Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daily Story 11: Sleeping In

Hello, Mr. Slate - it's an honor to finally meet the first human to enter cryostasis! I know that you had agreed to go under for a year as proof of concept, with Cryo-1 paying you upon revival based on your salary as janitor... however it’s been a bit more than a year.

A clause in the contract said the cryostasis could be extended in case of emergency - and 'emergency' was defined rather broadly. First it was extended to avoid negative PR during a political backlash against cryostasis firms due to some unfortunate deaths - those same deaths caused some new regulations and Cryo-1's funding dried up. They determined that they were unable to pay your agreed-upon salary without causing 'financial harm' to the company, and extended it further until the company became more profitable. They stumbled on for several more years before going under.

All property was confiscated and remained in storage while various creditors fought over anything of value. The few other cryostasis patients who had not been moved to a different facility by relatives were adopted by creditors because they still generated income. You were a debt only, so you remained in storage long after the office furniture and electronics were taken. Eventually you were moved to a government-run museum, because nobody was legally allowed to revive you and you did, after all, have historical value - plus you were taking up space. The museum went private later, then closed entirely.

Several exhibits, including yourself, were sold to a traveling circus. The circus eventually broke down on Mars, and the owner couldn't afford to fix the ship. The members of the circus (who already hadn't been paid in some time) stole and sold off everything at the flea market. You remained in a private citizen's home for years, until the family decided to sign up for the arkship and start a new life on the frontier. They were attached to you, the children had grown up hanging their coats on you, and so they used valuable 'personal item' space to bring you along - but upon arrival the immigration officials pointed out that you were, in essence, another colonist.

Not having been approved for colonization, you were shipped back. This timing proved to be fortunate, as the Great War started during the trip to the frontier and was over by the time you returned. With no one left to lay claim, you ended up in the lost luggage office for the next ten years – sort of a mascot for the employees. When TransGalactic folded all lost luggage was auctioned off in bulk. The company that bought it was UniCorp, and when the CEO learned what they had he propped you up in his office.

That's where I come in. My father worked for TransGalactic and told me about you seven years ago, and I've spent my time since then learning your story. I almost went to UniCorp's CEO four years back when I found out you had ended up there, but I waited, and consulted some lawyers. I didn't want you to be stuck there, and I didn't want you to be unfrozen and thrown out on the street. I laid out all the legal framework in a hypothetical context so UniCorp wouldn't be able to fight back until it was too late, and then I confronted them out of the blue with your original contract and a judge's letter saying they had inherited the responsibility and terms of your employment… adjusted for inflation, with interest.

It’s a good time to be awake, sir.