explicitClick to confirm you are 18+

Freedom Dividend: UBI For All | Eden Project Shorts #Scifi

ME2007VigilMar 11, 2019, 1:19:58 AM

Inside the dank basement of a social housing complex, a naked man woke up to the foul stench of human excrement and body odour. Swirling colours and fractal patterns flashed before his eyes. It took him a while to realize he was looking at a cheap touch-screen display. It took him even longer to recall his own name: Jesse.

The ghost of the memory of his childhood self screamed for him to snap out of his self-inflicted stupor. He wanted to go outside and play kickball with his friends whose faces he couldn't recall. He wanted to run free in an open field, to feel the wind blow against his face. He missed the days when he used to play catch with his golden retriever, whose name was Martha and she could talk... Wait a minute. Could dogs talk? Or was that something he saw in a movie? Perhaps it was just a dream?

Was his name Jesse?

It sounded foreign to his ears.

No, Jesse was somebody else. Who was Jesse? He couldn't remember.

Why couldn't he remember his own name?

A cold tear rolled down his left temple and onto his left ear.

Then he felt it.

That gnawing hunger in his gut. The burning pain all over his body. His muscles cramped. He grimaced. His body started to convulse, and his thoughts turned black.


Inside the dank basement of a social housing complex, a naked man woke up to the foul stench of human excrement and body odour. Swirling colours and fractal patterns flashed before his eyes. It took him a while to realize he was looking at a cheap touch-screen display. It took him even longer to recall his own name: Jesse.

Before he could contemplate the truth of his own identity, the screen flickered and turned fluorescent-white. He squinted with a pained grimace. His entire body ached. Worse, he felt a terrible sadness. He wished he could die.

Words materialized on the white screen. He remembered being able to read once, though not very well, but right now, the words looked like incomprehensible chicken-scratch. Voices whispered to him. “Tap the smiley face. You know you waaaaanit.”

There was only thing that he could remember with certainty, and it wasn't strictly memory, more like instinct. If he tapped the bright and yellow smiley face hovering before him, his pain would go away, and he would enter nirvana.

He feebly lifted his bony arm and pressed his right index finger between the beady black eyes of the smiley face. A warm sensation passed over his body, like he was soaking up sunlight. A warm hug from his mother. Who was his mother, again? It didn't matter. In the end, all would be one with the Universe, united in the highest realm of existence, and all truths would be revealed at last. No more pain. No more suffering. Only bliss...


Miguel moved from bedside to bedside. He adjusted his white surgical mask, trying hard not to sneeze from the herbs tickling his nostrils. His love had prepared the herbs for him to use at work - to keep the foul stench of human misery at bay.

He used to be a nurse. He had devoted seven years of his life to train for that profession only to be replaced by an android not one year into his first job at the local hospital. Now he worked here. He had few words to describe his new workplace as he didn't like to think about it too much, but if he had to give this place a name, he would call it a chicken-coop for humans. He supposed that made him a farmer or sorts.

His job was to take care of his patients, and he preferred to think of them that way. After all, he had to keep them alive and relatively healthy. That meant keeping them clean, refilling the nutrient bags hooked to their G-tubes, rolling them over to prevent pressure ulcers from forming, and treating any pressure ulcers that did form.

While tending to his patients, he also had to take cost into consideration as his employer was a ruthless man who was very touchy about his money. Fortunately, commercial antibiotics were a dime a gallon, at least those earmarked for livestock, so Miguel didn't have to skimp out on treating infections. Nutritional supplements could also be acquired at a bargain if purchased in bulk, so keeping his patients fed wasn't an issue either. The biggest cost of maintaining this operation was Miguel himself and his coworkers. This was why the boss pushed so hard for Miguel to work harder and faster and to take on more and more patients. Miguel was getting paid by the hour, and if his metrics fell below a certain threshold, the boss would have him replaced by an android. At least that was what the boss kept threatening, but Miguel knew that wouldn't happen.

