(All rights reserved. All characters and events are fictitious, any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.)
'Linnet, which pilot did you consign for this mission?'
Consignor Edwear Linnet looks up from the stream of price data he is studying at his console to find Senior Consignor Pia Rabette at his side, clutching the holograph display for flight AlphaQ7.
Edwear knows Senior Rabette knows who the pilot is but she likes her little games and so he indulges her, guessing there is something she is not happy with.
'For AlphaQ7, I recommended the Ark ship Saturn Anne II whose current pilot is Daniel Delacroix, one of Newtrishia's alpha rated expedition pilots. This will be his seventh mission for us in this ship, each one a success, is there a problem Senior Rabette?'
'I have analysed the data for his last mission, which yielded a fifteen percent drop in revenue from food streams in comparison to pre-mission projections. Are you sure he is the right pilot for this mission?'
Edwear sighs internally. Not this again. 'The projections for that mission included a flawed analysis of possible planetary lifeforms. The sentient life was too far developed for us to exploit as a food source...'
'According to the pilot.'
'According to the pilot's judgement following criteria set down by the Food Ethics Tribunal, Mam. I believe we leave our pilots to make these decisions in the field as they are best placed, with their team of experts, to make that call. AlphaQ6 yielded within the margins for profit.'
'Other pilots might have made a more profitable call for the company in the same position. I have viewed the footage of the lifeforms in question. It is questionable as to whether he made the right choice...'
Edwear can feel a certain pent up disgust rising in his gullet at her eagerness to put profits before ethics, maybe Kainya is right, maybe he is working for the wrong company.
'...so, I have asked the Food Ethics Tribunal to review the last mission and, if they disagree with his judgement and grant harvest rights, I will need a way to monitor his behaviour on this mission so potential revenue is not missed due to a latent squeamishness on his behalf. There is a company Xenograft on board?'
'Yes, Mam. A humanoidal chameleon, Cme, grafted to the biosynth hull.'
'Good, maybe there will be a way for you to rectify your team's poor performance on the previous mission this time round. Consider this a warning Consignor Linnet.'
Senior Consignor Pia Rabette swivels sharply on the vanadium steel-tipped heels of her sandalettes and in one swift flick, throws the holograph of AlphaQ7 nestling in her hand up into the mission flight arena, above the heads of the other consignors in the Mission Control Centre at Newtrishia Corporation's Head Office. There, the holograph expands to display the Saturn Anne II and its flight path, plotted from Sayonara Space Port in Galaxy Three all the way to a recently detected galaxy-rich quadrant in the far reaches of the universe.
Edwear watches as 'Rabid Rabette' as Kainya calls her, clicks quickly away on her metal heels to pick on some poor other consignor, then he check the time, SATAN would be in the wormhole by now, nothing he can do till it reaches the new galaxy anyway. If Rabette had her way, they'd be harvesting hominoids and proto-sapiens, maybe he should take a look at what kind of package Alimentorum was offering after all.