Sometimes you get fucking shot.
It’s Only Business
The casino business had changed. Not as much as anyone thought it was going to, but it had changed. With the advent of the chip that changed the world, sleep no longer existed in a meaningful way for most. The night stretched on and on, with anxiety and fatigue weighing you down. The sun takes away the light, and reminds you that you are cold and alone without it. A perfect opportunity for a company to bring in optimism, hope, kind faces, good food, and a gorgeous environment free from the petty differences of day and night. You could come in and play until you lost interest or your money ran dry, and coincidentally those were the top two reasons the House would prefer you not stick around.
But that was how the people changed, not the casino. The casino, on its own motivations, updated to meet the times. No more expensive upkeep of the room, or interior decorating to match what you could only hope the richest of your potential customers found appealing. Instead, an Alternate Reality display, letting all the decoration take place in your special casino glasses, guaranteed to make you look and feel and gamble like a cool person worth a lot of money. And those glasses made small changes here and there, to test you, to see what you liked, to see how your betting habits and spending increased through the connected casino interfaces. And those data could be sold to other casinos, to researchers, to advertisers, to build up the efficiency of the economic system that made society run. Everyone wins, in their own way. But mostly the House.
It’s Only Business.
There are few who would disagree that the meaning of life is more than the collection of good experiences to a degree that they maximally outweigh bad experiences. But how MUCH more? In their centuries of debating hedonism, utilitarianism, stoicism, and a hundred other worldviews, philosophers have considered the thought experiment of shaving down one’s brain to the minimum required to maintain consciousness and experience sensation, and placing it in a jar that continuously stimulates its pleasure centers until it dies a happy death. Under philosophies that maximize pleasure, they say, doing that to someone would not only be a good thing, but it might actually be a moral obligation. If pleasure is the only measure of a life well-lived, then such an absurd, destructive setup would perfect one’s life by definition. The very idea seems ridiculous.
On the other hand. Pleasure sells.
It’s Only Business.
Sometimes, when you work on your own for long enough, your plans become inseparable from you, attached irreparably to the way you think. This is all well and good until the plan leaves your grasp, and others start to grapple with it, only to find that what has been created wasn’t made for them, despite that being the original point of the project. Once past the rose-colored glasses, the plan becomes riddled with failure points, uninteresting, and frustrating, not because there’s anything wrong with the perspective of the recipient, but because that perspective wasn’t fully considered. When this occurs, there’s little to do but ask your friend to cut out a LARGE amount of frustrated side talk, question your self-worth as a GM, dread the premiere of the episode, and write a pretentious introduction paragraph in the style of your other pretentious introduction paragraphs to warn the listener.
It’s Only GMing.
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/)