“Ambassador, between us, let’s not mince words. There’s never an only for a while when it comes to government. Something exists, and then it continues on. So let’s talk about what we get out of it and what we have to put in.”
“We had to agree to a single arcology to get every other nation putting in to agree to one. Which is important, because some of those other nations really need the population space. It quadruples the amount of room that a lot of their population will have to live in. So we’re going to put one – well, we had four buildings in construction already in Virginia, so we’re working with an architectural team to turn those into one big building that can house at least five thousand people. And every other nation on the committee is doing the same. They’ll be monitored and maintained by the Starlight Hospitality corporation; they’re the ones we have doing a lot of the work on the national parks like the Grand Canyon right now.”
“How are you going to get people to move into a giant skyscraper?”
“For one, it’s not, it’s more like an enclosed town that just happens to be several dozen stories tall. There’s – there will be, and soon – plenty of accessibility, solutions for power outages, and then, on the other end, nice spaces, good views, plenty of natural plant and animal life, and good shopping and entertainment. It’ll be like a really nice city, just with no cars and no attached traffic and such. For another thing, we’re going to bribe the first three thousand people. Free rent-”
“You’ll end up with homeless people.”
“Then they won’t be homeless anymore, will they?” The Ambassador smiled benignly.
“And who is paying for all of this?”
“The Starlight Hospitality corporation is paying for seventy-five percent out the door. We’re selling rental space for restaurants, stores, and the like to cover the rest, and the rent for anyone over 3000 will cover any unexpected expenses. Digital commuting allows people to talk to anyone they want without leaving the warmth and safety of their arcology.”
“And what does the Starlight Hospitality Corp get out of this? Other than the exclusive contract to run these things which, I imagine, will turn them a pretty penny.”
“Well, that.” The Ambassador cleared his throat. “And there is all of that test market research on an effectively captive audience. And data on people’s traffic patterns and such. I hear they plan to build another fifty of these things in the upcoming twenty years. Ours are just their, mmm, their test market.”
“So… they build these things, a treaty forces us to fill them up, and then they get all the money?”
For the first time, the Ambassador looked nervous.
“…Yes. Yes, that is the situation.”
“And we’re stuck with it.”
“Yes. Yes we are.”
“Then I’m sure—”
Something about the voice made the Ambassador nervous.
“-you’ll be glad to take one of the first apartments there.
“For free, of course, since you’ll be one of the first 3000.”
“That’s too generous, really, I can’t—”
“Not at all. I’m sure your wife and kids will love it. And you’ll be very comfortable there, right? You won’t notice being data mined at all! Now come on, I won’t hear no as an answer. It’s a very nice place, I’m told, yes? And we do want to set a good example, after all.”