Rational Principle By G. Waldo (formerly GeeLady) Rating: NC-17 Adult. Summary: WARNING! AU. Mentions of SLAVERY. Senator/Doctor James Wilson owns House - who is an unfortunate member of the Worker Caste. Violence, politic-speak, adult situations, language, and maybe a few other things I'm not sure about yet. Disclaimer: Not mine...blah, blah, blah - though a fantasy never hurt anyone. This story is in response to a Plot Bunny prompt by LUMI. I bow humbly before you! Thank you for the excellent idea. I hope the resulting fic' meets with your approval. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX For he who can be, and therefore is, another's and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature. Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend a principle; they obey their instincts. And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different; for both with their bodies minister to the needs of life. Aristotle. - - -
By G. Waldo (formerly GeeLady)
Rating: NC-17 Adult.
Summary: WARNING! AU. Mentions of SLAVERY. Senator/Doctor James Wilson owns House - who is an unfortunate member of the Worker Caste. Violence, politic-speak, adult situations, language, and maybe a few other things I'm not sure about yet.
Disclaimer: Not mine...blah, blah, blah - though a fantasy never hurt anyone.
This story is in response to a Plot Bunny prompt by LUMI. I bow humbly before you! Thank you for the excellent idea. I hope the resulting fic' meets with your approval.
For he who can be, and therefore is, another's and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature. Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend a principle; they obey their instincts. And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different; for both with their bodies minister to the needs of life.
"Therefore some men are by nature, unable to grasp rational principle, and it is expedient, that is - we are behooved to keep them tamed under hand for their good and ours; to protect and care for them and in return as masters our needs are also seen to. There are, as there always is, scattered factions of beliefs contrary to this reason; men who would believe that just allowing the universe to unfold as it should is a viable alternative to rational principle. To, as it were, let things fall where they may. But suppose the universe wishes man to fall where he may. To fall; to lie down and not get up gain. If the universe chose to instill in man the desire to survive and excel his original programming, then I chose, as I know most of you would, the rational principle of life, of struggle, of living to the fullest in the most beneficial -and rational - way for the good of all men. For their collective future.
"Once upon a time, men were pulled along roads in carts via the brute strength of animals. Yet man handled the reigns, controlled the beast. Now we are all aware that men are men and beasts are beasts, and the brute strengths we utilize in our modern age is, for the most part, by the hand of other humans. Are we then all so equal in industry, because we appear the same, or similar? If both were to steer the car in a direction of their choosing, would the car even move? My employer, the Governor, forbids it. I would fail to arrive at work and soon lose my job."
A small, polite round of laughter was allowed to rise and fall, and then he continued.
"How then am I to feed those under me? My family? My workers? Someone must take the lead in this world. Some must follow others. Some must follow all. When we consider the result of what historians have named Nature's Armageddon, and the disastrous and lingering after-shocks of food and fuel shortages, chronic drought in some areas, repeated flooding in others, over-population where billions are crowded into ever smaller livable lands, we know this to be true. Controlled family sizes on every continent are Law, are reason, are rational."
Doctor James Wilson stopped for a moment to brush dark bangs loosened with sweat off his forehead, took a sip of water and adjusted his reading glasses. Behind the lenses, brown eyes studied the notes his astute staff writer had prepared for him. "I am a doctor of Oncology, I am also a Senator and a member of the ruling Areopagus Party. I am currently not an owner of servants, but then I live alone and have almost no need for familial or enthralled support. However, I still believe in the creed of master/worker. It has become fundamental to mankind's survival. It has, by nature, come about; an evolutionary process and one not based on race or ethnic origin, or even religion, but by necessity. Base, raw, crude human survival. That is why, by law, all workers are to be treated well, in rational equality within their worker caste. The principles of survival, the ideology of love, and the reality of what the human race is facing, all hang in delicate balance. Let us assure we keep the balance for our children's future. So they, and master and worker, will have one."
He readjusted his glasses as the lights in the large hall went up. "Now I have time for a few questions."
