> Seth Underwood Stories: A Day in the Life of a Martian Tax Slave (est. read time- 27 min )

A Day in the Life of a Martian Tax Slave (est. read time- 27 min )

Man has always been intrigued with Mars, and in time mankind came to undertake its greatest ambition which was the terraforming of Mars into Earth Mark 2. This would not even have been possible if it was not for the discovery of how to manipulate and control gravity at the quantum level allowing mankind to develop gravity deflectors and gravity based space drives. With both of these technologies mankind was finally able to deflect the solar winds from Mars allowing the development of a thicker atmosphere, and the newer gravity space drives such as a push-pull drive, allowing for quicker space travel to Mars. Even better was the rich silicon resources of Mars that became the driving force behind the new quantum gravity economy as silicon was required for much of the control features in this technology.

Much of Mars was initially settled and controlled by Corporate State entities from countries such as the United States, Russia, and China in an effort to control the silicon resources. The Russian endeavors on Mars would eventually be turned over to China due to internal issues at home with Russia, thus leaving most of Mars to be settled by China and the United States (who worked with various European and other smaller nations from time to time). 

The terraforming efforts of Mars was led by a conglomerate of Earth nations, but mostly by the United States and Europe. The idea was to form a second Earth. It was seen as a way to deal with potential overpopulation, despite the fact that much of the Earth was still not overpopulated. 

Later as the terraforming effort had managed to develop a thicker atmosphere and temperatures had warmed up to the point of like a high mountain climate on Earth, efforts were beginning by the Conglomerate Assembly of Mars (the governing body of Mars) to encourage greater tourism and settlement. This was done by encouraging legalized gambling and casino resorts similar to that of Las Vegas to be developed, as well as retirement villages to be built for the main asteroid belt miners to retire to when they completed their contracts with the asteroid belt mining companies. The businesses which operated these tourist and retirement facilities practiced a form of employment recruitment that used to be known as kafala, which is basically a form of immigrant work slavery. But on Mars the Conglomerate Assembly had turned it into a form of tax slavery. The wages paid to the workers were heavily taxed by the Conglomerate government because these workers were considered undocumented officially and had no legal status on Mars, in return these taxes helped fund and off set subsidies to keep both the tourism and retiree residents present on Mars. Without this form of tax slavery, the whole economic structure the Conglomerate had established would collapse. All the officials, both on Earth and Mars, turned a blind eye to what was going on with this system because everyone wanted Mars to be Earth Mark 2 so badly despite the fact there was no reason for it to be so.

In an ironic twist of things, a majority of space colonies of the solar system as mankind expanded outward from Earth during this era ended up being mostly male leaving Earth mostly female. This occurred for numerous social, political, and biological reasons overtimeAs a result, a technology was developed from the earlier AI technology and human cloning technology, which was known as the A-4 Android. The A-4 Android was basically a female android which was able to make a human clone. The biggest model sold was the sex or pleasure droid model which had its cloning abilities turned off. There were other models available from surrogate models, to nanny models, and to finally elder care models.

While no one really ventured to much out on the surface of Mars, it was the dusty season on Mars, and Kobe Tate had managed to catch Martian Influenza. He was fine one day, and then the next he awoke with the standard symptoms of a fever, chills, a nagging cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches and tiredness. But now it had been several days, and his symptoms were getting worse. He just lay there in bed, thinking over how he got to Mars in the first place.

“Please Lord, don’t let me die” he thought to himself between coughs which had become painful because his diaphragm now ached from so much coughing.

As he vomited into a small basket he kept next to his bed because his symptoms had gotten worse he thought to himself, “Why have I been so forsaken? What have I done to deserve such a horrid life?”

He recalled how the space port program brought so much to the area around modern Baragoi, Kenya. Baragoi was always filled with poverty, and there were many attempts over the years to fix this problem. The space port was but another attempt. There were constant off-world recruitment programs going on for work in the main belt and Mars. But he lacked the skills and couldn’t pass the needed tests for the off-world visa work with the Corporations. Then he got his big break with Davison & El-Sharif Ltd., a multinational corporation working on Mars in both the entertainment-hospitality industry and retirement industry. They had established several hotel-casinos on Mars, as well as retirement villages for main belters. They were one of the biggest groups working on Mars at the time and were constantly featured in the news in Kenya.

