Bruce Lawrenceson, indentured on an archive world, had long since given up hope of catching a Board Member’s eye. At first he was determined to do so, determined to become a Board Member himself. This thought still obsessed him—what would it be like? To control a planet, to have limitless wealth, to have absolute dominion over vast numbers of people? He thought he knew, and he craved it so badly, enough that it woke constantly him at night. Even though he knew it was hopeless.
If he could not be one, he could study them, learn what it was truly like. He could learn what it was like to enter their orbit.
There was a story, often considered fictional, about a manager, Rittensoor, who had ascended to being the favored protégé of a Board Member. And not through family connections or a lucky posting, but rather ruthlessness and guts. Rittensoor had studied the tastes of the Board Member exhaustively, and then scoured the galaxy looking for women who matched those tastes. He found them, twenty-four of them, over a span of two years, two years where he stole, borrowed, embezzled, cheated, and killed to keep his project alive. And when he attended a Board Meeting, his diligence and skill paid off, and he was rewarded not merely with wealth but with access.
Lawrenceson knew the story was true. And he wanted nothing more, now, than to pretend to be that Board Member. He wanted to scent that power even if he could not have it. He scoured the archives for details about Rittensoor and his “troupe”. He knew that the now-deceased Board Member’s archives must have records—rich, detailed, records—of what happened to them. If he could know, if he could see, maybe that would be close enough.