Tales from INSILICO — The Ruler of Her Realm

“Ambition is pitiless. Any merit that it cannot use it finds despicable.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

INSILICO Central, the core of the space-platform habitat built by that massive trans-stellar cartel, was a place that hummed with business any time of the station day. And that was the way Laurel America Auttenberg liked it. After all, what was the use of spending several trillion credits in building a tin can like this out in the middle of the big black — but strategically at the contact point between five of the strongest stellar economies in the sector — unless you were going to be doing a lot of business.

And making sure all of that business got done, with as few hiccups governmental or otherwise as possible, had become her personal job some eleven years ago.

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Deciding she was due for a brief pause, Laurel rose from her work desk and stretched for a time to keep her blood moving and muscles loose, then perched on the desk’s edge to gaze out of the transsteel window of her office.  She let a smile of contentment play over her lips as she watched the aircar activity passing by.  INSILICO wasn’t the only corporation on the habitat any more; the number of buildings with flashing ad-animations or shining corporate logos made that painfully evident.  But, as the owner of the habitat, INSILICO was able to levy a “facilitation fee” on any business transacted here which required legal certification, as well as storage and port fees for trans-shipments of goods passing through its warehouses — the only warehouses permitted on the station’s docking rings.  And, of course, there was the Corporation’s own business, with twenty of its branches keeping regional offices here on Central.  And all of that credit, in one form or another, had passed across her desk and through her hands for some time now.

Only eleven years, she thought, not for the first time in her tenure in this office, and her contentment grew, if only for a few moments.  Eleven years was a remarkably brief time for someone to work their way up the ranks of the Corporation, from the lowest salaryman position to her current status of “administrative assistant” for the Director of the Habitat, and about two years ahead of her personal plan for her career’s advancement.  Of course, everyone she had ever met knew that the IQ of the man Laurel nominally worked for was in the “lukewarm” region of the thermometer at the best of times, and that it was really Laurel Auttenberg who ran INSILICO Habitat.  Which satisfied Laurel just fine; she had the power and the pay.  Let her “boss” have the glory, and take the occasional blame.

Of course, there was always a chance that some higher functionary might take it into their heads to alter the current power structure for their own ends, or to reward a mistress, or just on a whim.  But then, that was why Laurel knew where an impressive number of bodies were buried.  She kept meticulous records of any goodies that could be used as “behavioral modification” material, and had made multiple backup copies as well.  One never knew, after all, when one’s — benefactor — might get ambitious and try to get the damning evidence back by some means fair or foul.  She always made sure that they knew that Laurel kept insurance copies, and was never afraid to use the information as it might best benefit her rise to corporate power and wealth.

Remembering the few tools she had to use back in her early days — consisting mainly of a strategically-hidden holocam, the rental of a night in a cheap coffin-hotel and her body — made her smile turn slightly wry for a few moments.  But then it returned again, and Laurel purred slightly at the memories.  She had always been sexually adventurous, to say the least; and a few of those early “clients” of hers had been inventive, to say the very least — including the one woman.  Since those early days, however, as her salary began growing in line with the early, rapid promotions her bosses had given her, it became easier to hire an investigator to dig through people’s garbage, both real and electronic and relationships, to find what she wanted for her purposes.  Though there were still times she made use of a bionic augment she had purchased at one point as her economic means had improved — electronic eye implants that augmented her vision, in terms of both distance and light quality.  Sometimes, being able to read someone’s notes at a table across a dark restaurant had come in quite handy….

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Thinking of which, she added to herself as she rose and looked reflexively down the street toward a certain nightclub, I need to remember to meet my contact at Fusion tonight.  I’d better get back to business; there’s still plenty of regular matters to mop up.  She turned back to her desk and sat down to the next file, tapping in a request for the office caterer to send her a cup of coffee.

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Some hours later, she sat in Fusion, her favorite club near her apartment, and considered the possibilities of what she had just learned from her detective.  Laurel’s ultimate plan for her career was to become at least a member of the Board of Directors, if not the Chairwoman herself; the ultimate in power in the Corporation, a ticket back to the Core Worlds from this outpost, even more power, prestige and (most of all) money.  And the tips her agent had given her, dug out by tapping the data files and outgoing communications of Werner Kikkert, the Vice President of Development and Investments in the satellite office on Theremann Central, offered her a chance to begin the ascent toward that coveted status.  It wouldn’t actually be Laurel making the move, but her boss; but she was certain of her indispensability to him by now, as well as his lingering, destined-to-be-unrequited desire to get her into the sack with him.  If he was promoted back to Theremann Central, he’d be taking her with him.

The question was, how to use the information to the best effect.  Was simple…encouragement enough to convince Kikkert to retire early?  (She disliked the term “blackmail” on principle; it was so distasteful.)  Or would it be better to simply arrange a leak to the Corporation accountants of Kikkert’s peculations?  That might not be as certain of a directed outcome, but the odds were that the selection committee for filling the sudden vacancy could be influenced somehow.  All of this bore thinking about; and she resolved to do some late night cogitating of it when she returned to her apartment, as well as a full review of the data chip she had tucked into her clutch.  First, though, there was that party to go to, thrown by one of the larger factors on station, where she might pick up some information about new product lines they were planning to carry.  She finished off her drink and stubbed out her cigarette before sweeping out of the club into the station’s simulated night.

To be continued…?

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The details:

Outfit 1:

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  • Skin:  Glam Affair Cleo (America – Clean A)
  • Eyes:  LIM (Less Is More) CyberEYE v2.1 (HUD color control)
  • Hair:  [sYs] YIU Hair (Blue/Gold)
  • Nails:  Candy Nail #P000 Basic Prim Nails (Green)
  • Outfit:  [sYs] DISTRICT 12 catsuit (rigged mesh, Blue/Black; available at the Hunger Games Tribute)
  • Shoes:  G&D Ankle Boots Arrogance Biker (mesh)
  • Jewelry:  RYCA Gus earrings; Finesmith Rocks onyx ring
  • Makeup:  Oceane Diva Cat Eyeshadow (blue); Oceane Jade Lips (Copper); cheLLe Eyelashes No. 6

Outfit 2:

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More and larger photos available at Flickr or Koinup

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Posted August 11, 2014 by Harper Ganesvoort in Fashion, Stories

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