Tabitha was wearing purple, and when she chose to wear a single colour she made sure that everyone was aware of it. She had arrived in the office in a vibrant purple raincoat which matched her shoes and her umbrella (despite the fact it wasn’t raining and the weather-forecasters were talking about heatwaves), and discarded it casually on her secretary’s desk. Underneath was a three-piece suit, each piece in a subtly different shade of purple, making her appear like a pantone colour chart. Her hair was dyed a bluish-purple, her lipstick was black-purple, and she was wearing amethysts on her fingers and around her neck to match her amethyst contact lenses. To almost everyone walking past her that day, she was the living embodiment of purple, and frankly, slightly terrifying.
Katalysta tapped on the door to her office, which was slightly ajar in a way that hinted at secret conversations rather than a not-very-busy boss, and stepped inside. She was wearing amber-tinted sunglasses, which filtered the purple down to brown quite nicely.
“Kat,” said Tabitha, her voice quavering slightly as it always did. There were rumours that it was the aftereffects of too much alcohol, the side-effects of too many drugs, and the intended effects of a failed assassination attempt. Tabitha refused to talk about it, either in- or outside of work, and certain videos of team-building events had had sections carefully deleted. The delenda were hard to spot, but now and then a particularly sharp intern would note a continuity error and have to be taken aside and told to unnotice it quickly. “Kat, tell me about tapestrisations.”
Kat had recently been promoted to Zeugmoid Vice President for Soft Power, Furnishings, and Fillings and was actually bringing in a report of the democratisation of the production of Mille-Feuille in the Aleutian islands and the effects that was predicted to have on both the economy and the national feeling of pride. There were, she felt, knock-on effects of taking the puff-pastry production out of the traditionally-schooled and long-apprenticed hands of master bakers and declaring that anyone with access to flour, water and butter could enter the marketplace. Section 46, where she discussed the likely extension of this to the caramel producers and the probably collapse of the Napoleon export industry, was a key point that she’d been hoping to discuss with Tabitha. Instead, she was being asked about one of the more obscure elements of soft power, and one she’d not completely come to terms with herself yet.
“There are tapestrisations being prepared for the Northern Irish office,” she said, knowing that this one sentence constituted everything she could confidently say about them at the moment.
“Really?” Tabitha sounded surprised but her expression didn’t change. Kat suspected industrial-strength botox treatments and had been quietly researching the effects of botox-poisoning on her own time. “I wouldn’t have expected a strong narrative there.”
“Economically?” asked Kat, edging a little closer to things she was sure about. She’d written several papers on the economic Euro-zone a couple of years ago before various member states had decided to virtually go bankrupt.
“Ah, you’re thinking of an economic tapestrisation? That is interesting. Have you been talking to Manguy at all?”
Kat dropped her report in shock. Papers fluttered over the carpet, and Tabitha tutted.
“Pick them up, girl, and don’t be so nervous. You are expected to talk to your colleagues around the office, and indeed I want you to make sure you do so. We cannot know what other people are planning if we don’t listen to what they’re telling us. We remember that they are endeavouring not to tell us about what they are up to, and so we listen for the gaps in their words, we find the places where their cover stories don’t quite match up, and then we infer the reality of the situation. This is, in fact, the precursor to tapestrisation. You need to grasp this, as we have a delegation interested in talking to us about this next Tuesday. Are you going to pick them up, or do I need to call the cleaners and have them remove the trash?”
Kat knelt down and started gathering the papers together, her thoughts racing in her head. “Which delegation?” she asked, while mentally rehearsing her calendar for the next three weeks. She had a three-hour slot free on Tuesday, so this wouldn’t require too much rescheduling of appointments.
“They represent a group calling themselves American Drivers of Healthcare Distribution, or ADHD in their literature. They wish to purchase a small island, preferably on the East coast, and convert the entire area into a private hospital complex. Funding is being handled already, mostly through private donations from interested individuals, and they have drawn up a short-list of islands, all of which appear to eminently purchasable. Our legal team are drawing up a statement of incorporation and a Charter for them, by which they will evolve their own Constitution in readiness for secession. They intend to invite their patients to also become their subjects, with the aim being in five to seven years time having a small army to support their intention to secede, the best healthcare in the Western Hemisphere with access to it passport restricted, and enough leverage from their desirability to largely control political nominations for the next two hundred years. They need their plans tapestrising to provide a dynamic narrative progression that they can codify and follow without fear of their successors going off-message.”
Kat was nodding along with this description, each step fitting neatly into place before her eyes. She waited till Tabitha had finished speaking though, before she pointed out the obvious flaw.
“Haven’t we been hired by the American Hipsters to deliver the Presidency to them? Surely there’s a conflict here that cannot be resolved by a mere warp-and-weft shift.”
“Delivery of the presidency will happen three months before the ADHD will complete the purchase of the island,” said Tabitha complacently. We’ve made no promises for after that election, so we are free to act on behalf of other clients at that point.
Kat nodded again, her concerns allayed. She stood up, and dropped the messy pile of paper on Tabitha’s desk.
“I’ll get right on it,” she said. “I assume the usual back-door clauses have already been inserted?”
“Of course,” said Tabitha. “And approved by the ADHD as well.”