Houston, Texas 2122
Executives at the main mail terminal watched The Milky Way Mail Express quickly disappear into the heavens.
“So, this is your first time eh?” Captain Scott “Scottie” Jorgenson asked his new co-pilot.
“It is! I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally get off the ground. I hated my earth route in Atlanta, Georgia.” 1st Class Delivery Mate, Morris Mayweather, replied.
“This solar system route takes a year to complete. Then you start all over again,” Scottie warned.
“I knew what I signed up for sir…”
“Don’t call me sir! My name is Scott. If you want, you can call me “Scottie.”
“Okay. What’s it like on Mars, our first stop?”
“Let’s put it this way, you won’t be exposed to the Martian landscape or atmosphere. We land in a company airport with a simulated earth environment. Martian Milky Way Mail Express Terminal employees will offload our cargo as we have a spicy Martian rum at the airport bar.”
“Damn!” Morris exclaimed, “it doesn’t get any better than this!”
“Remember that when we get to Neptune,” Scottie said.
“What do you mean by that?” a suddenly worried Morris asked.
“Nothing… don’t worry about it. Every planet is different is all I meant.”
“Wow! I wonder what’s going on outside?” Morris asked.
The two men were in the terminal lounge waiting for the Venusians to off-load the cargo. Neither were drinking. There wasn’t a bar at this stop. Looking out through the see-through dome they watched as thousands of Venusians were protesting something.
They angrily waved signs with images of the Milky Way Mail Express Logo on them.
“What’s going on?” Morris asked.
“Union busting. They’re former workers in this terminal who dared to organize for a more livable wages.”
“It’s not polite to stare, didn’t your mother teach you better growing up?” Scottie scowled.
Morris blushed with embarrassment and tried not to look at the Saturnian workers. They resembled giant purple snails with arms and a long head. Watching them slowly slither over to a row of forklifts gave him the creeps.
“What’s the matter, didn’t you read all of the manual? It has photos of every alien species that you’ll meet.”
“Yea…I saw them. It’s just that seeing them in person is a lot different than seeing a photo of them.”
“Fair enough. While I’m confirming contents of loads, would you go activate a couple of cleaner bots to get that slime off our cargo hold ramps when their done?”
“It’s amazing watching them work! Those eight arms are so powerful they’re not even using fork lifts to off-load the cargo,” Morris marveled.
“Another thing about Mercurians is how orderly they are,” Scottie pointed out, “I’ve never had a problem with paperwork or returned cargo with them. They’re punctual, and pleasant to talk with. Let’s go over to that bar and listen to them tell stories. They’re great story-tellers.”
As soon as they landed and exited the ship, Scottie and Morris were instantly surrounded by black-shelled security guards waving weapons.
“Don’t panic,” Scottie warned Morris, “this is routine on this planet. Just hand them your papers and company identification badge.”
The language translators on their wrists allowed them to understand their questions. After ten minutes, they escorted them to the dock area where they could watch the cargo come out and check it off against their manifests.
There was no lounge area.
“Why aren’t Milky Way Mail Express employees off-loading our cargo?” Morris wondered.
“Because the company employees all have slaves who do their manual labor. Just like the company manual reminds us, this is a slave planet. The only way Uranusians can get manual labor done is to buy slaves on the intergalactic slave exchange.”
“They kinda remind me of kangaroos with those tiny arms and that long tail.”
“Keep it down. They also have excellent hearing and I hear they don’t appreciate being compared to an earth animal.”
“Wait a minute! There’s nothing in the manual that says we have to carry weapons!” Morris whined when Scottie handed him a Laser gun.
“This is the part where we use common sense Morris. Don’t worry, the company wants us to stay alive. It’s hell trying to get good help these days. Here’s a belt and holster. Put it on.”
As the ship slowed down and came in for a landing they could see flashes of colored lights streaking across the Milky Way Express Terminal docks. It was the same thing every time.
The cargo they brought was food. The giant plastic crates containing the precious cargo were worth dying for. Only the wealthy could afford to pay the prices Milky Way Express charged.
The poor tried to live on the leftovers in the trash heaps of the rich, and by killing small wild mammals. Whenever there was a shipment the poor gathered their laser guns and attacked, hoping to steal some of precious cargo.
As the giant bay doors opened to allow the ship to enter the terminal hundreds of desperate men and women swarmed into the temporary opening. The Neptunian military was waiting and opened fire.
When the ship was still the bay doors opened. Scott and Morris saw a cluster of soldiers nearby and went up to them.
“Can you tell me where to find the loading supervisor? We just arrived.”
A laser beam hit one of the guards and he crumbled! The rest scattered and Scott and Morris followed one of them to an area where hundreds of troops were assembled for a big push against the attackers.
As they watched, the formation slowly moved forward, like a Roman legion, and drove the attackers back through the open bay door. The slaughter was sickening, as the ill nourished, and ill-equipped Neptunians were mowed down like rows of wheat before a threshing machine.
Afterwards, a Milky Way Mail Express loading supervisor organized his employees and they off-loaded the rest of the cargo on the ship. Paperwork was signed and they left for home.
When they got back to earth Morris told Scottie he was going back to his old route on earth. He couldn’t hack it.
That night, over a bottle of tequila, Scottie and the owner of Milky Way Express Inc. bemoaned the fact that it was almost impossible to find good help anymore.
As It Stands, corporate evil is a theme that has many paths.