Author: David C. Nutt
The young man burst into his grandfather’s study. “Gramps we gotta fight! Corporate is going to kick us off the station!”
The old man sighed. “So you know better than our enclave council? They’ve got things well in hand so don’t worry- the administration could never kick us off the space station: we are the station. We built it, they gave us acreage up here as part of our salary package. We’re farmers, we contribute, we’re part of the economy. Besides, the station is bigger than the old earth-side state of California. There’s plenty of room. We are the station.”
Now it was the young man’s turn to sigh. “But we’re on the land corporate wants. Our orchard alone has room for at least 12 luxury estates. Same with the other farms in the district- the land is more valuable as real estate to sell to billionaires. Too costly for them to clean up a spot for a mansion planetside. Cheaper to start new here. You have to face reality Gramps, you old-timers, the builders, the first colonists can’t just say ‘we are the station’ and let corporate roll over you. If it weren’t for the earth side press, and public opinion, they probably would have thrown us out an airlock by now. ”
The old man chuckled “Uh-huh but that can’t happen. We are the station.”
Just as the old man’s grandson was about to speak, a call came in over the home system.
“Marlon, you there?”
The old man spoke up “Yes Jimmy. What can I do for ya?”
“Well, I’m here with the administration, trying to negotiate our case, and well, to be frank about it, they’re being quite rude.”
The young man clenched his fists and was about to speak, but his grandfather held up his hand.
“I understand. Give me about three Mississippi.”
“OK, Marlon. We are the station.”
The old man responded, “We are the station.” The phone hung up.
His grandson looked at him, confused by the exchange. The old man just smiled.”
Then, after a three-second pause, the old man spoke into the air “Lights please, 75% reduction in illumination, shade panels, and lamps station-wide. Hold for three minutes and then return to standard illumination.”
The usually sunny day grew rapidly dark. The old man walked over to his liquor cabinet and poured two scotches and handed one to his grandson.
“Back in the day, we saw this day coming. We knew we couldn’t trust corporate. And the Union big wigs traded all of us here for favors earthside, so we had to take care of ourselves. Operational systems command override authorities are linked to our genetic markers and rotate among us at random, don’t know what control until we wake up each morning. And our control is not through the AI and computers but at the source- each light, each servo motor, water valve, sewer pump, hatch lock, atmosphere control nozzle, oxygen generator, millions upon millions of mechanical controls, too many to remove or change out… all linked to our biometrics. Kill one of us it hops to another. Kill all of us, everything stops and it’s time to abandon ship. When we all die… well, no worries. We’ve made plans to pass it along to the next generation.”
The old man took a sip of his scotch, looked at his watch, and smiled. The daylight returned to normal.
“Someday this space station might be its own state; self-determining, with representative government. But until then, like I told you, like we say. We are the station.”