01 July 2005

Made for vacation

The Twer worker was going on vacation. He'd never been on a vacation, and neither had any of the other workers he knew. He didn't even really want to take a vacation, but didn't feel he had much of a choice. He did have a choice, he could have said "no" but workers don't say that. They work. It's what they were bred for.
There are many varieties of workers in Twer society. This worker was from a subspecies of the more generic industrial workers bred by the Twer in times past. It was very strong and well-suited for working in high-altitude environs, with thick skin to keep it warm in the cold air, reinforced tendons to help it maintain whatever position it needs in extremely high winds, and a set of enzyme secretions from it's skin allowing it to adhere or detach itself from almost any surface.
They were also very obedient. The Twer made all of their servant species obedient. Some castes were less obedient, but only because their duties required more independent thought. The upper castes had a considerable amount of free will, and performed many of the administrative tasks of the Twer. It was they who had led the revolt.
The Twer had sent some of the administrative caste to do duties out of their designated field, to spy on other worlds Those administrators learned of many subversive ideas and led the rest of their caste in revolt. The Twer were removed from power and exiled to a small habitable moon. Without their tools and castes at their disposal, the few remaining Twer soon perished in the rather mild environment.
The castes remained behind, and the rights once reserved to the Twer alone were granted by the administrators to all of Twer society. Life continued on for the castes, pretty much as it had before. Instead of being directed by the Twer, the administrators left the lower castes alone, requesting things of them only rarely.
Usually nothing needed to be asked of them. The lower castes performed their duties without being asked, the desire to do their specialized tasks very deeply ingrained into their genetic structures. They worked, they reproduced, they ate, they didn't ask questions, and they didn't use their vacation time.
The administrators decided to free the galaxy of slavery, in much the same manner as they had freed themselves. The warrior castes, being primarily based on an insect-like species, was eager for a war. The females of the warrior castes preferred to mate with males who had been in battle, as the Twer had designed them to.
The society won several wars against oppressive neighbors, and the administrators were looking for more ways to improve things when a member of the filing caste noted that since no members of the society took their vacations or disobeyed, they were still acting as slaves to masters long dead.
She requested a vacation and it was granted. She then spent two weeks visiting a potential mate and helping him with his filing. When she returned to her workplace, she was far happier and even introduced a potted plant into the fileroom, like the one a Twer had forgotten in the other fileroom.
The administrators took note of this, and decided that to promote alternative viewpoints within castes, caste members would be required to take vacations. Vacation ideas from the days of the Twer were copied from the records kept by the record keeping castes, and a set number of each caste were to be sent on a random vacation every few weeks. It was hoped that they would learn new things and bring new ideas into their own castes, and blind obedience would be replaced by conscious acceptance of a common purpose.
The worker was being sent to another planet for his vacation. He had never been to another planet and had no idea what to take. So he took nothing, and assumed that whatever he needed for his vacation would be provided, as was normal for the high altitude construction he worked on. He was provided with a beacon, so that he could be picked up when his vacation was over. It was fastened by a small band to his arm, and he found it rather uncomfortable.
He was told that the planet he was visiting did not know of the Twer society, and advised to keep out of sight. He was then led to a transport which took him to his vacation world and left him at a local transit center.
Trying to not be seen, he scurried along walls, trying to stay in the shadows. He was hoping he didn't have two weeks of skulking about. He wanted to build things, very tall things, up where the air is cold, thin, and windy. He didn't understand the purpose of the vacation.
He came to a fence, still close enough to the transit center to hear vehicles coming and going. He looked around a bit, and saw a large clearing, where lights were being shown on patches of ground. He saw lights moving overhead, and then he heard the animals. They weren't large, but they didn't sound pleasant, growling and snarling. He was not of the warrior castes and could not fight well if needed.
He ran instead, away from the fence, and into the dark field between the illuminated strips of land. Laying down in the darkness, he almost unconsciously began rubbing the band holding his beacon to him. He saw lights moving again, this time towards him. A large craft was moving towards the illuminated strip.
He leapt up, ran across the field, and adhered himself to the underside of it. The noise bothered him greatly, growing as the craft moved faster. Soon, he was in the air, and even the rushing of the wind was drowned out by the horrible noise of the craft's motors. He climbed around the side of the vehicle and onto it's roof. He lay there briefly before falling asleep.
When he woke up, he was surprised to find that he'd become almost accustomed to the noise of the engines holding the craft and him at some imperceptible altitude. He looked around and then stood up. The chilly wind blowing past him, he looked to the sunrise in the east. He had seen many sunrises from high altitude, standing in the open air in his many years of labor. "This," he thought, "is what I was created for. I love vacation!"

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