Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Growing Up In The Corporation . . .


Friday and another in my growing collection of Behind The Scenes posts.

If you’re new to the blog, I reserve Fridays for special posts that sometimes explain and sometimes reveal more of the story in my short novel Notes from An Alien.

It’s been for sale since May of 2011 but it’s also been available for no cost.

These Behind the Scenes posts often have spoilers so, if you’d rather not be exposed to them, grab a free copy of the novel and read this post later (not much later, though, since the book is only 96 pages :-)

And, I encourage you to ask me Any questions (about the book or these Behind The Scenes revelations) in the Comments of Any of these Friday posts.

Two weeks ago, I wrote new material not in the published edition—scenes about a boy on the Corporate World of the Angi Star System.

Notes from An Alien isn’t quite science fiction—the similarities of life in the Angi System and life on Earth are sometimes disturbingly close

Also, even if these scenes were taken from some kind of “transcript”, the words would still have to be translated into our language and idiom.

Last week, I published new scenes about a boy growing up on the Religious World of Anla.

Today, we’re back on the Corporate World of Anga.

However, the boy in today’s scenes doesn’t break free of Corporate control

Well, he does, but

Read on :-)

~~~~~~~~~

He was born just before sunrise. The last of eight children.

His parents were the kind of folks who did what the Corporation told them, including the things they didn’t know they were being told—no resistance from these people against subliminal stimuli

It took a certain waywardness of individuality to resist the Corporation—took risks—promised rewards bought at too high a price for most.

So he grew up with both parents having time to nurture him, parents who worked the normal twelve-hour-day—devoting three full hours to be with their son, every day of the week.

The only rough part of his upbringing was that incident with the man named Movar

He’d been the boy’s Caretaker for a year before his parents noticed the nasty streak of independence Saltre was developing.

Saltre himself was relieved when his father picked him up that day and told Movar, in harsh language, he’d better be careful.

Being independent was a problem the boy really didn’t want. It sort of felt like what girls could do to him and he really just wanted to study the Corporate lessons and please his parents and stay calm

~~~

When he was twelve, he wrote a composition that got him a Reward from the Corporation. The end of it said:

“I love my parents and I think they’ll understand when I say I love the Corporation more.

“Not really more in feeling but more because one day my parents will die, as we all will, and then what will I have to support me?

“The Corporation will always support me if I dedicate myself to its Standards, its Procedures, and its Guardianship.

“You may think I’m being too passionate but I must say, the Corporation loves us, in an expert, controlled way.

“We owe It our lives. We owe it all we can do for It.”

~~~

When the boy reached his seventeenth birthday, the present he appreciated most was the Notification of Apprenticeship.

His mother had wrapped the log-in code-chip in pretty paper and smiled strangely as she handed him the parcel.

After he opened it, he said:

“Mom! Apprenticeship!! Holy Space!!!”

“Saltre, let’s not use such loose language, ok?”

“Oh, Mom, everyone uses that, even my Instructors in Stakeholding.”

“Well, I guess I’m not up to speed, Dear

“Oh, Mom, you’re just fine and—”

His abrupt stop made his mother nervous. She’d tried to hide it from him.

“Mom, I’m sure they’ll find a way to stop it

“Perhaps, Saltre

She’d been diagnosed with Iteration Syndrome—repeating simple actions beyond usefulness. It wasn’t blatant yet and she could still, most often, control it.

Still, Iteration Syndrome could lead to a charge of Unsuitability, with the bleak prospect of becoming a Candidate for Advanced Corporate Experimentation.

“Saltre, if I must go away some day Please know that whatever happens I’ll still be of some use to the Corporation and you’ll have a lot more Credits in your account.”

Her smile collapsed when Saltre said:

“Dying would be easier

“Nonsense, Dear. I’d still see you sometimes. Your Father would be able to spend even more time with you. And—”

Saltre interrupted, with obvious despair in his voice:

“And, you’d be helping further the Corporation’s Grand Goals.”

He couldn’t stop the tears

~~~

“So, I’m thirty years old

“You’ve done so much, Saltre.”

