Space Workers Unite!

Submitted into Contest #8 in response to: Write a story about an adventure in space. ... view prompt


Science Fiction



Breaking News: Are the Koolman Industries Again in Violation of Space Workers Comp?

Is this Another case of Space Labor Law blatant contravention?

The anchorman goes on the air followed by hundred of millions of faithful audience members of the most popular space news agency.

“:Dear Cast Readers,

We know from the stories that came in large numbers, from Triton to Artemise, that recent cases of Space Labor Laws are culminating in a Space Class Action Lawsuit of extreme proportions.

Let us introduce you to two cases that involved different settings and events, but are remarkably symptomatic of the present climate of scandals and corruption incidents in the Far Space Regional Authority.

First Case Scenario:

Workers Conditions in Triton’s Meth-sea:

Two dinghies filled with survivors from a Triton ocean wreck derive for weeks over thousands of miles under a blasting binary sun. It is comforting to know that these dinghies are made of coated titanium with borodium reinforcements which are the strongest known materials.

The crew is composed of space shift members who got separated by an hydrogen potassium typhoon of epidemic proportions.

They had been fishing meth-fish on the HMS Essex-SpaceCargo in the middle of the methane ocean for now two months and their cargo was loaded with about a million tons of catch. This ocean (located on Tarantula 1) is a meth-sea of a color red like blood. Its inhabitants inherited the same color.

The number one rule for our meth-fishermen is that they never get into contact with the species found in that red ocean. These fishes are so toxic and life-repellant that just one bite could prove to be lethal, disintegrating or slowly consuming the victim’s flesh until they die in agony after having lost consciousness in horrific medical circumstances.

The million tons catch is then fed to the machines hidden deep in the belly of the Essex where they are cryogenized and processed for very-long term storage, up to a century. On the boat, not one fisherman has the faintest idea of the use the catch will fulfill, or if it will ever even be used at all. All they know is that they meth-fish them and get paid for their arduous work.

A crew usually is made up of around eighteen men who works in grueling shifts of one day and one night and get two days rest. They stay at meth-sea for six months or even a year. At the end of the campaign they have made about two-year salary being able to support a family of four until the next campaign. It is basically a space-version of the Alaskan fisheries of once.

The conditions are extremely harsh and a big difference with the salmon- fishboat is that falling at sea means unavoidable death and not just a bad adventure. Consequently no life jacket can be found as they are unnecessary. And that is a violation of Space Labor law. A few concerned Scientists have developed a suit that is halfway between the space suit and the deepest range pressurized deep underwater suit. But it can only guarantee a short period of survival until the rescue teams have arrived at the place of distress. If the survival unit doesn’t get there in time, the workers will just have a very bad day.

The crew we interviewed last week were exemplary in the matter. They ran into the largest meth-fish bank ever encountered counting five millions of tons of catch. They were all happy and started to work. But that is when the archetypal monster, a gigantic star sea monster came down on them: a gigantic alien Moby Dick type sea monster called the Suburt’na by the natives, the ones with the red color.  On Earth the most likely predator to use as a comparison would be the Carcharodon megalodon.

The giant creature destroyed their space-pressurized meth-fishing boat in twenty minutes and killed a number of men. Not one of them was covered by any life insurance policy because their employer hasn’t deemed it necessary.

Thanks to the ensign’s courageous audacity (that cost him his life), they managed to put their unsubmersible dinghies at meth-sea and escaped. They begun a long derive on the meth sea for weeks trying to reach out with distress calls which were not heard. Now the men on board are slowly going astride on the vast ocean perhaps three times larger than the earthly Pacific.

The meth sea port station where they came from looks a bit like an Antarctic station soon became convinced the Essex was lost at meth sea. That is the jargon used in this case. All search for the lost Cargo has been stopped.

