It had begun small; a few late shipments, minorly damaged produce, offhanded comments mumbled under breaths, nothing new for an island built on market competition. But as incidents piled up and resentment grew, what had started small had irreparably grown larger. Verbal spats in the corporate board room became common, mutual contracts began going up in flames, and the divide became noticeable outside of the board rooms of the island's ruling class. Soon, entire orders arrived destroyed if they arrived at all, Richard Spai began outright rejecting MYNE and DAUFA contracts, and now this.
Spencer Klynne was awakened by the ringing of a phone that hadn't rung since he was a little boy. Spencer sat up, rubbing the last vestiges of that night's sleep from his eyes as he yanked the phone from its receiver. Although he was an older man by Galahindan nightlife standards, an ancient 50, the minuscule fuse on his rage that marked his career, both economic and political, had only worsened. Being roused from sleep by a phone that was only supposed to be used if Cascadia was literally burning was more than enough to light that fuse. "WHO THE HELL IS THIS, AND WHY THE HELL ARE YOU CALLING ME ON THIS PHONE?" demanded Spencer, screaming directly into the receiver, momentarily deafening the night operations lead in KSC headquarters.
"Th-there was an incident in the core, sir," began the man on the other end, voice shaking as he tried to save himself from termination.
"WHO THE HELL CARES WHAT HAPPENS IN THE CORE! DIRECTIVE SAYS THAT THIS PHONE IS ONLY TO BE USED IF OUR FORCES ARE DIRECTLY UNDER ATTACK!" interrupted Spencer, anger rapidly worsening.
"That's the thing, sir," began the voice on the phone, clearing his throat, "there was an incident between KSC contractors and DAUFA forces on the intersection of 83rd street and Vyno boulevard."
"WELL, WHAT THE f*ck HAPPENED?" demanded Spencer, face reddening.
"There was a firefight sir, contractors are saying that there was an argument, and one of ours shot a DAUFA soldier. The current report says at least one contractor critical and two others injured."
"ANY OF THOSE DAUFA f*ckERS DEAD?"
"Report says one DAUFA soldier dead and two critical sir."
"f*ck! TELL ALL CONTRACTORS THAT IF A SINGLE BULLET LEAVES THEIR GUNS FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT, I'LL PERSONALLY SEND IT THROUGH THEIR SKULLS!" Screamed Klynne, spit flying from his mouth.
The voice at the other end didn't have time to finish his reply before Spencer slammed the receiver down, shattering the plastic assembly.
On the other side of the island, Chairman Yiu Amistacia was hard at work, preparing for the upcoming MYNE FY35 spring/summer collection. Despite being arguably the most powerful person on the island, the nightlife icon still demanded that they look over the pieces for any flaws personally. At the forefront of their attention was the dress that they would wear for the upcoming event. Constructed out of a transparent iridescent foil gathered at the bodice before forming a long train behind the model, the dress would perfectly highlight every curve and contour of Yiu's body. Engrossed in their work and with their perception dampened by the upcoming show's soundtrack by Cascadian nightlife DJ addyr being blasted through the wireless headphones in their ears, Yiu didn't notice the presence of another person in their workshop until they felt a tap on their shoulder. Pausing to remove one of the headphones, "I'm a little busy, Quora, can it wait a few? This seam is f*cking me up." said Yiu, tucking a piece of hair behind their ear, not bothering to look up. "It can't actually." came the reply, the voice of Lynne Androni ripping Yiu from their creative headspace. "Lynne! it's late; what the hell are you doing here?" asked Yiu, whipping around to face their unexpected visitor, before hastily adding, "not that I'm not happy to see you."
"We're leaving," began Lynne, holding up a finger to silence the incoming protest, "I don't care if you're busy."
Evidently, Lynne's idea of leaving was taking a helicopter directly from the MYNE workshop to DAUFA's newly constructed headquarters. The helicopter ride was particularly tense. Despite the pleading from Yiu, no time was given to apply foundation or draw on eyebrows, leaving the chairman's face utterly devoid of makeup. A fate worse than complete nudity in the chairman's mind. Upon arriving at the newly constructed compound, the pair was taken directly into the underground command room for the PMC. Awaiting their arrival was DAUFA commander Alexis Cannmore, who saluted the pair before beckoning them towards a display feed. On-screen was an aerial shot of the intersection of 83rd and Vyno, where police had cordoned off onlookers and begun the process of removing the injured and dead from the scene. "What am I looking at, Alexis?" Asked Yiu, unclear as to why their presence was needed.
