tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 09

No Future Ch. 09


The Good Seed

Farming is a business like any other. It may also be a vocation, a life-style choice or even one of the few remaining outdoor occupations, but the one thing Gabrielle knew for sure was that farming is a business.

Although she had sympathies with the principles of organic farming and rather distrusted Genetic Modification, what mattered at the end of each accounting month was that she'd balanced the books and generated enough profit to stay in business. In a world where famine and food shortages were a daily reality for more and more people in the world, including those living just on the border of the European Union, Gabrielle was convinced that it was almost her moral duty to provide as much food to the world as she could from the farmland she owned.

Business was rather better than it had been for many years and the future looked promising. International food prices were continuing to rise and this in turn significantly improved her profit margin. Much as she was saddened by the television images of the unfortunate starving millions in Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe, Chile and Pakistan, it remained an undeniable fact that farmers like her were unlikely to be amongst those who'd suffer as a result of the changing face of global food economics.

Gabrielle's sympathies weren't bogus. She'd been a bit of a globe-trotter when she was younger. In those days, fuel prices made a flight to Africa and Asia affordable even to students and graduates willing to defer their loan repayments. She'd seen the real face of famine in Bangladesh, Mozambique and Uzbekistan that tourists wouldn't normally be exposed to. A tour company would keep such horrors as much out of sight as possible. Her interest in Third World famine relief continued through her generous donations to foreign aid charities and her practical assistance in shipping out food that the supermarkets considered substandard to countries whose citizens had rather fewer scruples than spoiled London shoppers. She also made a practical contribution by employing immigrant Indians and Pakistanis on her estate, however much this was frowned upon by people in nearby Rickmansworth.

It made perfect economic sense, of course; just as much as did the cultivation of GM crops, cloned cattle, synthetic fertiliser and multilevel fruit farming. So when Gabrielle didn't attracting the ire of the prejudiced for making a hiring decision for one sound economic reason, she was attacked by green idealists for putting business interests ahead of what they believed to be ethical farming. If they had their way she'd have to live on half her current income, lay off most of her staff, leave land fallow that was now used for meat and dairy, and the only beneficiaries would be the poor of Ethiopia and Venezuela who'd be shipped out all the vegetables that the supermarkets had rejected.

Such criticism was inevitable when you farmed so close to London. Indeed, hers was the first farm that one would pass by when driving on the busy A404 (M) from the M1 to visit the bustling new town of Buckland Common. She'd never have been criticised so much if she was living in Wales or Northumbria, but here where land costs were high and the distance to market was so short there was nothing she could do to satisfy her neighbours. When she didn't suffer taunts from Greens who could never appreciate the value of a good leg of lamb or beef on the bone, she had to direct her farmhands to paint over racist daubing on the fences that enclosed her estate. Who'd have thought that farming would become so political in the twenty-first century?

The racist taunts resulted from the fact that so many of Gabrielle's immigrant farmhands came from the Indian subcontinent. Presumably it would have been less of a problem had they come from within the European Union, but Gabrielle doubted whether Georgians, Armenians or Moldavians would be treated with much more respect. Skin colour was obviously an issue, although a high proportion of local residents were themselves third or fourth generation Indian or Pakistani. The usual excuse for the vitriol was that the people Gabrielle employed were taking jobs that would otherwise go to honest Englishmen. This wasn't the kind of view that would be shared by anyone who'd ever tried to employ local people, especially from the London area, who would know one end of an agricultural implement from another; or for that matter who had the technical knowledge and qualifications in biology and genetics to understand what was required in modern agriculture: at least not at the level of wages now standard for agricultural workers in the United Kingdom.

And why the Indian subcontinent? Most farmers of Gabrielle's acquaintance resourced from rather less expensive foreign countries such as Morocco, Palestine, Senegal and the Congo

One reason for sure was that Gabrielle's longest-lasting lover, the one who'd most often shared her bed, was a second generation Indian Muslim who still had plenty of contacts in the subcontinent of his grandparents' birth.

Although he also had a wife whose upkeep he maintained and who he even occasionally fucked, he wasn't a jealous man. He didn't mind at all that Gabrielle was a woman for whom the word polyamorous had been invented and was fully content to share her body with other like-minded men. Furthermore, Ghazi Patel was at least as keen on cock as Gabrielle. Indeed, as she watched him glug down a mouthful of semen or gurgle on a stiff cock deep down his throat, it seemed that he enjoyed the physical pleasures of a man rather more than she did. She liked a fuck but, although partial to buggery, she preferred to keep her anus in good condition so she could enjoy it the more on special occasions. Ghazi was less reserved. He liked to fuck a man up the arse and was even happier when a man did it to him. Gabrielle got sexual stimulus from Ghazi's expressions of orgasmic delight and often shared the spurt of semen when it was eventually released by the man who was fucking her lover up the arse.

Gabrielle had a taste for having both holes engaged when she consented to the delights of sodomy. It seemed a waste for her more sensitive hole to be neglected while the other was being penetrated. After all, why have sex with two or more men at once if you couldn't indulge in double penetration?

Another reason why so many of those on Gabrielle's payroll came from the Indian subcontinent was the standard of education they'd received. This was usually significantly higher than the level they'd have attained in England's failing school system. But the chief reason was actually almost charitable. It wasn't just that Punjabi or Guajarati men were good fucks, but it was also Gabrielle's response to the conflict between the republics of Pakistan and India that had displaced so many refugees and filled so many news site web pages.

