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art by Agata Maciagowska

The Merger

Michael Adam Robson is an engineer and artist based in Vancouver, BC. This is his first story published in Daily Science Fiction (in fact, this is his first story published anywhere).

The black town car glided quietly through the midnight campus, past manicured lawns and empty parking lots, up to a cluster of tall, dark office buildings. The driver hopped out and opened Murdoch's door for him, letting in the cold night air. On the other side, Black let himself out and stretched.
A security guard opened the door to the dimly lit lobby and murmured news of their arrival into his lapel. Another stood by the elevator. "He's waiting for you upstairs, sir," the guard said, and he pushed the elevator button. Murdoch looked the man over while they waited. He wore a crisp black suit, black tie, and mirrored sunglasses, though it was the dead of night. Murdoch studied his reflection in the guard's silver lenses, tightening the Windsor knot in his own tie. The man stared ahead like a department store mannequin.
The elevator chimed and the doors slid open smoothly. They went in. Murdoch went to push the top button, but Black was quicker. Murdoch played with his tie again and looked at the floor as the doors slid shut and the elevator began its silent ascent.
"Having second thoughts, sir?" Black asked, his eyebrow raised.
Murdoch cleared his throat and dropped his tie. "Honestly, I'm not quite sure this is the best thing. Not just for us. For the company."
"Nonsense," Black said crisply. "All the other major players have agreed to a merger, how could we not? At this point, it's either a merger or a hostile takeover."
Murdoch opened his mouth to argue, but closed it again. The numbers above the elevator door winked on and off in sequence as they moved up, floor by floor. "Do they really need me for this?" he said finally. "Why couldn't someone else stand in?"
"I don't think anyone else would do, sir. It is your company. Unless you want to step down?" Again, the raised eyebrow.
"No..." They were nearing the top floor now. Murdoch closed his eyes and rubbed his temples.
"Try to think of it as just another merger, sir," Black said smoothly.
The elevator doors opened, and Black led Murdoch firmly by the arm to the conference room at the end of the hall. The double doors had been left wide open. The room beyond was dark.
At the threshold, Murdoch gripped the doorjamb and turned to Black, searched his polished expression frantically. "Will I still be me?"
"Of course you will, sir!" Black said cheerfully, and he gave Murdoch a shove through the doors and closed them quietly after him.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Author Comments

This story is meant to capture all the charm of a corporate merger: a dry, polite affair with sinister undercurrents.

- Michael Adam Robson
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