SEEPromotion? Heck yes! And why does my mouth taste like a gym sock?
Oh. Yeah. Hypersleep. Got the wakey-jitters.
Through a disposable plastic face mask I see there is a green flashing light on my right. I raised my arm, but it was sluggish to respond, late to the button and really hard to press.
I am rewarded with a soft chime and the door slid smoothly back, flooding my vision with silver decking, battleship grey walls and too many bright shiny lights in my face. I stripped the mask from my face. The air that floods in is stale, outer-space cold and slightly tin tasting.
And right in my face was an automated hospital drone.
“I’m up! I’m up!” I blurted at the medical robot, waved it aside, and took my first shakey step out of the Cryo Chamber. Darn that floor was cold.
My ears became attuned to the soft hum of distant machinery. A cursory glance around revealed a basic Cryo room with access doors to either end leading out to tight corridors with little headroom. Standard Corporate Satellite design. Hey, why not ruin a perfectly good hallway by stuffing in as much machinery as possible?
“Can I get a robe!?” The robot chimed a positive note and glided away, returning quickly with a deep red paper robe.
“Great.” I sighed, shrugging it on. “Now get me some coffee. And it better be Earth Columbian. And real. Not that fake moon dust crud.” Rank hath its privilege. And one of them, as the new Director of Corporate Satellite at Callisto was… My thoughts trailed off as my eye landed on the heavenly sphere out of the nearest porthole.
The planet was red. Not the white spotted icy blues of Callisto. Ancient desert sand red with thin atmosphere. Dang it! Mars! Somebody’s head was gonna’ roll.
“Where is the current Corporate Head of this Satellite?” I asked the retreating robot.
“Here. You are the current acting Corporate Head of this Satellite.” the air beside my head replied. Corporate AI, no doubt.
“Where are the other Executive Personnel?”
“You are the sole surviving member of the latest arrival of Red Corporate Executive personnel and are therefore the de facto Corporate Head of the Satellite.” the AI replied.
“But Mars of all places! Why are we here?” Everyone knows Mars is a no-go zone. Way too much fighting over it, for years. Heck, half the surface is a radioactive ship drive dump.
“It would seem that Earth Corporate Management has decided to do something special here.” the AI suggested. “There is a scheduled call incoming at 0800 from ECM to all Satellites in orbit and I have been instructed to ensure that Red Corporate’s representative takes the call.”
What? Wait. To all satellites? “How many Corporate Satellites are in orbit?” I asked.
“There are one from each Ruling Corporation including ours. Six in total.” was the reply after a tactical delay while the AI scanned and checked for accuracy.
All six of the major Ruling Corporations of Earth are represented here. Something big was up on Mars.
Earth Corporate Management was the global government of Earth and now, as a representative of Red Corporation, one of the six ruling class Corporations of Earth, I was nervously awaiting their call in exactly 60 minutes.
You know how you can be employed at your local store? Which is owned by one smaller corporation or another? And how that corporation is a “subsidiary” of another larger entity? Like if you trace the ownership of all the Earth entertainment corporations – your local tv stations, cable news, online content providers and motion picture producers – back to their owners you’d find every bit of entertainment and time wasting media that is sucking your money and attention is owned by one of maybe 5 Corporations.
Don’t believe me? Look up “Viacom Subsidiaries”. I’ll wait.
Yep. Paramount, CBS, Simon & Schuster, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, BET, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum. You think you’re getting different political and social viewpoints by changing the channel or the media? Ha. Think again. And if you think it ends there, you’re wrong.
All those top tier companies are owned by only six Corporations. The 1% have nothing on the Corporations who own everything on Earth. And Earth Corporate Management owned and ran them all.
And they wanted to talk to little old me.
“How many personnel from Red Corporate are currently on board this Satellite?” I’d need an Executive Assistant at least.
“Just you.” it replied.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“Not even a little.” it replied. “I’m not allowed.