Coughing again, he thought “Why did I tell my father I was going to do better than him? Look at me now? I am dying on Mars.”

Kobe’s father was a beekeeper and a small time producer of honey; his father also maintained a small herd of goats. But Kobe’s three uncles were more successful, living in the urban center of Nairobi as businessmen. Although Kobe wasn’t sure what they did exactly, except they were better off than his father.

Slightly short of breath, he laid on his bed shaking with chills thinking to himself, “I was such a fool to think I could become rich overnight on Mars. Why did I believe the recruiter when I signed up? He made it sound so easy. No worries about work Visas. They would take care of everything.”

Vomiting again, he laid back down, his muscles were totally sore, he thought, “What a lie. Now I am dying on Mars because I was a fool.”

Shaking again, “Oh God help me” he pleaded silently going over in his mind all that had transpired to get to this point.

The week it took to get to Mars was the most nerve racking thing he had ever experienced in his entire life. Every day during the journey he thought the ship was going to implode causing him to die in the vacuum of space. The push-pull gravity drive was so old and outdated that it was causing harmonics to rattle the ship from time to time, and every time he just prayed silently the Rosary under his breath that he was taught by the Sisters in the Catholic School he went to.

The food aboard the ship was the most disgusting canned food he had ever seen or smelled. It looked like canned cat food, but they called it standard rations. “Oh Lord, what have I gotten myself into” kept running through his mind every day. “They promised it would be better on Mars, I just hope that is so true” he would tell himself.

Worse of all was the waste disposal system. Part of it was to recycle the urine back into drinking water, but the filters were cheap and you could still smell a faint ammonia smell to the water despite the fact it was safe to drink. “This was not how the commercials portrayed space travel” he complained a bit to one of his fellow passengers who also was from Kenya. The fellow passenger just nodded in agreement. Most of all the twenty passengers were actually young men or boys from the region around Kenya and kept to themselves, and the crew didn’t really chat much with them either except to tell them when it was time to eat or go to sleep. There was no real entertainment aboard so most people just slept. Kobe was bored, sleepy, and overall disgusted with his travel to Mars. When he got to Mars and the ship landed in the space port and he was allowed to physically disembark, he was given a rebreather and winter parka to put on, and when he got outside for the first time on Mars he let out as loud as he could in the rebreather a “Hallelujah” to be off that ship. 

Some men dressed in heavy parkas and rebreathers came over to them and directed them to a container truck that was some distance away on the landing tarmac. One of the men seem to be carrying some sort of gun or weapon. The twenty passengers were hurried by the small crew of men quickly across the tarmac. One of the young boys had stumbled a bit on the way because his parka was too large, and fell to his knees.  And the man with the gun just jabbed at him to get up, and yelled at him through the rebreather in Arabic, calling him “alddadick”. With that Kobe came to the young boy’s aide and waived the gun man to step aside and Kobe helped the young boy to his feet. “My God, what is going on here” Kobe thought to himself as he continued to think, “This reminds me of the stories my grandfather told me of the attacks in Baragoi where people were kidnapped.”

They were all loaded into a grey metal container truck that had large tires to deal with the Martian terrain. As Kobe was loaded into the container he said in what little Arabic he knew, “'ummik fatira” to the men putting them in the cargo unit in an attempt to try to find out what was going on. One pushed him into the container causing him to fall down on his face. Getting up, and turning to the other Kenyan in the group, “What was that for?”

“You just said to him his mother was a pancake. You are really an idiot” said the other Kenyan sitting down against the metal wall.

“Tell me why do they keep calling us ‘alddadick’? I have never heard that Arab word before” asked Kobe.

