Andre gazed at Foreman Rogers with a cool expression that masked contempt. The aging Foreman prattled on about cutting rations again once their starship reached the cold dead dwarf star their parents had departed Earth for. Thousands of Earth’s working poor flocked to the opportunity for them and their children to spend life in a modified colonial starship and mining the white dwarf’s cold diamond carcass, in exchange for the third generation to return home and enjoy the inherited wealth. The men who financed the operation and ran administration failed to mention that life for the diamond miners would be even more impoverished than they were accustomed. Foreman Rogers’s blathering finally ceased.
“How are we supposed to operate equipment and do a day’s work, when we are all under fed?” Andre asked.
“Who is going to continue working the hydroponic gardens when we reach the payload?” the fleshy sweating Forman asked, his expression practically a sneer. His father had always warned him that the working class on the ship would be unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary when the time came. His family and hundreds of others financed the operation. Families of those who operated the vessel and would perform the mining simply came along to hoard part of the investment.
“There are plenty of workers unfit for a long day in a space suit and not strong enough to lift mining equipment,” Andre said through gritted teeth. This had not been the first of the indignities, he and his peers received barely enough education to prepare them for advanced training in the trades, the foreman’s league had revised the end of operation pay out twice since his parents departed, and now they had the nerve to cut food rations. Andre and his peers weren’t exactly living off the fat of the land.
Foreman Roth entered with a stack of paperwork. He eyed Andre warily before he set the pile in front of Rogers. “I’m sorry to cut your meeting short…” Roth peered at the name tag, “Andre, but we’ve got something important to attend to.”
Andre stormed out, but ten paces down the hall realized he had forgotten the slate with his notes in Foreman Rogers’s office. As he approached the door, he could hear the laughter of the two overfed, underworked, paper pushers.
“Don’t give it a second thought Rogers; their new rations will sterilize the working class in weeks. There will be no third generation for our boys to split the payoff with!”
Andre clenched a fist and prepared to burst in. He wanted blood. Even as the murderous intent rose within him, he knew a brawl with these two foremen would not resolve the situation. Instead he raced back to his living quarters and prepared a message in the native tongue most miners knew, but the Anglo Foremen had never learned.
Within days, secret mass communications led to clandestine meetings, one week after learning the terrible secret Andre led the overthrow that changed their lives. Foreman Rogers had begged for larger rations as the last shuttles finished unloading supplies on the small jungle moon where he and his people would remain. Andre belted a full belly laugh. The rations would hold them for a year, better than the miners had ever eaten.
“Fend for yourself, deal-breaker.” Andre turned his gaze skyward to the very star diamond his people would grow rich by. It would hang there in the sky, a constant reminder to Foreman Rogers and his cohorts of their greed.