A lot of you have been wondering who is the new man in charge, where did he come from?, finally AI news was able to sit down with him and ask him about himself. Here is what we got.
So where did it all begin for Argon Armrend?
Where did it all begin? Well the Armrends certainly were never members of the elite, heck we never even could claim the Patronage of one of the old families, we were just your ordinary Imperial Citizens “Shop keepers and Small business owners” as they say.
Ours involved the acquisition and supply of mining equipment to various mining operations, mainly small scale independents, you know the type, that as sole operators don’t want to spend their time running from system to system to get more Bio-reducing Lichen or Limpets when they could be out in the belt clusters.
Load up the old Hauler with all the goods they might want and need and travel from outpost to outpost just selling from out of the cargo hatch. All rather ad hoc and itinerant but in the empire permanent contracts are hard to get without the right Patron holding open the right doors. Everything is a favour for someone, sometime I wonder how anything actually gets done after everyone takes their cut and kicks it on to their clients who does the same until it got to us little guys.
So you disapprove of the Patron Client system?
Don’t get me wrong, I do see the strengths in the Patron Client system
The Empire lives and breaths by the Patron Client relationship.
Great People attract followers, who strive to improve the lot of their pledged Patron, why then in turn rewards those who are loyal to them.
The competition between the various factions encourages innovation and growth, finding the better way, the more efficient way, the more profitable way, to conduct business and thus benefit the Empire as a whole.
“Mutual Service to the Patron, Mutual service that strengthens the Empire” That’s how the tutors put it these days isn’t it. What I disagree with is when it becomes self service, too much power in the hands of too few have stifled the competition and limited the options of the regular citizens
That was why the contract with Mastopolos Mining Inc was so important
What was the Mastopolos Mining Inc contract?
Well that was a major contract with a Major corporate, and we earned that contract on our own, just Father, my bother and I and our several ZPG Haulers, without the need of a word or a nod from some “Grey Haired Aristocrat” trading one favour for another to gain some small personal advantage. It was a testament to us, our diligence, our ability to start with something small, and put in the hard yards and turning it into something meaningful.
We had to sell our Haulers (we were each running one by then) and take a loan to outfit a Lakon Type 7 Transporter but the future earnings on the MMInc contract were more than enough to secure the loan and such a ship had all the room we needed and between the three of us we would run the ship 24/7
Why the Lakon Type 7, why not an Imperial Clipper?
We didn’t have the right introductions to get in the Gutamaya Showrooms
So from that contract and ship you were well on your way to the Top?[laughs] in a round about way, the contract with MMInc was where everything changed. I am surprised I can laugh about it now, but sometimes that is the only way we know how to react to some things.
On one of the contract runs our ship was interdicted by a flight of Pirates, a pair of those Gutamaya Clippers we hard working honest citizens were not good enough to buy.
They didn’t even want the cargo, just to dissuade people from doing business with Senator Torval, the dark side of when Patrons disagree with one another and gang warfare begins, not that it is ever official, or sanctioned or ever affects the upper classes at all, it is just the common citizen that suffers and dies, like my father and brother.
Somehow I was blown free from the ship and the Remlock kept me alive until a MMInc ship arrived.
So you were the only survivor?
Yes, neither father nor my brother Mauricius survived the destruction of the ship. Not only that but do you know what Mastopolos Mining Inc reacted to one of their supply ships being attacked?
They sued me for breach of contract.
I didn’t even have the strength to fight them, and I found myself in one of their mines, with what seemed like an insurmountable mountain of debt before me.
So what happened next?
Well I started at the low end jobs at Mastopolos Mining Inc, everyone who goes there starts at the bottom, regardless of your skills of qualifications. They do that to break down the “new contracts” and to remind them of their place; it was unpleasant to say the least.
After a while those MMInc do start to make assignments based on prior skills, low level admin roles and such. Like many areas of Imperial society, the entry level jobs where Imperial Citizens should be getting the experience they need then take and grow in their chosen fields or strike out on their own are being filled by Imperial Slaves.
Whilst it helped me, I was lucky, all too often the Imperial Slaves are paid so little and never get any pay reviews or opportunities, it is many years before they can afford their freedom, in the meantime those roles are unavailable for young Citizens to learn the ropes and gain experience.
Middle management and above is, appointments by Patrons as rewards to their favourites and the regular citizen, or even those Slaves who have done the time at the low level roles have no where to go and opportunities to make something for themselves, but I digress.
Then how did a former Imperial Slave then become CEO of the Angeli Imperial?
Well firstly, I am still under my Contract, only now it is with Patreus, not Mastopolos Mining Inc. You think your performance reviews are stressful, with the “have you earned that pay rise” or “what bonus can I expect this year”. Mine are a little different and measure how long I have left on my contract, a few more good years and well, you know, I might be working for myself again.
Okay, so how did your contract end up with Senator Patreus?
I’d love to say it was through my acumen or skills, but it was really luck being in the right place in the right time. A silly story really; the Senator had come to MMInc to oversee the final sign off on a weapons supply contract and my part in it all was, servicing the coffee.
Yeah, the coffee, after the meeting, the Senator was still in the meeting room with the figures on the screen, and I was bringing in the Senator’s Drink, CD-75 if memory serves, and just made a off hand comment on some of the figures. I don’t know why I did it, and I don’t know why the senator even listened but he did and started asking more questions and he seemed impressed.
He purchased my contact that day, citing the coffee was just the way he liked it. From there he put me to use looking at various accounts and various deals he had going. Small ones to begin with, then larger ones when I managed ‘added some value’ to the projects assigned to me.
Eventually I become his ‘new acquisitions troubleshooter’ sent in to get his new purchase working to the levels of efficiency that the Senator expects.
We’re getting there with the Angeli Imperial… slowly…. [laughs]
The AI is a great opportunity though, the largest operation I have been assigned so far, and I think this will be my last assignment of my contract, as success here will be great one.
So what would be the plans after
I certainly don’t plan to retire any time soon. There is too much potential in the Empire that goes untapped, Imperial Citizens who simply lack the opportunity because either they lack the right Patron or that the excess of poorly paid Imperial Slaves take up the Jobs.
Yes, the tradition of Slavery in the Empire provides a social safety net, but in its current form, too many people use it to lock people in to it with little opportunity to resolve their debt, in the mean time, there are no roles left for the Free citizens that don’t have wealth and the right hand shake to give to the right people.
We need to get those on imperial slave contracts in roles where they can pay off their debts as quickly as possible, treating them like the Citizens that they are, whilst providing opportunities to the free citizens, where they can be productive and profitable, not idle & falling into the debt cycles we see in the middle classes. Employment shouldn’t be limited to the Cliens of the few powerful.