CORPORATION OF STEEL
Haru Tomaru stood on his patio and stared out across the early dawn of the city as his mind drifted. A female looking Auto Driod, who acted as his personal care android, approached him, rousing his attention.
“Your breakfast is ready, Mr. Tomaru,” she said with a slight bow. “Is there anything else you require?”
“No, that’ll be all, thank you,” he responded coolly as he kept his gaze on the view in front of him.
“Very well,” she responded as she took her leave. After eating his breakfast and performing his morning routine, Haru moved downstairs where he was greeted by the sight of K-101 observing a pair of carps swimming in a nearby tank. Haru raised a brow.
“I don't remember giving you a key.” Upon hearing the man's comment, K turned his head towards Haru.
“Good morning, sir,” the droid began. “I’ve come to collect you this morning. The other executives are calling for an emergency meeting to discuss some recently developing events that link back to the rogue Auto Droid.”
Haru sighed as he closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead with the thumb and index fingers of his right hand. ‘It’s always something,’ he thought as he tried to mask his aggravation.
“Alright, give me a few minutes to grab my things,” Haru responded. K nodded.
“I’ll be in the car, sir,” the machine responded as he turned and exited the home.
Haru and K walked briskly through the halls of Tomaru Corp. The building itself was a large, multi-floored facility built in a circular shape, with a large open area in the center where recreational activities were usually held. In the front was a large parking lot with a huge welcome sign with the company's motto, “Building a better feature, one bolt at a time.”
They reached a pair of double glass doors at the end of a carpeted hallway in the building’s HR and Executives wing, where Haru peered inside to see about six other well-dressed individuals already seated inside. He mentally groaned, dreading having to sit in this meeting.
“I will accompany you inside if you’d like, sir,” K said to the man, having a sense that he didn’t want to go in.
Haru looked back at the Aut Droid and gave him a smirk. “Much appreciated, K-101.” If Haru had to be honest with himself, he was quite sure there was no one else around that knew him as well as K did. Apart from his father, of course. He turned back to the window, took a deep and calming breath, and stepped beyond the threshold.
“Well look who decided to join us,” a middle-aged man with a bald head and dressed in a black suit greeted as Haru stepped in. Haru remained stone-faced but inside he could already feel his blood boiling at the sight of him.
“Mr. Reese,” Haru responded dryly. The two eyed each other like hawks for a moment as the room fell silent and still. The toxic energy between the two was so strong that it was palpable to everyone else in the room. A brown-haired woman, who had her hair in a bob, glanced between the two with a slightly annoyed expression before clearing her throat audibly, bringing the two out of their staredown.
“If you two blokes are quite done, we’d very much like to get this order of business underway,” she said to the two. Haru moved to take his seat as Mr. Reese gave him one last dirty look and began speaking.
“As I was saying, the recent string of murders have become quite the inconvenience for this company. It’s already bad enough that the recent deaths of high valued engineers and a shareholder have impacted the flow of operations. But they’re also causing unrest with employees.”
The brown-haired woman chimed in. “Indeed, we’re already receiving many requests for either leave or company removal from many of the engineers. If we don’t get a hold on this quickly, we’ll have a huge employment problem on our hands.”
A dark-skinned gentleman with glasses spoke up next. “Not to mention the fact that the killer is assumed to be an Auto Droid. If this knowledge gets out not only will our own employees want out but the city itself will be in an uproar. Can you imagine how crazy things will get if people find out that our products could turn on them and start killing people left and right at any given moment? Heads would surely roll for this.”
Another man then chimed in. “Shouldn’t we AT LEAST be truthful with our employees? Who knows, maybe if the engineers are at least aware of the situation they can try and find countermeasures to prevent this from happening further.”
Mr. Reese shook his head disapprovingly. “No; we can’t risk any more unneeded panic nor this information getting out into the public. Not until we’ve found a solution. As of right now, the public believes it to be some ex-worker gone crazy and is going after company members and that's the story we will keep feeding them.”
Haru stared at the individuals at the large marble table in barely contained exasperation. ‘Bunch of money-loving, selfish pricks,’ he thought bitterly.
“Do you have anything to add, Mr. Tomaru,” Mr. Reese asked with a bit of smugness in his voice. Haru’s attention shifted to him then to the people at the table who were waiting for his input.
“You want to know what I think,” he said dryly.
“Do enlighten us,” Mr. Reese responded.
“Sitting here in your fancy chairs talking about what we should and should not do is a waste of everyone's time.”
Everyone at the table stared at him in silence while Mr. Reese’s brows furrowed. “Oh? Then tell us, Mr. Tomaru, what is your million dollar plan to solving this issue, hmmmm?” Mr. Reese leaned back in his chair and folded his arms with a smug smile.
K walked up behind Haru as he stared daggers at the man on the other side of the table. He tapped Haru on the shoulder, garnering his attention before leaning in to tell him something. “Sorry to interrupt sir, but I’ve been combing every database and news network available to me in order to find anything that may point us to the killer.”
Haru raised a brow as he turned to K. “And have you found anything?”
K shook his head before continuing. “Nothing, but a recent scan of the local news network has shown that Police are currently chasing down a suspect who recently murdered another engineer. Might be worth a look in. I suggest we leave immediately if we want to intercept.”
Haru nodded before standing up. “And where are you going, Mr. Tomaru,” Mr. Reese asked with a raised eyebrow. Haru pushed his glasses up a bit on his face as he and K turned to leave.
“To actually handle the situation.” Haru and K left, leaving behind a confused and annoyed Mr. Reese.
“The news report says that authorities are chasing a hooded suspect down in Central Market. There’s a good chance they might be able to catch him before we get there,” K said as he got into the driver's side and started the vehicle as Haru sat in the passenger's side.
“Then we better hurry. If we want to catch up and get a hold on it before they drag it off,” Haru responded as K drove out of the large parking lot and onto the road. The two sped off towards Central Market.