Give Us This Day: Life & Work in the 22nd Century
NOTES: Based on settings featured in Enterprise. Though canon elements and characters may be referred to, the people (and some of the worlds) depicted here are of my own invention. This story is a work of fanfiction, no copyright infringement is intended.
Have you ever wondered what the people of the future do for a living? Here are a couple of answers.
Tyrone Clark, Paperboy
Tyrone is an eleven-year-old human. He lives in a heavily populated settlement on the southern edge of Luna. He has been a paperboy for the past three years. Before school each day, he delivers the morning edition of the Southern Lunar Daily to about eighty-five customers. His day usually begins at five in the morning. When asked whether he was afraid to go out so early, he shrugged. "Afraid of what, the dark? Well, the sky is always dark on Luna."
"The Southern Lunar Daily was the first newspaper ever published here. That was in 2062. Back then, they still called this place the Moon. At first, the paper only came out once a week. It was real small, like ten pages. Wasn't much going on back then. Today, the paper's pretty thick. They can be hard to carry around, sometimes. Of course, they wouldn't have that problem if they had switched to datalink. All the other papers did a long time ago. People can just download them on their computers. The Daily wanted to change, but people got mad. My Dad said it was like messing with tradition, so they left it alone."
"My job is pretty cool. All the paperboys and papergirls wear a red baseball cap and a jacket with the Lunar logo on the back. I know most of the people I deliver to. If you do a good job, the customers smile and say nice things to the boss. If enough people do that, you can get special rewards. Last year, I got a raise and a Red Rocket scooter for being on time every day."
"I always throw the paper so that it lands right at their front door. That way, all people have to do is open the door, bend down, and pick it up. A lot of kids just throw it any old way. Some people don't like having their paper thrown. Especially the Vulcans. One time I forgot, and the look on this Vulcan guy's face when he came outside made me feel about two inches tall. But he never called up the boss."
When asked whether he thought this experience would help him later in life, Tyrone shrugged again.
"I guess. I could get a job as an Ambassador or something. I'd be good at it 'cause I know how to deal with all kinds of people. I've learned that if you treat them right, most of them will be willing to do you a favor."
Margaret-Ruth Maher, Cadet
She is twenty years old, with bright red hair and green eyes. She entered San Francisco's Starfleet Academy straight out of high school two years ago. She hopes to land a position on board a starship right after graduation. If she does, she will be the first of her family ever to venture beyond the planet Earth.
"I come from generations of farmers," she says. "Our family came from Ireland to United States in the mid-nineteenth century. They had nothing in their pockets, but they settled in Kansas and built a business that endures to this day. I have five brothers and sisters, and it was assumed that we all would carry on the line. All of them work the farm now, except me. As much as I love them, I didn't feel it was the right thing."
Since childhood, Margaret has held a fascination with space travel. She read books, collected maps, and learned to fly small orbital shuttle craft. While most of family was amused by her hobby, her mother did not approve. When she decided to enter the Academy, her father and siblings weren't really surprised. However, her mother was furious.
"Mother believes that humans have no business going beyond the planet Pluto," she says. "She feels that there are too many issues on Earth that still need to be resolved before getting involved with other worlds. I disagree. Now is the best time to get involved. Humanity will never be perfect, but we have come far enough to start reaching out. I feel that we have something to offer other species, and who knows what great things we can gain from them. If we keep putting this off, we'll only be making ourselves weak. We'll only be setting Earth up for disaster. What if some species discovers us and we don't know what to do?"
Margaret's mother remained unconvinced. She hasn't spoken to her daughter since she entered the Academy. Though disappointed by her reaction, she continues with her studies.
"I have classes all day, then I have a ton of homework to do every night. I don't know what the next day will bring. Last month, I had the highest score in the class on my warp theory exam, but then I messed up on the bridge simulator the same day. I thought because I had some flying experience there would be no problem. But when I saw the helm, I froze. There were a million buttons and controls there, and all the information just got all crossed up in my head. All I had to do was a simple take-off and landing, but I failed miserably. My instructor said that if I were on a real starship, I would've crashed it onto the planet."