The other Kenyan put his head down, “Don’t ask. It is not a good name. It is a name of shame. Where the heck did you grow up? On the game reserve with those tribals?”

“No I was born in Baragoi” Kobe responded. The other Kenyan just rolled his eyes, and pulled his parka hoodie over his head.

After a bit the truck stopped, the back door opened, and another load of fifteen mostly young boys from what appeared to be from India got on board. Again through the rebreathers the Arab men were yelling the word ‘alddadick’ at them as they poked at them to get into the truck like cattle. The back doors were closed, the lights came back on, and the truck rolled on as everyone sat in parkas and rebreathers being bounced around on a journey to an unknown destination.

What seemed an eternity came to an end when the truck back doors reopened, which was good because some of the younger boys had relieved themselves in one of the corners of the truck and you could still smell it through the rebreather. Again like cattle they were herded by Arab men dressed in parkas and rebreathers to another smaller room from what appeared to be like a hanger or very large garage bay. One of the men pulled what looked like a large meat locker door shut and locked the handle, and then the Arab men began to take off their rebreathers. As they did so everyone else did as well. 

Entering from a side door to the room came another Arab man dressed in a white lab coat carrying an infopad. He briefly talked to one of the men, and then said in a broken English accent, “Welcome to Mars. Now get undressed for the exam and decontamination processing.”

The Arab men went around stripping the parkas off the people, as well as their other clothing and undergarments. Again the word ‘alddadick’ was said a lot at Kobe and the others. The more they said it the more Kobe became indignant at the use of that name.

At one point during the undressing Kobe used again the only Arabic he knew calling one of the men’s mother a pancake, which afforded him a slab across the face.
Again the men and young boys were herded out like cattle through the side door into another room leaving their clothing and parkas behind. They were ran single file through a walk through scanner after which again single file they went through a chemical shower of some kind which stung a bit on the skin, and finally a warm blowing cycle to dry them off. At the end of the process each one of them were given a green jumper with the company logo printed on the back.  

Afterwards they were again assembled in yet another room where the Arab man in the white lab coat verified the identity of each person with his infopad and their thumb print. As the Arab man in the white lab coat verified their identity, he also gave them a shot on their wrist telling them, “This will ensure you cannot leave, because if you do we will know. It is a tracking device.”

Suddenly a short well-dressed American entered the room and talked to one of the guard-like Arabs. That is when the guard-like Arabs in the room started to line up Kobe and the rest of the new young arrivals in rows.

Within a few minutes entered a rather stately dressed American, with what appeared to be a very well-endowed blond female at his side who was dressed like some sort of model. 

“So, Pussy-cat which one do you want” the well-dressed American asked.

“I just don’t know. They look all so rough” she said in a pouty way.

“Yeah, but you know Daddy needs you to have someone while he is away on business to care for you. So pick someone.”

The well-endowed female walked gingerly through the line of men and boys assembled. She would fondle their buttocks a bit as she passed some, and pass her hand around their chins for some. None resisted her. But when she came to Kobe she was going to fondle him, but he grabbed her and stopped her. Her eyes became wide in a bit of shock, and she pulled her hand away. She walked back to the well-dressed man, cuddled up to him and then pointed to Kobe and said, “I want the tall, dark, slender one with the round head. I like him, he is feisty.”

The well-dressed man waived to the short American, and then the well-dressed man and well-endowed woman left the room as the short American went to the head guard talking and pointing to Kobe. Kobe became concerned. 

“Why are they pointing to me” he asked the Kenyan next to him. 

“You have been chosen to be a lap boy for the boss man’s pleasure droid” replied his fellow Kenyan. 

“The what” Kobe asked.

“Lap boy, you know. Sex toy when the boss is away so no one else uses her. Boy you are really dumb aren’t you. She is going to eat you alive.”

“Wait I did not sign up for this. I was clearly told that I was going to be doing some domestic work.” Kobe said in a slight panic.

“No man. You are so lucky. I wish I could have been chosen to be the lap boy. It is the easiest job in the world. But I am no doubt going to be cleaning out the waste units” said the other Kenyan.