"At 23:43, DAUFA soldiers on-site called in that they were under attack by Klynne Security Group contractors. What you see on screen is the aftermath." Answered Alexis before switching from a live feed to CCTV. "From what we can see, there was an argument between our soldiers and Klynne contractors." continued Alexis, pressing a button causing the feed to fast forward a few seconds. "At 23:42:13, we see the Klynne contractor pull a gun and fire three rounds into our soldier. Immediately after both parties dive for cover and a firefight breaks out," explained Alexis, allowing the scene to play out behind her. "After two minutes of fighting, DAUFA forces retreat into the building, one is dead, and two are in critical condition."
"And Klynne's contractors?" asked Yiu, arms folded.
"Immediately after DAUFA forces retreat, they scatter." Answered Alexis.
"They knew they f*cked up," Interrupted Lynne, speaking louder than she had intended.
"So what the hell are we going to do?" responded Yiu, a hint of panic creeping into their voice.
"Well, my professional suggestion is to postpone any MYNE events, recall all DAUFA soldiers, and wait for a response by KSC." Said Alexis.
"We're not canceling this MYNE event. Princess Margaret is going to be here, and we need to make sure our reputation with Seylos isn't damaged by some tragic misunderstanding." Interjected Lynne, taking a drag from her electronic cigarette before continuing, "We're going to call for Spencer's resignation, demand a full investigation, and cancel all remaining corporate board contracts with KSC."
"That's going to require a full vote. What are the chances of a majority?" queried Yiu, rubbing their temples in a doomed attempt to ward off a stress headache.
Taking a moment to pull up a complicated web of icons, Alexis began speaking, "Based on current contract values, interpersonal opinions, and personal values, we can expect Bittman Financial, Spai Computing, GalFreight, Atelier, and Telegram to side with KSC."
"And who's with us?" asked Lynne, leaning forward to view the web.
"Obviously, we've got MYNE and Androni, but we can expect Orpheum, ASC, Laxcomme, Neurve, and Anvie," responded Alexis.
"What about the rest, there in the middle?" Yiu asked, gesturing towards the cluster of icons in the middle of the web.
"They're tossups, we expect a few to abstain, especially Veridi, but as far as we can tell, we've set ourselves up for a deadlock unless we can convince the rest of them that there's merit to our arguments," answered Alexis.
"Alright, I'll call an emergency session for Saturday, let the others collect themselves before the vote." said Lynne, "In the meantime, we'll get Yiu prepped for an official response in the morning."
"And we're live in five, four, three," Rang out across the studio, with the producer finishing the countdown silently on his fingers and pointing to the two women seated across from each other.
Without missing a beat, program host and media icon Marie Engelsen began speaking, "Welcome back to the Englesen Angle! Today, we're here with breakout star Alyiah Arotica, creator of the song stuck in everyone's minds; Eat It!" Sitting across from her was the latest interview subject and popular musician and performer, Aliyah Arotica. Known for her equal parts vulgar and creative flow, Arotica had become an overnight sensation among the nation's youth. The pair paused for a moment to allow the applause from the studio audience to die down before continuing.
"Thank you so much for having me! I've been a huge fan ever since you were just starting out, so being here is absolutely unreal!" Gushed Aliyah, unable to hide the excitement in her voice.
"Likewise, I've been a fan since your first single, Galahindan Goddess. There's nobody out there that's creating music like yours." Replied Marie, a similar tone of excitement creeping into her otherwise professional cadence, "What inspired you to cultivate such a strong personality within your music?"
"Well Marie," began Aliyah, "I grew up in an Ecumenical family, and I felt very stifled by the rules and the messages they taught, so after I moved out and felt true freedom, I felt like I should really begin to express how much, for me, religion is less serious and should be critiqued."
"So, are you a religious person?" asked Marie.
"Not traditionally, no. I'm actually a member of the Society of Saint Lucia." Responded Aliyah
"And for our international listeners who may not be familiar with the society, what do you believe in?"
"Our beliefs are rooted in the idea that at the end of the day, we're all going to die, we can't control that. What we can control is the amount of experience we gain over that short lifespan. We're focused on sensation and what it means to truly be alive."
"Do you feel that those values are reflected in your latest song?" Queried Marie, shifting forward in her seat.
"Yes, I do, especially in the imagery and lyrics that we use for our music video, releasing later today."
"I see, do you think we could see a clip from the video?" asked Marie.
"Of course! I brought one along just for you." Fired back Aliyah, turning to watch along with Marie and the audience.
