“Thank you all for attending this very important meeting. As I stated in the e-mail, this could very well be an excellent and highly-profitable new venture for our company.”
The room was silent. The oblong table which seats eight was filled to capacity.
Security experts, an ex-FBI agent, the dreaded attorney, and one overworked accountant were among those in attendance.
Standing in front of a dreary and neglected projector screen was the CEO of Mindefusement. Sitting to his right in a Jesus-esque move was a brazen, well-dressed, and highly-groomed new-hire.
“We love new ideas at this company, and Jason here has come up with a doozy. You are all experts in your fields, so I want Jason to take the floor and share his thoughts.”
A tentative round of applause ended as abruptly as it began. The CEO took his seat while Jason fumbled with the connection from the projector to his shiny laptop.
“Sorry all,” Jason replied, “I just need a few seconds to set this up.”
His slides flashed up on the screen. Unfortunately, the slide being shown was the last one, which asked for questions. A noob mistake, but Jason quickly recovered.
“Let’s try this again,” he said with embarrassment. He flipped to slide one, and began the full-screen presentation.
“So show of hands: how many of you have heard of character assassination?”
One hand was raised. It was the ex-FBI guy.
“Pardon me.” Jason asked, “What is your name, sir?”
“What is your specialty?
“So who here knows what ghosting is?” Jason asked.
No hands were raised.
“Well,” Jason continued, “Ghosting is a main part of Mindefusement. We ghost our targets to get more information on them so that we can produce a better product for our very valued clients.”
A couple of nods, some simple smiles, and a variety of awkward looks followed Jason’s last statement.
Jason switched to his next slide.
“Alex… can you please explain what your view on ghosting is?”
“We’re invisible,” Alex said, “Like a ghost.”
“And who do you ghost?”
“Honestly?” Alex asked.
“Yes, please. Humor me.”
“Anybody my boss asked me to.”
The attendees chuckled.
“So ghosting is one of the things we need to do in order to do what I’m proposing.” Jason explained.
Jason switched to the next slide.
“We need to ghost our targets. Find their vulnerabilities. And if there aren’t any, we create them.”
The lawyer piped up: “Are you suggesting we invent bad character traits in order to destroy someone’s reputation?”
“Exactly!” Jason screamed excitedly.
The CEO weighed in, “Most of our clients can’t afford a video of their revenge porn on their tormenters. We need a more affordable alternative for our clients. And I think this is it.”
All heads nodded in agreement with the exception of the lawyer’s.
“You’re defaming the person. You’re fabricating something that doesn’t exist,” she said.
“Julie, you have to see the bigger picture here.” the CEO explained. “We need expanded revenue sources.”
“Yes, but if we get caught, the company will be sued into oblivion. The company is exposed to liability, the management will be fined, and the value to the shareholders will be non-existent. You have to weigh possible profitability against annihilation.”
“We won’t get caught,” Alex, the ex-FBI guy, calmly replied. “I can train whomever you want on how to ghost. It’s not hard to be invisible.”
Jason piped up, “But then what happens if we can’t find any weaknesses?”
“We invent them.” Alex explained.
“Precisely my next point, Alex,” as Jason switched to the next slide.
“How?” the lawyer asked.
“Well, everybody has a cell, right? We switch out the SIM and get their calls and texts. Everybody has a laptop, right? We switch it out, spoof the MAC address, and get them on child-porn sites, into terrorist forums… we go all out.”
The lawyer asked, “But can you do that without detection?”
“I could sneak into your house, spoof all your equipment, maybe even give you a fuck or two, and you would never know I was there.” Alex dryly stated.
The CEO queried, “If this works. And I think it will work… what about this, Julie?”
The lawyer replied, “If anything ever gets traced back to this company, we are well and truly fucked.”
“Okay,” the CEO said. “Alex, work with Jason on a game plan. Marshall, you work out the accounting. What do we charge for this? Andrew, you work out how to market this to prospective clients.”
Andrew finally spoke up, “Oh, this will be an easy sell. One-hundred-grand for a video versus maybe twenty for a real-life story of revenge? I can see clients lining up down the block.”
“Okay”, the CEO responded. “Let’s meet in a week. Jason, I want to see a plan of action then. Full of legal, marketing, and accounting. Is that doable?”
“Fine, meeting adjourned. Let’s get home for some hard-earned drinks. See you tomorrow.”