Kobe just stood there in a bit of sheer terror on his face. The idea of being the sex-toy for a pleasure droid was something he had not considered when signing up to come to Mars. He had never dated or even had sex for that matter. Heck he never really even kissed a girl when he was younger. This whole idea was like being thrown into a pit of lions where one was going to tear him apart limb from limb.

Kobe was pulled aside from the group and eventually led to another part of the complex going through various corridors and elevators by the short American man and one of the Arab guards, until they came to what appeared to be a hotel like hallway. Using a passkey, the short American opened the door to one of the rooms.

Handing Kobe the passkey, “Now don’t lose this. This is your passkey to your room. Do you understand?”
Kobe nodded.

“You do speak English?”

“Yes, sir” Kobe responded.

“Good. My name is Mr. Hansley. If you need anything just ask for me on the monitor. Now there is a change of clothing” he said looking Kobe over, “It should fit, if the suit doesn’t call me and I will have the tailor come up.”
“Sir, may I ask who the well-dressed man was” Kobe asked.

“Oh, you mean, Mr. D. T. Parker? He runs the Casino. He is our boss. Do not cross him ever, and I mean that. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, now get dressed. No doubt Mr. Parker will want to see you soon enough.”

As Kobe laid in his bed, shivering, he recalled the time he first met Mr. Parker.

Kobe had dressed himself in the suit that was provided to him, and an Arab guard had come for Kobe and led him to the elevators. From there they went to the penthouse floor, where he entered one of the gold trimmed side doors to the main lobby area of the penthouse floor. The Arab guard stood outside the door and motioned Kobe to go in.

Kobe went in, and sitting behind a dark oak square desk with inlaid trim, which had a seal of an eagle holding arrows inset in the middle, was Mr. D. T. Parker working on some infopads that were scattered about the desk.

“Come in. Come in. Have a seat, boy” the well-dressed American said waving at him to sit in one of two of the wooden spindle chairs next to the desk.

Kobe nervously took a seat to the left of Mr. Parker. Looking up from the infopads, “Do you like the desk? I had it imported all the way from the family home in the States on Earth. It belonged to one of my relatives’ way back. They call it the Resolute for some dang reason. Never could figure out why though.”

Leaning back, “Now aside from running this Hotel and Casino, I have a lot of business to take care of in the Conglomerate Assembly in Tharsis City. I am a Representative in the Assembly and currently we are dealing with many issues; from Android rights, to the core ignition idea some group of nutty scientists keep pushing, to still dealing with the Phobos crash cleanup our ancestors left us with. And we still have the economy to worry about, which is where people like you come in. Without people like you I have no idea how we could economically do it. Heavens knows mining and terraforming isn’t really bringing in the bucks. Anyway, all this takes me away a lot, and I don’t like leaving Karma alone. I need someone to watch over her because she can get herself into trouble, if you know what I mean” he said as he winked at Kobe.

Then leaning towards Kobe and giving him a stare, “Now let me tell you, boy. I want no funny business with my Pussy-cat? Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir” Kobe responded nodding in agreement.

Leaning back again, Mr. Parker continued, “Good, I think we have an understanding here. You can leave, boy.”

As Kobe left Mr. Parker’s office, he wasn’t certain exactly what his duties were to be, except to care for his android’s needs while Mr. Parker was away. That and not to do anything compromising with her or let others do the same.

Kobe recalled the time shortly after that the unusual dream he had. A dream he has never forgotten, because in it he made a solemn promise.

The night after Mr. Parker went over Kobe’s duties and expectations he had for the care of his A-4 Android, Karma, when he was out on business, Kobe had a very unusual dream. He saw a mighty bird sitting in a spindly tree of type he had never seen before. The tree had broad green leaves that had saw tooth edges, and near them were clusters of various small fruits that looked like miniature clusters of grapes or berries of some kind. Some were red, others dark purple and still others white. The bird held in its talons a blue flaming sword which did not burn the bird. The bird spoke to him, but its beak did not move. 

