So I found an… “identification bracelet” on my kitchen counter and naturally this was my first thought.
Are these things supposed to have barbs or something on the inside? Because I don’t know how you’re supposed to get it tight enough that it cuts into the skin without also cutting off the blood supply so that the arm just falls off.
I always figured that if you removed one, the skin would come with it— it wouldn’t just be cut around the edges. Unless it’s meant to wear the skin underneath away— though that would take time, and it seems like they become irremovable as soon as they’re on. I forget how exactly they’re attached (if it was ever specifically detailed), but I imagined it as some sort of bolt system, since apparently they’re reusable.
But more to the point. Whose grand fucking idea was it to bring this wonderful technology with them to their idyllic new Eden? Whatever happened to, you know, branding, tattooing, tagging, chipping your livestock? NOPE. We need a scary metal band that can’t be removed without DEATH. Apparently livestock theft must’ve been a big deal on the Old World.
I’m also terrified by how casually Coyle mentions them occasionally being put on people as a prank. Like, dude. Add a little more weight to that statement, won’t you? That just how shitty the Old World was, I guess.
It’s how we marked sheep back in Prentisstown. You take the tool Davy’s holding and you wrap a metal band around a sheep’s leg. The tool bolts the ends together tight, too tight, so tight it cuts into the skin, so tight it starts an infeckshun. But the metal’s coated with a medicine to fight it so what happens is that the infeckted skin starts to heal around the band, grow into it, replacing that bit of skin with the metal band itself… Cuz the catch is,it don’t heal if you take it off. The sheep’ll bleed to death if you do. You put a band on it and it’s yers til it dies. There aint no going back from it. (TAATA, pg. 136)
I think the band is only too tight when it’s being put on? Davy amuses himself that chapter by seeing how long he can make them hiss by holding the bolting tool down for a long time. Idk much about the skin or infections of biology, but if the skin under the band is infected, wouldn’t new skin have to grow anyway? Or at least new cells? It’s just that this time they’d have to accommodate the metal band. Todd also says he peels a new band off the packet of bands, so the metal must be quite thin, which makes sense since they must need so many. That must mean the edges of the band are razor sharp too. But they’re not supposed to be painful after putting them on (hence the medicine), so maybe it was like giving someone a tattoo while they’re drunk or something (although tattoos can be removed, but idk New World was a bit weird). If the band is close to a major vein or artery or whatever (my biology is bad) wouldn’t the wound would just keep bleeding after the band was taken off?
As for why the hell did they stop doing all the other things to their livestock, this fits in really nicely with my Old World headcanons. If OW was shitty enough to make them move to another planet, I honestly don’t think there was enough organisation or time to do all the other things. And whatever they did would have to be permanent to ensure that the livestock couldn’t be stolen. Anything electronic wouldn’t work if there was limited to no electricity, and if people didn’t want to get tracked by the corrupted law enforcement or government organisations, they’d avoid using electronic cataloguing systems like the plague.
And new Eden or not, maybe they just thought it’d be a more efficient way of looking after the livestock? Very few of the settlements were shown to have electricity, but then again they would have time to do it the old way so it doesn’t make complete sense. I guess you can take the people out of OW, but you cant take the OW out of the people?
It sounds like it’s only cutting into the skin at the edges of the band, but replacing the skin with the band makes it sound like you just don’t grow any more underneath? That the band becomes grafted to the skin at its edges, and something causes the body to stop trying to make new skin in that area.
If it were put on over a major artery, I think the initial cut might be an issue, as might any remaining pressure even if it’s only painfully tight when it’s put on. If taking off damages it enough that you might bleed to death, it seems like putting it on would, too— unless that is some serious medicine they’re using, in which case… why not use it to deal with taking it off.
If you had a proper surgeon (like, say Coyle) around, it doesn’t seem like it would be a particularly difficult procedure to remove it, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. This makes me think that there’s something in the medicine that doesn’t just stop infection, but also stops any skin from growing underneath, even if it’s taken off, which is what would kill you— I have absolutely no idea how that would work, because you’d think that would also stop it from healing at the edges, but. Eh.
My Old World head canon’s a bit different. I imagine it was really shitty, but not, like, we gotta get out of here in 10 minutes or else we’ll all die-level shitty. So staying there was totally an option, but if you were rich, you had other options. Like leaving the solar system. I don’t really see the passengers (as opposed to the caretakers) as being the sort to be overly worried about government corruption, what with having “I can afford to move to a new planet”-level money, but then again, there’s no accounting for paranoid religious people.
Electronic tracking systems aside, BRANDING, my friends. BRANDING. Yes, it’s horrible, but it’s not SAW-horrible. People in the old west didn’t have electricity or much organization or fancy technology, so they shaped a piece of iron, heat it up, and just burned their initials into things. Simple, permanent, and non-deadly! Goddamn, these things make branding easy to pitch. Wait. How’d they get livestock anyway? Viola’s crew had frozen embryos… so does that mean these guys had the same technology, that they just threw out once they figured they had things down? Goddamn wannabe space Amish.
I have this theory. The settlers are all painted as simple religious farmer-types, but that’s only from Todd’s PoV, who we’ve seen doesn’t know nuthin’ ‘bout nuthin’. Who the hell are these people that could afford to have themselves frozen for 60 years and be taken to a new planet in a different solar system? The Old World’s gone to shit, everyone’s fighting everyone— who’s making money in this kind of environment? People who profit from the suffering of others, is who. That sure would explain why everything went to shit on the New World so quickly. Everyone who wasn’t a Caretaker or born on the New World is getting some serious side-eye from me until they show me their resumé.Source: yer-nothing