Diane contemplated the outfit that was laid out on her bed and decided it was fine, after all the meeting with the investors was a foregone conclusion. It had been apparent almost immediately after they signed the NDA that there was no interest in investing with her company, and so this meeting was just a formality to close off the paperwork.

She walked over to the bed and picked up the sheer black dress and slipped it over her head and then went to finish her outfit off with some jewelry and accessories.

Diane looked across the table at Peter and tried to keep a smile on her lips, he was the manager of the investment fund and had been hitting on her since the first time they met.

It was one of the signs that the investment deal was never going to happen when she, politely, but firmly rejected his advances. She’d built the company up from near ruin when she’d inherited it and had learned quickly how to reject an offer that undervalued her or her company.

She could tell Peter only saw her as a conquest, not that she would have been likely to be interested in the old white man anyway.

“Thank you gentlemen for coming today, my staff have drawn up the final papers to close off this transaction…” she said, sliding a stack of papers across the conference room table to Peter and his people, “… all that’s needed is your signatures.”

Peter smiled back at her and then looked down at the papers, “This all looks good Diane, I’m sorry we couldn’t come to an agreement.”

“I as well Peter, but some things are just not meant to be.”

“Of course, of course…” Peter replied and then took a pen from his breast pocket and twisted before moving towards the signature line.

“If I might interject for a moment…” Ron spoke up to her left.

Ron was her CTO, and a brilliant man that had created the technology that was going to revolutionize telework, if they ever managed to get an investment to kick start the process.

Diane raised an eyebrow as she looked at Ron, this was out of character for the man as he seldom spoke up in these kinds of business meetings, though you could never get him to shut up about the tech he’d invented.

Peter’s hand stopped mid motion to the paper and he turned to Ron, “Of course Ron, what’s on your mind.”

To Diane’s dismay, Peter and Ron had quickly formed some kind of friendship over the last few weeks, but she couldn’t do much about it either.

“Well Peter, I really think you’re missing a great opportunity here. You know the technology for employee engagement and retention I’ve created is going to change the world.”

“It might, if it had come out a year or 18 months ago, you are kind of late to the game after all.” Peter replied.

“That’s true, but I don’t think you have fully realized the possibilities with the technology. If you can spare a few minutes, I have a demonstration I’d like to show you.”

Diane was curious now, Ron hadn’t mentioned any demo to her and they had already shown Peter everything they had… or at least she thought they had.

“Alright, I’ve got some time Ron, why not.”

“Great… but this demo is highly confidential, it’s not covered by the NDA, so I’ll need staff to leave the room.”

Now it was Peter’s turn to raise his eyebrow, “Well, alright, but this had better be something truly impressive…”

Peter than nodded to the two other staff he’d brought with him and Ron looked at Diane with a pleading look. She let out a sigh and turned to her CFO and Legal council and asked them to leave.

The door closed behind them and then it was just Peter, Ron and herself.

“As you know Peter, the software I’ve created increases staff productivity and company loyalty in those that use it.”

Peter nodded as Ron continued.

“What you don’t know is that it is capable of much more…” Ron said and then turned to Diane, “Diane, activate protocol 17.”

Diane’s eyes widened and her mouth fell open for a moment before her whole body slumped in to the chair and her head fell to her chest. She twitched and then sat bolt upright before standing out of her chair.

“Protocol 17 active Sir.” her voice said as she looked straight ahead.

“Good. Please provide protocol 17 parameters.”

“Protocol 17 parameters are; submission to the company, obedience to management, provide pleasure to those that request it.”

Peter’s eyes were wide as Diane spoke.

“Good, take off your dress.”

Diane’s fingers quickly pulled her dress up over her head and placed it on the chair behind her.

“As you can see Peter, my software has capabilities that I couldn’t put in the briefings for your firm. I think you’ll agree though that it does significant increase the prospects for the future of the company.”

Peter’s eyes narrowed and a wolfish grin cross his lips, “I would say so. Tell me Ron, if I’d invested in the firm were you planning on telling me about this?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure, I am a little conflicted about it. I mean a little extra company loyalty and productivity seems harmless enough… but this… I mean this is a whole different story.”

“I’ll say it is. I think you did the right thing Ron, there are other investment firms out there that would take advantage of this in the wrong way. Perhaps if you left Diane and I allow for a little bit, we could… hammer out… an agreement that would be mutually beneficial.”

Ron just nodded and got up to leave the room. As he did he wasn’t proud of what he had done, but Peter was right. At least Ron knew a little bit about Peter and it was better the devil you knew than the one you didn’t.