The town's dirt
Mission: Chapter 9: Steam City
Food prices were higher than ever, what with less supplies being unloaded from each eastwards train to the next. If you wanted to eat, you had to work, and these days the only work available was hard labour. You needed to be strong to pull off hard labour, so you needed to eat. For many, this vicious cycle became a downwards spiral. Smiles and laughter were memories almost forgotten.
Grubby, downtrodden workers stole glances at each other. There was little conversation beyond the occasional grunting. Most of the workers were men who had families to support, but every once in a while a softer face would appear on the streets dressed in the same dirty workers clothes as the men. It didn't matter to those who hired the workforce. A worker was a worker as long as they could deliver the work.
The people of Kanesville were going about their business. The militia randomly stopped people, harrassing them, at the very least annoying them. One man was dragged away into a wooden carriage with only a barred window for him to stare out of. A militia man had confiscated a stack of leaflets from the man. One fluttered to the ground as the militia group moved on.
"Arise, oh down-trodden workers of Kanesville! Throw off your chains and seize freedome from the capitalist overlords!
Meeting this weekend at Mother's. Don't be late."
Down an alley two factory workers were having a heated but hushed discussion.
"They can't get rid of all the workers!" one man said as quietly as he could. "Who'd keep the shops in business? Who'd spent the money they pay us?"
"What money, they barely pay us now," the other worker grumbled. "We could work harder, longer. We could go on for double shifts, and double production."
"And then what? There'd be just the metalheads and the bosses! The metalheads don't spend a lot. It would ruin the economy!"
"Economy?" The revolutionary man almost squeaked. "You're worried about economy, when our comrades are being butchered and dehumanised?"
"You and your big words," the second man hissed. "It's all about money, mate. They'll even pay me for lost earnings while I recover from the... procedure."
"Don't tell me you're going ahead with it!" gasped the revolutionary. "They've already taken your freedom, don't let them take away who you are, as well!"
"All your ideals, they don't mean shit to my starving family. I'm gonna take them up on that offer, and get the money and feed my family," the man said as he pulled up his collar. "You do what you like. You can starve for all I care, mate."
He pushed his old friend aside and headed in the direction of the medical centre. The queue for the surgeries was longer than ever, but it would be worth the wait. There'd be food on the table tonight.