Skip to main content

Reduction Clause




Reduction Clause
By Robert Ferrick

       Cold dominated his thoughts as he woke slowly from a chemical coma. Sleeper pods were a cheap way to be transported but they were definitely not comfortable and the chill of air on his skin as the impact gel flowed out of the tube made McCall shiver and his skin break out in goose-bumps. A droning noise that sounded like someone speaking with a mouth full of marbles gradually resolved into the voice of the drop-ship’s automatic steward program.
       “Depress the lever in front of you to exit your pod. Depress the lever in front of you to exit your pod.” It droned away at him senselessly and after a moment he silenced it by doing as it instructed.
       He found himself one of a few dozen naked men and women standing in a set of rows next to their pods and the smell of stale air, imperfectly filtered bodily wastes and the metallic background smell of the ship itself overwhelmed him for a moment. Just as he was getting used to the smell he heard the static click of the auto-steward speakers coming on.
       “Proceed to quarantine station in an orderly fashion. Follow the yellow arrows. Proceed to quarantine station in an orderly fashion. Follow the yellow arrows.” It kept repeating these words as yellow arrows lit up on the floor and walls pointing to the right.
       Those close to that end of the hall began forming a line and the rest of the room followed suit. They all moved with the stumbling, half aware walk of people who had not really used their bodies in a couple of weeks. The arrows guided them out of the drop ship and the underground silo where it had landed beneath the surface of the planet Hathor into a quarantine compound where they were hosed down and issued clothing in the form of undergarments, heavy boots and a bright orange coverall.
       McCall knew from the briefing that he had been given that they were to be quarantined here until they could be safely released into their new world’s environment. During the quarantine they would be trained on the various forms of work they had been contracted to as a lot of the off world jobs simply didn’t exist on Earth anymore. He was contracted as a computer technician and he looked forward to the training and skills he would possess even as he knew he would spend five years working as a nearly unpaid employee. Afterwards he could choose a post with any company on the planet.

       After eating they were told to wait while they were called for individual orientation sessions. Half a dozen people were called upon at a time and McCall soon found himself sitting across from a man in a grey coverall with a name tag that read “Orientation Officer Gentry”. Gentry was a pasty looking fellow with a few wisps of dark hair clinging to his scalp and the dull expression of man doing work he has done a thousand times. Seated behind a quarantine wall of thick glass with a speaker vox between them reminded McCall of his status as an offworlder.
       “Mr. McCall I see here that you have been contracted to the FeSky Mine. What is your level of experience with mining?”
       “None, but I believe you have the wrong file, I was contracted with Galactech as a computer engineer.”
       “You are Anson C. McCall, citizen # 459-43-9044-E correct?” asked the small man.
       “Yes, I am, but I am no miner.”
       “Please allow me a moment to review your file.” said Gentry and he began typing away at his console. After a few moments he said “Ah, I see, your contract was sold in transit. Apparently Glactech over-hired on Computer technicians and engineers and sold several contracts to Ferrum Sky under the Reduction Clause KC-22. Your new term of service will be extended by ten years as miners make considerably less than Technicians.”
       “There must be a mistake! They can’t do that. I never agreed to any such thing, I want to activate my right to arbitration.” Cried McCall.
       “Well of course Mr. McCall, did you contract for expedited arbitration or did you elect the standard representation contract?”
       “Standard, I believe.”
       “Very well, in the mean time you will need to follow the requirements of your new contract and begin work as a miner, or you will be in breach of contract and subject to severe penalties and possible forfeiture of citizenship.”
       “So even though I am contesting the change I have to do it anyway?”
       “Well your food and lodgings require payment. Your transport costs, clothing, and minimum contribution to the company credit account all have to be paid for. You must work and the only work available for you at this time is as a miner. I am sure this will all get sorted out in due time; standard arbitration usually only takes about a year or two at most.”
       The door opened and Gentry had already begun reviewing another file by the time McCall had turned to go. The chill sensation in his stomach made him feel as if he had been stabbed by a cold blade.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Building a Punk Venue for WitS Pt. 1

Chris from Slow Death Games/Wild in the Streets isn't going to be able to make it to AdeptiCon this year so the Breaker Press Games booth is going to be running Wild in the Streets demos in addition to our yearly introduction to Broken Contract. This means that I'm going to need suitable scenery to use for demo purposes, as well as for photos used in Tooth Chipper Fanzine. With that in mind, I looked around the internet in search of buildings that fit my vision of the hip neighborhoods I've frequented around the country as my old bands toured. Everywhere I looked, the modern buildings I was most drawn to were all from the TT Combat City Scenics line.

I looked at their entire range, and even though their old theatre, comic book store, and music shop all seemed like automatic selections, I needed to get the most bang and flexibility for my buck, so I ordered their Take Away set online, which is meant to be a stripmall with 3 restaurants in it. Eagerly, I waited for it to ar…

Three New Releases for April 2018

At AdeptiCon we debuted three new releases and they are available on the Breaker Press webstore now!
Broken Contract The Day-to-Day Starter Box This Starter Box is a revised and reimagined version of last year's starter box. The box we brought out to the world through Kickstarter last year contained a lot of stuff, but in retrospect may have been a touch overwhelming to new players. The focus then was on creating a sandbox for players who wanted to create their own characters and crews, but it was too much stuff to make a smooth introduction.
The Day-to-Day Starter Box seeks to resolve that by adding our Introductory Episode Book, The Day-to-Day and keeping the cards and models strictly to those on the sample crew rosters included in the book. The three scenarios are meant to guide the players through progressively more involved Acts, composing a mini-campaign called an Episode. 

The Day-to-Day Starter Box is the perfect introduction to the miniature game, Broken Contract. Contained…

Rust Pointe Dumpster Review

I came back from AdeptiCon with a bunch of stuff. I acquired the vehicles for Wreck-Age that my partner and I backed on Kickstarter. I picked up a few Aetherium miniature sets to use for my own Broken Contract games set in the FerrumSky Mines, as well as for playtesting a future BC expansion. Finally, I came back with a bunch of scenery kits from Death Ray Designs.


The first project I chose to dive into when I got home was the Rust Pointe Dumpster from Death Ray Designs. I bought three of them and I have them all in various stages of completion. I don't generally do reviews, but I was so impressed with this little kit, that I wanted to talk about it.

As you can see in the photo above, it's just a rectangular dumpster, and a tiny kit at that. The immediate thing I want to note is that it comes with assembly instructions. A bunch of other MDF kits I own have no instructions, which was fine for the simpler ones. The last building I built though, had a bunch of successive layers …