Village Facility

Sami was locked out of AMP Co. Maybe the lock was stuck, so he tried his key again, turning it both clockwise and counter-clockwise, but without success. He rang the bell twice and banged on the door. He opened the mailbox in case there was a new key in there, but there wasn’t. He called Alfred’s phone but didn’t get through, then walked around the back but that door also was closed.

“Thanks for all your help,” Alfred had said to him last week. “Next week, we’ll be ready to open the store. Advanced 3D printing will at last be available to everyone!”

Maybe Alfred had been so busy chasing technical progress that he had forgotten to pay his mortgage and business rates. Had the bank instructed repo men to remove his equipment and lock up the place?

Sami heard a sliding sound somewhere above him. It was Alfred at a second floor window of the old general store that was now his 3D fabrication lab.

Sami called up, “Hey Alfred! Let me in.”

“I’m sorry Sami, I can’t let you in. You won’t believe what’s happened. The Authority has declared my lab a National Strategic Asset; it’s been nationalized and is now closed to the public.”

“You’re kidding me!”

Alfred opened the window further and leaned out a little. “I am sorry, I’m not. I am now a government employee and must obey their protocols. I can’t let you in.”

Sami was a peaceful guy, but right now he wanted to climb and haul Alfred out, maybe throw him out. “But what about our work together? We’ve spent weeks preparing for the launch.”

“It was really good of you to help me, Sami, but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do. The Authority heard about my technology.” Sami knew it had better capabilities than fused filament or deposition, laser sintering, powder bed, lamination, sterolithography, digital light processing, or anything else currently available.

Alfred continued, “They declared it a National Strategic Asset, and banned me from revealing it to the general public. That’s it.”

Sami wasn’t Alfred’s business partner; he wasn’t even an employee. He was simply a keen amateur helping out, who had become very involved in the testing phase of Alfred’s printer. Together they had produced another printer, a worm, a baby girl (now adopted by Alfred’s family), a 4D crab, holy objects and programmable matter. They were fully ready to open the facility, and now this!

“There is some good news though,” said Alfred, waving his arms in the window like a broken little windmill. “The Authority does want a public interface for the technology, to introduce it gradually. They want to extend their 3 R’s philosophy, following the Proximity Principle to reduce the waste stream, and achieve responsible self-sufficiency at a sub-regional level…”

Too much jargon already, thought Sami. You can tell he’s become a bureaucrat.

Alfred continued, “…by producing, transforming, consuming and recycling on site indefinitely. They asked me to run a facility at the Transfer Station but I am too busy, so I suggested you could do it instead.”

Just then a text came through on Sami’s phone. It was from The Authority. It said that he was starting work at the Transfer Station’s new 3D Unit next week.

“What about my job as Guru Baba’s assistant?”

“My friend, it looks like you have been repurposed.”

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