SEE CHAPTER 2: A CALL FROM CORPORATE
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We are very pleased to announce that the position of "Chair" in the Mars conflict will be replaced with a Chief Executive from the Ruling Corporation Council. We are sure that the Executive will be able to handle this new responsibility and be able to sort out the issues of Companies not resorting to bribery in the conflict. Shame on you! You know how this works!
The Executive will be staying at one of the six conflict Corporation Satellites and will be able to provide said Corporation with advantages and additional responsibilities in the Conflict.
We wish the Chief Executive all the best in their new position.
We at the Corporation have always had the best interests of our employees at heart and will always maintain a flow of water to Mars for the sustaining of our operations and personnel. We endeavour to send at least one rocket per year to Mars in the hopes that it will return profit and make life on Mars that much more accomplishable.
It has been reported that not all the water that is shipped arrives at the Mars Satellites. While we would like to dispute the low numbers and blame other Corporations for malfeasance and sabotage, we have to admit that sometimes not all the water arrives as scheduled. The rigours and hazards of space travel results in many shipments being waylaid or arrive with less than their intended volume. However, we are confident that our well trained employees will make the most of the volume of water that does arrive, utilizing it to activate Squishy and Crunchy as needed and to also maintain resupply of troops currently on Mars.
We have the utmost confidence also that our employees will return the most profit from Mars with the water they do receive.
Our Crunchy are state-of-the-art autonomous operating units that are there to support the Squishy units. They are AI units that operate within strict boundaries set by the Earth Corporation Technological Alliance and as such they do not harm or act unilaterally against Squishy.
Reports have been circulating that Crunchy have rendered Squishy units against their will. We can assure you that this does not happen. These are times of conflict and as you know, in battle, there are occasions where it is necessary to render some Squishy for water for the the survival and resupply of existing units on Mars. Each Crunchy comes equipped with the ability to render Squishy through a door located in the main section, but all Squishy introduced to this entrance has done so voluntarily and with pride.
As you know, the abilities of the "Chair" in residence on a Satellite in orbit around Mars are transferable to the Company Representative. These abilities include being able to determine when the fiscal year Quarters will start and when movement is allowed to commence.
Movement usually proceeds from the chosen "first" player and rotates on the agreed clockwise Earth rotation basis.
We are happy to announce that a new power has been ratified at the EAGM (Earth Annual General Meeting) and now the Chair has the ability to not only determine which Company commences movement in the Quarter, but also will be able to determine the EXACT order of Company commencement.
We would like to put an end to the rumour that the biologically bred space exploration units commonly referred to as "Squishy" are missing Earth citizens who where being subjected to Indentured Servitude. They are NOT.
We all know that there are citizens who are subject to Debt Repayment Through Labor as legally established by the Credit Card companies in 2028. This does not mean that there is any connection between our Corporation and citizens subject to Labor Repayment being pressed into service as Squishy for space exploration.
The New York True News reporter who "broke" this supposed supposition was actually found to be suffering from previously undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia and has left the news industry to seek professional help.
We cannot explain the disappearance of so many Indentured citizens, nor should we have to. It is true a subsidiary of our Corporation manages several Indentured Service Depots, but they have been under Corporate FBI investigation. We refer you to the CFBI report that concluded that the missing citizens had indeed travelled off-Earth before disappearing, but the report concluded they were either on vacation or had moved to space to avoid Debt Repayment Through Servitude.
Our Corporate Squishy only come from vat grown cloning techniques that are Corporate FDA approved and subject to rigorous oversight and supervision. Squishy are autonomous biological worker bees and nothing more. They have carefully restricted intelligence and need constant direction from our Satellites in orbit to explore and do the job they were "trained" to do with cognitive brain impression. While in space, Squishy are kept at a minimum moistness level and are in stasis until reactivated through rehydration with water. Squishy are also ethically recycled for the water when their usefulness has ended. We restate that Squishy are not people.
We at the Corporation would like to unequivocally state that OUR Corporation has absolutely nothing to do with the Solent Red travesty. We're not too sure about the involvement of the other Corporations however, because that would just be the kind of inhumane thing in which they would be involved.