Dreamed 1997/11/10 by Chris Wayan
I'm in an alternate society where hippie values didn't spread in the 1960s, but centuries earlier. Most people are vegetarian, the only leather is from animals that die naturally, corporations are severely restricted, wealth redistributed, etc. It's technologically uneven, wood and metal are rare, and in the dream I keep revising things as I find them inconsistent. Someone hands me an ordinary pen, and I think "A ballpoint? Where'd that high-tech alloy come from?" And so I reluctantly turn it into a quill, which I barely know how to use.
I guess I could have kept it, and called it an import. Big sailing ships export most of our trade goods, but other parts of the world are less politically pure, and more technologically advanced. No doubt they export ballpoint pens--and a lot else.
I get a phone call (I'm not sure about this modern phone system, but I let it be, too much hassle to revise it back to a 1920s-style one, details details, it'd still work after all) anyway, I get a call from a rich capitalist, a villain by my values. But he says he wants to finance a smaller faster ship to go round exploring specialty markets, especially high tech. We're backward and growing noncompetitive. Even our ships' sails can't be made of flax, or hemp, or cotton, because harvesting those fibers kill the plants that grow them! I think one of his innovations on the new ship was the sail-fabric--more efficient. Despite my disapproval of his greed and ruthlessness, I have to agree with his analysis. He says "can we agree to disagree about my business deals, even dislike each other personally, and still do business at a distance? Because I want you to captain that ship."
I think it over and finally agree. Deal with the devil? But I agree with his vision.
And I want to explore the rest of the world.
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