This is from a work in progress. Aaron Park is an in-house attorney working at the Trojan Orbit Headquarters of the off-Earth corporation, Vestacorp.
Aaron’s morning commute was a short 30-minute flight. Vestacorp’s manufacturing spires stretched elegantly from the hollowed-out asteroid at its core. The ingress route at the rotation axis pole was free of traffic. The blue collars were already punched in.
“Messages,” he said as he punched his code. He immediately regretted checking. Ceres OM&M filed a trade-knowledge grievance with the Space Miner’s Guild.
It wasn’t just a disappointing development; it was something Aaron should have anticipated. Ceres threatened legal action weeks ago. But Aaron considered the threat hollow and didn’t prepare his superiors for the risk.
And the assigned arbiter: Nelson Smythe.
Aaron hated the stuffy cretin. He examined the message closer. Smythe had not simply notified Aaron, like most decent arbiters. Instead, he noticed Aaron, Aaron’s high-strung project leader—Garth—and Garth’s superior, Executive Vice President Nora Dane.
Garth will implode. Not because of the complaint, which was bad enough, but Nora Dane was dangerous. Garth worked hard to stay out of her crosshairs. She was busy. She would probably delete the message without reading. But maybe not—and if not, it could undo Garth’s carefully-groomed, middle-management anonymity.
Aaron frowned. How had he misjudged the Ceres threat? It had seemed vague and harmless. So instead of handling it, he just hoped it would fizzle and go away.
Copyright (c) 2012, J. C. Conway