An overweight gray-haired woman years his senior stood up. "Doctor Wilson. What are your thoughts on the continuing auctioning of workers? This practise has gained some support from local politicians. If Rational Principle dictates workers be treated as equals within their caste, then why are many masters adopting this out-dated practise of barter and trade? Selling workers does not lend to the principle of equality among their caste. They instead become less workers and part of familial survival, than goods on the open market."
Doctor Wilson cleared his throat nervously. There were no notes for this part. "If you mean financial support from local politicians, or public moral support, then I disagree with you. As a Senator I am unaware of any local support of the illegal practice of, not worker adoption and support, but slavery - if slavery is to what you are referring. However, there have always been those who flout the law, and so its principles designed to benefit not just the individual - themselves - but the whole of society. But I know in my district, these sorts of practices will not be tolerated, and we have taken measures to rout them out when or if any are discovered. Next question."
A shorter, younger, black fellow with the looks of an idealist stood. "I am Doctor Chapman. I run CRRAW, the Center for the Rescue and Re-adoption of Abandoned Workers. Surely you don't deny the existence of this problem? Of abandonment? Workers, once their useful strength is diminished, or when they become too sick, or when they are injured badly enough that they can no longer work, are being turned out onto the street. Rational Principle makes it illegal for them to live autonomously, so if they are unable to find their way back into an adoption agency, or to a sympathetic shelter, they starve and suffer. Our great Rational Principle makes laws to protect them, and then fails to uphold the means by which they might benefit from that law, namely, support at the most basic level, when they are at their most vulnerable. How do you reconcile this discrepancy among master and worker, or even among worker to worker, since abandonment makes it clear that not all workers end up as equals to their fellow workers. Abandonment itself is as much a human rationale' when it comes to survival as the institution of the Worker Caste was."
Doctor Wilson paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. The lights were hot on his face and he was beginning to perspire heavily. "As a senator, as a human being who desires that all workers have equality under their caste, I do not and will never support the "rationale'", as you termed it, of the abandonment of a worker. Nor do I support the master who abandons his or her family-sworn worker. When we discover these law-breakers, we deal with them according to law. I only thank those generous organizations within my district, within the whole of the North American Union, who recognize the problem and who work tirelessly to intervene in such unfortunate occurrences."
Several more people put up their hands, others stood.
But Doctor Wilson was gathering his notes. "I'm sorry, I have no more time for questions. I leave you with Professor Mateista, who will answer any further questions in my stead. Thank you."
Wilson walked passed Mateista with a nod of his head. His political assistant, a young blonde-haired man with hope in his eyes, handed him his coat and he slipped it on. His left arm got caught in the sleeve as it was partially turned inside-out. With fading patience, Doctor Wilson forced it through, scolding his assistant for the sloppy care of his things. The assistant apologized and meekly followed him out to his waiting limousine. His driver, a slim attractive woman appropriately attired in a neat, black suit and hat, opened the rear passenger door for him. His assistant climbed into a second car, a black, four door sedan. the two vehicles pulled out of the Sports Coliseum parking lot into afternoon traffic.
Doctor Wilson leaned back against the soft leather and closed his eyes with a sigh.
His driver glanced in the rear-view mirror. Her employer appeared haggard, but he had not fallen asleep. "Would you like me to close the divider, sir. Or is there anything you need?" She had a bit of a crush on the good looking Senator Wilson.
Wilson shook his head back and forth once, the back of his neck getting a small massage from the firm head-cushion. "A new, kind and more decent nation would be nice, I think." The joke fell flat, but it was not designed to illicit laughter anyway. "How about a drink, Reena?" He said, his voice quickly fading from over-use.
"Certainly." All Reena needed to do was push a button and a few feet in front of Senator Wilson, a tray appeared. Reena had anticipated his needs and three fingers of good Scotch stood waiting in an expensive crystal tumbler. Wilson drank back a full finger and sighed again. Reena was an excellent worker.
