Too Good To Be True
IC date: Summer 59
OOC date: Aug 18
Location: Town Hall
PCs: Lorelei Redmane Spin-Doctor
NPCs: Glimmer

Who does business on a Sunday?

A letter had arrived, maybe a day or two prior, addressed to Mayor Lorelei. It spoke of promising business opportunities and help with community problems, and other charming 'save the ponies' things. It spoke of a time and a date, give or take, that a couple associates from The Company would come by to talk. It also said to make sure a representative from Daybreak Village was present, as 'community' refers to Horseshoe and its newly founded sister-town.

Thus it is ticking to the time, the place is Horseshoe Harbor's Town Hall, and two officials lurk in the Mayor's office, waiting.

Professor Redmane sits relatively still in one of the comfortable cushions in the office. Writing in a journal, by the looks of things. Once he was informed that he had a part in some kind of community program, he practically jumped at the chance! Finally, something to perhaps begin nipping at the block of isolation Daybreak has apparently become. By design, yes, but Redmane has been seeking ways to allow his ponies a chance at something other than being stuck in a frozen forest, trying to figure out what to do with themselves.

Of course Glimmer was against the idea, on principle that she was more than happy to list out, that Redmane had more or less batted aside as needless worrying. This was a chance for something new! What could possibly go wrong?

The mayor steps hoof into her office, flashing an apologetic look at the two Daybreak officials. She's not late, but apparently she's not early /enough/! "Oh dear. My apologies. I'm afraid I got a little caught up in sorting and nearly lost track of time and, well, it's a bit of a walk from the Archives, and…" she trails off, clearing her throat. "I'm sorry I wasn't here to see you in. I hope you weren't waiting too terribly long." She attempts to trot briskly around behind her desk, though a bandaged foreleg adds enough of a limp to make 'brisk' difficult to manage. Still, she keeps her composure well enough, settling into her chair.

When Lorelei steps in, Redmane gets off his duff. It's the respectful thing to do! "No worries, my dear mayor." the elderly pony states with an easy smile and dip of his head. "Your subordinates did a fine job of showing us the way. We haven't been waiting long, just a few m—"

"Hours." Glimmer interjects, her nose, as usual, stuck to a clipboard.

"…er…yes." Redmane's cheeks color a deep red. "We made sure to leave Daybreak early to be here on time. You never know what's going to jump out at you in the forest. Anyway we brought entertainment, so there was no harm done." Redmane shoots Glimmer a glance. She doesn't respond, busy with her…work.

"Ahem. Have you heard from our mysterious visitors yet?" Redmane asks, settling himself back into the cushion and squinting through his glasses at Lorelei.

Wince. Hours? Oh dear. Yes, she should've been more on top of that, Lorelei should have. She clears her throat slightly. "Er, no, nothing yet. Not since the letter! I will admit, I am quite intrigued."

As the two talk, there's the noise of another arrival outside, of doors opening and of muffled voices, growing louder and more distinct as they approach from the front entrance to the hall. The door swings open at the behest of whoever is on receptionist duty today, and they quickly stand aside, making way for a lean unicorn stallion.

With a soft grey coat and a darker, warm grey mane, his colors seem to blend in well with office furniture. Classy office furniture, though, for professionals. He's dressed in a white collared shirt with a silvery grey jacket over that, neatly pressed, its pleated ridges accentuating his limber frame. A bright silver chain hanging from one pocket suggests the presence of a watch. His cutie mark depicts a grey cloud, lined with silver, behind which rays of sunlight gleam from an otherwise obscured sun.

"Mayor Lorelei, I presume?" he asks, smiling as he approaches her desk. Behind him, the receptionist closes the door. "And you must be Professor Redmane and… Glimmer, was it?" He reaches out to offer a neatly manicured hoof to Lorelei. "It's really quite a pleasure to meet you both! My name is Spin Doctor. I am here on behalf of the Natural Improvements in Communities and Environments Corporation- I hope you've had a chance to review the letter we had directed to your offices…?" As he waits with hoof extended, he shifts slightly where he stands, then shifts again. He seems a bit excited to be here, his eyes bright and his grin difficult to suppress.

