“Everyone, listen up!!”
Alongside Allan’s call, the 20 men and women snapped into posture. “They’re practically an army,” Tarou gave a bitter smile as he gazed at his employees. A majority of the employees were young men and woman, but among them were elders close to 50 in years.
“Alright, at ease. Umm, on this auspicious occasion… nah, let’s do without that pain-in-the-neck formal stuff. Everyone please form one line.”
The voice resounded through the barren room. In regards to his employees, who exchanged some looks as they formed a line, Tarou handed each some words of thanks alongside an envelope. And he handed out cups filled with alcohol.
“Aight, everyone got one? Now vice-president Maar-tan will tell you all about the envelopes. All yours, teach.”
Like a performer exiting stage left, Tarou smoothly slipped into the back. “I told you not to say –tan in front of other people,” Maar complained, as she took a step forwards.
“Yes, a great thanks to all of you. Umm, it’s only thanks to your efforts that this Rising Sun Corp has been able to achieve stable growth beyond our wildest expectations. This auspicious occasion is one to commemorate our new hold of an office in one of the large stations designated as a point of high importance, the Delta station. You have all been given a special bonus. The envelopes in your hands contain the detailed statements on your special bonuses, and you see… yes, I know paper envelopes may be strange in this day and age, but so is our president.”
Hearing of a bonus, the employees’ faces bloomed at once. Even as a newbie president, when he was looked upon with such warm sentiment, this isn’t too bad, he thought as he made a smile.
“Even if you call it a bonus, it isn’t anything too large. Don’t get your hopes up too high. But we wanted to establish these sorts of opportunities to discuss our company’s achievements and direction henceforth… rather, no matter how you look at it, this speech is supposed to be the president’s job. Why is it me?”
The employees raised some laughs at Maar’s retort. Allan showed the whites of his teeth alongside his four-man handyman brigade.
“Well now, that’s a bit rough on a socially inept guy like me. Yep, then let’s get to the drinkin’. Cheers!!”
Cheer were called back to match his call. There was no established custom of raising a glass to the empire, but Tarou had explained it, and Allan had made it common knowledge. It didn’t sound like a bad way to start a party, so Tarou had decided to make a custom of it in parties to come.
“A party to commemorate a new office, I’m surrounded by nothing but normies. Dammit, what is it. This dark impulse I’m getting to make a mess of them all.”
“No, why would you feel unrest at the party you organized yourself… rather, what’s a normie?”
“Normie. Noun. A person who lives a fulfilled life within the realm of reality. Goddammit!! It means people like you guys!!”
Tarou cried out as he ran off towards the neighboring hall. The employees stared at him blankly.
“No, you’re the head of those normie… aren’t you?”
Maar looked at Koume as she muttered. “Who knows?” Koume tilted her head.
“Yo, Admiral. Drinking alone in a place like this?”
Along in a rectangular room without anything in it. Tarou’s body was sprawled out over the soft synthetic carpet. This was the room supposedly planned for use as the president’s office, but to Tarou who would usually be onboard the ship, he knew he would barely have any opportunity to use it.
“Well, I’m just no good when everyone’s makin’ a ruckus, see. It’s a good thing the company’s goin’ steady, but it’s that. The future just goes off n’ does its own thing.”
Tarou continued staring at the ceiling. To that, “Is that some sort of philosophy?” Allan asked.
“Nah man, I mean it as I say it. We’re a company that was only started up a few months ago, right? Honestly, I hadn’t even thought of hiring new employees, but by the time I noticed it I’m surrounded by them. It’s only been a month since we were firin’ our guns in the Peta System, you know?”
“Yeah, well, you do have a point there. Things going so fast you can’t keep up? After we finished moving all those Peta folk, every day was delivery after delivery. Mn, looks like it really has been only 42 days.”
While Allan was likely checking over it on his BISHOP, “Right, right,” Tarou nodded.
“I think the local news probably played a big part, but talented personnel just come and gather on their own, and we have so much work we can’t handle it all. It’s all going so steady it’s scarin’ me.”
As Tarou said that, he recalled the news feed that ran through the star systems in the area. ‘Male-Targeted Porno Transport Company Saves Stranded Ships!!’ was the heading that covered their offense and defense in the asteroid belt, and it had both a positive and negative influence on the present state of the company.
“It raised our popularity, so we’re gettin’ people and work and I have no complaints, but why does every job comin’ in have to do with pornographic content? This old man doesn’t know what to do.”
“Sure enough!!” Allan raised a laugh.
“It’s nothin’ to laugh about. On the neural net’s BBS, they’re callin’ me ‘the protector of the virgin world’. No, that ain’t anythin’ we should be protecting. Just get rid of it, you lot out there.”
Allan raised an even greater laugh, before lying across the floor from stomach pain. Tarou sent him a sidelong glance as he continued on.
“Lately, there are even people comin’ directly to us to place orders for adult goods. No, no, we just carry them. We don’t make squat, and we don’t retail. In the first place, what’s with all this? Right now, our destroyer is loaded with 7 million 440 thousand and 320 units of self-pleasurement implements, you know? That’s definitely not ‘ow you’re supposed to be usin’ a destroyer. Just how many tons do you think that weighs? At this point, I’m scared it’ll start generatin’ its own gravity. What am I even fightin’ here?”