Senator Wilson entered his Doctor's office. Though his oncology practice was largely overseen and run by his partners, he did like to drop in now and then. It felt good to get away from the daily weight of his political responsibilities and simply help ordinary everyday citizens for a few hours. It was also a relief to be involved with something, even something as insidious as cancer, that did not tell lies. Cancer was a horrible thing, but it spoke the truth of itself with stark brutality. You could see it, feel, even smell it, and you knew what you were fighting and fighting for. Therefore you could attack it and deny it existence with a clean conscience. None would argue you were doing it for votes or special favors. Political maneuvering, back-door deals, and special interest groups had no part in this.
Doctor Reginald Juan entered, and Wilson welcomed him with a smile. "Hey, Reggie. What's up?"
"-James. How many time do I have to ask you to call me James? Here I'm a doctor, not a senator."
Reggie was an attractive man of medium height. His large, green eyes and olive skin made his ethnic origins difficult to pin down, and Reggie liked to make a game of it, refusing to let people in on where his parents might have hailed. Given the ever increasing ethnic diversity of the world's populations, Reggie could have very well hailed from White Horse. Wilson nodded but knew his insistence that Reggie use his first name wouldn't last more than a week. Reggie always agreed, and then went right back to calling him by his political title.
"I took a chance you might be in today. I was hoping you could see a patient for me. I need to leave early."
"Uh, sure I can do that. What's going on, or do you mind me asking?"
"I don't mind. I'm putting in a few volunteer hours down at the shelter. A whole batch of Caste were brought in last night. Some of them are very badly off."
Though Wilson wouldn't have stepped into one of the shelters to save his own life (the shelters that weren't supposed to need to exist), he admired those who did. For him, the very presence of worker shelters in his district reminded him of the areas of the government he worked for who had utterly failed to protect its under-class citizens. Though workers had no written legal status as citizens, they were still people, and he hated that so many were being ill-treated. "Good for you, Reg'."
"I really wish you'd come with me some time, Senator. We could use another pair of hands."
Wilson looked up at his good and kind partner in medicine. "Yeah, uh, sorry. I just can't. Too many things on my calendar."
"Right. I understand. But if you don't mind me saying, James, it could go a long way in gaining a few more votes next round of elections. You're a good Senator, I'd hate to see that Rob Thomas sitting in your chair."
He was probably right. Rob Thomas, a hard-lining "Man of the Principle'" was gaining popularity among the most elite classes of citizenry. He was close to giving Senator Wilson, who was more of an idealist, a run for his money the next election. Wilson studied his pen for a few seconds, not meeting his partner's eyes. "Well, I'll think about it."
Over the next few weeks, Rob Thomas' campaign gained more speed. they were now neck and neck in the polls, and Wilson reluctantly saw the need to up his political anti. At the urging of his campaign manager, Wilson called his publicist. "Peter, I need you to start running announcements that I'll be volunteering my doctor skills at local worker shelters now and again. Try to make the announcements come across as, I don't know, accidental slips-of-the-tongue, so at least it won't look like I'm trying to curry votes."
After a few more minutes of talk, Wilson hung up and called his partner, Reggie Jaun, at home. "Reggie? Uh, look, when's the next time you'll be volunteering at that shelter of yours? Yeah, I thought it over and I'd like to join you one night, say, next week. Maybe I can be of some use after all." Wilson rattled his cup of pencils with restless fingers. "Thursday? That would be fine I think. About seven? Okay, that works." Wilson had a thought. "Um, would you mind picking my up at home? Great. See you then."
It would not do to arrive at a worker shelter in a government budgeted, chauffeur driven limousine. Robert Thomas would have a hey-day with that.
The smell was only the first of many assaults on his senses that first night. The shelter was teeming to the brim with hungry, lost, injured, neglected, ragged human beings. Most had not eaten for many days. Some had been beaten and robbed of what paltry food or possessions they might have been given when their masters "released" them from "service". Most were over the age of sixty. Some younger but sick. Others injured, some badly, and unable to pull their weight any longer, were lined up in waiting rooms, tucked into wobbly chairs, or huddled on the floors. A few had been lucky, or unluckily sick enough, to have scored a fold-down cot.
The stink of blood, sweat and human waste was the over-powering, ever-pervading perfume, and Wilson knew he would either have to do his duty and then never come back, not a good option with his public numbers sinking like a stone, or quickly get used to it, if he wanted to garner more votes and beat out Thomas at the next election. Both options sucked balls because both were lose-lose in some way.
