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GEMSTONES

Thomas W. Waßmann

Version 1.1
1997

It was like any other day, he felt bored, and the problem no one other felt, or at least told that he did feel the same way.

Being bored could mean two things: Being unhappy with the life the Emperor had sat for you and thus betraying mankind, or not fullfilling the work the Exemplus has sat for you and so also  betraying mankind.

Both were treason and could be punished severly. And that most of the time included the death of the punished.

But the work was boring !

He was fast with the cloth, polishing the dark parts of the gemstones away.

He could polish more gems a day then any of his family, but he chose not to do so. He would set the yield to high for the others to follow. Hiobus the Exemplus of the Factory would eagerly torture them all to death. If the merchant prince would allow it. But the factory HAD to produce.

The merchant prince made a fortune with his factory, but the workers did not knew and even if they knew it would not matter.

Gemstones of any size. From a tiny pebble to large rocks three time as big as the living space in a corner of the factory his family had rented from the prince.

Lucius, was 13 years now, and most of them lacked the joy, children in the levels above the factory would have had. When the small ones of the prince or his administrators went to school or even had private teachers, Lucius had to polish, when they went to play Lucius had to polish, and when they would sleep Lucius would still polish.

The only chance in live, other then to move his cloth over dark spots in sparkling stones, was to become a gemcutter like every male in his family.

He did not want to argue about his live, but the more years passed, the more he wanted to  serve the emperor in other ways than working and living in the factory of Prince Marcius.

Even the kids in the lower levels of the hive had more things to do then to polish ! He once told his mother about the desire for him to turn away from his family and to learn about the outside. She just got very sad and said, that all the humans must fullfill their duty to the emperor or their souls will be condemned and they will never reach the paradise.

The next week a preacher came to question Lucius, he was only 11 as the preacher brought him to a confession, the others later told him they could hear his screams throughout the factory, but he remembered nothing, and for 2 weeks could not step into light or turn his back on anything looking like a man of the Ministorum.

At the Age of 12 his mother died, from the cough. The cough was the illness everyone of the workers fell after few decades.

It happend when one breathed to much of the crystal-particles that were scrubbed of the gemstones. And since the whole factory was filled ankle deep in the dust, no one escaped the cough. He felt sorry mother did not understand him. She loved him as her child but nothing more.

Work harder in the name of the Emperor and of our Prince a harsh voice yelled from behind, and Lucius grabbed for his cloth to polish.

One day, the work was especially hard because two of his brothers were ill, and so he had to do their work too, his mind drifted of, as it did so many times before.

He thought about the cold misty surounding of the factory, the broken blocks of concrete the rusty beams that supproted the levels above, and he thought about the thinks that must lie beyond, places where there was no dust, and light to warm one, and the floors were soft and covered with cloth. He once went to the higher areas. When he had to bring the prince an especially well cut stone, the prince wanted to give one of his concubines as a present. He nearly lost his way. Of such beauty were the suroundings of the „above“! And above is not all ! There is more to see, and more to dream. There was what they called "A Window"! A crystal that let you view directly in to an endless blue space and a great shining golden ball illuminated everything!

To behold such a beauty....

He lunged for his cloth! The Exemplus must have seen him dreaming.

He awaited the pain of a stroke with the electro-whip, but none came, so after a minute he stopped to polish frenetically and turned his head. He was alone, no one was near.  Was he really alone? Did he hear a voice?

I have spoken.

Who are you, and were are you ? Lucius was anxious.

I am your friend, I have come to help you.

And were are you ?

Here inside your head.

But the preacher said, we should hear only to our selves and the emperor. And you are not him ! Are you ? 

No, the voice sounded as he was smilling, I am not the Emperor, but he sended me to help you.

Why ??? This was crazy.... He should not talk to it.

Because you are important.......then the voice faded...and Hiobus hit him with his full force in the face.

"DREAMING again! You did not even try to polish when I came, I stood there in front of you for halve a minute! Now back, or I will see to it that your family will get no more work in this factory ! Too many of your bunch are too ill and too often! He kicked him. And then stood beside Lucius for the better part of the day. Showing him parts on the defence laser crystal that the Exemplus considered stained...

TO BE CONTINUED...

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