4: Decadence, Power, Excess, Competition, Impunity

22:29 Tue 05 Sep 2006. Updated: 12:29 31 Jan 2009
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Like most of the modern corporations, Redmane Minerals was ruled­ absolutely by its Board. The Board had thirteen members, and made decisions by majority vote. They could vote to do anything they pleased. There was theoretical shareholder oversight, but this had waned over the centuries and was meaningless.

Each Board Member was supposedly equal to any of the others. In practice, some of course were more adept at bringing power to themselves. Some started with more advantages. All vied with each other for more power.

Each was almost incomprehensibly powerful in certain arenas—in addition to being fabulously wealthy. Each effectively controlled chunks of the corporation. And each had a personal planet. This planet was theirs to do with as they wished. Even the Navy could do little regarding what occurred on the surfaces of these worlds. Slavery, massacre, debauchery on a grand scale—on their planets, the Board Members could have anything they wanted.

All of this power and wealth attracted many looking to curry favor. This was especially true at the Board Meetings, annual affairs where the Board Members would actually meet in person. These became akin to gigantic festivals, where the Board Members would bring their own amusements while others provided all manner of things in the hope of being noticed. Attracting the attention of those who had planets for personal playgrounds was extremely difficult, and as hopefuls vied desperately with each other for scraps, their efforts grew ever more outlandish, ever more outrageous. Whatever it took.

(250 words)

The above is part of a series of microfiction pieces.

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