The Peddlers Of Smut, Fragment 2

We got wind of the Attila’s decommissioning as soon as we jumped into orbit around Pandora. The news came over the official Service dispatch and contained little additional information apart from the Attila’s current location.

“Cocksuckers, they went and did it. They finally did it,” said the Old Man as we crowded around his desk, morning updates in hand, “Shenkov, wrap this transmission up as quickly as you can. Let’s get the fuck out of here and go pay our respects…the whole service has gone to utter shit.”

space-smut_2He wasn’t voicing anything new. We all knew we were riding a fast dying wave. Soon enough the word ‘journalism’ would only be found in history books. That is if they still printed books in ten years.

After the invention of bio-chips two decades ago and the subsequent introduction of Encyclopaedia Updates, the Federate News Service was cutting and cutting. Size, depth, literary flair, staff and now whole Translator Ships, it was all swiftly fading into the annals. Why would you want to read anything when you can upload the latest Encyc Up directly to your wetware and simply know everything that happened anywhere in the Galaxy the day before?

Our job now consisted of fact-slinging, glorified PR and smut-peddling. We received fact sheets – endless logs from police stations, stadiums, hospitals, mortuaries, commercial companies, vid-stations and anyone with enough cash to beam info up – from every system we jumped into, plugged them into our existing updates and broadcasted that to every planet within our reach. In a day, we would jump to at least ten systems, effectively covering a seventh of Federated space.

Most of this process was automated and the stories, that it was my task as Information Manager to compile, were nothing more than advertorials for this product or that event, beefed up by whatever graphic videos I could find and generous servings of tits. In fact, most of my time was taken up by sorting through pairs of breasts and attaching them at random to various articles. Human psychology might have evolved – or was it degenerated? – past such things as ‘storytelling’ and ‘penmanship’ but it still found a fresh set of mammaries just as interesting as the previous thousand.

Once in a rare while, a Vanity Special would come along. These were a dying breed, pieces that required actual writing, printed on holo-paper for those few elitists that still read. But even they were a far cry from the articles of the Old Earth, being usually sponsored by some industry tycoon who always wanted to see his own mug, softened by a heart-wrenching account of his company’s battle against AI-AIDS, in the press. In my first weeks on the Ship, I used to get terribly distraught when my exquisite copy – remember, I was still young – would be chopped, deformed and spat out as slabs of words, containing not a single adjective or adverb. After my third Vanity Special, though, I too embraced the death of prose.

In the half an hour that it took us to compile the Pandoran transmission, the Old Man did not take a single drink. He just sat there, staring blankly into nothing, looking more haggard than ever. The Attila was our sister ship and the Old Man’s first posting. Perhaps, this was his way of grieving.

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One comment

  1. Really getting into this, Max. Keep ’em coming.

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