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The Fuse
Author Leo
Participants N/A
IC Date: 21 November 2218
RL Date: 21 November 2005
Story Arc Brand New Sky
Location Giga City

It was a minor incident according to the authorities. A Reploid died from an industrial accident. These things happen all the time, they said. They should have kept working so that they didn’t fall behind their quotas. We have a business to run. We have production goals to meet before the end of the year. Think of our stockholders.

But it wasn’t a minor incident. The Reploid laborers felt as if they were taking all the risks and the human owners were making all the gains. The callous disregard for the fallen Reploid happened one too many times, and the spark struck the powder keg. No one should be disposable, the workers said. Reploids are not just intelligent mining equipment.

The government carefully avoided laying blame, speaking of the riots as one would speak of a natural disaster. Appleman authorized martial law, giving Replforce all available means to handle the situation. Sending in Reploids to deal with a Reploid civil disturbance is prudent, Appleman’s advisors claimed. Maybe seeing more of their own kind restoring order will encourage them to be peaceful.

Repliforce, needing a salient scapegoat, put the blame on the Irregulars. These Reploids have been used, Repliforce claimed. They were pawns in a sick game, used by the Irregulars to sow anarchy and chaos throughout the city. Clearly, if we rout the Irregulars, peace will return to Giga City -- and this strategic resource of ours will be secured.

The Irregulars went to ground to dodge the Repliforce crackdown, not ready for a standing war against an overpowering opponent. Most of them lacked the practiced expertise of the Mavericks in causing public unrest, but their passion rose to the challenge left by their skill. Humans should not profit at the expense of Reploid lives, their blogs and web pages shouted. Why should Reploids take all the risk and not share in a proportionate share of the profit? Why must they be treated as disposable assets by a government-backed monopoly? The only way to make them listen is to threaten their precious wealth.

The Mavericks, more patient and practiced in subversion, smiled in their lairs. They started the reaction that the Irregulars had carefully constructed out of the legitimate grievances of the miners, then stepped back to let Repliforce chase their personal scapegoat around. There is no reason to protect Epsilon’s soldiers, the Mavericks say to themselves. Breaking the humans who try to take the Force Metal from the Reploid people is more important than any given Reploid life. In the melee between the Repliforce and the Irregulars, they say, we will claim the city -- and when all of this is over, we will make a better world with this gift from the stars.

Repliforce’s crackdown has put a lid on the powder keg. The Irregulars have slipped away from view, but have not abandoned the cause of Giga City so soon. They wait patiently for their strength to rise enough to challenge the Repliforce -- and the Mavericks lie in wait for the war for the city to begin in earnest.

10. The Crystal Method - Murder – Tweekend