Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Project Halawes

Once upon a time, a time that is yet to come, at the second era of space-traveling for the human race, called by some The Colonial Age, a planet was found that was so rich with metals, energy sources and rare elements, that it was at once acquired by the Union of Enterprises to be turned into a gigantic factory, it was moreover in a strategically position that was almost equally distanced from the three human colonies like the center point of a triangle (at that time there were only three of course, the other unofficial settlements weren't approved yet by the colonial panel and did not pay any taxes to the universal government).

Unfortunately this planet wasn't that great for human life, or any life for that matter, true it did have a reasonable gravity (0.82 G) and true it had some oxygen in it's atmosphere, but the water was dire, and almost always frozen, the temperature was cold even on the equator, the landscape was mainly desert of rocks and mountains, and the color of the atmosphere by day was a deep shade of red. True there was some native life, but due to these reasons and many other subtle ecological reasons life forms were very rare and quite peculiar. Imagine a planet where the rivers are almost always frozen, so there was a fish-like creature that lived frozen and suspended for 3/4th of the solar year and then when the rivers melt it lived and "thrived".

So it was expectedly hard to find workers to man the factory (yes, human workers were still in use in some positions because they were simply cheaper than the robot alternatives), for even workers that were in the direst need refrained from working on the "red planet" (as the workers called it) for more than a year. Now don't you dare judge them, those were tough workers, used to the toughest conditions across the universe and to the then extremely exhausting space traveling buses (which transported workers at 7G to save time). But the red planet was really creepy, and it's nature was totally alien to any human wherever in the galaxy he was raised, the work was tough and all day long (to achieve the maximum productivity), and even the toughest of the workers went sick after no more than 20 months, the sickness was alienation, it had many different symptoms, and if not dealt with, was quite terminal.

So understandably the Union needed to solve this problem, because changing the staff periodically did cost them some money after all. And year after year, the plan to totally automatize the factory was proposed and rejected for its high cost. But then at the tenth year of the factory's operations one brilliant manager in the department of human resources did devise a radical solution. And truly, he was a nice guy and his solution seemed quite humane. He thought: "so they get sick? So what? Let's treat them, surely if there is a cure, it can be cheaply acquired in quantities, and why even wait for them to get sick, let's prevent their sickness, let's condition them psychologically to endure and even relish their daily work."

And thus the requirements were presented to the Union's chief psychiatrist, and thus the "Project Halawes" began. for the first two years conventional brain-washing techniques were used, with the effect of considerably increasing (almost doubling) the average worker-life-time, in addition to increasing the workers' enthusiasm and spirit. But this wasn't even close to the desired results, so in the following few years, different techniques were used singly and in combinations. Hypnosis, religion, and prostitution were some of the many things they tried with various degrees of success, until in the 21st year of the factory's operation, they started to use dreams. Yes dreams, artificially induced dreams of nice places and warm worlds, of rivers and rainbows, sirens and elfs, forests full of life, golden beaches, azure skies, and of course, beautiful women.

It was an instant success, the effect on workers' health and moral was beyond expectations, it was as if the spark of life was rekindled in the hearts of these men, for some of them lived every night in middle-earth playing with hobbits and seeking for Gandalf, some lived each of the Arabian nights many times, enjoying the harem and the extravagance, some dreamed at being Jedi knights, samurai warlords, doctors, lawyers, politicians or even prophets, people of conviction and significance.

To be revised and continued ... (probably not)

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