The Only Winning Move... (HTML excerpt)
 
They’d warned him. “Don’t get involved. No matter what you do, no matter what you hear.” No one could say he hadn’t been warned. But the moment he heard the screams, it all went out the window: self-discipline, business training, and the blinders they’d given him at customs. He ripped them off his face, clawed his way out of the taxi, and ran oh-so-nobly to the rescue. He really had only himself to blame.

They’d explained it to him clearly back in Centrixa. It was a very small country they were sending him to—tiny, really, not even part of the Four Realms—but not so small that the company didn’t have interests there. The company had interests everywhere. But it was so very small, and very backward in some ways; they did things differently there. It was important not to be shocked. It was important to know that everyone there belonged to one of two classes: they were either citizens, or they were prey.

“Yes,” his supervisor said, seeing the expression of horror spreading across the company man’s face, “that’s most people’s reaction. We don’t make the rules, we can’t change them, and unless the CEO says otherwise, we’re not going to attempt a takeover. At this time, we just do business with them. Focus on the business at hand and you should be all right.”

The company man had lost his focus entirely. Or, rather, he was extremely focused, but not on company business. He was focused instead on the cries of pain and the ugly laughter and the sounds of inventive things being done to flesh. It should have been obvious to him which class the victim belonged to. The attackers’ enthusiasm and the lack of police response were as good as a label. But despite explanations and warnings, the company man ran into the fray anyway....
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for April 7, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1083 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art incorporates public domain photography sourced from Pixabay.com.