Speak of the devil! Glimmer's ears are the first to quirk at the sounds from outside, the purple mare reaching a hoof out to tap Redmane on the shoulder just prior to the door opening. She still doesn't bother to look up from her clipboard, yet manages to have a hoof out, ready to shake the ultra-friendly office-type's hoof, briefly. "A pleasure." she states, shortly, then retreats right back to her chosen vantage point over the whole meeting, quill working feverishly against paper angled only for her eyes.

Redmane, likewise, hefts up from his seat for a second time to greet the newcomer. "Ah. That's a catchy business name." he says, with his friendly elderly smile, shaking and then settling back into his cushion. Not that he actually knows much about business. His business was survival. "It's a pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Doctor."

Lorelei blinks and stands quickly, perhaps a moment late in reaching a hoof out to accept the offered shake. "Oh! Yes. Hello. Welcome! It's good to meet you too. Yes, indeed, I've reviewed the letter!" She's eager! Excited, even! And not at all nervous! Official business, must be proper and professional and all that, right? Yes. Of course. (Is she doing it right she hopes she's doing it right these 'official meetings' don't happen all that often in the Harbor after all.)

Spin Doctor is good at shaking hooves. His is a Firm Hoofshake, yet brisk and refined. He quickle makes the rounds from Lorelei, to the Professor, and then to Glimmer- pausing, briefly, to regard her, as she seems strangely familiar, though he doesn't linger for more than a few moments. He then draws back and remains standing, so as to better address both community leaders- that, and he seems a bit too excitable to really settle for long, pacing smoothly back and forth as he speaks, gesturing every so often with a hoof.

"Very good, very good!" says the unicorn. "I'm glad to hear that. Just to review, then, NICE Co. is VERY interested in investing in your local economies. I'm sure you appreciate how well Horseshoe Harbor-" He then turns and nods to Redmane. "AND Daybreak Village are situated to become major players in global trade. Other ports along the western coast are all but full to capacity with overseas business, and it's only fitting that Horseshoe Harbor have a chance to reap this sudden windfall. Why, with its abundant natural resources and ideal proximity to Zebreka AND the Griffon nations, we really are looking at helping this region become one of the pre-eminent manufcaturing centers in Equestria!" He turns about and paces the other way, mahogany grey tail switching behind himself. "Oh, it's really quite exciting to think about!"

Professor Redmane adjusts his glasses with a hoof, then takes them off his face entirely to begin rubbing a cloth against them. Smudged, apparently. "Er.. Yes. You hear that, Glimmer? Daybreak could become a player in the global economy. That does sound exciting." That sounds all sorts of important, it does!

Glimmer glances over the top of her clipboard, glancing from Redmane to Spin Doctor. She squints.

Lorelei seems a bit more enthused by this. Trade! Economy! These are things she somewhat understands. Well, she understands that they're things a well-run town is supposed to have! Right? Right. So to her, this /is/ exciting to think about. "Yes, of course, very much so! What, er… what does this entail, though? We lie on a trade route already, I'm moderately certain."
Spin Doctor's enthusiasm grows, though he does a good job of not bouncing off the walls. They're excited! That makes him excited. Because when they're excited, his job is much, much easier.

"You do indeed! On numerous trade routes, in fact, with easy access to others- as well as, if I'm to understand the situation correctly, -exclusive- access to some rather exotic markets." He flashes Lorelei a wink. "But since you asked, here, let me tell you exactly what I have in mind…" He stops, reaching into his coat, and draws out a tightly-rolled scroll of paper, turning to unfurl it before him as one might spread a poster against a wall. There's a flash of light from his horn, and the paper hangs in the air, suspended and perfectly flat. The unicorn draws back to gesture to it, grinning.

On it is depicted a large structure: squat, square, and box-like, roomy if not especially imaginitive. It's set against a familiar-looking backdrop of trees and mountains, with the harbor plainly visible in the distance. The depiction appears to be to the north of the town, along the coastline. A broad avenue lined with neatly manicured trees, park benches, and the facless little suggestions of ponies architectural drawings are normally full of connects the facility to town.

