She was tired.
She knew it, because she recognized how others looked at her now. The dark bags forming under her eyes. The streaks of gray in her hair. She was known for her public speaking skills. They had been a major asset in her campaign. But lately, she was less persuasive. Less believable. She was tired.
Panaja walked back to her desk, grabbed her tablet and reviewed the figures again.
"Anzillaques, this can't be correct."
"I'm sorry madame. But we are straining the coffers to pay out bounties to those damn eggers every time Kuvakei's monsters strike."
"They seem to be getting very efficient, why not just scale back the payments?"
"You know that never goes well. Remember what happened in Jita a few months ago? We need to look at additional revenue streams. I've something in mind, of course..."
"There is a decent volume of planetary production being run by the eggers. We could boost the taxes there, and stop replacing the customs offices when they are destroyed by pirates in losec and null. That should get us through at least for the next few months. In addition, we could let the eggers build the customs offices, and sell them the blueprints. Recoup some of what we are paying out for their work against Kuvakei."
Panaja considered the suggestion.
"It's pretty good. But there's one other thing."
"We aren't underwriting Pend on insurance payouts for suicidal capsuleers anymore."
"For years, Pend has paid insurance on ships that WE have to destroy, to keep the peace. Now that they are being subsidized by CONCORD, we can stop that foolish practice."
"Interesting..." the CFO punched at her tablet for a few moments...
"Perfect!" We've managed to stretch the budget for the full fiscal year with that additional change, and we can even improve the payouts for assaulting pirate command sites. Of course, this also depends on additional egger recruits, but I'm sure that Obuchi can coordinate a campaign to encourage additional recruits to the capsuleer program."
"Thank you Anzillaques."
Panaja Paukonsuo sat, leaning back and closing her eyes. After the last year with the uprising of the capsuleers, and the internal audits and the economic breakdown, these new changes were promising. If she was lucky, she wouldn't be fighting for her job at the next board meeting. Anzillaques had done well. CONCORD would survive this economic downturn, and come out stronger. Of course, the eggers would have to take ownership of remote customs offices, and responsibility to maintain or replace them if they wanted them. Faced with the economic challenges, CONCORD needed to scale back, to focus on secure empire space. She knew it was necessary. CONCORD could barely afford to keep the stargates manned in nullsec, let alone maintenance and replacement of those customs offices.