> Seth Underwood Stories: Internee 4761627269656c2048656e736f6e Tab A (est. read time- 17 min.)

Internee 4761627269656c2048656e736f6e Tab A (est. read time- 17 min.)


The Jovian system was the first of the outer planets to get a colony. The colony was not a commercial endeavor but a very large scientific research station in a Lagrangian orbit point behind Europa, hoping to find life on the moon. It was one colony to actually gain its independence from the inner system, even before Mars. The colony was always small in population and had a governance based on complete social participation through voting by consensus conferences.

It would be through these consensus conferences that they would elect a council to help with day to day administrative needs and act as a political interface to the inner system.

No one from the colony has ever left the colony to venture forth to the inner system. Many have also known it for some years that the colony has used its vast scientific resources to practice genetic engineering on its populace, producing a supposedly “highly intelligent” race of humans. It is because of this reputation of scientific advancement, that the colony quickly became the leading group of criminal rehabilitation in the planetary system. Now the main economic import and export for the colony is the rehabilitation of criminals from the inner system.

Part of the main selling point of this criminal rehabilitation is the colony’s own use of imprisonment of its own youth around the age of 18 for about a year to gain the appreciation of the right to vote by denying them those rights even though by their own law they have that right. At the end of the year of imprisonment, each internee signs a pledge showing their social commitment to voting.

Bessie Warner, a member of the Europan Scientific Community’s Prison Evaluation Team, stood in front of the main door to interview room four. She was a typical Jovian native, tall and slender and well dressed. They reserved room four for the most potentially violent and disturbed internees, and she was about to conduct a release interview with the most infamous but least known internee of them all in the history of the orbital station. As she waited for the deadbolts to the door to be released, she nervously tapped the backside of her infopad. The deadbolts clanked opened. A guard near the door opened it for Bessie as she walked into the stark white room where a small table and chair awaited her. Sitting in a chair across from her, separated by a thick wall of industrial clear plastic, in a banana yellow jumper was a balding tall thin man of about 50 years of age with a grey stubble beard and his wrists bound behind the chair he was sitting in. Bessie pulled up a seat at the table as she adjusted her skirt before doing so, which prompted the aged internee to raise his eyebrows leeringly.

“Do you know why I am here?” Bessie asked.

“What? Can you speak up?”

Bessie looked back towards the door, “The speaker system works correctly, right?”

“It is, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention to my needs,” the internee responded.

Facing the internee again, “What? Look, I want no funny business now. I have a job to do here, and I think we both want the same thing.”

“And what would that be?”

“Wouldn’t that be your release,” Bessie said. “Don’t you want to leave the program?”

“Who ever said I wanted to leave?”

“So you don’t want to leave” Bessie asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“Why would I want to leave? I get to wear great free clothing, eat all the canned rice pudding I love, and drink filtered piss water. I have a set routine, and it predetermines my life for me.”

“Are you saying you would rather stay in prison than be part of society?”

“No, it is just the society is not offering me a reason to leave. Although if they keep sending me young things like you, I might consider it more.”

“What? Okay, look, can we stay focused here? You have had many times to sign the pledge, but have refused since you were 19 when you entered the program.”

“Yes, that is true. And my response to that is showers.”

“Showers? What do you mean? I don’t understand” Bessie said with a really puzzled look on her face.

“You. You and showers. That is where you do it, isn’t it? In the shower.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know. You and your boyfriend do it in the shower. Or is it a girlfriend? You know, I think it’s both.”

“Okay, can we stay focused here? My sex life is not part of this interview.”

“Aww. But I have so little fun these days since I am no longer part of the younger prison community. They keep me isolated from them, so I don’t see all the new younglings.”

Tapping the infopad and looking as sternly as Bessie could muster, “Look, I need to get through this interview with you. We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

“Okay, I will play nicely then. I guess.”

“Fine. Now you know you cannot leave the program until you sign the pledge, but you have always refused. Why?”

“Why should I sign it? The entire program is a farce. We design the program to justify to the inner system governments the success rates of its prison rehab.”

“So you will not sign because you feel that the program is a lie.”

“That is your words. The program twists the meaning of civic duty into something upside down and inside out. They never meant voting to be about prison life.”

“But we found our society on collective voting. We collectively vote as a society on various issues and elect a council to handle other functions. Voting is primary to our way of life.”

“That may be, but why then subject the youth to a prison culture for it?”

“You know that the program has been very successful in establishing a cherished appreciation for voting through denying the youth privileges typically associated with society. I went through it; we all go through it. It is a rite of passage in our culture.”

“They also keep the gravity generators at a lower setting for us Europans, so we can never leave.”

“What? They don’t do that. We have just been genetically enhanced, everyone knows that.”

“Believe whatever you want. I am still sticking to my shower theory concerning your sex life.”

