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Floozman in Space

by Bertrand Cayzac

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Chapter 6: Far Away, on a Mediciean Moon

part 2

“This is essentially what the vice-president told us,” the stimuli shield says. “The next Earth governance control will be carried out by soldiers. In truth, this is an invasion. Everything is already decided. The moons will be placed under trusteeship and companies will be audited.”

“Audited?” breaks in Schtroumpf, the faithful Chief Operating and Organic Resources Officer. “No, the army will take control, period. Our technologies will be looted by Earth consortia with the blessing of the central government and our competitors! The government has changed; we have lost many valuable supporters.” He carries on in the tone of one who sees blame accumulating.

“But why have things come to this point?” The one who asks is Stuart Surof, the director of Strategy and Financial Innovation. He is a young, pink-skinned man. His face bears the mark of the most refined efficiency. But he used to be the Financial Director before he was sidelined.

How can he still be asking questions when he does not direct anything anymore? the stimuli shield thinks to itself, sensitive as it is to behavioral anomalies.

Group finances are now in the sole hands of Cosmitics head management. The money has likewise been in their control since the moons' Central Bank shutdown.

It is suspicious that Jay Beeh has maintained him in a senior management position. And the man becomes defiant as soon as hyper-management gets loose; he is almost negative. There's something wrong with him, but what? Performance reviews are consistently strong. Conformance test results are fully satisfactory.

“Janatone Waldenpond is alive,” the stimuli shield answers at last.

At these words, Jenny's eyes stop rolling as if a surge of awareness made her suddenly return to the present.

“She has just been granted asylum on the Super Estrella. She has already divulged lots of classified information, and our complaint won't change anything. It's exactly what they've been waiting for.”

“But who is this Waldenpond?” asks Jean-Borg, the Executive Committee Director for Europa. JB — Jay Beeh — he must know.

[Career path sequence begins.]

Jean-Borg Borguignon, 125 years of age, of which 58 have been spent on Earth. Graduate Maginot class of the Paris Patatechnique School. Alumnus of the Jupiter Space Administration School. Holder by implant of a neural HMBA in Financial Security from New Pavonis Mons. Superior optimization school and program officer in the federal army.

JB Borguignon is recognized as an assertive transition bio-management specialist. Prior to taking the position of Cosmitics Space COO, his recent career highlights included the positions of COO for Quantix Pleasures, five hundred tera-billions zouzim revenue, and of Vice-President in charge of unsupervised innovations at Pacific Nutriments

[Career path sequence ends.].

“A rebel,” Schtroumpf answers. “She ran away during the second reorganization to join the rebel slave robots. The palace informs us that she may have retained a classified Artificial Uterus. This is serious.”

Jay Beeh is annoyed. “How come I haven't heard anything about it before now?”

“The alert was processed with the right priority level for a change management phase. Security forces counted her among the dead in the Wenceslas asteroid attack of 2525. I don't know how she managed to tweak her firmware and cover her disappearance. But remember: she is an elite CosmiGirl. She was part of Jenny's close-knit team... This was an obvious operational risk.”

Brigitte Kaliyuga, the Scientific Director, speaks up for the first time. “Did she have a genomic participation in the A.U.?”

“This A.U. is classified by the Presidency's laboratories!” Millicent adds.

A brief silence falls. Schtroumpf announces that the Fifth Fleet is performing orbital maneuvers around Mars. “The observations transmitted by the intelligence services make it clear: the time has been chosen to enter the Earth's gravitational field and catapult the vessels to Jupiter. The Executive Committee can be sure the army will land within five years.”

Jenny is getting closer. She settles down in the conversation and in the memory of the present that Millicent transmits to her. She is now thinking in the moment. She says to herself that she certainly doesn't think like Brigitte nor like the cute Captain Diana who, according to the available information, will certainly be entrusted with commanding the expedition. Jenny is struck by the thought that Captain Diana may not even think at all, in spite of her cleverness and outstanding record.

