I don't bite. At least literally." He laughs, enjoying his joke more than one should.
    #11 ShibeWrath, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2014
  12. Show Spoiler

    Suveranitate grips the edge of the table and clenches his jaw. Did this man have psychosis? He glances around to gauge the reactions of the others at the table. Orange was acting like a child, and it was infuriating. What game was he playing? Suveranitate shakes his head and seats himself, struggling to regain his composure. He wouldn't fall for it. He would stay and prove that UnityCorp stood strong in the face of adversity. Suveranitate quickly does some math in his head.
    He recollects his papers and silently raises his wager on each of the three categories, giving Orange a cold stare.​
  13. "This is pointless." Drell leaned forward on the table, his fingers swiping a clean arc across the obsidian surface. His unspoken thoughts flared as a small letter icon on the irises of the two other executives.

    All three of us will overbid ourselves on this issue. The african executive locked gazes with Drell, but he was a shrewd one, a knowing smirk on his face hinting at knowledge of his transmitted thoughts. I am aware that the both of you hold some sort of interest in the mooring cable. It makes much more sense for us to split up the three contracts among each other.

    I am currently proposing a 130 bid on Duracell Fusion and the mooring cable reconstruction. Normally, with two contracts and three bidders, this would be a losing situation for us. However, there is still an unstated opportunity. One of us can acquire and consolidate the mining operations damaged by the cable. Carbonaceous mining is very cheap and has a high profit potential.

    My adjutant informs me that both of you have already overbid for Duracell and the mooring cable. If we cut our losses now, we can all stand to profit. AGS can place a bid on the two aforementioned opportunities, but one of you has take up the mining consolidation as AGS would be subject to regulator scrutiny.

    He leaned back into his chair, his superficial perusal of the figures from Orange and Unity complete.
  14. "I will withdraw my bid for the reconstruction," states Suveranitate, casting a glance at the mysterious AGS representative. "UnityCorp will maintain its bid on the Duracell Fusion facility."
    Negotiation was a regular part of UnityCorp's deals, and this way he could still pull a profit without headbutting with Orange for superiority. And besides, humanitarian ventures had never been the company's strong suit.

    Having finished his wordless reply to the proposal, Suveranitate raises his cold gaze to Orange, watching for his reaction to the AGS proposal; Suveranitate hoped he would play along, but remained on-edge in case Orange had the audacity to try and outdo him at the Duracell bid as well.

    . . .
    Meanwhile, UnityCorp begins testing of the cyberbrain prototype. Eager to avoid legal problems associated with human testing, the corporation merely scoops up vagrants off the street- nobodies, who would never be missed- and offers them astronomical sums of money in exchange for their participation. Some are suspicious and turn it down, and rightly so as Unity had no intention to actually pay them, and would be surprised if they even survived the trials. But they didn't need boatloads of volunteers. Many still accepted, and progress was made.
    The first problem with the cyberbrain was heat. Engineers had done their best to ensure that the equipment operated at around 37 degrees centigrade, which was standard body temperature, but of course there were errors. At first it was just exposed components. Subjects complaining of incredible pain, before dissolving into screaming and suffering synaptic damage; hot components pressing against delicate nervous tissue. This was solved with a more thorough insulation application process on the assembly line. V0.2 still had heat problems, however, as users used the software for a prolonged period of time and heated the components to hazardous levels. At first usage time restrictions were enforced but R&D speculated that the cyberbrain would be next to useless without constant connectivity. With the components currently used, such a thing would be impossible. Smaller chips were needed, ones that could operate at high power without requiring a heatsink. It was back to the drawing board, but there was still progress; so far, no seizures from electrical activity (wires had been very heavily coated) and as far as reports of carcinogenic effects went, no news was good news.​
    #14 Hjorthorn, Jan 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  15. Orange sighs, quite put out by the reality of the situation. "It's yours. I withdraw my bid for the mooring cable reconstruction." He concedes reluctantly, "You have fun there, Drell. I keep my bid for Duracell itself. I have plans for that." He snickers. He then breaks into laughter, uncontrollable laughter. Laughter that one would think would come from someone genuinely having a good time, not some fellow at a business meeting that most would consider the epitome of tedium. But having a good time is only a few minutes away with LifeSalt.
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