Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Snapshots: Life on Alverez Station

From Fegbottom's Guide to Alverez Station:

...One thing that strikes many a sentient, is the how safe it is on a space station with a million inhabitants. And the reason for this is one of the most contentious and controversial practice ever discussed in known space: Behavioral Modification.

Every child on the station is monitored and "guided" to be a productive and law abiding citizen of the station. "I wouldn't have it any other way," says Eugene Jackson, head of the BeHave line of behavioral modification clinics that dot the station and on other colonies. "We live in an artificial environment, were one mishap can kill hundreds, if not thousands. We try to guide dangerous behavior that is not only tolerated, but almost encouraged in grounder cultures. Behaviors that cannot be allowed at all on our station."

Even immigrants to the station have to go through a personality screening, before being allowed to settle permanently on the station, and some immigrants do not pass. But to be honest, those who do not pass are the aberrations of their own culture, and to far gone for BeHave treatments. But not for full reconstruction and retraining, colloquially known as "R&R" or "Clockworking"

"I dislike the term 'clockworking'," says District Attorney Grisna F'be, "as it has some unsavory connotations. In any case, a sentence of reconstruction and retraining is only carried out on those individuals found guilty of a crime and those individuals cannot be assisted by a course of BeHave treatments. At that point we have the choice of either exiling the person or to try to make him, her or rie a productive member of society. If that means rebuilding the personality from the ground up, then that's what we have to do."...

...A visit to a classroom looks to be ordinary enough, but if you watch carefully, you may see that those children that resort to violence are sent to a small BeHave clinic in the school and have a session with the BeHave clinician about their anti-social tendencies. Surprisingly, this session does not involve drugs or hypnotic trances, but a one on one discussion between the clinician and the troubled child.

Of course there are stories where the result of these session ends up with the child's parents and siblings being summarily sent to a BeHave clinic for "Family Therapy". Interestingly enough, no official denies this happening...

"We have tried several times to change the laws of Alverez Station, but we are stymied," says Gregor Dean, of the ICLU. "Alverez Station is not a government per se, but a corporation, and as a corporation, they can enact rules and regulations that on other worlds would be illegal under ISCO and ICL laws. Life on Alverez Station is very much a 'Brave New World Order'."

"Rie Dean is blowing vacuum," replies Stationmaster Paulo Alverez. "The ICLU lives on a dirt ball, with free air and water for the taking. If some gangbanger opens up with a weapon in a building, no one is sucked out into space from the holes in the wall. The fumes from a Tri-meth-alze lab do not get into the lifesystem and poison thousands. We live in a very controlled environment, with a very hostile one outside our walls. We have to control those dangerous behaviors and personalities or thousands will die. And its not as though we are suppressing aggressive behavior. Far from that, in fact any one will tell you our traders and merchants are far from being benign pushovers. We know you cannot suppress aggression, so we instead redirect it into other areas, more often than not, into areas of interest that the person already has.

"I myself am a product of our system. I chose to redirect my aggression from hurting others to administrating and organizing groups. I used that aggression to become the best damn administrator and stationmaster Alverez Station has ever seen." It must be noted that despite his surname, Rie Alverez is not from the founding family Alverez, but the son of parents who came to the station fifty years ago.

So as a word of warning, if you come to Alverez Station for a visit, keep a cool head and stay honest...

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