On the large LCD screen behind the two, the clip began to play. Chairman Yiu Amistacia appeared on the screen, much to the audience's enjoyment. The chairman was wearing an extremely tight black latex suit blazer with matching assless chaps. Within the chairman's hand was a rhinestoned chain attached to what appeared to be Tagmatium's leader, Kommodos III. The man was wearing little more than a black loincloth, leather harness and was bound at the wrists and feet by the same chain held in Yiu's hand. Around the man's neck was a black latex collar with the MYNE logo emblazoned in gold. The video's audio began playing from the studio's speakers, with a heavy beat accentuated by a harsh snare every fourth beat. The chairman's voice could be heard over the top, stating, "If there was a god, I would make him eat my pussy." The lyric was accompanied by another crash, as Yiu yanked the chain attached to the man's neck, forcing him onto his knees, roughly at crotch height. "What that mouth do kanga go make it gushy." continued the chairman before the scene switched.
Immediately following a scene of the camera panning into what appeared to be a Tagmatine church was Aliyah wearing an extremely low cut ceremonial robe. The robe was covered in rhinestones and had holes cut, exposing her cleavage. The artist began rapping, draping herself over a ceremonial altar, words building in intensity. "She's got that Apocryphal pussy, Personally condemned by Kommodos Pussy. She's got that Ignus Dei Sexcommunicatorum Pussy. What you waitin for kanga go make it gushy." Following the lyrics, Aliyah tore off the robe, leaving her in nothing but a set of nipple pasties and a pair of panties reading "Eat It!" before the clip ended and the studio's lights returned.
"Wow, I love everything I've just seen, and I cannot wait to watch the whole thing later today." Began Marie, beaming, "Now, I spy with my keen eye, a couple of familiar faces, am I correct in saying that was the Chairman and Kommodos III?"
"You're partially correct, that is actually Chairman Amistacia. However, Kommodos III is actually an excellent look-alike, with some digital trickery to enhance the effect." Said Aliyah, waving her hand to indicate the pair currently on screen.
"I would never have guessed. The recreation is almost spot on! How was it working with the chairman?"
"The chairman was lovely to work with, they're fantastic on camera and took great direction."
Nodding, Marie asked, "Now, I'm no fashion or cultural expert, but am I correct in assuming that the outfit you wear during this scene is not traditionally Galahindan?"
"You are correct, although it was made here in Galahinda by Yiu, it's actually a take on the traditional ceremonial clothing worn by Tagmatine priests," answered Aliyah.
"It's very edgy which I love. Given the video's content, how did you manage to get permission to go into a Tagmatine church to film this?"
"Oh, they didn't give us permission actually," replied Aliyah, laughing nervously, "we went in under the guise of being there for a documentary, and filmed what we needed without me, left, and inserted me in post."
"I can't imagine that'll make them too happy!" Englesen chucked to herself before continuing, "Now, anything else you'd like to tell us before we wrap up?"
"I would like to thank all of my listeners for helping get to this seat, and for everyone involved in the production of the song and video for making something so cool!" responded Aliyah, turning directly to the camera.
"Thanks again for being here, Aliyah, and make sure to watch out for the release of the Eat It! music video later today." Said Marie, turning to the camera before continuing. "Coming up next, we'll be looking at the perfect colors to paint your living rooms for the upcoming fall party season. We'll be right back after the break."
Cascadia Bay Area Transit: Formed in the aftermath of Agglomeration in 1985, Cascadia Bay Area Transit, known locally as C-BAT, maintains the public transit system of Cascadia the Greater Cascadia Metro. Currently operated by Pierce Winden, it is the least profitable corporation to maintain a seat on the Corporate Board.
CEO: Pierce Winden
Androni commercial solutions: Androni Commercial solutions is the glue holding the corporate board together. By coordinating the manufacture, marketing, and sales of nearly all goods within Galahinda, CEO Lynne Androni has managed to prevent any major conflicts between board members, and maximize profits across all sectors.
CEO: Lynne Androni
Bitmann Financial Holdings: Founded in 1930 by Fontaine Bitmann, it was the only financial institution to maintain credit during the financial collapse of 1985, after which Bitmann served as Corporate Board Chairman from 1993 until his replacement in 2016 by MYNE creative director Yiu Amistacia. Immediately following this replacement he resigned and ownership was transferred to then CFO Marina Chun.
