A Decent Land: An Anthology of Arks #6
Brief biographies of the first forty ships to arrive in the system Mammaria.
Foundry offers zero-hour contracts to its staff. Ever since the smog supplanted Manufacturing lines, metal and derivatives have fallen out of fashion. We still make use of all the classics; iron, copper and lead. Along with other elements and alloys, they form skeletons, upon which skin and musculature is added from elsewhere. Metals are essential to the production of munitions, and residential district ships have antiquated cities. Skilled mongers take responsibility for these orders, but they’re few and far between (and can’t be guaranteed).
Working with molten sludge — inside a factory travelling near-light speed — requires total concentration, and a measure of bravery. Falling into vats and ladles is, regrettably, common. Loss of individual digits, caused by flecks of liquid steel, is to be expected (even with protective gloves). The heat is sticky, oppressive and it often causes stroke, so an on-board clinic tends to casualties as they occur. To balance out the obviously unattractive aspects of the job, Foundry operatives are paid enormous wages.
Thus, employment at this ark is tantamount to gambling. The longer you last, the greater the chance some horrible end will befall you. If you survive, you’re sure to have a full house in finger bingo; an automatic compensation payout makes this quite desirable. A thumb is worth a lot of money, and certain accidents — once investigated — were clearly manufactured by the victims. You can bank anytime by transferring to Engineering, or one of the scoopers, or risk it all; attempt another perilous payday, if you’re feeling bold.
27. Aquatic Analysis
On Ūdan-III, the planet where we met our mermaid friends, undersea researchers logged a rich society. Coral tenements wobbled in the swirling saltwater, framed by the…