“I’ve done what I had to do, Gorma

“But, being a Supervisor already, that’s amazing!”

“Easy. You know it.”

“I’m Well, I just don’t like that much Simulated Recreation

“It’s the only way to be sure you can stand the effort necessary to succeed.”

“I know but isn’t a walk in the park a way to relax from being Undesirable?”

“Obviously not, Gorma. You’re right at the edge. You’ve had two miserable Evaluations.”

“Well, maybe all I’m good for is becoming a Candidate for Advanced Corporate Experim—”

“Shut up!”

“Saltre I’m sorry I didn’t mean—”

“Shut the fuck up!!”

~~~

When he was thirty-one, all hell broke loose.

He’d known about the loss of ShipOne—the treacherous actions of the Captain—the apparent defection of most of the crew

He’d been working in the Department of Space Assembly—overseeing part of the early phase of ShipTwo’s hull construction.

He’d been struggling with how to get the workers to extend their shift-time—too many were dying on him.

His last Evaluation had recommended, if performance was not improved, Special Intervention—loss of his position as Supervisor and only rumors about the medical procedures

He tried talking more with his workers.

They were the worst of the lot—barely above Undesirable, but he struggled to encourage them.

Word reached his Superiors and he was called in for another Evaluation.

~~~

“Have a seat, Saltre.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Having problems?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Talking to your workers?”

“Well, sir—”

“Hold!”

Saltre knew the command—shut up ’cause you just screwed up.

“You think you know better than the Corporation?”

“No, sir.”

“Then, why the excess interaction? Why not just use the approved hand signals and the Plasma-Prods?”

“Sir, I think maybe the Plasma-Prods are part of the reason the workers are dying off so fast.”

“You think so?”

“Maybe

“Raw Speculation. Dangerous, Saltre.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I see you’re down for a possible Special Intervention

“Yes, sir.”

“What can we do to help you?”

“Anything you recommend, sir.”

“Very good.”

~~~

Advanced Corporate Experimentation really wasn’t all that bad.

He got to sleep late, the food was very good, and he didn’t mind the sex, though he wished they didn’t change the women so often.

He didn’t see anyone else but the women and they didn’t stay long after the act

The Simulated Recreation was especially good.

After a few months, he began to confuse Simulated Recreation with life in the living space.

His interactions with the Experimenters, through the Plasma Communication Console, was becoming challenging.

He couldn’t seem to please them

They kept telling him he was doing just fine but he didn’t feel like he was doing all that well.

The extra drugs made him sick but that would vanish during Simulated Recreation.

It happened nine months after the Experimentation began.

Just after a particularly bad injection of multiple drugs, his Simulated Recreation began to change.

He felt like he was a child again

He began to relive episodes with his mother

He’d lost connection with any form of reality—heard his mother say, “Nonsense, Dear. I’d still see you sometimes. Your Father would be able to spend even more time with you. And—“

He ripped the cord from the Plasma Console and strangled himself.

~~~

Report to The Advanced Experimentation Oversight Office

At 09:38:64, Saltre Mesurn terminated self. Experimentation yielded valuable data. Full results being collated.
~~~~~~~~~
Read more Behind the Scenes posts…
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2 responses to “Growing Up In The Corporation . . .

  1. Jane Watson September 22, 2013 at 8:15 am

    This is very powerful and moving….Saltre’s fate is incredibly sad and I think we identify with him even though we may not want to be like him – and who can escape the resonance here with the plight of many of us here on Earth caught in the web of the corporate life or damaged by the corporate influence on our daily lives? Saltre seems to represent so much about the human condition.

    Like

  2. Alexander M Zoltai September 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Thank you, Jane

    Saltre thanks you, too

    There are other “poor souls” from Angi’s history who remind me of folks here on Earth

    As they come to me, I’ll relate their stories

    Like

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