CEO: Marina Chun
Klynne Security Group: In the absence of a formal military, Klynne Security Group has become the defacto defensive force within Galahinda. Private security contracts are able to be taken out in order to protect customers from a wide range of threats including home security, personal protection, and asset security and reclamation.
CEO: Spencer Klynne
Consort: Consort is the primary contractor for construction within Cascadia, managing 90% of the construction projects within the urban core. Current projects include various Veridi vertical farms, construction of the Atelier Manufacturing Industrial Park, and extensions to existing C-BAT tram and train lines to suburban Cascadia.
CEO: Nathan Braun
Spai Computing: The newest member of the corporate board, Spai Computing is the primary provider of electronics for the island. Currently in the midst of a PR nightmare due to an ongoing rivalry with MYNE Creative Director Yiu Amistacia.
CEO: Richard Spai
Horizons Energy: Providing the power required to keep Cascadia lit and the citizens happy. Horizons Energy powers the island through a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal power plants in an attempt to prevent the blackout leading to agglomeration from happening again. Horizons also operate several desalination plants in order to supply the island with fresh water.
CEO: Damien Trujillo
ASC Legal: ASC Legal is an exclusive law firm covering members of the corporate board, and wealthy clients. The firm maintains exclusive legal representation of the corporate board, it’s members, and members of Galahindan society deemed either notable, influential, or wealthy enough to make full use of the services provided.
Lead Partner: Aya Saint-Claire
Telegram International: Telegram international is the leading provider of the islands’ postal and internet infrastructure. Recent initiatives to provide free public WiFi within the urban core of Galahinda have been met with widespread support from both the public and corporate board.
CEO: Hazmah Ramirez
MYNE: The face of Galahinda, MYNE is a fashion company unlike any seen on eurth. Creative director and current Corporate Board Chairman Yiu Amistacia has moved the fashion house into international acclaim with unmatched quality and design.
Creative Director: Yiu Amistacia
Thorn Waste Disposal: Thorn Waste Disposal is the only company on the board to be publicly funded, with lower house contracts maintaining profitability and position on the corporate board.
CEO: Christian Thorn
Cascadia Property Management: The largest realty conglomerate on the island, Cascadia Property Management handles land and property sales, with 80% of all property sales during 2019/FY36 being handled by the company.
CEO: Adrian Atkinson
Veridi: Veridi is the primary provider of fresh produce for Galahinda. As well as maintaining the green spaces within downtown Cascadia, Veridi has begun several innovative vertical farming initiatives within Galahinda.
CEO: Constance Blum
Atelier Manufacturing: Responsible for basic manufacturing of goods, Atelier manufacturing holds the majority of the island’s heavy industry within the northern sector of the island. Construction of an industrial corridor stretching from the center of the region to the ports on the northwest coast are is underway.
CEO: Kira Sandoval
Laxcomme International: Managing the import and export of goods for Galahinda, Laxcomme International has maintained one of the highest revenue rates out of any corporate board member. Headquarters is currently housed alongside Pier 8 at the Galahindan Central Harbor.
CEO: Beneda Laxcomme
Neurve Pharmaceuticals: Handling sales of pharmaceuticals and private medical services for the island. Additionally, Neurve Pharmaceuticals handles the managing and approval for new pharmaceuticals for consumption by the Galahindan Public.
CEO: Zaharia Neurve
Anvie LTD: Anvie LTD acts as the managing agency for food and drinks. Anvie LTD operates several high-end leisure locations within Galahinda. The majority of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants on the island are either Anvie affiliates or outright owned by the company.
CEO: Fatima Galvan
Pasterre Insurance: Pasterre provides a wide range of insurance packages, covering persons, businesses, property, and medical insurance for the island. Partnerships with Neurve Pharmaceuticals, Klynne Security Group, and Cascadia Property Management mean that coverage prices can be lowered for services provided when bundled together.
CEO: Joel Pasterre
GalFreight: GalFreight is responsible for the distribution of heavy industry and retail goods for the island and works in direct competition with Laxcomme International. GalFreight operates heavy rail, road, and air transport of cargo. Cargo ranging from everyday commercial products to heavy machinery is transported using a fleet of trains, ships, and road vehicles.
CEO: Oliver Brendtholm
Orpheum Media Group: Responsible for a large quantity of Galahinda’s media production, Orpheum Media Group produces media ranging from advertising, news programs, and print media to music and radio. Currently Orpheum Media Group owns and operates Cascadia Current, The Englesen Angle, and a wide variety of marketing deals with companies like MYNE and Androni Commercial Solutions.
CEO: Cynthia Ferroe