“Again my sex life is not part of this interview, and neither are any odd ball theories concerning the gravity generators. Let us stay focused here. What is the real reason you don’t want to sign the pledge and leave the program?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“Yes, I really want to know.”

Leaning forward as much as he could in the chair and in a somewhat hushed voice, “You all are my experiment.”

“What? That doesn’t even make sense” Bessie said, pulling herself back in her chair.

“There I answered your question. I will not say any more.”

“I don’t understand. Why would an 18 to 19-year-old want to conduct an experiment? You have no academic standing in the community?”

“Exactly what you said. The Europan Scientific Community is just that, a group of scientific geeks and nerds. We are so geeky that we have practiced genetic engineering on our children for two generations now to make super geeky children having super geeky children. What genetically enhanced super geek kid wouldn’t want to do his own social experiment?”

“Are you saying you have been refusing to sign the pledge for the last 31 years because of an experiment you are running?”

“You have said it.”

“What do you hope to gain from this? No one in the community recognizes you academically.”

“Really? Why are you here?”

“To conduct your release interview.”

“Really, are you so certain? When I was first here, they sent you people every month for the first year. Then it became every year for a time. After a while, about once every five years. You are the first person I have seen in ten years.”

“What are you saying?”

“I am a study point. An anomaly in their data set. Something to be figured out and studied.”

“Okay what you are saying really makes no sense.”


“Okay this is really going nowhere. Let us refocus here a bit,” she said, running her right hand through her short straight black hair and looking at him again, “Now you say you are running an experiment on us. What is the point of the experiment?”

“Let me ask you this. What is the point of making a populace of women have B cups?”

“What? Again what does that have to do with anything” she said putting her right hand against her temple as she leaned on the table.

“I mean you are what, a B cup, right? Like all the Jovian women. Most Terran women are a C cup, and those A-4 Androids are made with double D as standard for the belter miners to whore around with all night long. But we got genetically making all our women have B cups. Why? Come on, we are a bunch of nerds floating in a space station, why not have a bunch of double D cup women?”

“What does bra size have to do with your experiment” she said, tapping the table a bit and not looking directly at him.

“That is my point. Let’s take your genetics, for example. I bet you have small cute areolas like all the Jovian women. This is because we don’t really breast feed our young, so we don’t need large areolas with sebaceous glands producing lubricants for wide-mouthed children breast feeding all the time. So why program for it?”

“Okay. But that still doesn’t explain why you are running an experiment or its purpose,” she said, holding her head with her right hand, and again leaning on the table.

“I bet you are lactose intolerant. In fact, you are so lactose intolerant that it gives you the runs. No, wait. You are not one of those ‘check types’ are you? I mean, what parent would let their child have such a horrid condition, unless they were running a ‘check type’.”

Bessie let her right hand drop to the table, lifted her head up and then squarely looked at him. She thought to herself, “How could he have known I was severely lactose intolerant? He has no access to computer systems. But he was right, I am a ‘check type’ child. A child whose parents let the system randomly choose some of the parameters of the genome to add variety to the populace. Something I have had to live with all my childhood and adult life. But how could he have known this?” She looked at him more intently with an inquisitive look of ‘how did you know that’ and puzzlement.

“I am right aren’t I” he said leaning back with a smug look.

Bessie tapped her infopad and flicked through various data screens until she got to some of his mental acuity scores when he was a youth. His scores exceeded his genome programming. He was the anomaly. He had scores that should not be according to all known scientific information, yet his mental acuity scores were the highest ever recorded for the station. In fact, they were so high that the scale had to be altered just to fit them. By all rights he should run the station with these scores, but he was sitting in prison because he wouldn’t sign the pledge. None of this made any sense to Bessie.

Turning the infopad screen off, Bessie looked up at him and asked, “Why will you not sign the pledge again?”

“I have told you why. I am running an experiment.”

“Yes, you have said that. But that is not the real answer, is it?”

“You think so?”

“No, I don’t.”

“So what do you think is the actual answer” he asked, leaning back in his chair, his hands still tied behind him.

“I am uncertain, but I don’t think it is an experiment. Your genome says you will live until at least 120 years. But you have already proven that you have exceeded aspects of your genome before. Do you think you can really out live us all?”

“You have said it.”

Leaning forward and with both arms on the table, Bessie motioned them pleadingly to the internee, “You are the smartest guy on the station, just sign the damn pledge and lead us.”

With that he turned his head towards his door behind him and yelled, “Guard, I am done here. Please take me back to my cell.”

Bessie sitting up in her chair and crossing her slender arms before her, “Gabriel Henson, they will not return you to your cell until I say so.”

Looking at Bessie, “So that is your game is it” he said.


“You know; I will never sign.”

Bessie stood up, pushing her chair back a bit, “Not even for some of this” she said as she unbuttoned her blouse.


Slamming her hands to the table in front of her with the upper part of her blouse undone, “Damn it, there are tons of women on this station that would kill to have a man with your genetics.”

