Loyal Soldier

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Submitted: February 21, 2017

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He’d worked all his life for the Corp.

He’d been born to the Corp, raised by the Corp and now he wore its uniform and its sigil as he went about his daily duties.

Nine years of service and eighteen years training from birth, that had been his whole life.

He had been told he was lucky, he was lucky to be born to this life when so many of the Scummers that lived in the lower cities, in the slums and shantytowns; had no career or future to speak of.

He knew this, but why did his life feel so wrong?

Why did he feel he didn’t belong when everything he was belonged to the Corp. His name, registration number, his clothes, his unit and furniture. It all belonged to his employers. He didn’t mind because that was the price one paid to be a valued member of civilised society.

He had been content.

Until that day when the riot occurred in ScumTown and among the tirade of insults thrown at him there had been one that slithered under his skin like glass from a broken bottle.

Slave

He hadn’t really even understood the word at the time, it was not necessary for him to have an extensive vocabulary beyond that required to follow orders; but he’d accessed the literacy terminal in his mess hall and found out the meaning.

To be owned and controlled by another entity; with minimal rights and freedoms.

The sentence had stunned him cold. Colder than any of the violence tutorial videos, the deprivation tests or the interrogation training. He was a slave.

At first it hadn’t registered why this was a bad thing, the nagging feeling in his gut that something was wrong wouldn’t quit though and so he had dug deeper; using his fifteen scheduled minutes of rest time to discretely access more information on what a slave was and why to be called one could be considered an insult.

He saw then the truth, thousands of years of history; decade after decade of fighting against slavery, against the oppression of individual freedoms and rights, the ideas that allowed people to act autonomously, without being controlled by a master or mistress or priest. He read about the long slow march to freedom for people considered somehow less than others, because of their skin, their faith, their sex and their intelligence.

He saw himself reflected in the pictorial representations of a million placid men and women, naked and in chains, subjugated to such an extent that they smiled when their pictures were taken, standing or sitting like animals at the feet of some superior being who stood proudly above or beside them.

As property.

He looked at his arms, the dark pigment of his hands and the location bracelets on his wrists; he’d been told they were to track him in case of danger, to dispatch help to his location if necessary; now the hard plastic bands seemed more sinister, less a badge of vocation and more a shackle of slavery.

He was not free.

He never had been.

 

The klaxon wailed as the rest break ended and he stood and turned to watch the ninety-nine other guards rise from the benches where they had sat and march in lines towards the doors of the arming chambers. Like machines they went about their tasks emotionlessly; without vigour or energy, uncaring about the point of their existence.

He stood watching, mouth agape for just a moment.

He was a slave.

He looked at the black skin of his hands again, then at the long line of slowly walking men in their identical uniforms, trudging to collect the tools of their trade; tools they weren’t trusted to hold except while working.

It was all clear now, he was not a valued part of the Corp, he was just a cog; nameless, faceless, expendable.

He was a clone slave and had always been so.

In his head a voice whispered to him

“Now, you understand; now you can be free.”


© Copyright 2018 Baart Groot. All rights reserved.

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