Home
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Home in the valley
Home in the city
Home isn't pretty
Ain't no Home for me

Home in the darkness
Home on the highway
Home isn't my way
Home I'll never be

Home is a secret, high-security detention and re-education facility operated by Haldeman and located on Gehenna in the Leguin system. Haldeman leases a portion of that planet from the government on Eden in exchange for assistance in quarantining the system from the remainder of the cluster.

Gehenna itself is a hyper-humid sweltering hell-hole. Human beings left unprotected on the surface of Gehenna rapidly succumb to heat exhaustion, then heat stroke and inevitable death. There is simply no way for the body to cool itself via perspiration. Even those lucky enough to be outfitted with SCE (Self Contained Environment) suits must contend with the indigent wildlife, which as one might imagine is nasty and tough as nails. All sane inhabitants remain inside one of the underground mining facilities where life is crowded, rough and unpleasant - but likely to last a bit longer. The first lesson taught to new inmates is just how unpleasant are conditions outside Home.

Home is not a run-of-the-mill prison. The objective of the facility is not to incarcerate but to break prisoners and make them into docile instruments of the State. The physical structure itself is an unthinkably huge domed enclosure, terraformed to resemble the pastoral countryside of the storied Home Planets from millennia past. The inmates reside in an ancient-style town known as Resignation, which lies near to a combustite mine. The town motto is "There's No Place Like Home!", and it is used often as a both a cheerful greeting/farewell and stern admonishment depending on circumstances. At the center of town is the generator facility, known as Mother. Mother powers the life support systems that sustain Home, and the inmates must work long exhausting hours each day in the mine to ensure that enough combustite is available to fuel Mother. When Mother is well-supplied, life in Resignation becomes a bit easier - various amenities become available and there are opportunities for recreation or creative pursuits. If production should lag and Mother should run lean, then underpowered systems begin to malfunction and the living conditions begin to deteriorate. Should production stop, Home would collapse upon itself. Once Mother starts to lag, she requires even more fuel that usual to get back to nominal operation. The second lesson learned by inmates is not to let Mother lag.

There are no guards or administrators in Resignation, though it is suspected that a control facility exists somewhere underneath Home. The inmates are expected to police themselves and to model their behavior according to what is best for Mother and Home. The director, known only as Father, selects his Favorite from the prisoner population and passes edicts through this proxy. Hard work in the service of Mother is held in the highest regard by Father and those Children who earn his approval are granted special rewards - maybe a brightly-colored hat, or some pretty shoes, or even a pet if the effort was sufficiently exceptional. Any displays of sloth or ineptitude result in the loss of these rewards. Outright rebellious behavior brings the Bugs, hordes of tiny arthropod-like robots that swarm from ubiquitous hidden apertures to cover and immobilize their victims with their interlocking mechanical appendages. Overseers cart such unfortunates away, and they return days or weeks later frighteningly agreeable and hard-working. The third lesson is usually learned by observation: avoid the Bugs at all costs.

It takes only a short time for inmates to become accustomed to Home life. Some even seem to like it, and all react strongly to any attempt to upset it. Sometimes a Favorite is granted release, and it is rumored that Father and the Fathers before him were once Favorites.

I can't see no reason to put up a fight
I've seen suns that were freezing and lives that were through

Aspects:

  • "There's No Place Like Home!"
  • Omnipresent surveillance
  • What is real, and what is manufactured?
  • Ubiquitous clocks
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