Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 49

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity details a recruitment office for Company which lays claim to the beautiful and deadly Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.

49) Gast Industries and Innovations, London

Gast Procurement & Natural Resources has a variety of subsidiaries and affiliate companies around the world, and maintains regional administrative offices in New York, Pond Inlet, Anchorage, San Francisco, Greater Windlet, Shanghai, Visakhapatnam, Libreville, Cairo, London, and Southampton to coordinate business affairs between all of them. One major function of these offices is in the recruitment and evaluation of new employees and consultants.

The London office in particular is noted for its large and efficient personnel department, and in the past few years has shunted many of its financial duties over to the Southampton office to facilitate significant expansion of these duties. More than just serving as a point of hire, the office also takes great pride in its stringent interview and assessment procedures, and its reportedly diabolical training program which includes stints at the Pond Inlet office for what is referred to as ‘Perspective Training.’ Pond Inlet’s tiny office is renowned within the company for a sign above the Administrator’s desk which bears the legend, ‘Even here things can still get worse.’

London hired and trained employees are often regarded as the best in the company and have come to expect preferential treatment in terms of assignment.

The London office conducts interviews of unskilled and limited skill laborers year-round, and hosts highly competitive hiring drives twice a year. Unsuccessful applicants may not apply again for two years, but are given a very detailed assessment of why they were not chosen. These assessments are often very blunt, but are meant to be honest and useful.

Successful applicants are put through further rounds of testing and vetting until their number has been reduced by half. These weeded out, are paid for their trouble and given a letter of reference detailing their strengths, and a highly detailed report citing areas for improvement. These are not blunt, they are harsh. Such applicants are not allowed to apply again for 5 years – although rumors persist of exceptions being made in times of need.

Those who are hired on these drives are given a period of training of not less than 3 months, but typically of 6 months or more in a variety of offices in roles which directly relate or support the role for which they were hired. This pattern holds true for all levels of staff from the custodial and security guards on up to the general managers, but is most obvious and lengthy to those who are hired in management positions. Successful hires are made aware that they will be transferred twice per year for their first five years with the Company, and can expect to serve under each regional administrator during that time. Service on or near Greater Windlet is often reserved for applicants’ last required posting before permanent assignment at a station which can most benefit from their talents, but has been known to be waived altogether in some cases. In other exceptional cases, applicants have been offered permanent assignments on the Windlet Isles straight out of training.

The London office is in an unassuming converted pair of large warehouses near the Thames, and has a staff of more than 100 dedicated solely to recruiting, interviewing, testing, training, and overseeing the associated paperwork. It does not advertise its location broadly, and is marked by a very small brass plaque near the main gate. As with all Gast facilities, a high level of security is maintained reminiscent of embassies and military bases, although employees respect and work well with local law enforcement agencies.

Usual Suspects: Mercer Royce

The Chief Interviewer and former Chief of Training (that post has now gone to his son Harris) is a grim-faced man, bearing a ferocious glare, ramrod straight posture, immaculate suits, and an unassuming Welsh accent. He seems devoid of humor, but his dry and frequently snide quips often only register hours after the fact. He tends to be the cleverest man in any room, and despite his put-on rigidity in the office, seems capable and of iron control. The head of a lion in his office, which his assistant is proud to report the Chief took with a towel and a dinner knife, gives form to a hidden, but no less sensed forcefulness not common in the average businessman.

Royce has hazel eyes, and his dark brown hair has faded to grey, but his skin is healthy, fit and tanned. His teeth are… interesting… eccentric even. He is of average height and build, but seems larger in one’s memory.

Rumours: Heard among Company staff

  • 1 in 5 interviewees fear they will wet themselves when he says hello
  • His training regimen leaves at least 2 crippled and 1 dead each year
  • He joined the Company as the Administrator is the only man he respects
  • He once bit a viper which had bitten him, mostly for spite
  • His wife is as bad, if not worse than he is… but an excellent cook!
  • His training is 100% useful, and has probably saved thousands of lives
  • He is vehemently opposed to the Nazis
  • He believes the only civilized tongue is English

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