“Ready for your first day Melvin?” Asked Mrs.Silverstone, the front desk secretary of the Technocratic castle.
Melvin Murdock was a recent graduate from Deadlaugh Academy who aspired to be part of the ministry of Technocratic Representatives. To achieve this he had applied and recently been hired as a temp for a position in the ministry of Industry.
“I sure am!” Beamed Melvin Murdock! “I’ve been reviewing the case for the last few nights in preparation. I think my mentor will find my suggestions quite useful!”
Mrs.Silverstone looked over her files and grew a grim expression. “I’m sorry sweety it looks like you’ll be working with Mr.Crabtree. He’s been known to be... hard.”
As if on cue Mr.Crabtree entered the great hall. He had a dark vest, yellow dress shirt and top hat, carrying a leather bag. He briskly walked to Mrs.Silverstone and collected a few papers.
“This young gentleman here is your apprentice for the next year.” She informed Crabtree. The man looked over his shoulder to melvin who stood up with his hand extended for a shake.
“Melvin Murdock sir! It’s a pleasure to work with you.”
There was a brief silence as Mr.Crabtree eyed Melvin down. His older eyes passing quite judgment upon the lad.
“Come along than.” He said as he made way for the exit. Melvin quickly followed after him, only looking back to see Mrs.Silverstone give him a worried smile.
They walked along the streets making their way for the industry district.
“Have you read the case?” Mr.Crabtree asked.
“I have sir!” Said melvin reiterating the file. “The owner of a steel mill, one Ross Burgum had an unexpected death, no foul play detected. No will ether do the Mill has been claimed by the Technocratic Treasury. We are to pick the next owner who will prove to be most profitable for Antiford.”
“Correct.” Mr.Crabtree said.
“And there are two potential candidate who wish to buy the mill. Rachel Knightly and Jeremy Fizwald. Both well respected factory owners in Argenstrath, despite only being in their mid twenties.”
“You have indeed done your reading.” Mr.Crabtree stated.
“And if I might make a suggestion sir.” Melvin said, trying his luck. “I think Ms.Knightly would make for a better owner, her business focuses on casting silverware and tea sets, both of which require metal. She has some knowledge of the industry, where Mr.Fizwald owns a factory that produces wooden furniture.”
Mr.Crabtree gave another judgmental glance to the young technocrat. “So you’ve figured it all out have you?”
“You mock my conclusion?” asked Melvin.
“Listen kid, you’re here to learn and shadow me. Not prematurely run the show.”
“With all do respect Sir I was top of my class and I think I have enough reason to make just as qualified decision as you.”
Mr.Crabtree stopped with a sudden clunk of his cane tapping the ground. The taller man looked down at his new apprentice. “Is that so? Very well. You can run the meeting and decide who gets the factory.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence until they reached the building Burgum Steel Mill no.1 where the two technocrats waited for the two candidates to arrive.
It was around noon where both Ms.Knightley and Mr.Frzwald had arrived. Both looking dashing in rich clothing. When the two meet eye to eye with one another they tensed up and began spitting insults at one another.
Melvin took control of the situation by greeting them both and introducing himself and his mentor. The two industry owners had stopped their bickering for the moment but remained giving dirty looks to one another.
“I have arrived and am willing to pay for the property.” Declared Mr.Fizwald.
“Ha! This building will crumble from your misstatement. When was the last time you had fixed your factories foundations Jeremy?” Mrs.Knightly spat.
“Well,” Melvin said with a cough. “I’ve looked over the field and reports of both your business and have concluded-”
“You here that you crow!” Boosted Mr.Knightly. “The lad’s found that I produce far more in a year than you!”
“That's not at all what he’s said you foolish man! You’d see on my ledgers I’m absolutely the best at cutting costs!” Mrs.Knightly bragged.
Melvin wiped at his forehead, he found himself panicking from losing control of the situation.
