Connecting to the soldier’s implants digitally was almost trivial. The hard part was the actual manipulation of data. For obvious reasons, the implants were designed to resist this exact sort of tampering. Covering her tracks was time consuming as well.
Fortunately, most Janes were conditioned to ignore anything that wasn’t part of their immediate task. When Jane drew the curtain around her rack, none of the other Jane’s would bother her and her guest.
“How did you know where I was from?” The soldier asked as Jane worked.
“Hmm?” Jane mumbled as she finished pulling the cable from her arm, plugging it into the power connection by her bedside.
“You knew I was from Akiing…er…ES-89 I mean. How?” The soldier asked.
“Oh,” Jane plugged the cable into a port in the soldier’s armor, “You mentioned you were in the same division as the dead soldier. I made an assumption.”
“I could have been from anywhere though,” the soldier protested.
“It’s…your hump…on your back…I’m sorry, but I assumed it was a mutation. ES-89 is where most of the mutants come from,” Jane tried to sound apologetic as possible.
The soldier chuckled, “Not all of them.”
“Most of them,” Jane flicked her fingers in front of her as she navigated her display.
“I could have been from ES-63. Lot of mutants there,” the soldier made an exaggerated gesture with their hand. They didn’t seem upset, though that helmet made everything sound threatening, they seemed to just be making conversation.
“True, but they don’t have as many soldiers in the service,” Jane explained.
“How would you know?” the soldier waved a hand over the faceless mask.
Jane grinned, “I’ve seen the demographic records. They barely have a viable population as it is. They can’t afford to be sending too many people off world.”
The soldier shrugged.
There was a long lull in the conversation as Jane setup the process she needed to wipe evidence of her conversation.
She wondered if she was being paranoid.
She’d met at least a couple Does who’d been away from the Homeland long enough, and indulged by their owners enough, that they would speak that openly about their feelings on the Julians.
But in those cases the Julians had found it humorous.
Linisa wasn’t a Julian though, as much as she tried to be, and underestimating her intellectually would probably be a mistake. She’d risen this far hadn’t she; from soldier, to management, to Director General of this installation? Add to that the fact that she had that job because a soldier had turned on her predecessor. She was unlikely to be forgiving to even vaguely seditious utterings.
Better to err on the side of caution.
That was how you survived.
One Star Soup Kitchen
I saw a one star review of a soup kitchen.
The existence of such a review says so much before I even read the content.
I didn’t question why the review existed, because of course it did. It is everything late capitalism promises in a nutshell. If everything is dialog between provider and consumer then naturally you can leave a review of a place like a soup kitchen.
My coworker, reading over my shoulder, chuckled and scoffed, “Can you believe that?”
I knew at once that he wasn’t laughing at the absurdity that you can leave a review of a soup kitchen, because (again) of course you can. He wasn’t remarking at the rating service, rather his incredulity was at the one star rating.
More capitalist thinking at play.
In context, the logic even seems sound. They’re poor, therefore they have nothing. They are availing themselves of social program, therefore my taxes are paying for it. They are eating on my dime, therefore they should be grateful for what they get.
My kneejerk reaction was to agree. Afterall, if you are in need of a soup kitchen to feed yourself or your family, surely it is better than the alternative by default.
This too is rooted in a capitalist line of thought.
If you can’t afford quality, you don’t deserve it.
The whole thing, from service to rating to my reaction, was within this tiny cross space in the Venn diagram of late stage capitalist thinking.
The modern American worldview in microcosm: a one star review of a soup kitchen.
I clicked on the review.
“My whole family got food poisoning. Go someplace else.”