Officer Mangin listened with mounting horror as the Second Officer laid out his plans to restore order to Downbelow.
“A new security force would keep the Greasers in check. Force them to work. Take their children as collateral. We can use Lightboys and Moongirls not yet assigned to careers. Most of them would never get a job this important anyway”
The Captain nodded thoughtfully and Mangin bit his tongue. As Junior of the command crew, he could not speak unless invited.
Mangin felt a great contempt for the Second Officer. Disliking Greasers wasn’t unusual, but only a complete lunatic would suggest making Lightboys and Moongirls Downbelow security. It was just asking for more deaths.
“The City works for three generations.” The Captain tapped the folder on the table. “Now this Spider threatens everything.”
The Captain asked the other five officers if any of them had a better idea.
Mangin had an idea. “Give Greasers a small enclave Domeside. A holiday village they can earn credits to visit. We risk war if we send Lightboys Downbelow with authority.”
“A permanent Greaser colony Domeside?” The Second Officer was outraged “People will never accept it.”
“Could we countenance sealing them in?” The Captain mused. “No, we would lose control if we did. I will consider the options and we shall reconvene this evening. Dismissed.”
As the officers left the wardroom, Mangin had a terrible feeling in his stomach.
The Captain rolled his gold Mont Blancpen between his fingers. An expensive reminder of Earth That Was.
Mangin knew neither of the two options were enticing, but a decision had to be made and the Captain’s responsibility was to make the one that benefited the City best.
As the Captain chose, Mangin felt his heart sink.
© Robert Spalding 2011