There was a reason the boss didn't hire androids in the first place. Androids were walking cameras that required a constant connection to the web that the feds could easily monitor, and this chicken-coop was a clandestine operation. Human workers, on the other hand, had families that could be threatened with death.

Miguel stopped by the bedside of one of his patients. The patient's description was white, male, aged – well, Miguel didn't know the exact age or name of this patient as these details didn't really matter – but the patient was roughly in his thirties. Miguel had a nickname for all his patients. He had named this particular patient Jesse Pinkman, after a TV show character to whom the patient bore a striking resemblance.

Jesse was struggling to touch the smiley face on the display screen, so Miguel helped. Jesse's right index finger made contact with the screen, thus providing the biometric authentication needed to process the payment. To whom was Jesse making a regular monthly payment? To Alderman Social Services, of course, ostensibly a company responsible for feeding, clothing and sheltering the chronically unemployed at a lower cost than the client would be able to achieve on his own.

In truth, ASS did provide the services advertised, but also so much more. In fact, ASS was a front set up by a powerful Mexican drug cartel for the purpose of dealing a highly potent hallucinogen to the disaffected and ever-growing American underclass. The hallucinogen had many street names, Nirvana being the most widely used.

Nirvana was a drug like no other. It could induce highly realistic hallucinations of paradise inside the user's mind. These hallucinations could be further enhanced by psychedelic visual-audio stimulation. Pornographic images could induce hallucinations of the wildest and most carnal sex Nirvana-users had ever imagined. Of course, like with all drugs, repeated use of Nirvana would completely fry the brain, reducing the user to a vegetable-like state requiring 24-7 intensive care just to keep them alive.

Miguel was a deeply religious man, and he knew that he would one day go to hell for taking up work with such a sordid and evil organization as ASS. Worse yet, he couldn't even confess his sins to his priest because doing so would result in him, his family, and his priest getting burned alive while trapped inside a ring of rubber tires.

But he needed the money. America's freedom dividend, basically a government handout to all citizens once every month, wasn't enough to live by. Having seen the fate of those who ended up living in the slums, i.e. getting hooked on Nirvana and ending up in a place like this, Miguel vowed to keep his wife and young daughter out of poverty. He needed the money to put his daughter through higher education so that she might one day become an engineer, practically the only class of people who still had proper jobs other than politicians and banksters, and these weren't proper jobs in Miguel's estimation.

He cast a sad glance at Jesse who was drooling as he smiled like a happy puppy. Miguel noticed a fishy smell hovering about Jesse that Miguel didn't like at all. Miguel turned Jesse over and saw that Jesse had developed a nasty ulcer on the butt that ran so deep that it reached bone. Furthermore, the ulcer had a foul gangrenous smell that completely overpowered the herbs inside Miguel's surgical mask.

Miguel turned away, retching. Jesse would not be long for this world. With intensive care, perhaps Jesse could be saved, and it certainly was within Miguel's job description to keep these patients alive as long as possible. After all, Jesse was a commodity whose worth was the value of the freedom dividend he got each month from the government. Perhaps Miguel could stave off Jesse's infection for another month or two with antibiotics, but proper medical treatment would cost more than what Jesse was worth.

Miguel sighed. He liked Jesse for no reason other than that Jesse reminded Miguel of a favourite TV show character. Oh well.

I've got tons of stories planned for my Eden Project shorts. So grab your favourite beverage and have a seat on your favourite chair. Enjoy!

This short is the second of a series of short stories that will illustrate the backstory of my main novel, Red Eden: Homeworld Bound, which you can read for FREE here on Minds. Just click the following link to be redirected to the table of content: 


If you want to support me financially, you can purchase a paperback or e-copy of my book on Amazon: 


For those who are tech-savvy, you can purchase one of my stories on CoinMall using cryptocurrency: 


You can also donate to me using BitCoin Cash:


Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Michael E. Vigil