Long ago, in friendlier times, this blog ran a series of Modern Myths featuring Crusoe. The plan was for a lot more but life got serious. Rummaging through files I came across some drafts. This one was dated 2010 but the original might have been written a year or more before. It was clearly the way things were going then.
Beta Centauri was unquestionably a long way from Massachusetts. Somewhat to her surprise Crusoe found breathing no problem, and the temperature seemed just about right. The scenery as they’d come in was not unlike that of a temperate zone on earth.
Walking around, she had begun to wonder if there were clinics when she spotted the entrance to what was unquestionably a medical facility. Going in, she found a procedure in progress. It seemed sophisticated – no anaesthesia. Wounds from battle or other encounters seemed to heal under the touch of a vibrating instrument passed slowly over them. In other cases apparently normal limbs turned out to be quite artificial, and repairing them was entirely bloodless. This was a new frontier.
But it was quite another building that drew her attention. Where only those in obvious need of care for something like a severed limb went to what she would have called a clinic, everyone came to this other building at some point. Here the staff administered a supply of some substance. The same for everyone. Crusoe took some. She noticed no effect.
What was it? She didn’t want to ask as who knew what would happen if the Centaurians realised she didn’t need what it seemed they did. It was only in one of the taverns in town, after a few drinks, that she was able to get someone to tell her what went on in the building without raising suspicions.
Some decades earlier, faced they were told with a major epidemic the entire population of the Economy was vaccinated. This was done compulsorily. The Corporation was the only body who held supplies of the right vaccine. While treatment may have saved them from something, there was a side effect. Not spotted at first – at least this was how the Centaurians viewed it. The vaccine knocked out a gene and all children borne after that were short of a protein – alpha-nucleositol, without which life was impossible.
Fortunately very few children died, as when the problem declared itself in the first few children, the Corporation rushed out supplies of alpha-nucleositol and supplied it to everyone. Provided they took it, everything was okay. It came free of charge but with an requirement for annual screening. If the screening revealed that the subject held aberrant views on the organisation of the Economy or the merits of the Corporation, the person’s supply was terminated.
Everyone including bioethicists and others with no links to the Economy or the Corporation justified this on the basis that the Economy couldn’t be expected to support the continued existence of those disagreed with its principles.
The rebellion began when Princess Leia escaped with a supply of the gene for alpha-nucleositol, and headed for a planet on the outer limits of galaxy, whose inhabitants it was now rumoured could live without being dependent on the Corporation.
This piece was previously built into: The Data Access Wars
Crusoe features in many posts including Medystopia