Group 42 Orientation – A Stellaris Inspired Short Story

“Alright!” Miano beckoned the motley group of new hires as they filed from the legal office. “Does everyone have their paperwork done?”

Someone raised a hand near the back, a small man whose brown hair flopped down into his eyes as he squinted. “Why did we have to update our will?”

Miano pasted her cheeriest tour-guide smile over her face. “There are many jobs to do here at Destiny Encorporated and Technologies Holdings. Some of them are dangerous, and because we care for each and every employee and their families, we insist that every detail be taken care of should the unthinkable happen to one of our people!”

“Yeah, and that’s another thing,” the man pressed on, “why is ‘Encorporated’ spelled wrong? It’s like that on all the forms too.”

“There’s actually a funny story about that!” Miano turned and ushered the group down a corridor to the last section of the orientation tour, her face taking on an apologetic expression. “Unfortunately, I am not good at telling it, so I’ll leave it to you to learn on-shift!”

They passed through a holding area stuffed with pigs. “These little guys supply our thyroid replacement extract and adrenaline concentrate,” she said, scrunching up her nose and picking up the pace to get through to a fresher area of the building. The new hires gaped at the scene: pigs lined up in little stalls or rooting around in small artificial pastures, while others laid sedated in another area with technicians buzzing around them, poking them with needles and tubes.

Making a sharp turn, they passed into a long corridor lined with large, thick doors. Two men in bright orange jumpsuits waited for them at an open hatch. One waved. “Hello, Miss Miano! What’ve you got there,” he called out in a warm voice.

Miano walked up to the pair, the others following behind in a loose cloud. “Hello Mort, This is group 42, new hires!”

“Fancy!” Mort pushed his thumbs through two loops on his jumpsuit. “Where’re they headed to after here?”

Miano looked at her clipboard. “Optical, then endocrine and nervous system.”

“Nervous system!” Mort exclaimed, “got some smarties here for sure!”

“It seems like it,” she replied.

“Well look here,” Mort continued, turning to face the group. “Some people have their doubts about this job, say it’s a dead-end, that the corporate machine will eat you alive.” Miano’s eyes widened, but he continued. “But I’ll tell ya right now, pretty much everybody who gets the job you all got sticks around till they get that retirement package!” He grinned at Miano, who huffed and turned away.

“That will be all for our tour, it’s been a pleasure to show you around today; now head on inside!” The group moved past her. The brown-haired man with the questions had ended up at the back of the group. He filed in last, then turned around along with the rest of the group in confusion.

The room was empty, only a single light glaring down into the room.

“You asked why Destiny Encorporated and Technologies Holdings is spelled incorrectly,” Miano said as she touched a button and turned a knob on the door panel. “It’s to keep the acronym right.” The door slid shut as his eyes widened.

Miano stepped back, glaring at Mort. “How do you come up with new puns every time?” He just chuckled.

The door panel flashed a single word: “venting.” Inside, people began to yell in confusion. The screams grew silent as the air pumped from the room, only the beating on the door audible through the vacuum inside.

Miano waited until the sounds stopped and the panel showed “cycle complete.” She looked at her clipboard and scratched off “Group 42,” then smiled. It was lunchtime, she was halfway through the day!


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