Another day, another demand. The city had long since stopped paying for the upkeep of the few remaining public prisons, after years and years of shrinking budgets. Strategic privatization meant only so much of the city revenue came through the tax system, and it became politically difficult to allocate that money to the housing and well-being of people the public had been encouraged to despise. That meant that the prisons were encouraged to find “Alternate Means of Solvency”. These ranged from using modified jail cells as secure server storage, to leasing out guards as private event security, to any number of projects on which the prisoners can be put to work. As they say, “If the service you’re being offered is free, then you’re the product.”
Over time, the prisons became more and more insular, with less and less oversight. Internal programs were no longer municipally investigated, as long as they brought in enough money to keep the building afloat. And it was only a matter of time before the wardens found a way to be paid under the table for NOT keeping certain cells secure. Leasable space is worth a lot in a city of millions, arguably more than the prisoners that occupy it.
It’s Only Business
Music from https://filmmusic.io
“Lightless Dawn” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
- Greg – Andrew Burke. An aging corporate spokesman, Andrew has worked for many companies to defuse tense situations and make questionable sales pitches. After surviving cancer, a car crash and a mugging, he takes precautions to ensure that he packs a lot more than just words for when things get rough.
- Kevin – Isaac Soklarus. A company man, Isaac has been working for Polycorp for the last year, becoming closely entangled with their inner workings. Something of a know-it-all, he has an extensive array of knowledge and a few specialized cybernetic implants to help him through his day to day life.
- Matt – Kayla Fox. A late thirties ex-Silicon-Valley network engineer who started working on the black market after realizing that sexism was less rampant in the criminal sector.
- Molly (Max) – Pepper Abe. A short and scarred yet deathly fashionable Japanese-American woman, Pepper is almost as adept at solving problems as she is at creating them. With an entry plan to anywhere and a deep seated anger toward society her reputation is louder than she ever could be.
Monopolies are often more complicated in the modern era than the board game would have you believe. With the size and complexity of the business incorporation space, a corporation of a certain size often needs to build both horizontal and vertical integration. A certain size above -that- often needs to start spending a great deal of money in Washington to make that expansion process go smoother. However, any self-propagating organism of sufficient size begins to have sections within it that are not aligned in function, that do not operate in pursuit of the same goals. Often these difficulties become known through some minor disaster, and the company resolves them through some small amount of money, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands. However, the more underground these parts are, and the subtler each of its parts remains, the harder it is for their interactions to come to light. And the easier it is for a corporation to stab itself in the back.
It’s Only Business.
Some days it was better than others. Today was not one of those days. Some days it was a minor annoyance at the back of his mind. Today, it felt like lightning was pouring through his nerves. Another day in the dark, fingers clutching at the remote as he scanned for something to distract him, when he knew full well that what he sought to avoid would be doing the distracting. His fingers balled into fists, even that motion betraying his frustrated gravitas by evoking a soft groan.
He’d given so much of himself. He’d served his country in so many capacities, gained so many skills, saved so many lives, and ended so many more. He did things that he would never, ever confess to, even if he weren’t sworn to secrecy. And the moment those skills became obsolete, the very week that his injury removed his capacity to serve, he was discarded. Set back at home with a brief tribunal, a half-hearted salute, and a quarter of the money he needed to survive. And he was only likely to survive for so long, if nothing changed.
Luckily, that’s exactly what happened. It all seemed like a blur. A man in a suit, a briefcase with a tech corporations logo on it, and promises of an experimental nervous system surgery that would make him never care about his pain again. He smiled that day. And there would never be another day that he -didn’t- face his work with a smile. Because loyalty can be a fickle thing, but sometimes, the price is high enough to earn it forever.
It’s Only Business.
[BEGIN MUSIC, SOURCED FROM “CALMING” AND “CALL TO ACTION” PSYCH TAGS]
[FADE FROM BLACK TO REVEAL CEO, VIDEO EDIT TO SOFTEN FACIAL FEATURES, CREATE WARMTH]
CEO: Welcome to GeneHome. Where your legacy is assured through your contribution to science.
[SWING SHOT, HALF-SMIRK TO ENSURE KNOWLEDGE AND CONFIDENCE, ADJUST LIGHTING TO PROMOTE DISSATISFACTION WITH CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES IN WATCHER]
CEO: Sometimes, all it takes is five minutes to change the world. One little appointment, and your genome will be at the forefront of cutting edge genetic research. A drop of blood, a few strands of hair, and you could be solely responsible for a breakthrough that ends a disease for the world forever.
[VIA LEGAL TEAM: DO NOT IMPLY THAT GENETIC ACTION IS LIMITED TO SCIENTIFIC USE]
[MUSIC CHANGE, SOURCED FROM “EXCITEMENT” AND “NOSTALGIA” PSYCH TAGS]
CEO: And not only that, but we’ll dig through the history of your ancestors free of charge, so you can see where your genetic fingerprint began…
[WINK TO INCREASE RELATABILITY]
CEO: Even as it helps to push mankind into the future.
[SHOW LOGO, PLAY COPYRIGHTED GENEHOME EXIT JINGLE, ADJUST LIGHTING TO RESOLVE WATCHER DISSATISFACTION]
CEO: Welcome Home. Where you will -never- be forgotten.
[FADE TO BLACK, END COMMERCIAL]
Our blood-shot eyes disguise their lies
Our cries all rise up to the skies
God help them when they realize
Our knives arrive to end their lives
They never let our city sleep
They count on us to be their sheep
The pens are full, the labor cheap
But they’re the crops our blades will reap
So now I lay me down to rest
I’ll put the wires to the test
When sunrays next caress the west
We’ll storm the gates, resist arrest!
-Excerpt from “The City that Never Sleeps”, Thinking of Summer