This was a very short (unfinished) story I wrote as an assignment piece.
Megan Carver swivelled from side to side in the conference room chair. This was it, her first presentation as a mergers & acquisitions associate with this client Chemo-Consol. Their new CEO was eager to blaze an acquisitions trail across the emerging markets and her pharmaceuticals team had spent weeks pulling together their pitch to be the lead advisors and were ready to knock their socks off.
She smoothed hand over her black hair, adjusted her spectacle frame a bit higher on her nose and pressed her hands tightly together before fidgeting with her watch strap, touching the face of the watch and cocking her head, dark brown eyes closed briefly as if in short meditation.
Daniel, her associate slid into the seat next to her, his cup of coffee clattering as he put it down on the glass table.
“Nervous?” she queried. “No, not at all. Am stoked actually” He said ‘actually’ a lot, which irritated her sometimes.
They looked up as they heard soft voices, a bark of laughter and the approaching footfalls signifying the team from the client approached.
“Here we go…”Megan murmured to herself as she smoothed invisible crumbs off her skirt and rose to her feet.
“Good morning, gentlemen, ladies” She smiled warmly, her eyes taking in the group of seven executives that entered the room. She motioned and they sat. The two ladies in the group gave severe no-nonsense handshakes. Megan noted how cool both hands were. She’d not met them before and made special effort to get introductions and involve them in the conversation “Great to support more women to ‘lean-in’ “ she thought, thinking about the Sheryl Sandberg bestseller she had read over the weekend.
The meeting presentation was flawless, with the team, analysts and information pitched just right, anticipating and responding to the main questions Chemo-Consol posed.
Next, the open Q&A.
Benji Dupree, the CEO cocked his head casually and asked: “So, Daniel, tell us, if you had our business, what would be the top three things you’d suggest we sort out over the next fiscal year?” Daniel nodded and gave his response, pointing the client to the projections and scenarios in the presentation pack and supporting documents.
“Megan, you’re an accountant and the lead VP; any other points you think we could add?” Daniel turned to her. “Thanks Daniel” Megan took over from him smonthly, expanding on some of the strategic and tactical issues they had mentioned briefly in the presentation.
“I see a great future for Chemo-Consol over the next nine months if you can continue the momentum of post-acquisition success already demo’d in the last three year. Your Brazil operations although challenging were handled smoothly and the savings from both the outsourcing and partnership opportunities in the rest of Latin America are a real advantage….”
After three hours, the meeting wound down. Megan stood to thank them, as Daniel showed the clients out. She reached across the table to gather her electronics as the conference door opened behind her.
“How’did it go?” Penny, her PA came in, briskly moving round the table to gather used cups and stationary from the table. “Fine. I think we are in with a chance with Chemo.” Megan replied. She picked up her phone and said “I’m going to make a few calls whilst I’m in here. So why don’t you pop out for lunch when you’re done here”
Penny left the room and Megan quietly pulled out her chair again and sat down. Left alone her shoulders slumped and she let out a large sigh and small laugh, plucking her specs off, she pinched the indents on the bridge of her nose before dry-washing her face tiredly. She lifted her head, eyes apparently fixed on the opposite wall, thinking about her journey so far. It had taken a month to memorise and practice for this meeting and a further three months of late nights before that to find her way around the admin. A small beep sounded, indicating the end of an off-site meeting recording session.
“You still there? Thanks for doing the meeting recording” she stroked her left ear, waited and smiled as a voice responded through her cybernetic ocular devict.
“Happy to be of service, Megan. Well done.”
“We’ve ran a quick diagnostic you during the meeting and noticed you missed your last lymphatic regeneration course, again. Could you arrange a session at one of our West End centres later this week? We’d like to do a full diagnostic and also show you the newest upgrades in the implants available. We have a special discount for loyal customers this month as well…”
Megan pushed back the chair, rolled her shoulders and listened as she moved to the door. It had been a good trade-off, she thought to herself. New eyes, pretty much completely reconditioned body and she had been able to walk into any job she wanted.
OK, so the deal was for 10 years and by then there would be even more improvements in technology. The Health International humanoids Health service or “HIS” as their operatives called it, had approached her as a business student at university, struggling to pay her fees. She had balked at first but eventually, as her financial situation worstened, she found creative ways to source the fresh organ donations purchased by HIS for the growing number of super-rich who wished to swap out failing organs, effectively living forever.
She slid her fingers absentmindedly over her small silver briefcase, the biometric security locks clicking open to reveal her prized selection of titanium and chrome blades and scalpels as she thought again about the cool handshakes of two female executives from Chemo-Consol. That brief connection had allowed her to scan for and confirm no bio-enhancements or cybernetics.
Their skin would do very nicely as her next assignment.