In the board room, the tension was palpable. Soft murmurs and whispers passed between the rich leather and mahogany seats. Papers on the massive table were shuffled back and forth by nervous hands. As the figure seated at the head of the table raised his hand for order, he could sense the concern in the minds of his colleagues.
“Everyone, let’s settle down,” he announced. “I know there are some concerns over a bit of press we’ve received recently-“
“A bit of press!?” sputtered one of the other figures at the table. “We’re being vilified!”
Another figure held up a newspaper article. “They’re all but accusing us of genocide! And on the web, they aren’t even holding back that much!”
The man at the head of the table made a soothing motion, and despite the frustration, the others quieted. “This is all temporary,” he said, his tone level and calm. “We have all come under fire from the press before, and know that this will quickly blow over at the next crisis.”
The leader turned to the man at his right. “I’m sure there are some other tricks we have waiting up his sleeve,” he continued. “Perhaps Chen can elaborate?”
Chen, sitting at the leader’s right, smiled widely. His white teeth glittered in the dark room. “Oh, there’s some good stuff coming up,” he said.
“Any plans for Sombra Corporation?” As the leader asked this, the other figures at the table shifted slightly, leaning forward. Sombra had just posted record profits, and many market analysts had drawn unfavorable comparisons to their own company.
Chen grinned. “I’ve got a mole in their R and D that tells me their latest product is riddled with bugs,” he divulged. “The test software is ready, but they can only release a bare-bones version. The full product won’t be ready to hit the market for at least two quarters.”
The head of the table smiled at this. “How about TetCorp?”
At the mention of the other rival company, Chen leaned in towards the others. “A rogue virus just happened to accidentally be released in their main lab,” he whispered. “Complete biological contamination. It will put them back at least a year, even assuming they can scrub all traces.”
By this point, the other people at the committee were much calmer. Some were even joking and smiling. The executive leaned back in his chair, a small grin playing across his features as he surveyed his underlings. Just like the markets, people were often pushed into a panic, he mused. But that panic was always brief and fleeting, and they could be easily distracted by somebody else’s woes.
Next to the head of the table, Chen kept his wolfish grin. Most of what he did was unethical, some parts even illegal. He was responsible for ensuring failure, and he was paid very well to make that happen. He had prevented some incredible products from ever seeing the light of day, and he loved every minute of his job.