It said the following to him, “Kobe, do not drink of the bitter cup of inequity like the women of the Navakalesen. For it is was told in my book, that those women who did so would experience anger and resentment for their men in their hearts and so will their daughters for generations to come. And so it has come to pass. If you drink from this cup from the great deceiver, the one who lies, the one who questions the very will of the Master, then you too will fall into this trap and your heart will become bitter with anger.”

Kobe said to the bird, “I will not. I promise.”

“Good then. Then you will know forgiveness.”

Kobe asked the bird, “But tell me what will happen to the women of the Navakalesen? Will they ever understand forgiveness? Will they be forgiven by the Master?”

“This is not for me to decide. This is only for the one who judges to determine. Only He will make that decision when the time comes.”

Kobe asked the bird, “What of these women like Karma? Will they be in Paradise?”

The bird turned its head to heaven, and then back to Kobe, “Those women are part of creation. Their fate is the same as all of creation, to be intertwined with man.”

With that Kobe awoke from his dream.

Coughing and vomiting again, Kobe laid back down and recalled the very first time he had to deal with Mr. Parker’s A-4 Android, Karma and how every time after that very first time was basically going to be the same with Karma.

The first time Kobe had to deal with Karma while Mr. Parker was away turned out to be the most trying ordeal for him. He had never seen an Android before, more less a well-endowed female android. Karma was the standard model of pleasure droid with double-d breasts, blond hair, and blue eyes and a Caucasian skin tone. She stood about five foot eleven in height which was close to Kobe’s six foot two inches. Her frame was thin and like that of a model in nature. She was dressed in the finest evening wear Mr. Parker could afford her. 

 “Come here my tall and dark, dahlin” she said as she rolled her fingers beckoning him to come into the room.

“Mr. Parker was very specific about my duties concerning your care” Kobe said as he pulled at his waist coat.

Coming up to Kobe, she attempted to wrap her arms around him which Kobe immediately pulled them away.
“May I ask you ma’am; why doesn’t Mr. Parker just turn you off and lock you up somewhere?”

With that Karma slapped Kobe across the face.

Turning away in a huff and then turning back to him again, “How dare you say such a thing. Don’t you ever say that again or I will tell on you. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Crossing her arms and stomping her right foot, “The nerve. How would you like to be turned off? Oh that’s right it is called killing when you do it to a human.”

“My apologies ma’am. I was not aware. You are my first android” Kobe said with a slight bow.

“Oh, I am” she said putting her index finger to her mouth. “Well then my dahlin, you are most certainly in for a real treat. I have a lot to show you about androids.”

Kobe was nervous at the way Karma was looking at him with her eyes. He knew that the look wasn’t exactly a normal look and was meant in some other way, but a way he didn’t really understand or was that familiar with.

During the next few hours Karma kept trying to seduce Kobe, and Kobe kept running around the room avoiding her as much as possible. Karma was actually enjoying this new game of cat and mouse. Her AI-Emo Ware programming had never had so much fun before. She knew she had chosen the right lap boy for her.

As Kobe vomited into the pail he had at the side of his bed, he laid back and recalled the first pay check he got, and how upset he was with it.

It was Kobe’s first pay day, and as required all the staff lined up in the ball room for inspection. Mr. Hansley went down the line and asked for each staff to present their pass key. As they did he ran it through a handheld reader which showed on the screen their pay for that period including all the deductions and taxes. He then required their thumb print for an approval.

When it came for Kobe’s turn, he questioned the numbers.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. Hansely, but I thought there would be more.”

“More? What do you mean” retorted the short American.

“When I signed the contract back in Kenya, they said I would make a certain amount. And this looks less?”

“Oh, I see. This is per your contract terms, but clearly you didn’t read the terms. If you had you would have noticed the taxes the Martian Government takes out of your pay” explained a condescending Mr. Hansely.

“But why are the taxes at 75 percent” Kobe asked.

