slothful and greedywith their profits guaranteed, there was no need for expansion or diversification. As a result, people rose to positions of importance with no eye toward merit, just seniority.

Vorru's installation as Minister of Trade had given him oversight over the production and sale of bacta. His initial review of the whole production and distribution process had revealed to him hundreds of places where potential profit was being ignored. For example, bacta produced at a satellite facility would be shipped back to Thyferra before being transshipped to a world a dozen light-years away from the facility where it was produced. The only reason for such an activity was so the shipping firm, which was owned by Xucphra, could earn a profit, which ended up back in the pockets of the owners of Xucphra anywaythough it had been pared down by the cost of ship maintenance, crew, bookkeepers, and others.

This hardly surprised Vorru because of the way the Zaltin and Xucphra corporations had been set up. Ten thousand humans formed the management cadre for the corporations, and they oversaw the operations carried out by approximately 2.8 million native Vratix laborers. The Vratix were very efficient, requiring little or no supervision, so the galaxy-wide operations hardly required the legion of administrative personnel in place. Each corporation discouraged mixing and mingling with individuals from the other corporation, hence they became insular and fierce rivals. While their isolation had not caused problems with genetic inbreedingthough Vorru thought that was only a generation or two away there certainly was philosophical inbreeding that led to sine-cures being created for incompetent members of the corporate family.

I assume my last order to eliminate some of these

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