The Discarded

The Discarded

Slavery is a harsh reality in the world of Reich Star.  I have wrestled with how I was going to approach it in the modern age, being the over-sensitive age it is.  Aside from the obvious moral questions about including it in the setting, I also question the value of a life, especially that of a slave’s life, in a world where overpopulation is a problem and slavery is legal.  At what point does a slave become a disposable asset?

Slavery during a time of the colonization and mining of moons and asteroids opens up a new outlook on these questions.  Assuming the construction work for such things would be done done by slave labor, what happens to the slaves after the work is done?  No corporation or organization would have the obligation to clean up and relocate the slaves once the work is done, would they?  Or maybe, in some cases, they are working for their freedom and are given a place to live in the bowels of whatever colony they are working on?

Enter into the bleak picture the Discarded.  In some cases,  it might more expensive to transport the slaves away from the project than it is to simple use the next batch.  The corporations, the Reich or the Empire might simply abandoning the slaves in the mines or lower levels of construction, in hopes they would die off.  They would be basically discarded and left to fend for themselves.  In some cases, it would be too expensive to relocate the environmentals, so they would leave those behind.  Of course, in other more cruel situations, the ruling entity may decide to cut all lose ends and take the atmospheric systems and the slaves are left to die in the vacuum of space.

Those that survive – the Discarded – would do so through contacts with the underground, resistance and pirates.  In exchange for something, the Discarded would get supplies and basic needs, creating a very dark underbelly of the space lanes.

This may not be true in all cases.  Some corporations might have a conscience and transport slaves from one point to another.  But I would imagine that was an exception to the rule, especially in a universe where slave labor is the standard.  Life has no value in overpopulated world where slaves are commonplace.

The Discarded is a name associated to a loose conglomeration of abandoned slaves from both the Reich and the Empire, on the Moon, the Martian moons, and the asteroids.    Some have formed tribes while others nomadic wander the liveable spaces in the catacombs of their respective stellar body.  They are a fragmented society of the underworld, working with various other factions like pirates, resistance and crime syndicates to survive.  Their lives depend on the basics – air, water and food, and they have proven very resourceful in the harsh realities of space to obtain these things.

They are the dregs of society, however,  and know it.  If there is a failure in an old atmospheric systems on one of the Discarded tunnels, no one really cares.  It up to them to maintain their own systems and they will do whatever it takes to do that.  This not only makes them resourceful but also a tool for anyone with resources they are willing to trade.  On the Moon, they move a lot of the black market.

They are rogues, scavengers, thugs, and everything else inbetween.  The Reich has a standing order to shoot on site any suspected Discarded and in the Empire, a Discarded is arrested and reintegrated into the slave trade.  Any approved slave owner is allowed to capture any suspected Discarded and take ownership of it.  This has given rise to a whole new service – the Reclaimers.  These Reclaimers are hired to acquire a slave when a client needs one.

The Discarded are proud of their freedom and do anything to avoid returning to slavery.  They know that they may return to a safer environment if the willingly return to slavery.   They would be given a home, food and air for their services.  But slavery is slavery and there is no honor in returning to that.  This philosophy is so deep in the Discarded mindset that if one of their own even entertains the idea of turning themselves into a Reclaimer, they are unceremoniously walked out an airlock.  Life is harsh as a Discarded and there is no room for the meek.