Become a Fan
By Terence A Russell
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Short story I penned sometime back in the 80's
Twelve volts jolted the flesh of my left arm. The clock above the hatch spoke "5:55," and the holoscreen flashed red, announcing that the President would appear in five minutes.
Dropping to the sleep chamber's deck, I entered the hatch opening beneath it. The dressing console's switch was flicked to the "on" position. A green light on the console immediately brightened. Sliding open the cabinet's door above the console, I removed the neatly pressed clothing, a fresh yellow jumpsuit.
My United States Transportation Authority uniform was quickly donned. The feel of the recycled paper fabric was fresh and crisp, but the bright yellow did not appeal to my senses, was too crisp, and too fresh. I often longed for the feel of freshly washed jeans and a cotton shirt.
The red bulb on the console flashed as I turned to leave. My pajamas were picked up from the floor and placed in the PAPER ONLY chute. The red light went out as I stepped from the wardrobe chamber.
The clock now read 5:57; sufficient time to punch up breakfast before the President began his address. Moving from the private chamber through the lounging chamber and to the galley, the five minutes that it took for the usual breakfast of kelp-cakes, soy sausage, and neutro-ova were pressing my time-sense. The code was punched for a cup of lactocaf and two slices of toasted kelp-bread.
Sliding open the food chute's cover, I removed the tray containing breakfast. I carried it into the lounging chamber and placed it on the table beside my reclino-lounger. After consuming breakfast, my attention was shifted to the holoscreen.
The screen stopped flashing; bright red faded into deep blue. The audio-trac burst forth with "Hail to the Chief." A scene from deep in the White House, buried somewhere beneath the Colorado Rockies, materialized on the screen as an image of the President cleared.
"Citizens," he began, "I apologize for awakening you so early, but my scientists at the National Nutritional Laboratories have informed me that they are ready to release their findings in the tests of the presently available foodstuffs.
"Wishing to keep this as short as possible, I will dispense with the details of the report and read only their conclusions." He read, "'... and in conclusion, we find that the only nutritional products which are completely fit for human consumption are the kelp-bread groups and the hydro-vita fluids. All other substances have been found to contain carcinogens or other health deteriorating substances.'
"This statement is concise and direct enough to give you an understanding of the problem. As you are aware, I have attempted, during my decade as President, to rid this nation of its health problems, crime problems, and economic problems.
"New homes, meals, and jobs were provided. Every room of every building in this nation was provided with a direct hook-up with the central computer back in Dallas. This system, provided from my personal facilities at EDI, is bringing my life-size figure into every lounging chamber across the nation at this very moment.
"Millions of you faithfully provided the necessary information, as members of my National Association of Respected Citizens, which enabled us to rid the nation of its crime element, halting forever the drug distribution network which was destroying this great country.
"Though many raised objection, you cooperated with the national ban on sex in our effort to halt the genetic malformations which were becoming epidemic across the nation, and applauded as the first generation of Americans, perfect Americans, was born in the National Genetic Laboratories just last year.
"I trust you will provide this same support in the problem we face today. It is absolutely necessary to place all foodstuffs, with the exception of the kelp-breads and hydrovita fluids, on the controlled substances list. Workers at the central computer banks will reprogram the memories such that these substances will not longer be available to be delivered to your homes. NARC agents will be alerted that the state will again offer 1,000 credit bounties for each smuggler of controlled substances reported, convicted, and executed by the National Police.
"You must bear with us in this program, as we will make these products available again as soon as our scientists have found a method of neutralizing their harmful effects.
"Thank you for your support, citizens. Before I leave you to your appointed duties, I do wish to brighten your day just a bit. The scientists at the National Genetic Laboratories have succeeded in artificially producing all the necessary genetic materials to produce additional offspring, so that we find it no longer necessary to protect your genitalia from the harmful effects of sexual encounters, and find it no longer necessary to enforce the ban.
"All persons who submit themselves to building clinics for sterilization will find, upon returning from duty, that their sleeping chambers have been reprogrammed to facilitate sexual acts.
"Again, thank you for your support, and I wish each and every one of you a pleasant day." With that the image on the screen and on the floor disappeared.
Stepping to the console, I punched TFG57386743. An image of my girlfriend, Tara, appeared where the President has stood only moments before. She was wearing the dark brown jumpsuit, identifying her as a worker in the National Nutritional Kitchens.
Before I had a chance to speak, she hurriedly blurted out: "Hi Bobby! I'm late. Can't talk. The answer is yes. See you at 1900 sharp," and disappeared.
The clock read 6:24. I was running late myself. My breakfast tray was placed in the delivery chute, and the return code on the galley console was punched. The entry hatch was dialed open, and I moved through it into the corridor. A dozen steps down the corridor led to the trans-booth. The code I had received upon completion of my duty last eve was punched, and I stepped into the booth. Moments later, I found myself in a different booth, in a different corridor. The sign above the console read: STATION 412-NATIONAL GENETIC LABORATORIES-LIBYAN TERRITORY-UNITED STATES OF EARTH, and in smaller letters below: HUMAN OFFSPRING SECTION.
A shudder of excitement, almost that of an orgasm, rushed through me. My security clearance had been upgraded, and I was to have the honor of manipulating the transporter controls for the nation's youngest citizens.
Charging down the corridor, eager to view my new passenger prospects, I opened the hatch marked FIRST GENERATION. Twenty-five identical faces confronted me, each bearing a remarkable resemblance to President Ross Perote.
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|Reviewed by John Smiley
|If this wasn't so close to current reality, it would be hilarious. Great insight for the 80's. Thanks.|
|Reviewed by James Cotton
|A rather clever blend of Nazi Germany, the 1970's movie 'Soylent Green', and Huxley's 'Brave New World' with a lot of prophecy in its day of things happening around us even today! You said you wrote this in the 1980's, but there seems to be a lot of
post 9/11' nature to it! Not to mention the description of the technology! I enjoyed it! Any more?
|Reviewed by Christopher Wittkugle
|Wow. Excellent! You captured the feel of the politics of the environment quickly. Can't say that I hope your vision proves to be prophetic- :)