[NOVA] Business Development (M 2.8)

edited September 2014 in NOVA

Mei, or should I say "Misty," you and your cover "assistant" are in the executive waiting room at Lucidus Biocorp. You arrived just a few moments before the time of your appointment. Csorba is carrying a briefcase with documentation — letters of credit from non-Polity banks, references from independent businesspersons throughout human space, that sort of thing.

At precisely five Gianan minutes after the appointed time, the door opens and a trim young woman steps into the room. "Ms. Voss will see you now." She leads you through a hallway to a sumptuously appointed office. Priya Voss, Vice President for Business Development, is seated on a chaise, carefully arranged to be casual.


"Please," she says, with just the barest hint of the local accent, "Have a seat." She gestures toward a pair of bucket chairs across from her. "I understand that you wish to consider investing in Lucidus. What are your interests in us, in particular?"


  • image

    I feel like a billion credits in this suit, and the shoes are barely uncomfortable.

    "Profit," I say, settling into the rather comfy seat, "And science. Not necessarily in that order, Ms. Voss. My father often reminded me that knowledge was its own reward... and investing in R&D is always worthwhile, if you take the long view."

    I toss my curls in a practiced motion. "Biosci and parasci are hot sectors. Lucidus straddles both. What do you have that would interest me, in particular?" You're a winner, Mei. You're the one to be wooed. Let them do so.
  • Voss smiles brightly. "Yes, that is what we do, Ms. Brown. I'd be happy to give you and Mr. Jones a tour of the public areas of our facility, introduce you to some key staff."

    She picks touches a button on her desk. "Jean, would you check with Dr. Lissom and Dr. Granta, please? Ask them to clear a few minutes for our guests in about forty minutes? Thank you." She closes the connection without waiting for a response, then turns her spotlight attention back to you. "Ah, if I may be so blunt, how much were you looking to invest?"

  • image

    I incline my head to Csorba. "My man Jones has the details of the portfolio. Suffice it to say, anywhere from a palty amount to buckets, depending on my impression and whim." I make eye contact with Csorba followed by a sly smile for Voss' benefit. I dont need a sending just yet, but surely he can provide a carrot for when we need to meet Dr. Yu.
  • Lucidus

    Voss gives you the VIP tour, through a facility that is all sweeping curves and light, even in the laboratory areas. You observe through one-way mirrors as labcoat-clad scientists run human volunteers through behavioral and skills tests. You walk past glass walls behind which technicians fabricate production samples. You're introduced to the work of several divisions of Lucidus Biocorp, but the subjects of TruLuv and synthesized paracognisine are never broached. "Jones" keeps quiet, Mei. What questions do you ask of Priya Voss?

  • image

    I'm slowly opening my psi, carefully. If they truly are doing research into hypercognition and paraperception, I'm not sure how "noisy" it will be. Certainly less so than Tara's Daughter! But I want to hear what Priya Voss has under the surface. That sort of data will help the investigation. I'm also hoping to put eyes on Yu himself.

    "Which divisions are most profitable? Which are most troubled?"

    "What are the risks? Any political dissidents or protesters?"

    "What is your favorite Lucidus project or division, Ms. Voss?"

    "And what of this MegaCog your PR department so enthuses? Can I really read minds?"
  • "Which divisions are most profitable? Which are most troubled?"

    Apparently there was a point when implants and delivery pumps were a big part of Lucidus' bottom line, but with the increase in profitability of the R&D division, particularly in the cognitive enhancement area, they're spinning off the medical hardware into an independent company.

    "What are the risks? Any political dissidents or protesters?"

    Since Giana Prime's government is just the barest skeleton required to run a global economy and otherwise mostly hands-off, there is little reason for dissent. As to protesters, there are occasional isolated demonstrations against this or that, but CorpSec is more than capable of dealing with them before things get ugly.

    "What is your favorite Lucidus project or division, Ms. Voss?"

