Brothers and Sisters

You know how the signs here on New Alaska station ooze a certain enthusiasm? “North Star is the Future!” they all say. Pretty much everything else about the Polaris Project is like that. It just makes you sick if you pay too much attention to it, like when you were a kid and ate too much sugar. 

I guess it takes a lot of enthusiasm to lure people more than 400 light years from home to live on a tin can floating in a treacherous three-star system. Even with the Tesseract Drive, it’s a three year one-way trip, a nasty one at that. And ain’t nobody selling return tickets, if you know what I mean. 

We were told there was plenty of good-payin’ work here, weren’t we? Now, calm down! It wasn’t a total lie. There’s plenty of work here, it just don’t pay no good. 

That’s right, we all know that’s right.

Look, in theory, I get 40 Parcs an hour as a station welder. With a standard 100 hour work week, that’s supposed to be 4,000 Parcs a week, and that’s why we’re all here. It’s damn lot better than any of us could ever do back on Earth. That’s the kind of money that can make a difference for you, make a difference for your family, after just a couple of years. That’s the kind of money that made me sign my life away to come here and float in the void welding pieces together for the Barrow Section, and I know it’s the money that brought all of you here, too. 

Yes, we’re in it for the money, and that’s okay! A person would be a fool to come all this way and do this kind of shit for any reason other than the money. The Polaris Project only exists to make money, and the Boss is programmed to do nothing but make money. Money is the only thing they understand!

So, brothers and sisters, let’s talk about the money. Let’s talk about the lies they told us about money and these jobs we do. 

Let me ask you: when was the last time you put in a standard 100 hour week? I know that the Boss has just turned on my amphetamine drip full blast and kept it goin’ for over a month now. It’s fourteen hours of welding, and then it’s another four extra ‘cause Barrow is behind schedule. Then I got six hours before I’m back on, only I’m so hopped up that I might as well still be out there. 

Only we don’t get no overtime, do we? It’s all just standard rate, only they deduct the amphetamines the Boss from our pay. Those cost me damn near as much as I’m making from the extra work at just 40 Parcs an hour. 

While we’re talking about what they deduct from our pay, back on Earth they didn’t tell us the lodging rates would go up after we’d been here three months, now did they? And they didn’t tell us what the food charges would be, either. And before we left Earth they didn’t tell us that here in New Alaska there was goin’ to be a separate charge for oxygen on TOP of the lodging. No, they didn’t tell us that until we got here and had to choose between asphyxiation and having the air we breathe taken out of our pay. 

That there’s not a choice, it’s extortion. 

You know what else they didn’t tell us? That it would come out of our pay to use the goddam latrine! ‘Water processing charges,’ the Boss says, but it just looks like goddam piracy from where I sit. Anybody else agree?

Brothers and sisters, this ain’t no way to live, not even out here!

Brothers and sisters, they lied to us!

Brothers and sisters, there’s only one way to put a stop to it! There’s only one way to get what we were promised, to get what we deserve!

Brothers and sisters, I’m signing my union card!

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