Welcome to the Dork Side…

by Stefmanovic

This was a little something I wrote about two or three months ago. It was to be part of this story I was commissioned to write. However, at the end I never really knew what direction we wanted to go with this, especially since we were also both distracted by other projects, be it the JUGEND Musical, the JUGEND (again?) gig on July the 15th, my “new” (been doing it for about a month now) internship and a potential comic project. In other words, too much other stuff that got in the way. Bear with me here that this is something rather…dorky. I’ll write something more anthropological in the coming days, been snooping through my pictures that I took whilst I was in the Peruvian coastal countryside. So expect a rant about wasting water and demands to boycott the Peruvian asparagus..

Yes, I’m deviating! So the idea was that I would write a short story of about 8000 words for this setting/project, it’s basically about this crumbling empire (why do so many setting play with that concept by the way?). Very British I guess, the trauma of having lost the empire still lingers every time they mention the “British Empire” or try to still use it as an official title. However, the feel I (later on) realized I was going for wasn’t so much inspired by the collapse of the British Empire, but rather by the rebellion in Libya. Rather odd, I know…

            “Water…mistress…for thirst,” the masked slave garbled as he approached her. She stared at the mask, which was a fine piece of ceramic craft; the mask was probably worth more than the slave itself. Nastasia Revard always considered the slave to be a creature rather than a member of the same species. That in itself wasn’t so strange; the slave was a mutant. Generations of inbreeding and the toxic waste in the lower levels of the city have turned these figures into something far inferior to normal humans. Most mutant suffered from deformities such as webbed toes and fingers, extra or missing fingers, shrunk skulls, cancerous tumours throughout their bodies, or teeth and nails growing from random places of their bodies, which made them look quite hideous. It came even closer to Nastasia, placing a long glass shaped like an angelic soldier on the antique table next to her and filling it with water. The slave’s hands were covered with white silk gloves; combined with his black suit and white ceramic mask this meant that his entire body was covered, not a single piece of his flesh was visible to the outside world.

            Nastasia despised these creatures, why couldn’t her father provide her with drone servants? Drones were clean, sterile and customizable. One could alter a drone’s physical appearance, character and voice in any desirable way; there were even drone models that possessed holographic devices that enabled them to make their appearance look perfectly human. This type of drone servant was very popular since many in the higher classed desired to have human slaves. Drone servants became a more common sight in many households when the Esclave Edict was introduced, which forbade human slavery. However the sterile and mechanical feel of the machines couldn’t replace the human warmth and therefore wasn’t very popular. This started a whole new technological development in an attempt to make these drones look and act more human. Another one of the new types of slaves was the alien. Alien creatures from the colony worlds were subjugated, domesticated and then put to work in the households of the elites. Mutants had already been enslaved for many years; working in the factories located in the lower parts of the cities or in the labour camps far away from human civilization. The ban on human slavery made mutant slaves the cheaper alternative for drone and alien servants. However, mutant slaves had to have their entire bodies covered so to hide their hideous features. Nastasia knew why her father why her father wasn’t able to give her a drone servant. Her father’s factory farms in the rural zones surrounding the city were first confiscated by the military so that they could be used as supply-bases, they promised compensation, which of course never came. As the war prolonged, the military began to impose higher taxes on families such as House Revard in order to finance their campaign. Her father was left with this old mansion located in one of the lower echelons of the upper city. He had been forced to sell off most of his drones and replace them with mutant slaves. House Revard had become a vague memory of the glory it had once been.

            She stared outside, where once she could see into the bright blue sky, now her view consisted of rust coloured spires that reached high into the clouds. Shuttles and landing craft moved between the buildings, any iconography displaying loyalty to the Houses to which they once belonged quickly removed. Whilst normally these ships were used to transport goods and people between the planet’s surface and the docks in orbit, she knew that practically all of these craft would now only move to orbit, a desperate run from the ever closing conflict. Those who had the means of escaping did so; her father however had no desire to abandon his home, forcing his entire household to stay with him. He had hoped that the enemy would be defeated quickly enough and House Revard restored to its former glory. Nastasia resented her father for this. Most of his guards ended up deserting the household once they managed to find passage off world.  Those who remained were tense, very tense. Rumours about rebel attacks in the outer and lower parts of the city started to circulate. She wondered what it would had been like if she had join the deserters in leaving this world. What kind of life would she have had then? Stripped from her wealth and status she would have had been forced to survive on her own, no longer bound by any loyalty to House Revard. She knew this would be impossible, with enemy forces actually on the surface of her home world, this meant that they most likely had full control of her planet’s orbit. All she could do now was live her life and wait for the enemy to come.