Indefinite Detention

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A small plate of the stimulant is brought in; two heavily padded chairs. The Emperor and I sit down.

These chairs are so comfortable.

DS: “Do you have a name for the stimulant?”

The Emperor: “We’ve been calling it axofilosophein.”

DS: “Can I name it?”

The Emperor: “Let me guess, Lotus?”

I nod.

The Emperor: “Sure. Why not? I am going to allow you to sell Lotus; it will be a huge seller. I am going to allow you a galactic patent on your discovery. The patent will be for 100 years instead of 3. But, there’s a catch — until the thought firewall around Earth is built, you will not be able to market Lotus, or manufacture it.

We — The Empire, the Furai — control all transmissions to the past; this is a matter of Imperial security.”

DS: “I understand my Emperor. Thank you for your generosity at the patent office. How will you contain it? I’m sure word of Lotus’s discovery is already spreading.”

The Emperor: “It’s been contained. Breach of Imperial security yields a life sentence in a pod.”

DS: “I thought treason meant death?”

The Emperor: “Most people do; death is nothing compared to how bad a pod can be. Since men are now immortal — spending eternity in a pod, designed to be a psychological hell, is far worse.”

DS: “You mean like fire and brimstone hell?”

The Emperor: “We’ve done simulations. Hell has many forms. The perfect hell is a bad place — you see a way out, but never quite make it. Hell is working your ass off to build a business, having some initial success; then have some tragedy take it away.

Hell is having beautiful children, a happy marriage, only to end up divorced and unable to see those kids, ever. But, there are insidious physical-torture hells too. What if I placed you, a male, in a pod, wiped your memory — you woke up in the colonial South, as a female negro slave on a plantation? Being constantly raped; having your children sold at auction; being used to breed. Or as a child sex slave in the Middle East?”

DS: “I don’t ever want to be on your bad side Emperor.”

The Emperor: “No one ever does.” The Emperor smiles.

Read more Lotus.

Part of The Furai Compilation.

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