Challenge #03081-H173: Assisted Retirement

She was middle aged, approaching her 50's, her lower back hurt so bad she could barely move. Working in those damn factories for so long, ever since she was orphaned when the last big fire that swept through the city killed hers and so many others' families, had broken her. Then they came. It was late in the night, she'd gathered a huge amount of old, scrap, cloth stolen out of dumpsters and did her best to make it comfortable for her to lay. When she awoke, she was being carried silently on a liter between two strong.... what were they? They certainly didn't appear human, though the live-suits made it hard to tell. She saw others, like her, broken, in pain, barely moving, also being carried in a stream heading to a large, dark, ship. She opened her eyes and asked, in a fearful tone, "Are they getting rid of me?" The ones carrying her said in but a whisper, lest the patrols hear, "We're here to save you." -- Anon Guest

A body in motion must stay in motion. Time to lean? Time to clean. Keep the workflow up, meet quota, match goals... or enter forced retirement. Glyss had once worked a lever in the Forced Retirement department - back before the Executives decided it was bad for bottom line, and automated the entire process. Nevertheless, rumour continued as to what Forced Retirement was.

They had ways of wringing every last speck of value out of their workforce. Organs, marrow, blood and bone... it didn't matter. As long as the expense of your upkeep was justified, the Executives wouldn't decide to liquidate the entire facility. She'd seen one, once. That was one too many.

Glyss worked until she creaked. Worked until it hurt. Both of those were happening earlier and earlier now that she had hit the age of impending redundancy. She was almost fifty. Some workers were lucky to keep going until they were sixty. Whispers held that one had been maintained until sixty five. Glyss knew it was the friend-of-a-friend thing that maintained other nonsenses. Rubbish like certain stims making a person believe they were an orange, and feared being squeezed[1]. They were told, talked about, but never seen.

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