No one thought the young, new leader would find a way to carve her name among the stars. They were wrong.
Memo from the desk of Philippa Ndiaye
CEO of the Diadem Trust
The future lies in the hands of people like us. We must rise above these failings and lead humanity to greater prosperity.
My father is a wise man, and I have never forgotten those words. When he sought retirement and left his company to me, I followed his procedures to the letter - because they worked. Whispers of nepotism an an effortless inheritance based on anything but merit reached my ears, but I paid none of them any mind - they would all know soon enough.
An opportunity came sooner than even I thought it would. I had to move fast - there would be others having the same realization who wouldn’t be far behind me. The temptation of Io’s vast uranium deposits carried enough potential for growth and gain that it made moving offworld worth the risk.
It was mere months before my vision was fully realized. The Joseph was everything I dreamed that it would be and more. I could oversee all of our operations on Io from my orbital command center and rely on the experts in my employ to take care of things on the surface.
As I’d predicted, others flocked to Io to chase the same theories and reap the same profits. I don’t believe they perceive me as much of a threat - they seem to think that by not setting foot on Io’s surface, that makes me weak. The ‘princess of the ivory tower,’ they called me.
I liked the sound of that.
Our work began in Io’s Eastern Basin. The first several days were a flurry of activity - resources pinpointed (what few there were), headquarters established, a build plan in order. I entrusted work on the surface to a promising young man named Tanner Westbrook. He took care in hiring the finest engineers and put them quickly to work. The basalt platforms that the Trust designed proved to be just as effective as I’d hoped; harvesting scores of Uranium from a planet otherwise considered dead and devoid was now reality.
I prioritized meeting the needs of the colony before the needs of company profit - all of that would come with time, and goodwill isn’t something that can be bought.
I wasn’t alone - long time business rivals of my father’s, Silas Crichton and Ezra Hoang, were already mining the soil for Io’s limited resources and were aiding the colony when it suited them. I don’t think they paid me much mind - a critical error on their part.
Well prepared though we were, our first week was not without its complications. Mr. Westbrook had chosen his people carefully within his budget but had deemed that specialists in farming were not immediately necessary. I will admit that the hemorrhaging of funds required to purchase what we needed to keep our people fed rather than growing it ourselves caused me brief alarm; I was assured that we would make up the difference elsewhere. I had my doubts.
Then came the damn pirates. The worker’s mutinies. The attacks on our computer’s mainframes. Attacks were coming from all fronts and it appeared that Silas nor Ezra intended to relent anytime soon.
I considered my contacts, bribed a few extra claims from some sources, and put more energy into mining the basalt. I suddenly had surpluses of sulfur and uranium on my hands. Although they didn’t sell for much, their continued production allowed me to continue to aid the colony.
At the end of the week, I knew my faith - shaken as it was - in my company’s people had paid off. The colony’s favor and business turned to the Trust, leaving Ezra and Silas to quarrel among themselves for what remained.
Things were falling into place beautifully, and I alone was reaping the rewards. I knew I would have to fight for it, that nothing would be easy from here on out. Nothing worth doing was ever easy, my father had said, and I’d spent my entire life preparing for challenges.
My time here on Io would prove interesting.