The Manager

The glass was ice cool on his forehead. He gazed down past his feet. Down below and beyond the glass he could see a group of the crew busying themselves with the operation of some machine on the deck that he could never understand. Did the crew even speak English? He got by in passing conversation with the captain when they ran into each other. Weekly meetings about ship matters began in English but his lack of input quickly began it's shift into Russian, Polish and Hungarian while he faded away. 

He knew the mockery that he elicited from the crew, the sniggers and glares. He was the troll under the bridge between two worlds in a very small space. Friend of no-one and thoroughly misunderstood. He would greet the traders when they landed, brief them for fifteen minutes and then they were in the hands of the medics and scientists downstairs for prepping before trading began. After two weeks, at the end of their tenure, he debriefed the trader for another fifteen minutes and saw them off from the tiltrotor deck before returning to his quiet office. 

At least he had a view from the trading floor. The crew buried themsleves in the mechanical bowels while the traders buried themselves in the ebb and flow of the markets. His job offered him regular glimpses into both these worlds but mostly he enjoyed looking through the icy window. 

In an hour or so, a group of directors and inspectors would be landing on board. He'd show them the reviews and statistics that the computer basically prepared for him and they would nod, prod and shake their heads as they marveled at their creation. In the year of its operation, the ship had never failed. The Russians kept the reactor humming and the traders kept the activity flowing - the colossal and rapid bubbles and bursts that paid his salary.

They would shake his hand, pat him on the shoulder and board the tiltrotor back to Archangelsk and from there they would head to London, Amsterdam and New York. That evening they would be in their homes. They'd watch some videos, have a drink and climb into bed comforted by the steely beast tearing around the arctic circle miles above their heads. 

A misty circle of condensation was forming around his head.  The crew below were probably laughing at the man in the suit with his head against the window gazing down at the deck. He breathed in to his chest and let it go with a sigh. Turning on one heel he looked up and around at the traders plugged into their systems. They weren't really here anyway, they were off somewhere in the fractional world, operating at light speed around the markets. They had to spend the first forty-eight hours after their tenure in the medical center to recover, receiving the surgery and psychological refitting to bring them back to normalcy.

He used to eat with the people from the medical center when they first started. Some of the discoveries they were making and experiments they were performing were fascinating to hear about. Gradually he became irked by the way they began to refer to the traders. Their talk of stock, lineage, redundancy and modification made him retreat to the humane sanctuary of his office for his meals and recreation time.  Now he saw them less than the crew.

A vibration in his pocket reminded him of the imminent arrival of the tiltrotor form Archangelsk. One last glance around the silently tense trading floor confirmed the paragon of glory and success he was supposed to be conveying. He headed downstairs to the visitor's reception with it's laughable palm trees and marble floor acting as an ill-fitting signifier of the business this ship was in.