Chapter 0:


In Search of An Oasis

Phase One

(Threat Level; Substantial)


Monday, 14th, March, 2022; a swanky boardroom of a skyscraper, with an entire wall completely transparent, affording those inside a great view of the city of Shanghai and the sea that lay next to it. Five sharply-dressed people sat at the central dark oak table; two men and women along the sides and one gentleman, with more facial wrinkles and hints of grey hair seated at the head.

‘Welcome ladies and gentlemen,’ the man at the head of the table calmly introduced. ‘I thank you all for your contributions thus far and for making the time to attend this first directors’ meeting. Now, as I’m sure you’re all aware, although we have a lot of resources available, there’s still a lot of work to be done, before we can call ourselves a fully operational organisation,’ he added, stilling any fidgeting or other idle actions in the room and drawing attentive eyes his way with his opening words.

Basking in the noticeably-altered mood in the room, the older gentleman leaned forward and continued, with a more serious tone, ‘As I’m sure you have all noticed in the past few years, the world has been on the verge of falling apart. The best estimates of my associates and I suggest that it will be no longer than a year or two before major economic collapses occur and the entire world order gets skewed in an intriguing new direction; such potential events partly inspiring the inception of this company. I presume you have all agreed on a mission statement now?’ The man asked sternly, his gaze panning across the table’s occupants.

After raising a hand and being invited to speak, one of the women informed, ‘I believe this is our agreed mission statement; here at Compass Security Solutions, our aim is to offer protection and security to those who request it, despite the circumstances. Be it personal protection, logistics assistance or the supply of protection equipment, we are the people who can ensure your safety even in the most trying of times.’

Noticing that the woman had concluded, the elderly gentleman pressed his fingertips together and resumed, ‘Very good; it states very clearly what we do, while avoiding the specifics.’ All eyes fixed on the man sharpened as he briefly paused. ‘You see, if, or rather, when the world’s collapse intensifies, we will be looking to expand and grow significantly, given the increase in opportunities for a company such as ours. To that end, we will almost certainly be expanding our hiring policy, as we seek to take care of those with good ability or talent for security services, who have been unfortunate enough to find themselves out of a job elsewhere, willingly or otherwise.’

Mixed reactions and a sense of tension in the boardroom’s atmosphere followed, as the other parties at the table stiffened slightly at the possible sinister implications of the gentleman’s statement. Unwilling to contradict the man, presumably as his suggestion held great potential to earn substantial profits if all went according to plan, they all remained silent, in somewhat uneasy agreement, so that the remainder of the meeting could proceed as originally planned.
Networked One
Steward McOy