The war was generally restricted to the India-Pakistani border and was ostensibly fought over the Kashmir, which was fighting its own civil war to become an independent Islamic Republic like Iraq or Afghanistan. But no war could be fully contained and it had spilt over into the densely populated regions of Jammu, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. And where were the displaced Indians and Pakistanis supposed to go? If they were Muslim they might elect to live in Srinagar if they chose to accept Kashmiri citizenship and tolerate the daily bombing. If they had family further away from the front they might move in with them: although that served only to further swell the populations of Mumbai and Kolkata, now the two most populous cities in the world. Gabrielle, with the assistance of the Red Cross and other international charities, had decided to give practical help in the form of sanctuary for the displaced.

The fact that this made good business sense was also something of a bonus.

Gabrielle generally left her staff to manage the farm without much supervision, although she was still the main contact with the financial and agricultural companies. She'd like to give more responsibility to Ajit, the Chief Farm Manager, but although his English was excellent she was reluctant for her customers to think that she wasn't the one in charge. She also wanted to counter the impression that a woman of prodigious sexual appetite might give that she was somehow deranged in business matters. But she generally trusted Ajit's judgement when it came to the biotech products marketed by companies like ICI-Monsanto or WalMart BTech. After all, his qualifications and experience in Agribusiness was rather better than hers. He must have been a great loss to Rawalpindi, Pakistan, where he would still be living if it hadn't been so badly bombed by Indian stealth planes.

"I'm not sure about this," said Ajit, when the sales representative from WalMart BTech had left. "I know we like to do business with the company especially since WalMart took over Tesco's, but the very notion of non-sentient animals doesn't seem right."

"It's just meat," said Gabrielle, who'd tasted the samples they'd been given. "Surely it's actually more moral to slaughter animals that don't feel pain, have no comprehension of the world, and in a sense have never really lived."

"They have lived," Ajit protested. "They breathed, they consumed and processed the mulched vegetable foodstuff they were given, they had blood coursing through their veins, they had hearts..."

"...but not minds," said Gabrielle.

"It's not right to reduce Allah's creation to the level of vegetables," continued Ajit.

"It's just meat. The things that generate it are just meat-machines. They're not sentient. They've never suffered. Surely it's better to eat meat that doesn't result from the death of a sentient being."

"I can't believe that people shopping in Tesco's or Cost Cutter's would choose to buy meat that originated from the obscene monstrosity you can see in this picture," Ajit remarked.

The pair reviewed the photograph in the WMBT brochure. It had no bones, no eyes, no ears and probably no brain to speak of. It had been engineered to perform the one job of converting vegetables to meat. Gabrielle almost felt sick at the sight of it. The nearest equivalent to it she could think of was the placenta left by a cow after giving birth.

"It could be produced for export," said Gabrielle. "The shoppers in British supermarkets would never see the meat unless it was sold on the black market. There's a food shortage in the world. Meat is particularly nutritious and easily digestible. The statistics provided by WMBT, but also those quoted from Nature and other science magazines, are unequivocal. With the same input of vegetable and cereal foodstuff converted into mulch we can double, triple or even quadruple the amount of meat available to feed the world."

"I'm not a vegetarian," said Ajit. "But this isn't natural in any sense of the word. The genes of this monstrosity come from pigs, cows, fish and chickens. Ungulates and avians."

"Surely your moral code can see that any meat that is produced without causing pain and suffering is a good thing. And anyway there aren't many people who're complaining about the biologically engineered milk that's never seen a cow or the oranges that have never grown on a tree. People will soon get used to eating meat that's never belonged to a sentient beast. In fact, they'll soon wonder how barbaric we humans were to slaughter animals simply to fill the supermarket shelves."

Ajit studied Gabrielle thoughtfully.

"Are you saying that we should farm this stuff?"

"There are good economic reasons to do so at least on a trial basis. Did you see the amount of investment WMBT is willing to give us for doing so? If it doesn't sell, we won't lose out any more than we did when we grew those cold-weather olives..."

"They didn't really taste like olives. More like catshit."

"Perhaps people won't buy this stuff either."

"But if it does catch on? If everyone buys meat that's like this? What then? Nobody would farm sheep, pigs or cattle. The fields would be empty and the countryside would be nothing but fields of grain and vegetables. There wouldn't be any insects because they can't digest GM crops. There wouldn't be any wildlife except in the odd pocket of woodland."

Gabrielle laughed. "Oh come on, Ajit! You sound like a madman. Even the Green fanatics don't go that far, do they?"

"I hope I don't sound too apocalyptic."

"Don't worry. Look, we're running a business, you and I. The business case for farming this kind of meat is pretty watertight. I'd be very surprised if many farmers, apart from the organic ones, would turn down an opportunity like this to bolster the balance sheet. And anyway," Gabrielle said, nodding towards the latest bit of graffiti that had been spray-painted over the gateway to Greenfields Farm, "we have other worries at the moment. How is the staff coping?"

"We installed some extra security alarms and cameras around the dormitories," said Ajit. "A gentleman from the security company will be coming round tomorrow to evaluate the situation."

Gabrielle nodded.

"Well, for the moment I think we'll go with WalMart BTech's proposal, but I'll wait a day or so before I contact them so's I can think about it. Would that be alright, Ajit?"

He agreed but reluctantly so. Gabrielle could see that when Greenfields Farm started manufacturing pain-free meat, or however else it would be marketed, she'd have disputes ahead with her Chief Farm Manager. But one thing she wasn't worried about was that he should hand in his notice.

After all, where else could he go?

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