AMETHYST : CHAPTER THREE/PART ONE = Enjoy and please leave a tag, comment and resteem for others to enjoy it.
Space Complex Ares
February 16th 2113
The interview had been more defining for April than she had really expected. Her mind had told her that at first it was pointless, a waste of her talent. Then she had tried looking at it from another angle, a way to get a little revenge on those she blamed for her purgatory out here in the wilderness, something which was actually rather worth her time. But now though she was less sure of herself. Embarrassing her tormentors was one thing, but if Admiral Bradford was right and if Errol Corp really was sponsoring a private war with their Chinese competitors the implications were huge.
Cyrus Errol had a hand in everything. For the last sixty years Errol Corp had been a staple of American life producing everything from food and domestic appliances to warships and space stations. They had subsidiaries involved in every industry, patents in every field of technology and an annual turnover that dwarfed most countries. The amount of power they wielded was immense, yet most of the time that power was hidden safe behind closed doors unseen by the majority of people.
There were rumours of course, but as Errol held majority shares in most US based media outlets nothing official was ever broadcast with only one or two linked stories slipping through the net, like April’s little exposé. The control of information on Earth, especially in the US was extremely tight. It was increasingly hard to speak out about the corporations because they controlled and regulated most means by which a voice could be heard. When the Senate had tried to do something about it media dominance helped ensure a poor performance in the elections. The President and the Senate were unquestioning supporters of Cyrus Errol, indeed most owed him their jobs and as such allowed him to get away with murder. Apparently literally.
Virtually no one knew Errol himself, a recluse who lived on a vast estate in the American Midwest far from the hustle of cities and the glare of spotlights. He was said to be about a hundred and forty years old which with modern medical technology was no more than advanced middle age and was still energetic enough to ride horses, shoot, and frequently chew out his underlings who failed to perform to his standards. He also happened to be one of the smartest people alive and never let anyone forget it. His grasp of technology and the means of exploiting it was legendary, second only to his greed. The exact total of his fortune was unknown, but it was suggested he was the world’s first trillionaire.
Opposing Cyrus Errol in any matter was a fast track to failure. He swatted other businesses out of existence with the impunity of a child with a fly catcher. Companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars were nothing to him, if they had something he wanted he bought them out. If they refused he undercut them, destroyed them entirely, then bought out the ruins. He was ruthless, single minded, and when denied something would fly into a rage. In many ways he was a megalomaniac and it appeared that out here those tendencies were clear to see.
Heng Enterprises stood in his way, they claimed something he wanted and Errol would not allow it. Unfortunately for him Zing Heng was a business woman of such calibre that she might as well have been Errol’s clone. She was his equal and opposite, his Nemesis, and Heng Enterprises was every bit as rich and influential as Errol Corp. Maybe more so. Heng could not be bought out and was too powerful for conventional brinkmanship or power games to be of much effect. It seemed that Errol had therefore gone ahead and used the last option open to him, physically destroying Heng assets with armed warships. It was frankly no surprise to anyone who knew her that Heng herself fought fire with fire.
The competition had been going on for several years and was fairly common knowledge. The New York Times frequently reported on the underhanded tactics of Heng and her employees, even going so far as to accuse them of murder and sabotage. It was probably true, but made no mention to the fact that Errol was doing the exact same thing. The Chinese media reported much the same thing but in reverse, decrying Errol Corp as immoral greed obsessed cowboys riding roughshod over the law while of course showing Zing Heng as whiter than white.
April had an opportunity out here to find the truth, to see things with her own two eyes and not rely on bribed eyewitnesses or doctored computer logs. How exactly she was going to spread the message was another matter, but one she would handle later. For now her task out here was clear, and that was to damn Cyrus Errol.
It was easy to say, but not so easy to do. Almost nobody had ever tried to stand up to him and those that did often settled down after a while, usually with suspiciously inflated bank accounts. April knew that bribery was rife in the media and on the rare occasions that didn’t work intimidation and ridicule were used to destroy the messenger and therefore invalidate the message. Errol Corp sued everyone who would not stay quiet, and their show trials were perversions of justice that were little more than streams of lies. Even if an honest judge found against the Corp it was usually too late and buried under other stories in the bias media.
Dealing with that would be tough, but then again nobody had been in a position to report on such a major story. The fact that a private war was going on with the apparent tacit approval of the US government was a very big deal, the biggest story in decades and something which would make April famous for life. Something like this could not be suppressed. She encouraged herself by demanding the story be told, by repeating over and other that the thousands of dead out here needed to be heard and it was the moral thing to do. Mostly though her motives were entirely selfish, and each passing hour made her more determined to seize fame and glory. April Conroy, the woman who brought down Cyrus Errol.
What had seemed like hell now became paradise, a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a difference. Errol Corps had got it wrong, they had exiled her without thinking about what they were doing, they had underestimated her and by all that was just and right they were going to pay for that arrogance. They had played games with her life and career, and that was going to come back and bite them.
The interview had confirmed a lot of what she had expected, people in authority out here knew what was going on but just couldn’t prove it. What she needed was first hand documentary evidence which showed a ship employed by Errol Corp attacking another Chinese registered ship without provocation. It happened all the time, but no one could prove that it did. The only way she was going to get it was to go out there and find it herself. She couldn’t take a civilian ship, it was far too dangerous, but by yet another stroke of reversed luck she didn’t have to worry about it one bit.