In quasi-real time Jenny responds to the internal messages she has been receiving from Millicent, her stimuli shield. Only part of Jenny's messages are transcribed, but the implant knows more or less what to do. The device improvises; she is auto-learning. It has to be done.

“Jay Beeh, in two minutes we are switching to hyper-management. You will present the quantified scenarios with the plan.”

At last Jenny sees the Executive Committee unfolding in her presence. She sees it in its extension. How difficult the maneuver is! She sees it now with the gaze of the sailor who distinguishes at length the houses at the harbor. His imagination, still wide open, returns to the abode where his loved ones are dwelling with all their embroidered sheets, lavender seeds and holy pictures.

Small Leopold Schtroumpf, raised and redesigned according to Cosmitics standards, still exhibits a servile demeanor alloyed with contained violence. How could such a soul make his way to extended life?

Elegant Stuart Surof and his postures... He knows too much. Sweet Brigitte Kaliyuga with long, black hair, so neat, so brilliant, so apt to domesticate the cosmos... Why did she refuse to join the CosmiGirls? They are waiting, they are confusedly fearing her hubris.

But Jenny is not like them. She does not need them anymore. She is the freest and most accomplished creature in the known world. Maybe the greatest organizing force circling around this star. Maybe even more than this one...

“Here is Jenny Appleseed,” Millicent shouts, throwing back Jenny's hair, “founder and President of Cosmitics Corporation. Eight hundred petabillion zouzim revenue and three hundred terabillion zouzim profit for the past fiscal year in real value after taxes. Hyper-Management! One Cosmitics!” The decision beat starts pulsing in the yurt. Everyone can feel it in his plexus. The cyber-palotins on duty step back as if repelled by the directorial energy.

They are waiting. Suddenly, Jenny is here. If she is speaking Millicent's text, she is doing so with her real voice now, and nobody doubts her presence.

“The group’s strategy does not change: cross interstellar space to settle around the nearest stars and continue our development. Jean Borg’s crisis plan consists essentially in simplifying and speeding up the implementation of this strategy. It's an elegant and ambitious plan. Jean Borg has my full confidence. He will now present you with the PLANS TO GOAL.”

Jean Borg takes the floor, leaning over the table to stress the strength of his will. “I want all the projects to be completed in eight years. Six ships, six expeditions.” He falls silent and allows the acknowledgements of submission to be collected in the sensory web. Meanwhle, Jenny has sat down and remains calm and collected.

“Captain Diana will not chase us,” Jean Borg continues. “Her objective is to take over Europa. All our sites will be destroyed. Our operations on Phobos will become Cosmitics Solar System, a single production entity without any real Research and Development. Cosmitics Finance will exist only in the marketplace. And we shall take away the gold reserves.”

“Right, right, right... This is the right analysis,” comes the reply.

Jay Beeh beckons to Schtroumpf. The PLANS TO GOAL presentation begins in the managerial yurt’s intercortical space, immersing the Executive Committee members in giant diagrams and flashboards. Their proposed actions spring from their bodies like roots.

“As you know,” Schtroumpf says, “the programs have the following infrastructures in common: nuclear propulsion and solar sails, climate and life-support systems, controlled hydroponic biodiversity, protoplasm trays, distributed auto-adaptive computing, and a gene bank, to mention only the main equipment.”

Platforms as large as moons enter in majesty into the enriched field of vision, all covered with deep forests of masts, from the height of their excavated mountains down to the hollow of their gorges. They whirl and offer themselves in colorful sections.

“These elements are all produced, assembled and tested. They can be put into service now.”

“Objection,” Kaliyuga breaks in, addressing Jenny directly. “You say nothing of WARP technology development or relativistic arithmetic.”

The decision-beat slows down. All eyes turn to the President.

“All right, let's talk about it,” grants Millicent. The disputation mode is activated, scoreboards begin popping up.

Proceed to part 3...

Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac

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