The exploitation of the dead for fun and profit was a venerable institution, as those who engaged in it were tireless in pointing out.
It wasn’t as if they were doing anything else useful anyway. In most cases, they were just lying there, mouldering, not contributing anything. That sort of skiving, work-shy nature was never to be tolerated in the living – it was pointed out – so why should the dead get off the hook so easily? Just because you weren’t breathing didn’t mean you couldn’t give something back to the society that had selflessly suckled and nurtured you through your (probably) worthless life.
So those that were buried were dug up. They were still allowed to be buried as the funeral business was a lucrative one, of course, but those bodies couldn’t be left to lie still for long. There was so much that could be done with them! ‘Not one part wasted’ was a common phrase among those in the biz, and was indeed the official motto of the Corporate Branch of Disrespect that had been given governmental oversight for all corpse-related activities.
But there was so much more that could be done, so much untapped potential! Corpses were just so much dead matter, mere lifeless flesh. What of the dead themselves? What of the dear departed souls that had thought they could shirk their responsibilities by leaving the plane of the living? Well, they had to be brought back and be made useful, of course.
This was easier said than done. The dead proved tantalizingly out of reach for a long time, always flitting on the very edge of perception and always a mere hairs-breadth out of reach. Year by year though, diligent researchers at the Branch of Disrespect got closer and closer to a workable solution. The arrogance of the dead was what drove them onwards when things seemed bleakest. These idle spooks and spirits, thinking that their work was done. They’d show them. They’d show them all.
And so it was. With great fanfare several years after first entering development the final and finished Soul Siphon was unveiled. With it, those dear departed lazy individuals could be brought back to the material plane and made to work off all the time they’d wasted. Great shoals of spirits were sucked – screaming in spectral agony – from whatever afterlife they’d managed to settle into. Most were put to good use with the new Ghost Cell technology; providing clean energy to the good people of the world by dint of the fact that ghosts technically didn’t really maybe obey physics the way they should.
There were other uses though, some perhaps more frivolous. For example, ‘Ancestor Sticks’ became quite popular. Specially carved and aesthetically pleasing – at least to a significant market segment – sticks were pumped with a generous helping of mournful souls and then sealed. These sticks could be bought in bulk and placed throughout home or garden where a simple tap could elicit musical moans and wails of despair and limitless horror; just the thing to get any party started to give the kick to any flagging conversation.
And so reasonably priced, too!