Three Generations Pt 1
by Tony Jonick ©
Hundred Flowers shuffled out of the clinic and into the pre-dawn light, cool, and dry, and dark blue. There was little dew in these baked days of summer, and the rutted dirt road was already dry with dust. The fine, cloying soil of the street mingled with a cloud of slow midges and filled her face with dry grit, her nose with bugs. She snorted like a pack horse. Her weakness kept her from being truly annoyed, and she accepted the discomfort as she had grown up accepting everything else in her world. Still, in defiance of her weakness and hunger, she tried to lift her feet in more than a shuffle, to avoid disturbing the dust that choked her. Her dark grey shift hid her stumbling feet from view, hid her newly emptied condition.
In the factory there would be some food, some water. The clinic was supposed to have given her breakfast before sending her back to work, but they had run out before they had gotten to her bed. Not that the barley mash tasted like much, but it would keep her focused on something other than her next meal. Still, she had taken comfort in knowing her baby would be fed. The wet nurses on staff, she’d been told, always had high priority in order to keep their milk production at quota.
As she walked towards the factory, the bustle of the early morning still impressed her. So many people! The coolies hauling away the night dirt from the town, taking it out to the fields; the carts hauling food to the multi-storied dormitories; and the peasant’s work song wafting in from the fields west. They must have been up earliest of all, working hard for all.
The suns rise high in play, hey!
But we work through the day, hey!
The night moons light our way, hey!
And dreams will have their say, hey!
The singing brought her back to her early days in the fields, where as a child she had the delicate touch needed to plant the baby rice stalks into the mud. She missed her friends back at her first collective. But even as she was rotated, from farm to farm, she still had the rough-hewn love of the people, all singing together to bring the plants up from the ground. The singing made her lips twitch.
Though her impression had been that rainfall was slight this winter as well, she’d heard announcements there was more water than ever flowing from the mountain streams to irrigate the land. And in fact it looked as if the taro ponds were deep and full. Of course, that was what she had thought last year, and the suns had dried up the field before the corms took. She still missed the sweet-bland taste of poi, the slightly bitter greens.
What if the worst was happening? What if the last living place on this planet was drying up?
She thought back to the stories her teachers had told her when they wanted the children to behave, of the dead lands surrounding them on all sides. How they were the last true people on the planet. How the other lands held nothing but a few pathetic, half-human ghouls who scrabbled about in the desert of burning rocks searching for lizards and evil children. Her guts caught in the old tales, and she felt a yank of fear deeper than her hunger. How could she go on living knowing she’d brought a child into a world like that?
Announcement: Three Generations, Pt 1 coming soon
A few years ago I tried to get into a San Francisco Playwriting group. I had to submit something with two people, and so many pages. I wrote a short play about the collapse of a totalitarian state through the lens of a young girl and and an old lady. Perhaps I should have written something funny about guys & gals miscommunicating due to swapped cell phones. I wasn’t picked. But the scene was turned into a story and the story was going to be the first is a cycle of stories about the collapse of a country into totalitarian rule. Only told backwards, starting with the end story, and working towards the reasons why this came about.
Over the next few days, I’m going to run the one story I wrote, then synopses of the stories that were to come. That might still come. That someone else might be inspired to write. Who knows?
So Wednesday will begin part one of the Saga of the Three Valleys: Three Generations.
He was already an outsider, but he had friends who liked him. He thought it might be interesting to take alienation all the way, to see everything as a stranger to the world. Everything familiar became strange. Ice cream became frozen mammary liquids foamed with air. Hair became protein extrusions. He tried to withdraw from the emotional reactions driven by the unnecessary normal secretions which drove towards mating urges. Needless to say his alienation experiment worked too well. He found it hard to return the realm of humanity.
Different corporations & NGOs are working on viruses that insert genes into the human genome, spread like disease. One corporation has plotted to make a virus that makes most humans into docile creatures. But the science team has been infected from outside by a virus to make them more altruistic. The virus they create looks like docility, but instead increases empathy amongst the majority of people.
