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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Monday, October 21, 2013

Slavery, Version 2.0: A Science Fiction Story

Slavery, Version 2.0: A Science Fiction Story
Jill Bolton had made some bad mistakes in her young life which had begun in the year 2015. Jill had borrowed lots of money to go to a pricey liberal arts college.  Not able to decide on a career path, she had majored in history, a subject she found interesting. After graduating with a bachelor's degree, she was unable to find a job. It seemed no one wanted to hire a history major. She ended up taking on and off jobs as a waitress to help pay the rent.

But Jill had borrowed $60,000 to pay for college, and the interest rate was high. As Jill was only able to pay a tiny amount of the loan, the amount that was due kept growing higher and higher.  Jill also charged large amounts on her credit cards to make ends meet. Five years after leaving college, Jill added up her debts, and discovered that she owed a total of $117,890.  Bankruptcy was not an option, because you were not allowed to discharge student debt in bankruptcy, and new laws had made it all but impossible to get rid of credit card debt except by paying it off.

Jill was distraught by her debts. But one day she saw a web ad promising an easy way to get rid of all your debts. Jill filled out  a form online, and after a salesman called, Jill made an appointment to go see someone at a company called New Eon Debt Removal Services, Inc.

Jill arrived at their office, where she met a young man named Donald Black.
Donald promised to remove all of Jill's debts.

“We will destroy your debt!” said Donald enthusiastically. “We will burn it, vaporize it, and nuke it. Just sign right here, and your debt will be vanished history, just like the Roman Empire and the Third Reich.”

Jill was given a contract with lots of small print. The contract was worded in thick, confusing legalese which was hard to read and understand. Buried somewhere in the contract was the phrase “agree to an indefinite period of servitude,” but Jill didn't bother to read every word in the contract. She just trusted Donald, and signed the contract, after briefly skimming over it.

“Congratulations,” said Donald. “You are now a slave.”

“Very funny,” said Jill in a chilly tone of voice. “You shouldn't joke about things like that.”

“I'm not joking,” said Donald honestly. “I mean you are now quite literally a slave. You just signed an agreement renouncing all of your legal rights. You agreed to an indefinite period of servitude. That means you agreed to become a slave.”

Donald took out a donut-shaped electronic collar out of his desk, and snapped it around Jill's neck. It was a type of collar that couldn't be taken off by someone once it had snapped around the neck.

“What the hell are you doing?” said Jill. “I'm getting out of here.”

She tried to leave, but as she reached the door, she felt an excruciating pain. She looked back at Donald, who was holding a remote control.

“We now control you, through that electronic collar I put on your neck,” said Donald. “Wherever you go, we'll know where you are. You won't be able to take the collar off. If I want to punish you, I just press this button, and you will feel the worst pain you've ever felt.”

“You pig,” said Jill. “I'll scream bloody murder. You won't get away with this.”

“Scream all you want,” said Donald. “It won't get you anywhere, because what we are doing is perfectly legal. Haven't you been following the news? Didn't you see all those news stories with titles like 'The New Slavery'? The corporations who control the country got the government to repeal the Thirteenth Amendment. Slavery is as legal as paying your income taxes.”

Jill was taken to a Slaves Orientation Center, where she was briefed on the new life she would face.

“Okay, newbies, life has dropped you at the bottom of the barrel,” said a harsh slave master named Andrew. “Those of you who are men will be shipped out to work underground at the shale oil sites. It's a dirty, exhausting job, but you'll get used to it.”

“Those of you who are women will be working as sex slaves, as part of the new Brothels division of the corporation,” Andrew continued. “Every day, buses filled with men will arrive, and then you have to do whatever they tell you. You'll have to put up with all kinds of disgusting stuff, but at least you'll have a good chance to rest when it's all over.”

“Don't try running away,” said Andrew, “or we'll just send an electronic signal that will cause your collar to zap you with the worst pain you've ever felt. And remember: once a slave, always a slave.”

Jill fumed. How could she have got herself into this mess? But while she was being trained as a sex slave, Jill got a lucky break.

Four men stormed into the Slaves Orientation Center, armed with shotguns. They had electronic devices that they used to disable the slave collars of all of the sex slaves, including Jill. They used another device to take the collars off of all the women.

“We are the Sons of Freedom,” said one of the men. “We have sworn to free every slave we can find.” 

“Thank you for saving me,” said Jill. “What is your name?”

“The name's Brown,” said the slave freer. “John Brown.”