But the Essex had not gone down yet. Aboard, the meth fishermen knew that their supplies were going low and if they were not found shortly they would surely perish by starvation. And to compound their problems the charcarodon megalodon was still out there - prowling the seemingly infinite red ocean. The creature was first thought to be a sort of primitive local version of a whale but soon turns out to be much, much worse than that…

Have you ever imagined what a meth sea in fury could look like? The meth waves are as tall as a 5 story building. Then a small speck can be seen on top of the waves. The speck is really the head of a Unit-1 robotic assembler unit, barely emerging from the meth sea in fury. It fell a few weeks earlier from the orbital station and by gravity slowly reentered the Kuranian atmosphere just to fall into the meth sea in the middle of a storm of the century. The Koolman worker stranded in the Unit-1 robotic assembler unit can survive for a week or two, depending on the type of lease he’s been subscribed into. The lease has the inconvenient drawback that the supplies are limited by the lease agreement. Basically, if you got credit for a week, your supplies, including your oxygen tank, will be limited to a week. When the week is over, you better have applied and gotten more credit line or you are out of luck.

Second Case Scenario:

Koolman’s Disregard for Workers Comp at their Industrial Space Facilities:

Dear Readers:

The Second Case we offer to your judgment is as disconcerting as the first one. It took place on the interplanetary facilities administered by Koolman during the week of May 1st to 8th.

You will be able to judge for yourself the gravity of the facts and vote at the end of this cast, in your conscience, your verdict.

The location is the Koolman’s Space Industries Facilities. Our unvoluntary hero is an hourly space worker. An hourly space worker in a working space suit is a worker not a hero and shouldn’t be asked to be one. John looks like a standard industrial worker, except he lives 305 years from now. His daily schedule consists of repairs, adjustments and other not so heroic jobs. He works on space stations compartments, maintenance rooms, and anything he has been assigned to, when getting his weekly schedule at the space station administration center. On a weekly basis, he could earn around 100000 new coins a month which is enough to support a family of four or six. Generally he does not want this job but has to take it to make a living. So, John once earned a PhD in magnetohydrodynamic science and hoped to get a job at the Trans-Jupiterian Consort. But that did not happen and when it was time to make a tough decision, he accepted this lower occupation for the time being. John traveled one week to the industrial complex and begun fixing space modules right away. Koolman rents the space suit to its workers. They take a large deposit and send you good to go into the neighborhoods of the largest spacepods. John’s weekly schedule begins on Sunday and is somehow repetitive but he has not lost interest when he floats in space, with the red planet in the horizon.

The inevitable happened on his fourth day of work as he was fixing a ramp located on the side of a huge depressurizer, he was hit with great force by an unknown object. Thrown at great speed into space, John was saved by an emergency landing pod in outer space that stopped his vertiginous flight. He was marooned not too far from the main planet. Workers in this area may sometimes have to spend a day in a space suit of that type in which they have most of the survival tools needed as well as food and drinks. So when John fell to what could have been his death on the surface of the emergency pod he hoped he would be found quickly and brought back to the planet orbital landing.

He also had his credit cards to buy the supplements he needed off the outlets on the emergency pod.

But after a couple of days spent on the platform John began to fear the worst as he was uncomfortably stuck in vertical position inside his space suit. All the coms had been cut off in the fly and had not been reestablished.

On his fifth day on the emergency pod, John sees another space suit hurled into space. and comes landing onto his already crowded emergency pod. Now John must share his already claustrophobic situation with another worker, who, like him, fell into space. John tries without success to establish a com with his unwanted neighbor. Ironically they can see each other through their visors. John knows some sign language. They can soon share the news and hope that a rescue party will come for them.

They will wait eight days, eight long days which will have now passed without any help on the horizon. John used up the last of his credits to buy the last supply of drinks and foods accessible at the outlets. He expects the card to be declined very soon. What will they do when this happens?

Fortunately a search party spotted the emergency pod on the tenth day of John’s odyssey.

Dear Cast Readers:

We just showed how, once again, Koolman Industries has proven to disregard the most elementary working rules and safety procedures in space and in Triton’s Meth sea. We ask you, at the end of this cast, to vote your mind about Koolman Industries. Please, be partial and vote to prevent Koolman to operate in such unfair conditions that place the lives of their workers in danger. Stop Koolman Industries before someone dies in their facilities! “

Thanks For Watching! Good Evening.

(Music. Holo Cameras span the Theater)

September 20, 2019 21:47

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