He was in his late 40s, and still getting nowhere on the corporate ladder. He watched his bosses getting away with stealing their customers’ life savings, and wanted in on the action. He became a distributor for a drug cartel, a suit shipping in large quantities, and getting them where they needed to go on the street level. As he moved into the wealthy neighborhoods, he was sexually tempted by his teenage children’s new friends, and got them hooked. Eventually he had a stranglehold over this wealthy neighborhood while sending his kids up the ladder.
Her father, an economics professor, recognized her genius. As a programmer and mathematician she was the first person to really understand programming quantum computers. When her father was killed in a third-world country by young, hungry men she decided to use her programming and cryptographic skills to break into every bank computer on the planet and destroy money.
His father was a world famous musician and poet, and at 17 had released an album that changed rock music forever. Even people who didn’t like the music, had heard of the man. But the father was manic-depressive, and killed himself when his son was little. The boy grew up in his father’s shadow, burdened by his last name, and expectations to follow in his fathers’ steps. As the son’s 17th birthday approached, he felt crushed by the expectations on him.
Bonus idea: the dad’s body was never found, or he was declared dead in a foreign country under mysterious circumstances.
She was revived from her coma to find that 12 years had passed. Her three-year-old was now 15, and a stranger to her. She had nothing in common with her husband, who had been living with his former secretary. The world was different and strange, and the only person she felt any contact with was the secretary/new wife. The new wife felt that after devoting all her time to the child, she was finally waking up from a long nap.
It was all so confusing when he was little. He was pulled out of school by strangers and not allowed to go home. Over the months he met many people, none he knew. One day he was taken to a house where he was told two people would be his new mommy and daddy. There were pictures all over of a little girl who seemed to have a room in the house, but who he never saw. Gradually he came to understand that the little girl had been shot along with some of her classmates. He also came to understand that his parents had been shot, too, and they were all going to be one family now. Years later, as a teenager, he would find them crying over her picture, and had a hard time not feeling like an inferior replacement.
The Alcubierre-White theories of warp drive not only work, the drives themselves turn out to be surprisingly easy to build. Yes, it’s still a pain to get to low-earth orbit. But humanity, with all it’s current ignorance and bad habits moves into the stars…and still finds no evidence of alien civilizations.
A new study shows that humans do, in fact, bioluminesce. We give off photons in the visible range, not just our normal heat signature in the infrared. The light we give off, though, is thousands of times more subtle than the human eye can detect; only the most sophisticated cameras can record this glow. Through breeding and gene-hacking we develop that skill. We meet a singer who can control her colors and glow placement in time with her music. She starts a craze that leads to whole a whole new art form.
A con artist in a poor country goes to America where he gets LED’s placed subcutaneously in his hands. He comes home and goes on the faith healing circuit.
Ideabird 11/4/13 Post-Human week, Part 2
25 years from now, one of the most popular new religious sects is The Knowers. Their patron saint is Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. WIth the vast majority of human knowledge at hand, the monks try to grasp as much as possible within a lifetime. They are not as interested in understanding as they are in knowing. Their meditative rituals involve riding the continuous feeds of knowledge, video, audio, tactile, and scent all at once. They use all means of data feeding, including wiring into the net. The state they hope to get to is emptiness from knowing all.
I’ve partially used this one before.
We know we don’t have the reaction time to see a bullet. But how slow can something be moving before we notice the difference?
Humans engineer small resonating crystal, powered but the electrical energy of the brain, that functions as an internal clock. All babies are born with it, and like sight, each human feels time slightly differently. No one wants robots. But we can sense time as a very fine-grained sense.
One of the first and easiest gene hacks turns out to be facial width, with subsequent eye placement. By placing children’s eyes farther apart they develop a richer sense of 3-D placement. They can naturally calculate distances better than regulars. which also makes them better soldiers.