Labor Days Revisited
(with all apologies and credit to Tony Wood)
A 7th Edition 40k and Horus Heresy scenario.
During the Klaeser rebellion, one of the many things to disappear, along with secular idealism, the working-class labor bosses, independent banks and ownership of property was also the standard calendar year instituted on JYLN-55 for over eight-thousand years.
As early as year five of the Horus Heresy, the then-intact, massive frozen planet named Mercia held 98 planetary bodies in her orbit. Each of these bodies worked upon its own schedule of production, some of them holding days that lasted nearly three times the length of days on other planetary bodies. Similarly, the orbits of the moons of Mercia often cast simultaneous periods of eclipse upon one another, and these periods of darkness and relative lengthy periods of daytime between made for a haphazard conglomeration of local time zones and tribal holiday observations. At any given time there could be found over two dozen holidays occurring upon several different moons, each with their own method and duration. The Mercia system, being a vital shipping hub for the blossoming fleets of mankind and a supply of fuels for its long-range stellar engines, found itself suffering from regular inefficiency.
Enter Niral Iruy, an economist on the third moon of Mercia (called Nepreryvka 7), came up with an ingenious plan to keep the multitudes of workers on the nearly 100 bodies in the system working at full speed without a drop in production. Every citizen in the system (nearly seventy-five billion of them at the time) would be designated a symbol. Eagles, bears, wheat, books, and imperial letters and icons were all used to define each and every citizen. The workforce as a whole was shifted from a seven-day to a five-day pattern. Normally, each citizen would rest on the first day of the week and then work for the next six. From now on, each citizen would work for four days and then get one day off. With the relatively simplistic minds of the citizens of the planets all agreeing to the selling line: "more time off more often," the calendar was adopted quickly over a one-year period. The workforce was divided into their symbols, and massive spreadsheets were delivered electronically to every workstation and homestead. These spreadsheets showed which days each symbol would work, and which days a particular symbol would have off. While the working classes appreciated that their day off would come earlier, they found it unfortunate that their times off would not coincide with the times off of their friends or their family members, with whom they would have regularly shared their religious holidays.
What eventually happened, after the dissent was quelled, was a new rhythm of life in the Mercia system. Over the decades and centuries, it became matter-of-fact that "eagles" would only fraternize with other "eagles," and "bears" would have social engagements only with other "bears," if not just for convenience sake, but also as a sense of commonality, and eventually, kinship. In fact, in just 400 years after adoption of this calendar system the first of the "Jor-Dann" clans were formed from the workers who had been given the letters "J" and "D," letters which, through mere consequence, aligned their "off days"on the calendar nearly half of the time. Congruent designations such as these married and had children with one another, and eventually aristocratic families were allowed to assign their children and grandchildren with the same symbols as themselves. Entire clans of people worked on the same days, had off on the same days, and grew in strength and isolation from other clans formed by other symbols.
On a less personal note, the economic result was astounding. Mercia practically doubled its production ten years after its implementation, and adherence to the calendar system, now dubbed the Niral System, would become the cultural norm for thousands of years. While many things would change in the 10,000 years following the Heresy, the Niral Calendar System would survive multiple revolutions, moments of great suffering, and devastating loss of life in events such as the plague of M36.41, the "Splitting" of M38, and the destruction of Mercia itself.
Skipping over thousands of years brings us to the current day, the time just past the Klaeser rebellion. The Klaeser rebellion reintroduced new thoughts and new ideas to a very ancient system. One of them was the rejection of the Niral Calendar. However, its cultural significance could not be erased, and the caste system that it created had been so thoroughly ingrained upon JYLN-55 that even after the calendar's usage had been prohibited the old prejudice remained.
One engineer had designs to reverse the damage done. The Klebstoff Clan, occupying large swathes of the worker hab-blocks of Yool (JYLN's largest hive city), had been working on some rather ingenious technological advances for the past 70 years. One scientist by the name of Dwoo Ynot had gathered the collective angst of the Klebstoff Clan into a hypothesis: if he could travel back in time and tweak the Niral Calendar so that the "J" and "D" designations would land one day apart, the rival Jordaan would be effectively wiped from history itself.
Strange things happen in the slums of hive cities, and in Yool one could find Orkoid Freeboota traders and Chaos-tainted traitors alike. Dwoo Ynot made some dark deals and invented his machine, part Shokk-Attack-Gun and part Warp Gate. When it fired up and instantly detonated, it sent a one-mile diameter area of the hab-slums screaming into the warp and left a gaping, smouldering crater behind.
The planetary defense forces of JYLN-55 were the first on the scene. Members of the Inquisition translated out from the warp into near orbit soon after. At the edge of the crater, a conspicuous sign had appeared, seemingly from another time.
It was an early billboard of the Niral Calendar.
To be continued...