"What NICE Co. like to do," explains Spin Doctor, admiring the drawing for a moment before looking back to the others. As he grows more excited, his speech grows a bit faster, though he never fails to enunciate clearly and succinctly. "Is base our newest assembly plant here, just north of town. Our primary business, you see, is in the production of manufactured goods. We'll start out small…" He turns to gesture to the poster. "… focusing primarily on smaller consumer goods and, as time and construction allows…"

He gestures once more, and slowly, other structures begin to fade in around the original; additional wings, sattelite buildings, smokestacks and walkways. The single, warehouse-like structure gradually grows to become a bustling industrial complex full of graceful architectural flourishes and gabled parkways. "… expand to larger, durable goods."

He turns and flashes a smile to the other three ponies. "All we need from YOUR towns, of course, are ponies willing to work. You've got them, and being a port town, there's always more just a boat's ride away."

By the end of the sales pitch, Redmane is practically bouncing in his seat. Which is impressive considering how cushiony it is and more apt to just flatten out than bounce. The elderly stallion's eyes widen at each expansion of the facility, and when mention of adequate workers comes round, he's already nodding his agreement. "Yes, indeed! We do have a few bodies who have been aching for something to put their backs into. Something to make them feel like valuable members of our new society."

Glimmer, meanwhile, has narrowed her eyes a bit at a time, each new revision, until her gaze is little more than a pair of angry slitted eyes. She clears her throat. "This all sounds well and good. Jobs for ponies and new things are great, but is that worth planting a source of pollution down in the middle of a pristine environment?" Apparently she's been doing some reading. Who'da guessed? The clipboard is set aside for the moment but the quill she was using is levitated up to point at the poster. "I don't think tossing us a few jobs is very worthwhile in exchange for something that's going to ruin other innocent lives and potentially ruin the environment in the area." She fixes a steely glare on Spin Doctor. "Not unless you have a good way of balancing that out, Mr. NICE guy."

Lorelei peers up at the diagram. Why, it looks so official! And boxy. And… architectural? Okay, so she's no master of diagrams. It's a building, it's by the Harbor, it makes things. This is a good thing, right? Let's focus on the good things and not the things that go right on over her head. "Well, we do have citizens who might be willing to take jobs," she allows thoughtfully. "But… what sort of goods? What about materials?" Because she knows enough to know that /what/ is being made, and what it's being made /from/, is prudent to consider when it comes to successful trade.

And then Glimmer's words make her ears perk. She blinks. And frowns faintly. And peers at the diagram again, because… well, gee, that's /right/ there on the water, isn't it? Indeed it seems to be! "…That… that is worth mentioning. I don't much fancy the idea of polluting the Harbor waters." That's where she swims! "…Or any of the rest of the Harbor," she adds a moment later, because, well, you can't show preference now can you?

There's a slight gleam in Spin Doctor's eyes as Glimmer states her concerns, and his smile broadens as he nods along with her. "Apt concerns, miss Glimmer! You're very right to express them, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you how we plan on ameliorating these." He turns and fishes out another pair of rolled papers. The first rolls back up with a snap, and he swaps it out for another, anchoring it in the air with a flash of magic once more. This second one depicts the coastline where the industrial complex spreads along it; it's full of nets, buoys, and large boxes lined with grates. "NICE Co isn't just about making the most of growing markets…" explains Spin Doctor. "… we're ALSO about being good corporate citizens. We understand ponies value their environment, and we're committed to upholding those values in our production process. These here-" He points at the buoys and nets. "… are an example of our strictly managed shipping direction system, first perfected in our Manehattan plant. Careful control of incoming and outgoing shipments helps to minimize stress on the coastline, while providing redundant means to quickly contain what few accidents may occur. While these…" He turns and points at the boxes. "Are specially-designed filtration units that help sieve chemical and arcane runoff from the water. With our methods we've been able to contain upwards of ninety-eight percent of industrial product from similar facilities in other cities! And that's not all…"

The third paper is strung up. This one depicts a building in the harbor itself- a large, multi-story building in what Lorelei will recognize as a currently vacant lot on Mane Street, one that has yet to be re-occupied following any number of recent disasters. "We also understand that investing in the community doesn't just mean providing for the workers of today- it's ALSO about cultivating healthy, happy workers for tomorrow. As such, to provide you with further incentive to consider our proposals, NICE would like to help build and fund, here in town, a new orphanage to help care for the town's less fortunate youths."

