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On Planet Lamu representatives from Axum, Kusha, Rozvi, Gandor, Kano, Ife, Kumasi, Songhai and Eya comprising all the 10 Federation Planets including Kingu were now gathered.
The Lamu were a Matriarchal society, and so Inoza, the Ningal or “Big Woman” amongst the Lamu began the proceedings.
“We’re most honoured that the Kingu leadership has finally seen it fit to send its representatives to meet with the Citizens of the Outer Planets even though we’re not sure they are really prepared to hear what we have to say.”
There was an underlying menace in her tone accompanied by murmurs across the room, but Tindo shrugged it off and listened attentively.
“Our people have been suffering at the hands of the Juluka since the establishment of the Federation. As everyone here knows, our Planet was the last to join. We fought to the bitter end because the Ancestors could foresee the misery that awaited their children with the arrival of the Juluka”.
More murmurs, but Tindo did not flinch, edging in even closer as if transfixed.
“They are concerned about the reduced output on the Zig Ore Mines and increased Neural Feed errors, but is anyone here really surprised? What did they expect after countless Mbire Cycles of Brainwashing, Slavery, Hunger, Poverty, Squalor and Disease amongst the nations of the Outer Planet?”
Inoza continued sarcastically as muffled giggles and nods spread across the room.
“Most of the Ancestral territories were seized after the Juluka discovered Zig Ore in our system, and in vain they have tried to suppress The Meju Netcha Teachings of Old !!
This must end! Please bring out the families so our esteemed delegates can see and hear our suffering for themselves!!”, she continued, slipping into a tirade.
To both Tindo and Juju’s surprise, several families from the various Federation Planets were shuffled in. Juju and Tindo realised they’d stepped into an ambush.
It dawned on them that the Federation Nations were not there to ‘explain themselves’ to the Kingu Citadel as the Savants had arrogantly assumed. Instead they had come there to send their own message to the Kingu Leadership.
Juju and Tindo heard heartwrenching tales of how some Federation families would have to choose which child lived or died because they simply didn’t earn enough Federation Credits to support their families. In some instances, Citizens were still owed outstanding Wage Credits by the Central Government which were yet to be loaded onto their Neural implants.
They also heard how the regular Neural feed Updates conducted weekly at each Federation Planet’s Main Citadel Complex were reportedly causing insanity on a wide scale, especially amongst Children because their minds could no longer cope with the consistent reprogramming carried out through the Neural feeds via The Implants.
They were also reports that in order to prolong their own lives, the Savants were draining the Life Force out of Federation children while they were connected to the Citadel Mainframe during Neural Feed updates.
A lot of children were dying unexplained deaths as their bodies were found abandoned and discarded on Citadel Complex Grounds shortly after being disconnected from the Citadel Mainframe. In some cases, children had walked out of Citadel grounds weak and dazed only to die at home in the arms of their frantic, desperate mothers.
Forced Zig Mine labour quotas had also been introduced, and in addition families were forced to enlist at least one of their Children to work in the Zig Mines so they could earn enough Federation Credits to scrape through every Mbire Cycle. As a result, a significant number of children from the Federation Cities were not receiving the mandatory education at the Federation Academies.
The working conditions in the Mines were also deplorable, and debilitating injuries were widespread. Moreover, even when most Federation Citizens left the mines without being injured on duty, they suffered from long term health problems related to the poisons and strenuous physical labour they had performed on the Zig mines.
The promised Federation Social Security had not been delivered, so Federation Citizens had no protection if they suffered unemployment, disability or ill-health, and there was no Retirement safety net to talk about. The Federation Cities were also overcrowded and polluted by the waste from the Zig Mines, and the Federation invested little in the maintenance of the Federation Cities.
Crime was also now on the rise in most Federation States due to increasing unemployment and competition for scarce Federation Credits. As if this was not enough, curfews had now been imposed in most major Federation Cities, and the Citizens on the Outer Planets were subject to random periodic arrests, searches and raids from local Citadel Authority Forces.
They had no right to appear before a Federation Tribunal on arrest, and could be detained at will and indefinitely by the Central Government.
Juju and Tindo heard stories of Federation Citizens who had been detained for more than 10 Mbire Cycles without Trial before a Federation Tribunal and their whereabouts could not be accounted for by Citadel Authorities.
It was also clear that the Federation Nations simply could not sustain the lives of their Citizens on the 10% Wave Energy Quota allocated to them by the Juluka.
As the grim picture emerged, Tindo tried to stay composed as the startling revelations sunk in .
Somehow Juju had managed to keep a straight face.
In disbelief, Tindo briefly thought of asking the delegates for proof of all the allegations but felt it would only agitate the delegates even more, so he kept the thought to himself.
The Federation Families looked pitiful as they struggled to fit into their Gravity Suits which looked worn out and outdated. Visible signs of extensive crude home repairs were evident all over their gear, and it seemed like their Gravity Suits and Masks could suffer a breach at any moment, fatally exposing them to the radiation of Space.
After the last Federation Citizen gave her testimony, Inoza turned to address Juju and Tindo once again.
“Well I trust you’ve heard it all for yourselves and that you’ll report the truth to your Masters on Kingu. We have nothing further to add, and we are giving you our own ultimatum of to resolve these problems immediately otherwise we will not be held responsible when the people decide to take their destiny into their own hands”.
A few moments after Inoza sat down, Tindo stood up to address the delegates, his anxiety was veiled by a thin layer of false confidence as he tried to speak with a clear voice.
“Our mission here was to request an explanation from you as to why there had been a decrease in output on the Zig Mines and an increase in Neural Feed errors. However, even though its not what we came to discuss, we believe the issues you have brought to our attention are of the utmost importance and deserve attention from the Central Government.
At this point, we are not sure whether the Kingu Government is aware of all these concerns you have raised but I beg you for an opportunity to bring it to their attention. Its only then that we can say there has been a failure to act on the part of the Central Government”.
The delegates did not seem pleased with this response, and once again Inoza interceded on their behalf.
“We are not prepared to wait forever, but we will give you 7 days to present our grievances to the Central Government. In the event that you fail or they refuse to listen to our demands, we WILL take our destiny into our own hands!”
“Very well”, Tindo meekly conceded.
“Meeting adjourned”, I will escort you to your transport Inoza asserted, immediately ending the Conference.
Both Juju and Tindo were relieved. There would be no souvenirs collected on this trip Tindo thought as he walked briskly towards their waiting Ship.