"I felt everyone's eyes on me," she admits. "I was so embarrassed, I wanted to run straight back to Kansas. Then I remembered something my mother once told me. In the year 1931, my ancestor, Thomas Maher, nearly went bankrupt in the American Great Depression. The farm that the family worked fifty years to create was on the verge of being wiped out. Instead of packing up and leaving, he did everything he could to hold on. It took him ten years, but he got things up and running again. It made me realize that our family has had to deal with things more terrible than failing one test."
Margaret studied the helm controls that evening, went back to class the next day, and crashed the simulator again. And again. Then on the fourth try, she succeeded. Thanks, ironically, to the mother that didn't want her to join.
"I hope that someday," she says, "My mother will understand. I want her to come to my graduation. I hope that she will come to realize that I am not disrespecting the family. I am honoring the family in my own way. After all, the Mahers journeyed to a new land because they had a dream. I have a dream too, and mine is in the stars."
Gorshan Kori-Vol, Prime Minister, Adehti Prime*
Adehti Prime is a peaceful, modestly populated class-M planet. The people are humanoid in appearance, with dark violet eyes, and are believed to possess technology slightly more advanced than the Vulcans. First contact was made by a Vulcan research vessel over thirty years ago. Despite the friendly nature of the people, diplomatic progress has been painfully slow. The problem lies with communication. T'Dral, exo-linguist and member of the original reseach team, explains:
"The Adehtians are what we refer to as class-one telepaths. Class-ones are able to sense the thoughts and emotions of people within their own species. They communicate via brain waves, as opposed to speaking. (In comparison, class-fives can also sense other species' thoughts.) Unlike other telepathic species, who posess some form of verbal language, the Adehtians are quite different. They do not possess verbal language. They cannot hear."
She then gets to the heart of the dilemma: "Methods of Vulcan communication are based largely on sound. The Adehtians cannot sense the things that make up our languages. The Adehtian language is based on telepathy. Though Vulcans possess some telepathic ability, it is not on a level sophisticated enough for language comprehension."
Though researchers have been working together for years, each side has but a limited understanding of the other. The Adehtians have a minimal grasp of Vulcan, and they communicate entirely through writing. The process is tedious, and neither side can fully express themselves. Confusion has existed since the very beginning.
Gorshan Kori-Vol recalls the Adehtians first encounter with the Vulcans. One of three Prime Ministers that govern the planet, he had just been elected to his post when news of a strange encounter made it to his office.
"First time Adehti see other-world people, thirty year past. Adehti ship see other-world ship in space. Other-world ship signal. Adehti feel no danger and look. The people Vulcan look strange: ear point, stone face. They move mouth and talk, this we never see before. We try to look in all their mind, but nothing. Vulcan write and Adehti write, but no understand. Vulcan people leave and come back five year later. They try to give Vulcan language. We study hard together. We try understand but hard."
Kori-Vol laments the problems this has caused. "We have many thing: medicine, food, tool, computer. Vulcan want, but we say no. We cannot explain good how work. They make mistake, people get hurt, killed. We are blame. Vulcan have many thing Adehti want, but they say no. Vulcan not say it, but they afraid too. Some Adehti people now think other-world people no good. They say it is waste talking. Adehti language beautiful, clear, fast. Other-world language slow. They say Vulcan slow."
Despite these problems, Kori-Vol believes that both sides must work to find a mutual understanding. A technology enthusiast, he even suggests possible new uses for some current technology:
"You use tool now help you understand many other-world people speak. Maybe way make tool work for Adehti. Maybe way bring thought out for you."
T'Dral agrees. "Technology is one of many possible solutions. Though the process may take years, the research should continue. Some in the government feel that our resources could be better utilized elsewhere. I disagree. It would be illogical to abandon a relationship with the Adehtians simply becuase they are different. They are a peaceful, advanced people. I believe they could be a valuable ally to us."
In any language, the Prime Minister's views are clear. "Adehti not alone in space. Need have patient. Universe big. Universe different. All people must learn."