    Most developmental defects can now be treated in utero, but there are case-by-case exceptions. Lucidus is in development for a "toolkit" that will allow for reasonably-priced, customizable pharmatherapies to help those children. "Isn't that great?"

    "And what of this MegaCog your PR department so enthuses? Can I really read minds?"

    Voss chuckles. "It's our cash cow, Ms. Brown. It's a lifestyle drug, to be sure, but it's proven safe, and the pre- and post-market testing shows that the benefits are really there. Although the romantic precog may be a little bit of an overstatement."

  • image

    "Romantic precog! How risque," I gush like Misty Brown would. "Have you tried it?" Black holes, I feel so vapid.
  • Ms. Voss gives you a very brief dismissive look after that question, then recomposes her face. "I have not felt the need, Ms. Brown. But, as MegaCog is available over the counter on Giana Prime, I'd be happy to provide you with a few samples. Are you interested in what your... romantic... future holds?"

  • image

    I focus my attention on some readout on the wall so she can't see my face. I do not like the look she give me. You're not empty-headed, Mei. Misty Brown isn't, either. I say, musingly, "Who isn't interested in their romantic future?" Then I try a perky, "I've had quite a few suitors sniffing about my pocketbook. One usually can winnow out the gold diggers." I sense an opportunity, nothing psionic, just my gut. "But you said yourself that its results are overstated. Is hypercognition actually a viable line of research for investment purposes?"
  • "Ms. Brown, I think the only way to reassure you is to offer you the opportunity to sample MegaCog. You don't seem shy. Would you like to avail yourself before meeting with some of our lead researchers?"

  • image

    A touch of caution, as the effect synthetic paracognisine would have on my alien psi would be uncertain at best. "Shy, no. But I do prefer privacy on my romantic front... I appreciate your offer. I'll sample your product not in the middle of the tour, thanks." I'll beam up a smile that feels fake but looks good. "Unless Mr. Jones, would you care to?" I don't expect he'll say yes, but it's all in character.

    I want to meet these researchers! Yu is bound to be near the leads, if not one of them. I'll peep around with my psi a crack.
  • edited September 2014

    "I'll pass as well, Ms. Brown. I suspect I already know who my next, ah, romantic partner, will be." He openly gives you a wink, playing his character to the hilt.

    Voss pretends not to notice. "Ms. Brown, this way if you will? Before I can have the scientists brief you, I'll need both of you to sign a non-disclosure agreement that's binding on Giana Prime, with reciprocity in Polity space and all the signatories of the Independent Worlds Trade Compace. Strictly pro forma, of course."

    The NDA is as she described, boilerplate and harmless. "Jones" gives you a subtle nod, and you both sign.

    Shortly afterwards, two lab-coated scientists enter the conference room where you're waiting. "Ms. Brown, Mr. Jones, these are Doctors Lissom and Granta. Dr. Lissom is the R&D lead for hypercognition, and Dr. Granta is our "wizard." He evaluates newly discovered biologicals that Lucidus has optioned, for potential therapeutic or recreational use."

    Dr. Lissom (left) and Dr. Granta (right).


    Voss closes the conference room door and flips a switch. Mei, when she does that, the constant low-level hum of awareness that you carry with you, which normally extends out by a hundred meters or so unless you're concentrating, is now limited to this room, these people. Cora begins swimming to the surface in a shimmer of polygons and cinnamon.

    What do you do?

  • image

    Csorba gets another high-wattage smile at his wink. I want to slap him.

    "Dr. Lissom," I say, rising to shake hands. "Dr. Granta." I feel slightly on guard at Voss' description of Granta.

    The psi damper is a neat trick, and it has me almost off balance... imagine suddenly walking with 5-kilo weights on each ankle, or having one ear filled with putty and trying to drive a speedcycle. It just throws your instinct off. At the same time, it's almost a relief to be able to focus clearly, like stepping from a sauna to a mountaintop. I work to keep my composure, covering with a sip of water.

    I subvocalize to Csorba. "Look for an opening. I don't want to be too obvious."

