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by kelly brown 2 months ago in space
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A Corporate Subsidy Story

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.

What they never tell you is that, if you are screaming in a vacuum, you're already dead...you just haven't noticed that fact yet.

The other, more important thing they don't tend to tell you is that, if you're still physically connected to your host station (either via tether or magboots), plenty of people will hear you scream. They'll hear you scream, and begin whatever mourning rituals they are accustomed to.

You see, it takes on the order of 65-70 minutes for a rescuer to suit up, pressurize, pressure test, and then lock-discharge the airlock. Depending on the size of your station or ship, you can also add at least another 30 minutes to get to you. It takes another 3 minutes to analyze the situation and determine if extraction/rescue is possible. If it is possible, you can reverse that process and timeline, then add 50% more because now you're a passive burden for the rescuer.

Thus, Inspace Incorporated provides a bonus payout for any rescuer that successfully retrieves a colleague (must meet all clinical definitions of 'alive' set forth in the company handbook) that has fallen afoul of a situation that requires intervention. That bonus amount depends on the rank and paygrade of the colleague, but can go as high as ten thousand UCs (universal credits) for a senior officer.

Now, as we all know, the vacuum of space has some other notable qualities not directly related to sound. The main quality is that the vacuum of space also has no air resistance, and is really super cold. If you were to design a chest freezer on earth, you wouldn't come anywhere near the efficiency of space. Space is, in essence, a frictionless, completely passive chest freezer. This rhetorical lesson is essentially to explain why, if you look closely, you'll see cilia-like protrusions adorning the skins of almost every ship and station in the solar system. If nothing else, those bodies provide just that much more shielding against GRBs and such.

Sure, ten thousand UCs can buy you a pretty nice vacation to an orbital spa with all the indulgences you can image, and some you probably can't. But, unless your life goal is to become a cilia-like hair on the skin of a ship or space-station, it's just not worth it. To date, no one has ever successfully claimed that bonus, they've only sweetened the pot.

There are many who claim they have done so...but those types are generally just seeking short-term fame or attention, and the minor payouts from the newsy streams. If you check II's tax filings, you'll note that they have never, not once, filed a documented retrieval bounty/bonus.

What you will find on those filings, is a bucket in which they collect fleet subsidies. Those subsidies are earmarked for these bonuses, and must be accounted for. As of last check, II's coffers were overflowing with funding in that category, collected over dozens of decades. That may seem inefficient, but don't worry. II can borrow against those funds in a fractional reserve method. For every UC they have filed, they can extract over four UCs in a loan. Those loans are used for things like buying back stock, paying out dividends, and paying executive salaries. Some may think that this would be a very short-sighted activity, because someone may file a legitimate claim against those hundreds of billions of UCs in reserve.

But, given the track record, that is really very truly highly unlikely, in this timeline or the next.

Or so they say.


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kelly brown

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