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Gears over bone. Oil over blood. Machine over man.
The city Carnegie Enterprise went by a simple moral code: Gears over bone. Oil over blood. Machine over man. The phrase was chiseled on every available surface not already plastered with government propaganda. Entering the city by tram -- if you were able to move in the cramped cube -- you could see hanging over the factory slums the message, seemingly floating over the workers, in neon gold. There were no more stars, only reminders of the contemporary values; there were no more books, only instruction manuals. And there was no more hope in Carnegie Enterprise, only the turning of metal gears late through the night.
And the night was everlasting and always looming, dark and full of terrors. Better for sure, to move toward the light of the factories, to the safety of routine and work than to wander into the darkness. For as every child is taught, what lies within the darkness is the manifestation of human evil: knowledge. With knowledge, argued the government, came the ability to misunderstand, the ability to cause divides between people. And as a factory certainly cannot maintain itself if it's workers are so egregiously divided, an individual undoubtedly cannot function with letters and symbols running around in their head like roaches.
The nursery where the children were kept was almost completely painted black, with only one broken window -- not befit for exportation -- to show the children their wonderful future. To the children, the bright neon gold of the factories' exterior attracted them like a moth to a flame. How pleasant it surely would be, cried out the children, to work in the happy factories than to live in this cocoon. To live liked trapped caterpillars when just out of reach the butterflies sip golden nectar.
Children were kept in the nursery until they had completed their year and a half of schooling, and two years of apprenticeship. Any children that failed to make the grade were simply catapulted into the darkness surrounding the city. Never to be seen again. Any child that grew too old simply and enthusiastically cut their throat in the shower above the glue room. Reports say that Carnegie Enterprise hadn't run out of glue for the great country of Foxconn since the war started. It was a triumph of a city in every category: exportation rate, happiness levels, population control.
"A triumph of a city doesn't do us justice" soon became the slogan plastered on the walls of the factories, until the posters rotted away. But still no matter how many posters were glued to the walls, and no matter how many of them slowly fell flat on the floor, the moral code was never lost. The moral code was even printed on the gears themselves that turned nonsensically and nonstop by the hands of the workers. You couldn't ignore the founder's message even if you pulled out your own eyes, you'd have to rip your ears off as well.
Luckily for every worker, upon being enrolled in one of the three major branches of the three major factories within each of the three sections of the city, mandatory head gear is presented. Fitting snugly around the eyes and ears, the head gear locks into place -- and after a few minutes charges up to a nearly lethal voltage that will limit the number of insubordinate workers.
The founder of Carnegie Enterprise was of course not Mr. Carnegie, but considering the gilded age in which he achieved acclaim and the gold neon signs, the founder was almost obligated to name the city after him. But of course the founder is never obligated to do anything. The founder is above obligation and above the industry and the gears. The founder is above oil, blood and bone. The founder is above the city and above the darkness. The founder is both the government and the scientist, both routine and the dangerous knowledge. The founder is Ardalos Prometheus Hephaestus, and he lives within the sign above the city slums. Always watching, and always controlling the ants below.
The ants below were always working, trying to make up for all the time wasted, for the precious blinks of life thrown out on luxury and vacation. "Just think", lamented early morning propaganda, "Just think if our way of life had been around sooner! Make up for the past by building for our future!". But a future of gears can only arrive at one's deliberate turn; and a world ruled by the gear could only come to be through the devaluation of man. Over the twenty-first century big businesses slowly became more and more human through the accumulation of archaic legislatures called "laws". Despite ridiculous and unfounded public outcry, these businesses were able to slowly fill up government seats in all the major countries. America, China, Russia, Great Britain soon became filled to the brim with members of businesses until the eventful twenty-twenty elections. It was in this election that the businesses known as Carnegie Enterprise (a forty year old war veteran, philanthropist and Christian) and Morgana Industries (a fifty five year old elementary school teacher with an expertise at bridge) ran for the President's office. They had every right to run, they had the funding, they had the masses behind them and working for them, and they agreed to create America's first Co-opted government. It was a historic day not only because America would no longer be a democracy but a "work force oriented community", but also because the only other time there was an over ninety nine percent voter turnout at a fair election was in North Korea.
But that was ancient history, posters collecting dust. There was no longer any need to look back at the years before the factories, as the fate of the world had been on this path since man invented value. One rock for two sticks, four sticks for two rocks, a woman for a pound of rice, it was an inevitability that man would find itself to be as useful as hyper inflated currency outside of a factory.
And so here we are, no longer pilgrims to a world that never belonged to us, but as slavers to each other for the good of capita. The only thing man ever needed. Ardalos Prometheus Hephaestus watched from day one, watched as his idolaters warped him into a contemporary figure of greed. Watched as he devolved from the god and creator of all man to simply a man in a neon sign. A spec of gold within a rusty gear is as useful as any other spec, and so while he drifted away and his human bones rotted, his legacy took another manifestation. So the gears could keep turning. So that business could continue unhindered by any government or morality. So that the world could be a safer place for all that is manmade or those with money on the mind.
And all this time all they had to do was stop the gears from turning, but sadly once a norm sets in the routine is hard to break. No matter the devastation that can arise from it.