As Fred Freedom and Murrietta the Moral celebrate, a furious Maurine the Mercenary gets on the phone with Danielle Demonic, CEO of Bastards Inc.
“Danielle,” Maurine says. “I am going to develop that damned land. No way in hell I continue to under-fund our provinces’ schools because we’re wasting this valuable land on hunter gatherers. Are you willing to deal with the negative PR?”
Danielle Demonic laughs a little. She checks an email from Bastard Inc’s Baby Seal Clubbing Division and polishes her blood red nails before answering.
“Well Maurine,” she says. “I like to think we specialize in doing business where squeamish firms fear to go. In the easy types of markets Angels Incorporated usually works in we have a hard time matching their levels of community integration and customer relations. In stable regulatory environments, they simply play better with others. In fact, less combative and more ethical companies tend to be more profitable in their industries.”
Danielle cringes a little bit. Offering even token praise for those pansies at Angels Incorporated makes her skill crawl. She continues along a different track.
“We are a tough company. We develop and we don’t give up. If Murrietta the Moral thinks she can scare us off, she has a hell of a surprise coming.”
“What sort of surprise?” Maurine the Mercenary asks.
“I have Brownwater Security on speed dial,” Danielle says. “We’ll fire-hose those hippies if we don’t think we can wait them out. If that doesn’t work, my litigation department has a very itchy trigger finger. Tying opponents up in court until they go bankrupt is something we specialize in.”
“How do you plan to deal with the Bullseyesians?” Maurine the Mercenary asks. “I have to say Angels Incorporated’s strategy here really impressed me.”
“Joint ventures really aren’t our style,” Danielle Demonic says. “We would prefer to undermine the Bullseyesian claims to the land to begin with. All these native groups are pathetically weak and there’s little chance they have any formal claim to the Capitalism Berries. On the off chance they do fight back, we’ll tie them up in court until they go bankrupt. With any luck, we’ll be able to evict them all in a few years.”
“That’s much harsher than I would prefer,” Maurine the Mercenary says.
“Well,” Danielle answers. “You tried playing nice and look where that got you. It takes a much tougher, nastier company to battle the sorts of idealistic hippies and bad PR you’ve got on your hands. My company will stay within the letter of the law, mostly, but we are here to play hardball. Are we going to do this or not?”
Maurine thought for a moment. She didn’t really want to work with Bastards Inc, but she wasn’t sure she had a choice. Angels Incorporated wasn’t coming back and the voters still wanted better funding for their schools. If Maurine didn’t raise the money, she’d lose her next election and somebody else would.
“Fine,” Maurine said. “I’ll sign. But please, be nice.”
“You have no leverage for making that request,” Danielle Demonic said.
“Fred,” Murietta the Moral says. “My boss brought in Bastards Inc. We tried to protest, but they turned these hired goons loose on the protesters. We went to the news, but these corporate greedsters don’t seem to care. I don’t know what to do.”
“We’re going to have to litigate,” Fred Freedom says. “But that’s going to take years. In the mean time, I guess we just have to continue protesting.”
Murietta the Moral did indeed continue protesting. However, getting turnout grew more and more difficult and Bastards Inc proved incredibly indifferent to public relations attacks. In retaliation for opposing their operations, Bastards Inc. made a point of not hiring Bullseyesian tribesmen. Bastards Inc. made the situation even worse by bulldozing massive roads throughout Bullseyesian territory and evicting “illegal” Bullseyesian residents whenever they proved inconvenient. Bastards Inc pursued a parallel strategy of massive litigation.
Conducting business this way was expensive and far less profitable than a typical Angels Incorporated venture, but it was still more profitable than leaving the land to hunter gathering activities. Maurine the Mercenary was not particularly happy, but the tax base of her province did expand. The voters were somewhat queasy, but they had demanded better schools and better roads, which they had received. Maurine the Mercenary survived her next election.
Bastards Incorporated eventually lost their court cases after several years. During that time Bastards Inc had displaced several thousand Bullseyesian tribesmen, despoiled the land to the point it was no longer attractive for tourism and created communities of Capitalism Berry farmers who intended to continue litigating to protect their new homes.
However, not all was lost. Fred Freedom called Murrietta the Moral to ask for news.
“Please tell me we have some progress on this awful corporate mess,” he says.
“Yes Fred,” Murrietta the Moral says. “Our lobbying paid off. The national assembly is going to outlaw all outside development of Bullseyesian territory! We won! The Bullseyesians are going to be safe from corporate abuse forever now!”
Murrietta the Moral walked into her office and announced the news. The crowd of activists and workers erupted into applause as Murrietta basked in her triumph.
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