JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 4 – ‘Music Hath Charms To Soothe The Savage Breast’
“A bare-bones set-up, get the job done and get out, suck all the raw materials we can get out of the system and get the hell out.” He’d shifted uncomfortably in his seat and run a finger around the shellacked silver collar of his expensive tunic, a company man to the core. Sweating, glistening, visibly uncomfortable with the idea of making concessions to the proletariat, the tools that softer, more fortunate men used to gain their ends.
“But we’ve had a few incidents,” he’d added. “Unrest, you could say. A few malcontents talking about unionisation, resistance. Unionisation! You clone the bastards for raw manual labour and docility, but Mother Nature – Monster Nature! -the bitch, somehow she always — “
His hand gesture was meaningless, highly expressive. “Anyway. We’ve had a few consultants in, and this is what they’ve recommended. Ship a boatload of creatives in, give the communities a chance at a first-hand experience of song and story and –. They say viddys and downloads won’t do it –. A.I. jingles from cloned songbirds, they don’t diffuse the spark of discontent. Real art, they say. It requires the divine spark. And we’ve got this shipment at a bargain price — the Shellcrust empire’s crumbling, can’t wait to sell off the family silver.”
“But — ” The Captain had been a little overwhelmed, truth be told. “Couldn’t you bring in some holovids — antique disks — even some antique audio, actual old Terra collectible vinyls and films are bringing in good money from discerning niche markets, I hear –“
* William Congreve, ‘The Mourning Bride’, 1697.