    I say brightly, "Doctors, what projects are the most exciting for you two? And, pardon my directness, which are most likely to be obscenely profitable?" Carrot and carrot.
  • The scientists spend some time briefing the two of you, with Voss chiming in on financials from time to time. They are practiced and smooth, handing the ball effortlessly between the three. TruLuv and paracognisine never enter the picture (unsurprising — neither is mentioned in the public materials you accessed), but Voss does eventually mention "Dr. Yu, our Chief Scientist," when talking about production schedules and the research and testing pipeline.

    Mei, what do you do?

  • image

    I'm taking notes on a disposable secure pad that has been prepopulated with a little media to help my cover. I nod at the right places, ask a few good questions and a few bad questions on purpose. I want to play my part as a moderately savvy investor who's not totally informed.

    When it feels right, I'll ask, "Dr. Lissom, when will we meet with your Chief Scientist? It sounds like they would have the scheduling information to help Mr. Jones evaluate my potential ROI." I want to touch them gently with my psi. No pushes yet, but I wonder how my question makes them react.
  • Mei, you're trying to be subtle, to judge reactions. Let's see a roll to use your Psi to judge those reactions.

    (Rolled: 3d8. Rolls: 5, 4, 6. Total: 15)

  • image

    Duty - d10 - This is the mission, this is the target. It's a solid lead.
    Comms - d6 - I can be subtle. Look! I'm being subtle right now!
    The Right Stuff - d8 - Psi Corps and Space Corps both have covert ops. I have some tradecraft.
    Church - d8 - I want to impress the boss by getting better intel.

  • Duty - (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 10. Total: 10)
    Comms - (Rolled: 1d6. Rolls: 5. Total: 5)
    The Right Stuff - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 4. Total: 4)
    Church - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 1. Total: 1)

  • [OOC: 10 + 5 = 15, with a tasty one for you.]
  • edited September 2014

    Mei, when you ask about meeting with Yu, Lissom and Granta don't have much reaction aside from something your psi translates as "Makes sense." Although Voss shows no physical reaction, you pick up two strong feelings. One is personal, a sort of sexual disgust and the memory of a papery touch. The second is fear, not of Yu himself, but of something that he's doing.

    Voss answers your question. "I'm afraid Dr. Yu is unavailable. He's cloistered in the lab working on something rather critical."

  • image

    I smile and nod understandingly. "Scientists are always working on something critical. Another time, perhaps?" Inside, I feel sympathy... and wonder about psi therapy for a career focus. So many people have such deep hurts.
  • "Well, if there's nothing further for today, then?" Voss is still smooth, but seems ready to finish. "I'm sure Dr. Lissom and Dr. Granta have, ah, critical tasks to attend to, as well."

    There's another flash from Voss, just the title of a report. Progress Report: Project PC-7603 "ATHENA."

  • edited September 2014

    I make a mental note. Something to slice with Dinah. I make eye contact with Csorba and make a small nudge with my psi. We got something.

    "Of course! How dare I continue distracting your talent!" but I don't mean it cruel, adding a laugh and a handshake. "Thank you for your time, Dr. Granta, Dr. Lissom." I rise, taking minor control of ending the meeting. That's what Misty Brown would do.

    I prepare myself for the psi-damper to be disabled. It might get loud.
  • Mei, when Voss flips the switch next to the door, it does get noisy, but it's the accustomed background hum. She walks you and Csorba out to the lobby personally.

    "If you have any further questions, Ms. Brown, feel free to contact me at any time." she hands you a sheaf of materials that were on the table during the presentation. "Perhaps we should meet again in a few days, after you've had a chance to review the materials we provided?"

    All the while, she has been skillfully guiding you through the beautiful architecture and the sleek furniture, until you're past the security line. "Enjoy your stay on Giana Prime, Ms. Brown, Mr. Jones." And with a pair of firm handshakes, she heads back toward the elevators.

    ---END SCENE---

Sign In or Register to comment.