“Oh, come now. How do you think the Government pays for everything? With the good-will from the kind people of Earth” joked Mr. Hansely as he pressed Kobe’s thumb for approval of his pay.

It was explained to Kobe that his pay would be kept on account with the Hotel and that he could buy stuff from the hotel gift shop or staff meal areas. Kobe felt the taxes were very high, and left him with barely enough to feed himself. He mentioned it to some of his fellow workers, but they all said to him “We are alddadicks. What are you going to do? Nothing.”

As Kobe laid in his bed, shivering, wishing he had seen a doctor to get the vaccine, but unable to do so because he was denied such services because of his status as an illegal, he recalled the day the A-4 Androids were Emancipated and the fact Mr. Parker, who was an Assembly Representative, participated in the process that made him a tax slave.

Kobe happen to be in Mr. Parker’s office with Karma when a major political news broke. Watching on the wall monitor, all three watched as the report came in concerning the fate of the Female Android Emancipation and Freedoms Act. 

“Today, the President of the Conglomerate Assembly signed into law the Female Android Emancipation and Freedoms Act” it was announced.

Turning off the monitor, Karma with absolute joy hugged Mr. Parker.

“Honey-Buns, you did it. I am so proud of you” she exclaimed.

“Well, Pussy-cat, I did it all for you.”

Confused, Kobe begged their pardon and asked what the act was about. Mr. Parker explained to Kobe that it gave female androids like Karma the same rights as citizens on Mars. She was now free to vote in elections, have children if she wanted to, and pretty much do as she pleased like any other Martian citizen.

“Can I vote in the Martian elections” Kobe asked.

“You? Most certainly not” Mr. Parker responded with firmness.

Karma added in a very condescending way, “My dahlin, you are just an alddadick”.

Kobe understood. He understood his place in Martian society and stood there quietly.

As he laid there in his bed, he finally recalled how he got sick in the first place. How he was promised riches in pay only to realize that he earned deces that were kept on account with the casino that he could use to purchase items at the gift shop, or food at the employee meal area only. Worse was his wages were heavily taxed by the Martian government so what was kept on account was meager at best.

One day during the dusty season, Kobe got up not feeling to well. He called Mr. Hansley on the monitor asking if he could see the doctor.

“A doctor? Oh, no we cannot have that. You don’t have any Martian HealthCare.”

Kobe coughing a bit, “But I think I really should see a doctor, sir.”

“No, we cannot really have that. Just go downstairs to the gift shop and use some of your deces you have on account and by something for that cough. Yup, that will do the trick” and with that the screen went blank.

Kobe did as he said, but the medicine didn’t seem to work. One of the housekeepers said to him that it sounded like he had caught the Martian Flu, and that it was nice knowing him. Kobe was puzzled by his comments.

In time the Martian Influenza that Kobe had caught got worse and lying on his bed, his breath became shallow and slower. He closed his eyes and could feel his heart beat in his ears getting slower. Eventually he heard it no more. He saw his room but knew his eyes were shut. A bright point of light was to his right. He turned his gaze to it. It was an angel. Like those angels he had seen on the infopads in the Catholic School growing up with a glowing light behind them and wings. But this one was not dressed in a flowing robe like the photos. It was also a she. She was dressed in some sort of armor, which looked like the plastic armor of the military back in Kenya. At her side was a blue flamed sword, which did not burn her. She beckoned at him with her out stretched arm and hand. Kobe was confused. 

“Am I dead” he thought. 

Then the angel spoke, “Come, it is time. There is a place awaiting you.” 

Her words felt comforting, and this place he felt he longed for in his heart.

“I don’t understand, why me? I chose poorly” Kobe asked.

“All will be revealed once you arrive. Not before” the angel said to him.

“Will the others be there” Kobe asked as he took the angel’s hand. 

“Your mother is there, but the decision for your father and the others you have met has not been made yet.”

Word Definition- alddadick is a future Arabic slang word derived from alddarayib meaning tax money. It holds a social negative connotation just as much as the word “nigger” does in the American culture does.

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