She scanned the interior of the surprisingly primitive, tiny room. The teachers always taught that society was quite advanced in 2089, yet this room contained nothing but an old computer on the receptionist’s desk. The glass door behind her eased closed, sealing with a sigh. She turned to face the small wooden desk, surrounded by many rows of empty grey padded chairs.
When she approached the desk, a woman’s excited face shot up. A tight blond bun sat on her head, and millions of freckles circled her dark brown eyes, the usual physical structure for Book Keepers. Her name tag read Magath362.
“Hello… Magath362… I’m here for my book. Can we make this quick,” said Abby1. Magath cackled into her face.
“Why dear, everyone wants it quickly, but sadly your suggestions aren’t considered. All that we can do is go through the process, and it’ll come when it comes.” Irritated at this woman’s dismissal of her prior commitments, she reluctantly agreed, setting her purse onto the counter and pulling up a chair to begin.
“All right, dear, now what is your identity, and your parents’?”
“I’m Abby1, my parents are Hannah567 and William281”
She continued spitting out answers. Magath362’s fingers flew over the keyboard, clearly typing much more information then Abby1 mentioned.
“Okay, the request has been issued. Your book should come in four to five hours. You must stay, or else it will be returned to the shelves.”
“Four to five hours to retrieve one book! There’s no one here!” Magath362’s face contorted into a condescending frown.
“Well I’m sorry, you could just leave and get it another day. Wait, no you can’t. Tomorrow you’re 18; today’s your last day. Don’t blame the Book Keepers for your procrastination.” Abby1 envisioned slapping her freckled mass but restrained herself, since Magath362 was correct.
She reluctantly grabbed her purse off the desk, and took a seat in the back. Crossing her legs, she looked out the window, watching the heavy air traffic from the transitioning hour at the nearest furniture factory. Pedestrians walked beneath the air traffic in exact single file lines heading in opposite directions. She longed to be a child again, running through the streets in zigzagging patterns, aggravating her parents and everyone walking, as she giggled down the road. Her urge for her childhood ebbed when she recalled how many times she was punished at school for disobeying rules, or how children avoided her peculiarity. Abby1 not only was ostracized at school, but she didn’t feel any love from or for her parents. Loneliness swept over her, and she caressed her strange unique face.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a commotion, as other Magaths entered through the door next to Magath362, and were conversing at the computer. They continued to do so until Abby1 eventually lost interest, slipping into an uncomfortable nap.
A voice broke through her mindless dreaming, startling her out of her relaxed state back into her lonely reality. Her eyes fluttered open to see a man’s face staring directly at her. Abby1 screamed and lunged backward in her chair only to be restrained by cuffs secured tightly around her ankles. Her heart skipped a beat, as she looked around the cold dark room. The walls were cold metal and only a door interrupted the uniformity. The man across from her had a generic face showing no emotion, with brown, flat hair neatly combed back and dark green eyes. Both her parents had been cardiac surgeons; therefore, Abby1 grew up in sector 1 with all the people of the surgical field. This man was obviously an emergency surgeon, known as a Kevin. On Abby1’s lap was a small black book. She traced the golden cursive letters that spelled her name. Though terrified, she couldn’t help being curious about what her book held. Her fingers plucked at the cover, only to be greeted by plain white pages. Kevin was watching her every move with stern eyes, waiting for Abby1 to speak. She decided to play along.
“Why am I here?”
“I thought you’d never ask!” Kevin began to explain:
The year was 2026. The USA was at the peak of innovation. The creation of the Hover-Auto incited a global lurch for the new affordable hovering car. Many factories arose, demanding new technology, more supplies, and workhands. Though robotics were in use, professionally trained factory workers were desperately needed to monitor, work, and produce the machinery. At the time the International Society for Stem Cell Research had made major advances in their research. As the work force issue turned into a national crisis, the US government came to the ISSCR to conjure up a solution.
The first human was grown in a tight incubation, meant to imitate a mother’s womb. The scientists had specifically engineered the cells to have the characteristics primarily accustomed to factory workers. After their first success, large sites were constructed where hundreds of children could be grown at once. The government decided to optimize every profession. Eventually, the news of this spread to the public, and rioting Human Rights Activists took to the streets. Tensions rose until a gruesome civil war erupted, killing thousands of people. After five years of fighting, the US government emerged victorious.
After these years of terror, the government decided to cleanse and repair the population, by manufacturing a cooperative society. Each fetus was genetically engineered to lack the will to argue, question, disagree, hate, or love, in order to avoid passion-based conflicts. Once the government grew the original ideal workers for each industry, they didn’t see the need for contrasting phenotypic traits. Each industry for both men and women, received the same face and name, with a number at the end, indicating the employee’s model. Each person would be given to a pre-planned family and provided generic education. When they turned 18, a book would be assigned giving them detailed instructions on what the rest of their life would be like, who they’d marry, who their children would be, where they’d live, and where they’d work.
Kevin’s voice was monotone, as he wrapped up his speech. Abby1 was mortified by what she heard.
“That is so disturbing, but… what does this have to do with me?”
“You are a mistake. So many babies are grown each day, making it almost impossible to analyze each one. The Planters didn’t foresee your mutation. You’ve always felt different, because you are. Though the art of human growth is almost perfected, there are always glitches. They didn’t see you for some reason, and you grew up with a free mind, asking questions that didn’t concern you. You disturbed the peace that was so meticulously built and planned. Creativity has no place in this world–it caused the riots, war, and deaths. Your book is empty, because your future can’t be written. You’re unpredictable.”
Sweat dripped down her face despite the cold room, and her mind spun from his words. Ever since she was little, she wanted answers, despite what they might cost her. She subtly struggled against the ankle cuffs, only managing to entertain Kevin with her feeble attempts.
“At the Legislation for Peace, we take pride in our humanity, and believe there are ways to erase a mistake…” Cuffs popped up out of Abby1’s chair and clutched her hands and neck, restricting all movement. The ceiling retracted and revealed a sharp mechanical tool lowering toward her vulnerable head.
“…by fixing them.”
Darkness took over.
She opened her eyes, and rose out of her comfy twin bed. Exhaust still tugged at her eyelids as she made her way across the room to prepare for her day. She glanced over at her husband’s perfectly made bed adjacent to her’s, indicating that he was already awake. She entered the bathroom, where her husband was preparing at his sink.
“Good morning Mark416.” She stepped into the changing circle, where the tube rose to encompass her as she changed in privacy, until it descended revealing her fully clothed.
“Mark416, we are scheduled to get a child today; my book says to pick it up at 1 o’clock.” Without taking his attention away from his daily routine at the sink he replied in his usual dry voice,
“Great, Olivia3. But don’t forget your pills.” He shook the tiny bottle on the counter that held her solution for the pain.
“Thank you, it always helps to have a reminder.” Tears began to run down her face, and the usual feeling of loneliness swept in, due to not taking the medicine in 24 hours. She quickly went over to the sink and shakily shoved the pill down her throat, just as the images came back of punishment, pain, and solitude as a child. Before her mind went numb and her body calm, a name flashed in her memory.Abby1.