Local 623

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
494,
Page:
142
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/494142a
Published online

Protect yourself.

The following was found on the bulletin board of Local 623 of The Fraternal Order of Mad Science Assistants, Test Subjects and Abominations:

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

The Executive Leadership Council of your Local 623 has negotiated the following rights and privileges for all members:

JACEY

You are entitled to a fair wage. Gone are the days when three square meals a week and a cell in the dungeon were considered adequate compensation for the discomfort and social stigma of mutations and experimental surgery. You are entitled to at least minimum wage — minus tips (such as from a grotesquery) — room and board. Remember, any room you are locked into is not considered in this calculation, nor is raw meat if it is not fresh.

You are not required to take part in any experiment with a lower than 43% survival rate without adequate hazard pay. Although risking life and limb is part and parcel for a career in the Mad Sciences, you should expect to be rewarded for any higher-than-average risk. Do not allow your employer to convince you that the cut-off is 40%. That number was negotiated upwards last year, thanks to your hard-working Local 623.

If you are horribly disfigured by an experiment, you are entitled to compensation. Accidents, and absurdly unethical experiments, happen. When they do, you could pursue expensive, and unacceptably public, litigation, which we cannot in good conscience support, or you can choose one of the generous compensation packages your Local 623 has negotiated for you. You are entitled to either enhanced physical or cognitive abilities, experimental corrective surgery (up to and including a brain transplant) or a life mate as horribly disfigured as you are.

You are not required to participate in any time-travel experiment with a greater than 30% chance of a catastrophic paradox. This includes the standard grandfather, grandmother and great aunt paradoxes, as well as the less common chicken–egg and green wallaby paradoxes. You may still be required to kill Hitler or Stalin, although to the best of our knowledge, doing so has never resulted in a stable timeline.

You have a right to a workplace free from discrimination on the basis of race, species, current or former sex or orientation thereof, religion, politics, disfigurement, natural, unnatural, supernatural or subnatural origin, current or former deceased status, old age, regressed age, immortality, disability or super-ability. Life is difficult enough when you are a fiendish conglomeration of half-a-dozen human and animal corpses brought back to an unholy mockery of life. You should not also have to worry about being passed over for advancement or hazardous (but well-compensated) experimentation in favour of a more attractive colleague, or one with a better origin story, if you have an equal chance of success and/or survival. If you feel that you have been discriminated against on any basis, you are entitled to a hearing before the Mad Science Advisory Board Discrimination Subpanel.

You have the right to a workplace free from harassment. Although it is expected that your employer will want to play God with your body and sanity, that does not give him (or her) the right to demand sexual, sadistic or otherwise indecent favours, even if she (or he) offers remuneration, advancement, surgery or repairs, transformation, mutation or transplantation in return. He (or she) is likewise prohibited from performing any transformation, mutation, transplantation, programming or conditioning designed to induce said favours. If you feel that you have been harassed, you are entitled to a hearing before the Mad Science Advisory Board Sexual, Sadistic and Indecent Subpanel. Leather outfits are not provided for the hearing. Please bring your own.

If you are required to work more than 57 hours a week, you are entitled to overtime equal to twice your basic pay. Given the complexities of a live-in job, requiring long sessions on the operating table and tedious hours of testing, not to mention the effects of time dilation and compression, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how many hours you work each week, or even what constitutes work, or a week. For this reason, we offer a convenient online calculator into which you can enter your hours of work, surgery, captivity, testing and sleep, as well as the rate of time dilation and duration of any time travel, to determine if you are owed overtime.

You are not required to participate in any world domination and/or destruction plan unless it has been approved by the Mad Science Advisory Board World Domination and Destruction Subpanel. We at Local 623 realize that many of you will have qualms about letting your employer run the world, much less destroy it, or even make it uninhabitable for your non-mutant friends and relatives. Therefore, you have a right to conscientious objection and refusal to participate in such plans unless they have been approved by the subpanel as having no more than a 13% chance of success. In the unlikely event that such a plan does succeed ...

The rest of the poster was burned away. Carved into the corkboard below it was the following:

YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Donald S. Crankshaw has a PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has published stories in Black Gate and Daily Science Fiction. Read more at www.donaldscrankshaw.com.

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