Humanity's Greatest Mecha Warrior System
Chapter 1236: Opening Day

After three days of constant arrivals, it was time for the first trial opening of the shops aboard Creeping Darkness to begin. They would open for one day, and then close for the next two as they rearranged their operational plans and redecorated to fit their preferred theme. Some of that had already begun, but the trial opening would give them valuable input into what the customers liked, and what ideas didn't go over well.

Sylvie saw this as the first great test of leadership in the residents that she had picked for management positions, and she had a bet going with Felicity about how many would crack on the first day and ask to be replaced, or be forcibly replaced, by their subordinates.

It was inevitable that at least a few of them would fail the test, despite having the qualifications. It was no secret to anyone that there were plenty of lousy managers in the world, and overloading everything for an entire day would strain both skills and nerves to the maximum.

The day's test was no short four hour trial that Sylvie had prepared. No, she wanted everything open for their entire normal business hours today.

"Should we join the crowd and go see what the atmosphere is like?" Max asked as the hours until opening wore down.

"Can we? That sounds like a lot of fun, and none of them know what we look like, so there won't be any of the favouritism that will come later when a big boss shows up to inspect their business. It will be a great way to see how things are going without the bias." Sylvie agreed.

"We've got two more days of this as well, for the day two and day three arrivals. Perhaps we can invite more people through to join in the festivities."

Sylvie shook her head. "I think they'll be stress tested hard enough with just the others from the ship. Inviting more people would be counterproductive. With only the select group of shops opened for the next few days, it will give us an even load on the vendors, and a reliable baseline for performance.

If we have them reopen too early or bring in more people, it will be an imbalance in the testing, and might ease the pressure and allow poor managers to slide through, or make even qualified ones quit."

That made sense to Max, and as the whole process was Sylvie's way of testing the new arrivals to see if they were suitable for the positions they were granted, he wasn't going to mess with it.

"Why don't we start with a light, sweet snack, then take a look around and see what catches our eye?" Max suggested.

"While I don't need to eat, it is a sufficient method of disguising my nature. How about crêpes? I have been seeing them in your food listing as a top popular item, but I am not familiar with them."

Max led the way out of the office in search of the cream and fruit filled wraps, while Sylvie prepared a spreadsheet for all the sales, service time, customer reactions and other essential factors that she deemed relevant to her test. The store selection was modelled after Felicity's data from Absolution, but there was a chance that a different crew would not necessarily enjoy the same shops, and that some of them should be repurposed to sell an alternate category of goods.

Despite the number of people who were packed into the occupied regions of the vessel, the interior of Creeping Darkness had a light and modern feel to it, thanks to all the reflective glass that Sylvie had used on the exterior of the buildings, mixed with neutral colours and polished alloy. The streets were brand new and immaculately clean, and the foot traffic was only just beginning to pick up as everyone headed to their first day at work.

"It's ten minutes to opening, how many have still been hitting the snooze button?" Max asked, expecting a fair bit of truancy on the first day, even with the small amount of time that they had been given to rest and settle in first.

"I haven't been monitoring the alarms, but there are currently six hundred and eight messages unread reminding workers that today is their first day."

Max nodded. "That's not bad, given the number of people who are starting work today. They had a fairly impressive showing yesterday as well, when they voluntarily went to see their new workplace before the morning test."

Most of them were supposed to be at work an hour ago so that they had time to go over everything before the shop actually opened, but the streets were still filled with people running to work ten minutes before nine in the morning when the grand opening was to start.

Sylvie would be making a note of all of them, but as long as they did the job well, being a bit late on the first day wasn't a huge deal.

"Oh, here we are. Crêpes. They'll be open in a few minutes, and it looks like their team is well organized. They have the flavours put out, the first round of wrappings created, and everyone is in the shop uniform. I would say they're getting pretty good marks for the morning." Max informed Sylvie.

"Quite good, actually. They do have one employee not yet in attendance, but the others were all here one hour ago, right on time. The manager was here an hour before that to start getting everything prepared, and the initial response from the team was positive."

One young man, or possibly still a boy, was running in the side door of the shop as they spoke, and Max waited in anticipation of the dressing down that he was about to receive. But the manager seemed accepting, and tapped her watch impatiently as the young man bowed and apologized, while changing his shirt and putting on the shop's logo cap, which also served as a hairnet.

They flipped the sign to open right as the hour changed, and Max held Sylvie back for a moment to let a few customers go first.

"It's valuable interaction data. The first customers of the first day will be the roughest, so we will let them get used to reciting their lines first." He whispered to the avatar.

"I see, it's a plan to observe the adaptation speed. While it's not strictly necessary, as I will be judging based on hourly averages across the day, it is interesting to watch."

But Sylvie was paying more attention to the actual food than the workers, Max noticed.

Chapter 1236: Opening Day
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