“Both owners would find a fortune from owning this mill along with their already established factories.” Mr.Crabtree said softly to Melvin. “Both are likely willing to fight tooth and nail for it.”
“I have decided to grant Rachel Knightley the title to Burgum Steel and all their assets!” Melvin yelled over the two owners who were still yelling at one another.”
“You can’t give it to her! I know for a fact that Rachel has sabotaged my factory!” Yelled Mr.Fizwald
“Oh you’re one to talk!” said Mrs.Knightly. “Just the other night someone had broken up most of my molds for forks! Who could have done such a thing I wonder!”
“What? Have you two been sabotaging each other's business?” Melvin asked.
Of course both parties denied it. Each claimed innocence while condemning the other of treachery. Melvin had enough and placed the deed back into his briefcase and snapped it shut.
“I find you both queer in your story and of questionable character! I don’t think either of you are a good fit in the technocrats interest.” Melvin said with a huff.
“Not to fast melvin.” Mr.Crabtree said.
“Sir, with all do respect neither are a good fit.”
“I agree. Individually they are unsuited to the challenge.”
“Individually?” Questions melvin.
“Good sir, you don’t suggest I allow Mr.Fizwald to by my partner for the steel mill do you?” Asked Ms.Knightly.
“I suggest more than a partnership in business. But in life as well.” Suggested Mr.Crabtree.
All eyes were questionably squinting so hard at Mr.Crabtree that they all nearly busted a vein. Mr.Crabtree could see the scepticism so he elaborated.
“Both you and Mr.Fizwald are still young in years and have yet to marry. I question each of your resolve in properly running this mill alone. What advantages or experience one has over the other, the other lacks. Prime minister Marigold is also currently trying to encourage family business and build up the commonwealth. I can see you two’s union as a great success and an admirable example of the people of our great country.” Mr.Crabtree said.
“But sir, what about their constant fighting?” Asked Melvin.
“Their competitive rivalry and sabotage is artificial. Created by another competitor. While we currently can’t prove it I do suspect that their is a third party involved in the corporate sabotage. If Ms.Knightley and Mr.Fizwald is willing to believe what I suspect they might be able to find the real culprit when their suspicion is not solely one one another. Simply put, It’s in the technocracy best interest if you two both ran this factory as husband and wife.” Mr.Crabtree concluded.
“You mean to say that Ms.Knightly did no plot against me and my business this whole time?”
“I suppose I do see the mutually beneficial potential from a marriage.” Added Ms.Knightly, warming to the idea.
“Than it is decided! I’ll have an official technocratic from the ministry of unions and marriage contact you to begin preparation. If I may be so bold you two, I suspect you’ll both be very happy in your joint business and in marriage.” Mr.Crabtree said as he shook both parties hands. Melvin noticed a warm and delightful smile on Mr.Crabtree's face. It look as if a simple smile completely changed his dark and serious appearance.
Once the meeting was over Melvin and Mr.Crabtree began walking back to the castle. The whole way back Melvin reflected upon the day's events. Still surprised, he could not believe Mr.Crabtree had thought of such a bizarre solution. One thing still did not quite add up though.
“Mr.Crabtree, sir, How did you know Ms.Knightley and Mr.Fizwald were not the ones sabotaging each other?” Melvin asked.
“I didn't.” Said Crabtree.
“So they might have indeed been sabotaging one another? I don’t understand!” Yelled Melvin.
“It doesn't matter Melvin. If they had been sabotaging one another they are unlikely too once they are married and their investments are tied together. And there is still a likely chance they were both innocent.” Mr.Crabtree said defending himself.
The answer did not sit right with melvin but be could not argue that the outcome was better than his. If melvin were in charge they would have to find another to take over the factory, while a feud between Mrs.Knightley and Mr.Fizwald still raged. Mr.Crabtree acted harsh and had a bad reputation about him, but now the Technocrats had a promising mill under new management and two people were going to wed.
“I suppose you don’t get a much happier ending than that.” Melvin whispered to himself.