Reggie lead him to the laughably named "Emergency Room". It was just another room, but with an exit door to the filthy alley. This room was cleaner than the others but it was just as full of injured, bleeding wretches as the rest. Here several nurses and doctors of every description, did their best with limited supplies to treat the wounds and illnesses of those recently abandoned by their adoptive "families".
Wilson's head was reeling with the enormity of the problem. Reggie claimed there were several such shelters in New Jersey alone, and this one was filled with dozens of abandoned workers. "I had no idea..."
Reggie, busy bandaging a large gash on an old female's shin, looked up. "Huh?"
"I knew you said there were more than a few, but I had no idea it was this bad."
Reggie said, not without some small recrimination, "Well, I guess you don't get to this neighborhood that often."
Wilson felt suitably reprimanded. Looking around at the dregs of human life, he wondered when he would get used to the smell. "So? What do you want me to do?"
Reggie looked around at the dozens still waiting for help. "Find an injury or a fever and treat it however you can with what's here."
As simple and horrible as that? Wilson thought.
He looked around and saw a very old woman huddled against one dirty wall, clutching her right arm to her chest. Even from fifteen feet away, Wilson could see from the angle that it was broken. The area of the break was also swollen and darkened with an angry-looking red and purple bruise. Wilson was about to address the woman with kind words of assistance when he heard a series of screams, followed by the back alley door being flung open. Through it, two volunteers pushed a gurney of uncertain age. On it, strapped down, was a thin wretch of a man fighting the straps with everything he had and screaming at the top of his lungs. Wilson recognized the type of screaming. After many years of practice, some doctors learn to distinguish the volume and rhythm, and duration, of screaming, and could sometimes even reasonably guess the underlying injury.
This man was sweating buckets and thrashing. Everything was thrashing but his right leg. He was attempting, Wilson noted, to reach his leg with his strapped down hands, as though to tame it, even as it didn't jerk irrationally along with the rest of his body. Break? Doubtful, not with that level of agony. Infection? No discoloration that he could immediately see, and no significant swelling. Then what? the screaming, the pain, meant it had to be something very serious. All the other doctors were still busy with their current charges and none moved to immediately intercept and access the new admittance. It seemed to have fallen to him.
Wilson approached the gurney, but the man acted like he wasn't even there, continuing to thrash and twitch. His strength, however, was quickly waning, from his own tantrum. Small wonder, Wilson thought, as he noted the visible ribs, the bruises on his legs and torso, and the unbelievable stench of the human creature. This one had been on the streets for a good while.
Doing his best to control his stomach, Wilson bent over the man and tried to break through the man's yelling. "Hey. Calm down, now, I'm trying to help you." Several more attempts at reason had no effect. He had no assistance as the volunteers had simply walked away once their charge had been turned over to someone who, to them, looked like a doctor. On his own, Wilson finally just took the mans' head between his un-gloved hands and shouted directly into his face. "Hey! Shut up now. I'm here to help you, okay?"
The man quieted down a little, but tears of agony slipped between his tightly shut eyes, as he tried to work silently work through whatever was causing him such agony.
Wilson moved to examine the leg, leaving the straps in place. At first look, there appeared to be nothing out-of-sorts, physically. Wilson placed his palm against the man's calf, trying to determine where the break, if it was a break, was located. The leg felt cool. Odd, considering another drought-filled summer was upon them, making the room sweltering. Wilson felt the opposite, the left, leg. Normal body temperature. Sweaty, even. He placed his hand on the right one again. Cool and, near the feet, almost cold.
Wilson pressed his thumb into the flesh of the man's right big toe and watched. Very little blood return. Very poor circulation, but only the right leg. Wilson gently lifted the right leg and tried to bend the foot down to its natural angle of extension. A scream of agony burst from the man's lips. Wilson quickly put the led down and used more soothing words to try and calm him once again. "I'm sorry. I won't do that again."
