”Congratulations, Ms. Aihaken. The council unanimously agrees that you have been exemplary in leading a life and education following the rules of conduct and the ideals of Hyasyoda Corporation.”

He paused for a moment to emphasize what he was going to say next.

“And so we grant you the position junior executive officer of this business arm.”

“Thank you, sir Kion, I am very grateful.” She stood proud before him. “Hyasyoda is like a religion to me and leading a life in line with its values, my faith.”

Kion smiled. “Here is your new working uniform.” He gave her the garments which he was carrying.

She took it into her arms but didn’t look at it yet, in order to remain dignified. It would signify to all which position she now held.

“Good luck.”

“Sir, if I may,” she said as he was turning to leave. “There is something severely bothering me, and which has for a long time and that I want to start working on immediately.”

“Yes. What is it?”

“It’s the capsuleers. I resent that more and more of our sales are lost to them. Their effectiveness in their crew-less ships and flexible organization structures is impossible to compete against, especially in this kind of market. It’s hurting us badly, not only economically, but also our pride and self-respect.”

“We are well aware of this fact. What do you propose to do?”

“I want to form an unofficial undercover group, investigating how to weaken them so that we can return to our former glory, and beyond.”

“I see. And which means do you foresee will be employed by this group?”

“Any means necessary,” she answered bluntly and without hesitation, looking him directly into his eyes.

He stood in surprise studying her for a moment, seeing the strong determination in her expression and sensing the well-concealed anger.

“Very well,” he finally nodded. “I will propose it to the council at the next meeting. Dismissed.”

As he left, she stood back alone in the reception hall outside of the council chamber, the other members having departed earlier. She waited until he was out of sight, following him with her eyes, before looking down at the female version of the dark blue business uniform which she held in her arms. It consisted of a jacket, skirt, and solely for females, an obligatory service hat that had its rim folded up at its sides and back, and a hatband carrying the insignia of their branch.

This color will look good against my auburn hair , she thought.

Back in her quarters and with the door closed behind her, away from the prying eyes and jelaous, critical looks of her fellow colleagues and students in the public areas, always searching for anything to fault with others in order to gain an advantage, she finally let it out.

“Capsuleers… I hate them!” she shouted and threw her boots hard against the wall.

She sat down and breathed heavily but she felt invigorated. Now at 25 years old having got the position that she had been expected to achieve from birth and worked towards for all of her life, gave her increased energy. She had become even more determined that she would participate in bringing back the golden times of her corporation.

The deep bell-like sound indicated that a message had been sent, specifically from the council, to her in-room comms. She was expecting a message at this time, as the council meeting where they would discuss her proposition was soon over.

It was a message that she would either delay her desire or reinvigorate it.

“Show message,” she said is she walked up to the large screen.

The council has approved your request. Move forward as you see fit. Odunen will assist you in recruiting members and obtaining the necessary resources. Present your plan to the council when you are ready.

She was content. Proud. She began dressing herself up in the new uniform, which she had already worn since last week. She put on the hat and adjusted it. Her sharply cut hair was mainly visible from under it at the front, on each side of her face where it was the longest, reaching her jawline.

In her spare time, she had studied what she would do if she was given this opportunity. But in reality, even the standard business education, for those who managed to get through it being both mentally and physically taxing from the long hours needed to keep up with the curriculum, offered rich and deep insights into common business methods but also loopholes, manipulation, building trust, deception, intelligence, bribes… all things that would be of use and beneficial to reaching her goal.

Exiting her quarters, she knew exactly how and where to begin, having thought it through again and again.


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