“My genetics. That is laughable. They have taken so much blood from me that nearly two-thirds of the station by now is no doubt related to me. In fact, you have more of my genes in you than your parents. Why do you think you are lactose intolerant?”

“What do you mean?” she said, still standing in front of the table with her blouse top half open.

“Lactose intolerance is a recessive trait in my personal genome. But every time they run a ‘check type’ to add variety to the gene pool, it becomes a dominate trait. My personal genome is the only genome with lactose intolerance on the station. My parents had it removed from the genome years ago with my other brothers and sisters. I am the only source left.”

Sitting back down, Bessie asked, “So what are you saying?”

“What I am saying is they don’t need my genetics. You already have it. It is already in all of you. You don’t need me to be your leader. Each one of you can be your own leader.”

Bessie just looked at Gabriel with a puzzled look, and then asked, “But why haven’t you signed the pledge? Why stay as a criminal against your own people?”

“Am I? What crime have I committed that warrants disenfranchisement in political life?”

“But it is the law. You turn 18, your voting rights gained at 18 are automatically suspended through a sentence of imprisonment until you sign the pledge.”

“So because of a fact of chronology, your voting in political life is suspended. Is that really a political crime warranting disenfranchisement?”

“Well, not when you put it that way.”


“But this program has been a keystone to the economic welfare of the station.”

“Oh, now you want to talk about marketing.”


“The program is nothing more than a marketing ploy to justify what they do in the prison rehab system.”

“No, it is not. It is sound scientific research for the last 50 years built up on earlier research on felony disenfranchisement showing that appreciation in voting can reduce recidivism in crime.”

“Have you ever read those earlier works?”

“Well, not really. You don’t have to; we consider them foundational works.”

“You should one day. You may learn something about history. Not all science in the past was sound science. Nor is science today sound either. They can conduct research for political purposes, agendas, or just plain economic advantage.”

“What are you saying?”

“What I am saying, my little lady, need to button up your blouse?”


“You know they are watching and recording all of this. So it would be best to button up your blouse.”

“Oh.” Bessie said, realizing that the top part of her blouse was still unbuttoned.

“You should look into some breast enlargement. You would fit in that blouse better than.”

“Okay can we stay focused here,” she said as she placed her right hand to her right temple. “Now you were saying something about the earlier research being flawed? Can you elaborate more on that?”

“Oh, now we are being all professional like now that I reminded you about the recordings. What happen to the personal Bessie? It is Bessie, isn’t it?”

“Hold on, how did you know my name?” she asked him with a stern look.

“Oh, one guard told me before they put me in here.” Gabriel said with a coy smile.

Bessie, angry with his coy look, turned on the screen to the infopad and flicked through some screens. “Tell me, are you saying that research by S. Blake, S. Wheeler, and C. Randall are bunch of fake nonsense?”

“You said it.”

“But these three are giants in early internee rehabilitation. They were all pioneers in studies that lead to how modern methods are being used here on Europa Station.”

“That may be, but they paid their research in full by political interests of their time. It taints their research. Their conclusions are flawed.”

“If that is so everything going forward would be flawed.”

“Not necessarily.”

“What do you mean?”

“Knowledge doesn’t build on itself.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Most of their work focused on felony disenfranchisement. During their time felony disenfranchisement was a hot political topic in many of the early nation-states then. It was a boiling political issue in the Americas before the big melt. I said it that one historical presidential election outcome could have been changed if felony disenfranchisement laws were different in just one state, and maybe the big melt could have been avoided. So the historical theory goes. But I digress. There is much earlier work then theirs that is free of political corruption which when compared to actual data from that time period shows that felony disenfranchisement leads to increased recidivism, not a reduction. Think about it. What crime really deserves to be disenfranchised? Wouldn’t that crime be treason? An act of treason is a crime against the very meaning of what it means to be a political supporter of the nation as a citizen. And yet way lesser crimes back then and even today are still being used for disenfranchisement excuses. All to ensure some sense of bully politics. Like a group of kindergarten political bullies.”

“But this makes no sense. If criminals get the ability to vote, they can taint the outcome of things. They could skew the results in favor of possible criminal results.”

“That is assuming a criminal is automatically of one persuasion and unchanging. Then why release them in the first place?”

“But they have to complete a sentence, otherwise justice wouldn’t be served.”

“Sounds like you have a logic trap. On the one hand, you have a criminal who must always be criminal no matter what, and a criminal who can change their ways by completing their sentence. Which is it?”

Bessie put her hands to her head and shook her head back and forth saying, “Okay, stop this. You are just messing with me.”

“Can I go now?”

Bessie putting her hands down on the table, and her hair a bit disheveled, she looked up at Gabriel and asked, “You will not sign the pledge, are you? And there is nothing I can do to change that?”


Collapsing her head to the table, her short black hair pulling forward, she waived with her right hand somewhat outstretched on the table, “Guards take him away. We are done here.”

Part B of the Story
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