The most far-reaching side-effect of the planet Nibiru’s colonisation was the discovery of the Nimrod crystals. These crystals had many industrial uses, like cutting edges and drill bits and catalysing agents in the manufacture of non-biological washing up liquid, but they could also be used to construct batteries which were charged by the energy of peoples’ minds.
Nimrod batteries did little with the traditional kinetic energy of the treadmill user, but added the knowledge worker – the clerk, the academic – to the list of things that could power factories and machinery.
Soon enough, intellectual effort, whether low brow or high brow, was being put into use in making industrialists even richer.
The thin end of the wedge for a given individual was a corporate offer of paying for their time in the charging machine. This always seemed fair enough. The most forward-thinking companies of the various Silicon Clusters on Earth tried boosting their own employees pay packets to be able to use their intellectual efforts during work time and sell the energy back to the grid, but this process proved detrimental to primary workloads.
Still, a pricing model emerged by which customers could part-pay for products or services using their brains, relinquishing a little of their spare time in the charging machine. Half a decade went by, in which time individuals had mastered the art of making money on the side by donating as much of their spare intellectual reserves as they could to specialist energy-harvesting companies. Only the most desperate tended to do this over the long term, however, as the toll on the human body of extended time in the machine was akin to an established opioid addiction.
And then the second largest Nimrod vendor, Maxwell Industries, brought to market a device which solved the issues with time spent in the charger. These famous ‘Glasses’ were unobtrusive, and extended exposure had no detrimental effect on the subject. All you had to do was surrender your entire consciousness to Maxwell for the time you wore their famous ‘Glasses’ contraption, which could be every non-working, waking hour.
The enslavement of humanity’s free time was complete.