“I guess it would have to be G?”
“Ah, yeah, yeah. Gravity and G ratings, very funny.”
Tarou said as he raised his body, gulping down the alcohol in his hand. Alan rose with him, “Well isn’t it fine,” he said.
“I know we don’t have any decent information right now. But when we do get some plausible information on the earth, that’ll be the time to burn through your money with a bang. No, not just money. Info’s something that’s destined to leak, so while you dawdle, the goons of the galaxy’ll gather around the stench of money. When it comes to that, what we need to protect ourselves is organizational capability.”
Tarou listened to his words with a serious face.
“If it’s found somewhere close to the center, then the battle’s all about how much interest we can seize. Contrarily, if it’s around the outer reaches, it’s brute force, plain and simple. Do you think you can win in a punching match with a superdreadnought from the Gigantech Company?”
“No, that wouldn’t even be a contest. We’d all be incinerated before our scans even reached.”
“That’s how it is. It’s not like you have to grab up all the interest. But if you don’t even have the minimum voice, then in the end, you’ll just lose it all. I’ve seen loads of those sorts in my time.”
“You’re right,” said Tarou, as he dimly thought over his future prospects.
First, they needed some sort of information on earth. There was no room for doubt on its existence as a whole, but finding it without any leads was next to impossible. From the fact they used the metric system and their calendar… The empire used the units of the metric system, and from their calendar… it was difficult to believe a year just coincidentally happened to share a length of 365 days… Even if he ignored his own existence, the earth undoubtedly existed at some point, and there were researchers out there analyzing history and etymology. The best start would to be to try drawing potent information from those sorts of people.
Next was what came after finding it. As Allan said, putting acquisition of interests aside, if possible, Tarou didn’t want it to be excavated out like the abandoned mine systems. While he didn’t know if the ocean was still there, he wanted his beautiful blue planet to stay as it was. There weren’t many people out there who would rejoice at the destruction of their own homeland.
“So the worst case would be if someone beats us to it. Especially if it’s a resource development corp.”
Tarou quietly muttered. “It’s not unthinkable,” said Allan.
“That really is a worry. If what you’re saying is true, the earth’s greatest value lies in biological resources, and as a psychological symbol. If it still remains, then its history and culture too. Trying to take its mineral resources seems unnecessary.”
“Well honestly, with 70% water, developing it would be a pain, so there’s no real need to mine out the earth.”
“That’s how it is. But some ill-bred mining corps won’t give a rat’s behind about that sort of thing. It’ll take some time before biological resources produce any profit, and they’ll need a considerable prior investment. If they wait around, the other corps would take it all away, and the day its historic value is acknowledge, that’s the end of development. Nine out of ten times, they’ll start digging the moment they see it.”
Tarou didn’t think he was shouldering the fate of the earth alone, and he was quite convinced that wasn’t the case. In the first place, he didn’t know the present state of earth, and he didn’t know whether the countries of Japan and America still existed. Based on how things went down, there was even a possibility he’d find a wasteland ravaged by nuclear war. But at the very least, there was no doubt it would bring some influence to the cosmos.
“Maybe… um. I’ve been worrying over it for a while now. From the earth’s point of view, do you think they’d be happier livin’ quietly without bein’ a part of this galactic empire?”
A faint-hearted remark came from Tarou’s anxiety. To that, “Are you serious?” Allan asked.
“Ah, no… if some heartless guy’s eventually going to find it, then I think it’s best I try givin’ it as better a direction as I can. When it comes to attachment to the earth, I’m probably number one in the cosmos.”
As Tarou looked down and spoke, Allan slapped a hand against his back.
“That’s right, Admiral. You’re the only one out there sho’s really confirmed the existence of the earth. This might sound mean, but… we do believe you, but it’s not as if we have any attachment to the place. We’re all seeing our own dreams of money, and taking on your leftovers. But that’s precisely why we’ll follow you. Meaning, admiral, this is something we’re in together.”
At the slaps momentum, Tarou coughed a few times, before lightly touching his glass against the one Allan held up.
“… Right… you’re right. Thank you, I think my resolve’s wellin’ up here. Looks like you haven’t aged fer nothin’, Allan. As expected of the Wizard of the Rising Sun!!”
“Leave it to me, supporting the president’s an employee’s duty. More importantly, what’s that wizard thing?”
“… No, just forget it. You just finish up your jobs so skillfully, it’s like magic.”
Unable to say it was a term for men who’d reached 30 while keeping a firm hold of their virginity, Tarou hurriedly tried to play it off. “Hmm,” said Allan.
“That doesn’t have a bad ring to it. Should I start calling myself Wizard? Wizard Allan… hmm, not bad at all. I’m going to change my company registry.”
“No, wait a…”
Before Tarou could step in to stop him, Allan had used BISHOP to alter his name in the company registry.
“… Well whatever. I guess I’ll apologize for now, Allan… alright, let’s make this company huge and find that earth!! We’ve got loads of things to do!!”
His goal and resolve settled, Tarou flowed with a motivation that seemed to come from his depths. He recalled the cheeriness he had lost along the way there, and for now he decided to tell all employees besides Allan the meaning behind the word wizard.