Harmony Chapter 18: Autopilot

Filed: Harmony @ 10:09am on June 7, 2011 One comment! :|   Word Count: 1,514
This entry is part 18 of 27 in the series Harmony

After I came back from the Orchard, I decided to sit on a bench in the town center, wondering how I should use my leadership skills to contribute to the share when Rita, our town elder sat next to me.

“What is troubling you my child ?”

“I am weighting in my options on how I should contribute to the share. I was raised to became a manager but I don’t see any management jobs. Everyone just does what he wants and hopes it’s the best way to contribute.”

“That’s the way it has always been”

“I understand. The other girls talk about their calling, but all that calls me is to help better organize the town. For example, Mark always gets roughly the same number of solar panels even when a lot have been damaged. The person placing the order for them should ask him so that resources are better adjusted.”

“Which order ?”

“To get solar panels, you need to order them on the colony management console. Do you know who is responsible for that ?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about…”

No idea? Then how do the managed the import of material? Maybe there was indeed a place for me in the town.

“Let’s go to the space port. I’ll show you”

Then again, most likely Rita knew it under another name. The colonial management console is a standard feature of all space port but locals may have given it a nickname. For example, it is often referred to by its initial: CMC.

When we reached the door to the CMC, Rita hesitated.

“We are not supposed to use rooms of the space port we do not know about.”

“Rita, someone in town must surely come here. It’s here you manage your trade and exchanges. It’s from here you can order your material dropped when a ship arrives. It can take a while to adjust, so you need to plan in advance. Leaving it unattended it is irresponsible”

The door was locked but opened when I used the default passcode written above the keypad. Considering the nature of the share, it didn’t really surprise me: house doors didn’t even have locks.

I quickly opened the console and reviewed the process. The logs clearly indicated that during the first year of operation, the orders changed a few times but after a few months the system was placed in automated re-order since then.

That meant that in the last 60 years or so, the colony has always been receiving on a yearly basis the same things over and over again without ever adapting to items being out of stock or the increasing population.

“Rita, how long have you been on Sigma 8 ?”

“I was born here 52 years ago.”

So, she had been here the first 8 years of the colony. Wait a minute…

I took a look at the orders. On the last change, clothes for men and women were ordered in bulk in different sizes as well as shoes but because styles change over time, only a few clothes for men and some shoes were still available.

After a few months, most clothes for women stopped being delivered but the residents didn’t understand why. The standard male clothes that have been made for over 200 years kept being delivered but it gradually all stopped for the women.

I know, it’s a little sexist, but some pairs of jeans on the male side have been made for over 400 years while on the women’s side, models change on a monthly basis. Sure, a few items for men were no longer available but overall, they still received enough to clothe the whole city.

When the delivery of most of the female clothes stopped, those they still had probably began to be town apart and eventually women were forced to remain naked or wear clothes for men which didn’t fit all of the women shapes and of course, didn’t provide suitable underwear.

Worse, the lack of clothes for men probably meant there weren’t enough for the women.

Since then, women probably completely stopped wearing clothes, not because they wanted to but because they had no choice. As the years passed, it became the tradition and should I began to order clothes again, I might be burned on a stake.

It also explained a lot of things. It was why there were no TVs, cars or paving equipment which weren’t required when first creating a colony. Instead, the system was stuck with monorail tracks which only encouraged the citizens to keep adding tracks even if they didn’t need them anymore.

They most likely slowly added tracks on both sides not necessarily thinking why they were doing do. They had to regularly inspect the water supply from the north glaciers and decided to extend the track north too. In a few decades, they will reach the north pole and possibly make another branch going south on the other side.

As far as I know, even planets with cities all over the equator do not have such a system: monorail tracks are too expensive and people soon want other things, like factories for tools instead of waiting for them to be delivered.

They usually only installed such tracks to join their space port and their primary mines so that it would be easy to carry their exports. But here they never stopped building it because a few people had building monorails as their calling and they never questioned it.

They were set for 1 new monorail train every 15 years and gradually added them to the system. They had just received their fourth one a few months ago, which they added to the main track. Because they have most likely have the least used extensive monorail system in the world, even their first model is still almost brand new with no rain or freezing to prematurely damage it.

With a constant steady rate of solar panels, they also simply added them by the sides of the tracks like they had been shown for the first segments which were ironically only built to enable future growth which never occurred. The massive geothermic system installed by default under the space port was more than sufficient to power the whole town.

The city was now generating a massive surplus of energy, spending less than 1% of it’s capacity. The colony was also generating a massive profit margin on it’s exports which were constantly increasing with no significant increase in imports.

The sale to my father’s company by the initial development firm had erased the debt caused by the installation of the space port and as such, with the surplus, instead of being in debt like most other colonies in it’s first 100 years, it had a nice generous amount sitting in its local reserves.

In fact, the colony had enough to buy it’s freedom from my father’s empire several times over. Normally, that money would have been used to pay for more imports or simply to pay for the salary of each of the employees, but here, everyone lives in a non-organized communist city.

Rita had been sitting silently for a while, not realizing anything about the situation.

“I know where my place is for the share Rita. My place is here”

“I don’t understand child. How will you provide for us?”

“Rita, this is where we can order what we need for the colony to survive. If we need more tractors for the farms or more animals or perhaps new tools, this is where it is provided. I will spend my days reviewing what everyone needs and provide to the share by ordering it. With the management console, I can for example tell you that we can stop maintaining the solar panels. We have more than enough. This should save a few men to work on other tasks. I will even be able to order new material to build other houses or increase the size of the dormitory for the kids. I will be able to get more medicine, to save more sick people. It takes a long time, 2 years or more to react, but I promise you it will be worth it.”

“Two years? You will be useless to us for two years ?”

“No Rita, I will start to be useful in only a few days, when I will help reorganize the shares to increase productivity in the mean time. In a few weeks, the town should be better organized, more productive and perhaps everyone will have to work a little less, giving more time to everyone.”

“It was never done… I guess we can give it a try”

“Thank you. And I promise you, when the new goods arrive, you will thank me. I will even be able to show you in advance what we will be getting, so you can trust me”

But more importantly, I will be in a position to control the external economy of the colony, buy it back from my father and perhaps find a way to regain my honour.

And since I would be the only one on the planet who understood the CMC, nobody would find out what I was really doing. I would be left alone to do what I was raised to do: rule an empire.

Series Navigation«Harmony Chapter 17: Economic LessonHarmony Chapter 19: Taking my man»

One Response to “Harmony Chapter 18: Autopilot”

  1. The Author Says:

    This is the already mentioned pre-written chapter penned before the first chapter of Harmony was even published on this site.

    I had to edit it a little, mostly in the beginning to make the transition, but overall it was roughly the same.

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