It’s known as the “Third Generation Rule”: The degree of social discipline needed for a space habitat to survive indefinitely is beyond the capability of “normal” human societies. The human tendency to favor short-term expediency will, over time, make the habitat ecosystem more and more precarious.
In other words, people tend to put off to tomorrow, maintenance that needed to be done today. That most space habitat colonies are all doomed to disaster and failure. And the first ones did collapse and collapse brilliantly. Some of the first ones were setup in a more laissez-faire, home to free thinking individuals style. Let the robots maintain everything and we will live as God has intended. The last collapse was the one that lead to what we have today. Someone managed to sneak a nuke onto the colony. Thank Newton the colony was in Earth’s leading Trojan point and not one of the Lagrange points of the Earth-Luna system.
These days, we monitor behavior, modify behavior, and weed out those individuals that could cause problems for the habitat. That’s my job, I’m a psychoanalyst for the local behavior modification company, 3rd Gen Behaviors. We modify folks’ behaviors so that they help keep the colony intact and operating. All for one and one for all. We even monitor ourselves and modify as necessary. I’ve been modified so many times I’ve lost count.
We don’t remove behaviors, we change their focus. If you’re aggressive, we move your focus from harming others to trade or research. Everyone on Capstone Station has been through our doors…
Well, almost everyone. Capstone is a privately held corporation, owned by the Patel family. For the most part they are good people, but, they’ve never been modified. They are above the rules they set for everyone else.
So of course, we all know what would happen. The scion of the Patel family, Emil Patel, was caught destroying colony property, that is, he was burning a tree in one of the parks. And now, I have to convince his father, Roger Patel, CEO and Chairman of the board of the Captsone corporation, that his son needs modifying…
What issues will the narrator run into with Mr. Patel? Is it right for the colony to modify the behaviors of its residents to prevent the “3rd generation rule”? Will Emil even be punished and his personality modified? There’s more information on the Third Generation Rule at the Atomic Rockets site.
Written by John Reiher
Artwork by Don Davis, NASA ID Number AC75-1883