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Infrastructure: Part Two Hundred and Seventy Six
By Imperator-Zor   |   Watch
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Published: March 9, 2018
© 2018 - 2019 Imperator-Zor
Like most of the Lords of Avesia baron Hermano de Saulde had been shocked when he received word of an Infrastructural invasion. He was more shocked when a company of them came his way on strange wheeled devices with a horseless machine wagon with some sort of horrible hose gun came to his estate two days latter as he was preparing a militia force. A couple of his men were overzealous and got shot for their troubles. That was enough to convince him to surrender. He, his family and two hundred men women and children were then lead back to Porta Liberium under armed guard. Older male slave drivers were screened out and led in front of a wall. He did not see what happened to them, but he heard the fusillades.  The rest of them were put in slave pens for the next few weeks under guard of mercenaries, in no small part to protect them from the freed slaves.  Children between about 5 and 16 were seperated from parent in a section of the pen that had been walled off. Basic soup was issued twice a day, people were not chained up, the mercenaries did not intervene save to break up fights. The invaders set up speaking machines around the pens which constantly constantly gave an hour long speech, which consisted of common Avesian words (Man, Woman, Adult, Child, Sleep, Eat, Food, Move, Ship, Work, etc.) followed by it's Coldland equivalent. The litany concluded with a brief speech in Avesian before repeating...

"Misery, pain, fear and death are the foundations of slavery. It perpetuates tyranny, war and criminality: producing grand devastation so a cruel and callous few may reap the benefits of the many without due compensation. Rejoice former Slavocrats of Avesia: for this evil has been cleansed from this island, your complicity in such barbarism has now ended and soon you shall be reformed and absolved of the crimes of your now defunct culture. Hail Infrastructure!"

There was some discussion about what this meant, besides the obvious disdain that the Coldlanders had for the natural order of things. Hermano had heard several theories, ranging from them simply rubbing their faces in their conquest, plans for annexation of the island to efforts to use their business connections to further their nefarious ends. It was something to distract them from having to sleep outside in tight quarters while being treated like, well, slaves. Afterwards he and his wife (as well as a thousand or so more prisoners) were selected and loaded up onto their iron ships. There was little resistance, many simply wanted to be gone of this place now that the Infrastructurals had left it to their former property.  The next sixteen days were spent in it's hold listening to a new language primer (this one including some stuff about grammar and a line about "learning how to become productive members of society in the Petroleum Colonies") and occasionally being let about above deck in small groups under armed guard for half an hour or so. After their arrival they were escorted out onto a rough port by a ramshackle town built around a small fort. There they were met by a number of soldiers and a few officials in black (most of them being women). He saw a line of children being unloaded at the same time, but they were being processed separately.

 The adults were broken up into groups of five which were recorded in a book, which were then grouped into groups of 25, given numbered badges that they were told not to loose and marched out to a fenced off section of land at the edge of the town full of tents, a couple of wooden towers and about thirty men about with uniforms with badges of their own, floppy hats, pistols, black truncheons and most striking of all spectacles of smoked glass. One of them gave a quick speech. He only knew a smattering of words and a basic understanding of sentence structure but he got the gist of it. They were all bad people for dealing in slaves so they were going to teach them how to be good honest people through hard work over the next few years before they would be let into this society. Said number would either shrink if they worked well, did not cause trouble and mastered their language and other lessons they had for them or conversely if they did not behave themselves it could go up, and their groups of five and 25 would share in some of the rewards or penalties they earned. There was nowhere to run and they were adept at running down escapees and there was only one way to get through this: be quiet, obey and learn why slavery was a bad thing.

The first task given to Hermano and his fellow was the creation of their new lodgings, which first of all involved digging out basements. They were given shovels and set to work moving soil. Some disobeyed and were sent away for a night in a shed with their five man groups getting an extra hour of work. That got the rest of them working. The overseers would continue to monitor them as they worked and gave a few sharp commands. The guards did not threaten or insult the Avesians, they just patrolled behind them, gently tapping their palms with their truncheons. He was exhausted come sundown, where he was fed a meal of bread and vegetable soup and collapsed in his tent with four strangers. As he dozed off for his first night of Reform Through Labor, he wept for all that he'd lost: going from a Lord with an fief with three hundred hands to an indentured servant on some foreign shore with nothing too him but the now quite ratty clothes on his back.

Previous: Infrastructure: Part Two Hundred and Seventy Five
Next: Infrastructure: Part Two Hundred and Seventy Seven
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anonymous's avatar
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Euel's avatar
This de Saulde should count himself -lucky-.  He could've ended up in front of a wall, or tossed to some of his more...discontented ex-slaves as an object lesson.
Imperator-Zor's avatar
Lucky for him the colonies have a pressing need of labor, including unskilled.
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