I was in the red for almost my entire first shift. I couldn’t concentrate for long enough periods of time to get my average over 90%. My Homunculus would ask me every fifteen minutes if I wanted to request a break. I know better than to request a break, I’ve been around too long to fall for that. I was able to get my shit together enough on my second shift to average 97.8% which brought my total daily average into the green. I guess that’s another advantage of working doubles all the time.
ELA1 can’t be one of my Elas. That’s what first came into my mind, that is was one of them, but it makes no sense. They don’t know how to do anything, they couldn’t send me a message even if somehow they knew I was watching them. At least I don’t think so. I was at 89% on my first shift because I started questioning that belief. I only get to watch them 45 minutes a day, it’s too dangerous to try and record them. For all I know after they finish exercising they go into a coding class. It doesn’t seem likely but I don’t KNOW.
Then I thought that it might be one of my friends playing a joke on me. Some buddy of mind had hacked into my feed somehow, saw the Elas, and were playing a prank on me. Then I remembered that I don’t have any friends so it couldn’t be that. There are lots of sims where a bunch of friends sit around and talk. I never watch those shows because they don’t do anything, they just are friends and that’s the entire show. I like shows with action. Now I wonder, are there real people like that? People with friends? Is that what the families of Executives do? Just sit around and be friends with each other?
Then I thought that the message was from Human Resources. A character test or some other kind of HR trap. But if they found my link to the Elas they wouldn’t need to trap me. I’ve violated Company Rules eighteen hundred different ways setting that link up. Just seeing what I saw is a violation. CorpSec would just come down on me if they found out. I wouldn’t be working while they laid traps for me. If they knew I . . . I don’t actually know what would happen. I know people get Terminated but what happens to them? I think they go Outside.
The thought of being sent Outside scared me enough that I almost did request a break to delete the link to the Ela channel. But that would be the worst thing I could do. They’d see that activity. That would be like reporting myself to Human Resources directly.
What makes the most sense is that someone randomly found my link and they’re going to blackmail me. I’ve heard people say that’s the only way to get ahead. Find some dirt on someone else and blackmail them into taking part of your workload so that you can take on more yourself and hit 150%. People talk about One Fifty likes it’s magic. I guess it is. You hit One Fifty and you get put into the Advancement Pool. Now that I think about it I don’t know of any way to make One Fifty without dumping half your work on someone else. I worked triples for a few days and I only ever hit 125%, even with a sleep regulator you get too tired to ever reach One Fifty. There’s no way.
For the first time ever, for me and maybe for anyone in the Company, I didn’t want my second shift to end. As long as I kept working I could ignore the message. Whoever and whatever it was there was nothing they could do to me while I was working. The Company would never allow that. If they tried anything they’d be caught immediately and they’d be the ones sent Outside not me. I thought about requesting a third shift. Those requests are never rejected. I thought about just deleting the message. I thought about a lot of things. In the end I thought about what my mother said to me before I went to my own Apartment.
“The most important thing I can tell you Neil is don’t drag your feet. If the Company wants you to eat a plate of shit just do it and get it over with. It’s better to do a thing and live with it than it is to live in fear of doing it.”
After my shift was over the carbon level celebration was also over so the soymeal bar Apartment gave me wasn’t bacon flavor, it was blancmange-orange-passionfruit-satay. That’s what the Dispensary said it was anyway, after the bacon flavor I had this morning it tasted like dust and plastic. I asked Apartment to give me a nice view but I was out of credits so it was just blank grey walls. Apartment did remind me that it was time to sleep since my next shift starts in less than eight hours.
The Milena voice upgrade still wasn’t working. God damn thing.
I stood by my ComfortSoft Recliner munching on my soymeal bar and thought about just getting under the blanket. Don’t drag your feet Neil. Instead I went back to my station and replied to ELA1.
-Talk about what?-
I wasn’t expecting an immediate response. I also wasn’t expecting a streamchat to open. It was her. It was one of my Elas.
“Took you long enough Neil”
Damn it, man. This is excellent!
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Thank you good sir
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