Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.
Chapter 19: Duncan Angelson
Duncan stood at the head of the conference table. As President Master’s Chief of Staff, it was his responsibility to lead this meeting. It was an assembly of the movers and shakers of the new party. The People’s Party. More like the oligarch’s party he thought. But that would have been bad branding. Joe Evans sat to his right. The leader of this committee of blood-sucking bastards. Greed was the main goal. The only goal, really. As long as the money flowed into their coffers, they didn’t care what kind of atrocity they perpetrated on the land, air, water and especially the people. He didn’t know what had happened. He’d been a firebrand in his college days. Power to the People. Now. Now he didn’t know what he was. A turncoat. A traitor.
He pulled his thoughts from the self-flagellation and pointed at the screen. He’d just played the video from Collinwood. Two hundred and seventy-four people, men, women, and children were recovered from the town. A few were driving out just moments before the bombing, the rest were refugees from the town edges. They’ve all been interrogated, the children sent to the reeducation centers. They didn’t know anything anyway. The adults have been sent to the factories or in the case of the women, the uneducated sent to the farms or the brothels, the educated to the research centers and computer farms. Low end work, of course.
Heads around the table nodded. This group had decided that women were to be homemakers or low-end admin workers. The move immediately cut the workforce in half. Along with that move, girls had been taken out of school after the sixth grade. They had enough education to read and write but not enough to be a threat. Barefoot and pregnant, they’d laughed after they’d voted on the restrictions. Duncan had heard an earful from his own wife when the bill passed in Congress. A high-end lawyer, she was furious and gave him a complete recitation on all of the laws this new bill broke. It didn’t matter. She was kicked out of her firm and as a partner, received her share of the business but of course it had to go into his account. Hers had been closed. Can’t have the little ladies with their own money now. Could we?
Joe Evans grinned and slapped the table. “That’ll slow down the insurgents, now, won’t it?”
The men around the table laughed. “Now, Duncan, What’s the scoop? Anyone know about the insurrection?”
“A few had been stops on the underground. A place for escapees to stop for rest and food. None of the people we gathered up were of any importance.”
“Damn shame. It would have made some good TV to have a couple of hangings.” Joe looked around the table then back at Duncan. “How are you doing on the releases of the few we gathered up that weren’t really black or chink?”
“We’ve run the criteria through the database. We have about three hundred possible men to release. The first twenty-five have been investigated and proven to be good candidates.”
“What do you mean by that, good candidates?”
Duncan looked to the right end of the conference table. Rory Calhoun asked the question. Calhoun was the CEO of Agraland, a conglomerate of factory farms, genetically modified seed production, and pesticide manufacturing. He profited a great deal from the free female farm labor and the forced servitude of men in the chemistry and manufacturing fields.
“Just as your committee laid out.” Duncan said. “Miniscule racially impure DNA, no problems in their assignments, good conduct at their factories.”
“Submissive, you mean,” the man next to Calhoun said. The men all laughed.
Duncan smiled. “Yes. They have all conformed to the requirements of the factories they were sent to, didn’t cause a fuss, and are all healthy.”
“Should be.” Calhoun made a face of disgust. “My racehorses don’t get treated that well.”
Duncan knew that the man from Kentucky objected strenuously to the agreed upon treatment of the people doing the slave labor. That’s exactly what it was and in his complaints said so himself. His ancestors didn’t treat their slaves with state-of-the-art medical care and well-balanced diets. He didn’t see why he should waste money on it for his own slaves. The rest of the committee, thank all that was decent, disagreed. “Perhaps so, but don’t you have the best productivity ever?”
He grunted. “That’s so. But it costs a fortune.”
“But less than before, right, Rory?” Joe Evans asked.
Cowed, Rory Calhoun agreed. Joe brought them back on track. “So, Duncan. When are they to be released?”
“If you all are good with it, next week. We have a whole media circus lined up for it.” He looked around the room. “What about their wives and kids? It was never brought up.”
Rory Calhoun rolled his eyes. “For Christ’s sake, Duncan. Now you want to release their families?” He shook his head. “Camel’s nose under the tent if you ask me.”
Joe Evans nodded. “Perhaps. But if we release the man, it will look bad on the TV if his wife and kids aren’t with him.” He thought for a moment. “I say, let’s try it with these first twenty-five. Get the wives and kids out of wherever they were sent and have them arrive just after the men are released. It will make great TV.”
“It would make the party look benevolent.” Duncan looked around the table. “Show of hands for releasing in a week with wives and kids?”
Joe Evans was first with his hand up. The rest followed. Last of all was Calhoun. “I still think this is a bad idea. You do for one, we’ll have to do for all.” He raised his hand. “But let’s see.”
“Motion is carried,” Duncan said. “That’s all for today, gentlemen.”
The men around the table began to stand up, chatting with their neighbors. “We haven’t gotten you out to the farm for dinner yet,” Joe said to Duncan. “Emily said Saturday would be perfect. Come out early. She wants to brag about her garden to Monica. We can shoot some skeet before dinner. Casual dress for the afternoon. Formal for dinner. I have some people for you to meet.”
Duncan nodded. “Perfect. I’ll tell Monica. Anything I should prepare for?”
“No.” Joe laughed. “I’m bringing the Eastern Federation Defense Secretary, Illy Romanov. Thought some personal connection would be helpful.”
Duncan inwardly groaned. “Sure. Some of our defense people too?”
Joe slapped him on the back. “Of course. See you there.”
Duncan watched him leave the room with Calhoun. Smarmy bastards, both of them. Really, he thought. Where did I go wrong?
Thank you for reading.