All he got for an answer was the man turning his head away and grimacing. The pain seemed to have stymied his ability to verbally articulate anything. Wilson looked at his first patient of the day. Clot. Had to be. A bad one. Or maybe even an aneurysm. Very bad, and very damaging to the muscles, depending on how long it might have been there. Maybe it's what caused his master to turn him out on his own. Surgery was very expensive these days, even for the well-off. Spending a fortune on a worker who might not recover anyway was seen as throwing very good money after what had turned out to be a bad investment. A sick or injured worker was a financial liability.
Wilson tried to swallow the dryness in his throat. This man needed an exploratory on his thigh. But who? Where?
He decided to seek out Reggie's advice. "My guy needs surgery."
Reggie glanced up from his delicate work of putting stitches in an old man's scalp. "We don't do that here."
Wilson thought he had heard him wrong. ""You don't do that here"?? Then where? This guy might not last another day." His leg definitely wouldn't.
"There's a shelter than specializes in surgery across town. They have a few post-operative recovery rooms, but our regular surg' is on vacation. Won't be back until next Friday."
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph." Wilson wasn't given to using old-fashioned swear words, but no other expletive seemed to fit the situation. Too bad deities never appeared when they were actually needed. Floating above a grave or flashing your god-face on a tortilla rarely helped anyone. "I can do the surgery, but I need transportation."
"There is none." Reggie calmly explained while he stitched. "We have one van and we use that, when it's running, to look for injured abandon's and bring them in, or try and catch them when they're too scared to come in on their own."
Wilson rubbed his face and looked back over his shoulder to his, so far, one patient. The one he was unable to do anything for. "This is insane."
Reggie looked at his friend with sympathetic impatience. "What can I say, Senator? Welcome to New Jersey."
Wilson found a less crowded corner of the shelter and pulled out his Pan-phone, speaking into it. The device obligingly called up Reena. While he waited for her to answer, Wilson sadly observed some of the faces, their misery etching its rank portrait in his mind. The hopeless throng waited for some voluntary human kindness. For some of them, Wilson wondered if it was the first they would be receiving.
Reena answered and Wilson instructed her on where he was and to come right away. Before he hung up, an after-thought prompted him to order her to bring all of the spare blankets from the linen closets and all the food she could carry from the fridge and freezer. Also the first aid kit from the bathroom. Thinking of nothing further, Wilson hung up and spent the next hour helping a few other patients, while he waited for Reena to bring the limo'. It would appear rather tasteless for him to leave in such a luxury car from such a place filled with people who had probably never known such luxury, but it couldn't be helped. Wilson tried to make himself feel better about it in that he was using the limo to help one of the wretches under his care. As he worked, he would check on his most serious patient now and then, to ensure he was still breathing, still with the living. He was a tall, middle-aged man with gingery-brown curls, most of which were plastered to his head with sweat and grime. Wilson remembered sharp, stunningly blue irises. But mostly he remembered the look of abject suffering on his face. No one should have to live like this. Not even a worker.
Reena arrived and Wilson helped her distribute the supplies to the surprised and grateful look of the lead physician on site. His shock and gratitude were sadly pathetic.
Wilson had a volunteer male nurse help him carry his patient to the limo', ignoring the nurse's bemused look at the mode of Wilson's transportation. Obviously, the nurse had not recognized him. After much sweat and heavy breathing, they managed to lay the prone worker out on the rear-facing seat of the passenger compartment. Wilson seated himself in the forward facing seat. He also begged the nurse to accompany him to the Surgery Shelter, as he would need assistance if he was really going to cut into this patient's leg. The nurse agreed and they were off.
Wilson settled himself stiffly in for the ride. He felt like the hammer of Thor had been brought down in the middle of his privileged, complacent life. He felt like he was finally doing something real to help his voters, and at the same time, essentially useless amidst all that suffering. A grain of help on miles of sand.
But maybe he could at least save one poor soul within the social network that sprang from society's Rational Principle.
Wilson watched over his patient as Reena maneuvered the car through traffic. He wondered where had the man come from? And what kind of man, at one time before Nature's Armageddon had fundamentally changed all their lives, had this poor creature been?
Part II asap