His expression is all care and concern and kindly smiles as he turns back towards Lorelei. "Believe me, having grown up the son of a single working mother of limited means myself, I understand the sort of strain a life of poverty can have on a foal, especially those that don't have the benefits that even I did. But I was able to rise above my disadvantages to attain an education and a successful career, and on behalf of NICE Co, I'd greatly love the opportunity to give back, and help other disadvantaged foals find the same success."

Redmane strokes his chin, listening to concerns. He may not share Glimmer's view of the world, but it's difficult not to agree when she brings up concerns. Luckily Spin Doctor's already got all those covered! In one fell swoop, he not only answers the questions but provides solutions to problems they hadn't even brought up yet! An orphanage… Well now…

"I do believe you've got me convinced." the Professor states, eyes fixed on the potential building for renovations. "If you're that willing to pour efforts into our own community and keep tabs on your own doings, how can I object?" He turns towards Lorelei, and then Glimmer. Genuinely curious to see if she'll interject any further comments.

She doesn't. The quill floats above Glimmer's head, and she looks like she /wants/ to say something else, but she ends up shaking her head instead. "It sounds fine." she states simply, backing up to reclaim her clipboard. "…But I'll be watching. You better own up if you start hurting the forest with this project." With that, the clipboard zips back up in front of her face. Scribble, scribble, scribble.

Lorelei nods slowly, looking thoughtful for a moment. It's a legitimate concern, but… that counter seems to cover it. And while she's not sure she understands exactly how it seems to work, the point is, it sounds like Spin Doctor /does/ understand, and is confident that it does work. And now an orphanage… well, this is a pony with a soft spot for foals, after all. She still remembers all those days when she first became mayor, spent at the Schoolhouse reading to the little ones, because that was a nice thing for officials to do and not at all a useless idle task to keep her out of the actual running of the town, of course. (The fact that she finds herself without much free time to do that now that she /is/ running the town herself is purely coincidence.)

"…It sounds good to me," she states, nodding again. "It sounds like you'd really like to help improve our town. That's something I think we all can agree on."

Spin Doctor is getting excited again. He grins as he goes about refolding the posters and returning them to whatever inner pocket he pulled them from, and then turns back to the others. "I'm sure you have other questions, but I assure you it's all here in the paperwork. We'll work out the details of resource acquisition, harborage assignment, and, of course, all the financial concerns before the final contracts between the city and NICE Co. are signed."

Contracts, you say? Yes! He reaches into his coat and draws out a sheaf of paper, setting it down with a thump. How'd he keep that in there? Business magic.

The unicorn smiles down at it for a moment, once again counting his lucky stars, then digs into his pocket, fishing out the pocketwatch. It's small, thin, finely-crafted, obviously expensive and well-cared for, and as he flips it open, a soft green glow shines from its face. The unicorn observes it for a moment before snapping it shut and returning it to his pocket.

"And as you're both QUITE busy, I'm sure- I've yet to meet a mayor who wasn't!- I'll do my best to help speed this along. No doubt you're eager to get back to work, and I can't wait to share the good news with my corporate contacts. They'll be VERY happy to know you're willing to entertain our investment." With a cluck of his tongue and a shake of his head, he turns to flash Lorelei a grin. "It may be an expense on our part to begin with, but I've no doubt it'll pay off more than handsomely for us all. I'm sure we'll all look back on this day and remember how it was one of the best things Horseshoe Harbor and Daybreak village have done to usher in a bright new future."