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Fiction Science Fiction

It had arrived.

Months of self-imposed confinement, however, did very little to prepare me for the accompanying shipping agent of the package. 

“Don’t tell me they saw fit to send a little girl to protect something this valuable,” I sneered, hoping to inject enough venom in my voice to sting just a little. 

I waited for a response as I searched her nubile face. Expressionless, she gave nothing away. Despite her youth, I could tell immediately she was born before The Fall. 

50 years prior, give or take, the World Regulation Agency (WRA) really fucked up. In an effort to “improve the genetic quality of the human population” (their bigoted and politically motivated words, not mine), they began enacting policies subtlety designed to control reproduction and proliferate the existence of desirable genetic traits. 

Now, literally anyone should be able to understand the folly behind an agenda based on eugenics. I mean, these were the greatest minds of our time? Just because you’re good at Algebra, can string a few words together to sound intelligent and you were born into inherited wealth shouldn’t mean that you’re in any way qualified to determine what “desirable genetic traits” look like.  

But, alas, they did. Idiots. 

And, of course, the selection criteria was entirely driven by the group with the most political pull. And thus began the most obscene violation of basic human rights on the grandest scale imaginable. 

Their agenda was underway before we even really knew what was happening. I was only 10 at the time, so events like arranged or prohibited marriages, forced sterilization of “unqualified” people, pregnancy screenings that often resulted in forced abortions, gestational surrogacy, and such became the norm. 

Soon after, other forced segregations were enforced. Compulsory dating services designed to fit you with the right partner, though many born after me knew immediately upon birth if they’d ever be able to reproduce. Different schools intended to teach you about the new way of life, utterly white washing any “ugly” part of human history. How dare anything not be perfect, right?

Language and currency became standardized. Indigenous languages became taboo and many were forever lost. Books were burned and invaluable knowledge seemingly erased. Even the workforce changed. For the first time, both women and men held value only in their genetic composition.

Entire generations being born with smaller waists, lighter skin and lighter eyes and lighter hair. Diverse beauty standards across the world became offensive and unfavorable. People not born into this new world order went to dangerous lengths to fit in.  

Now, that isn’t to say there wasn’t any push back. People everywhere were rightfully furious. Scientists and politicians the world over rallied against this outrageous and unmistakably racially prejudiced practice. Didn’t anyone care about basic human rights? Or the very drastic loss of genetic diversity leading to inbreeding? What about disrupting literally millions of years of genetic evolution which could have remarkably adverse effects on immunity and species resilience? 

Did no one care that there’s no such thing as perfect genes or perfect people?!

And, to no one’s surprise, they were one by one silenced. The world broke apart into factions. There were always violent protests. But gods, it’s so hard to fight against a current of false superiority. Nothing gives a person more arrogance than when they think they’re on the right side of an unquantifiable genetic lottery. Those born into this new inherited wealth became a veritable army of artificial righteousness. 

But, what the World Regulation Agency couldn’t breed out of many of us, was the grit and fortitude and resolve of a collective humanity bent on justice. 

About 10 years ago, the figurative wall finally broke. The main hydra of men (of course) promulgating these asinine beliefs were finally infiltrated and terminated. Their doctrines of hate and bigotry finally made available for the world to see. Understandably, there were, and still are, many humans unduly influenced by the social constructs of their time that continue to perpetuate the principles of eugenics. 

After The Fall (original, I know), you’d think the world would be in complete chaos, right? It’s certainly not the same. The arbitrary lines that once delineated countries and cities have long been forgotten. There is no single law enforcement, and yet most people still abide by remembered rules, desperate for some preserved structure. Various industries still operate at some capacity. Since language and currency became nearly universal, there are still banks in many places with less barriers for understanding. The earth’s population slowly dwindling, the air is cleaner and the oceans less stressed. 

It’ll take time, but we’re rebuilding. And I’m hell bent on helping The Collective. 

I, like so many, was deemed unfit for reproduction. Chemically sterilized before I even hit puberty. To even measure the scale upon which these coerced castrations took place is largely unfathomable. Billions of biologies just…ruined. 

And now…it had arrived. And with it, a girl.

“What’s your name?” I pressed after a few minutes of easy silence. 

“Rome,” she told me, still impassive. 

“Well, Rome, is there a reason they felt this package needed an escort to my lab?”

“Yes,” she deadpanned. 

I waited for her to further explain but realizing nothing else was forthcoming, I fought down my irritation. 

“Care to enlighten me why?” I asked through gritted teeth. 

“Yes. There’s enough of the raw chemicals you requested for you to create and test your theory. Upon confirmation of positive results, I’m to assist you in the next step,” she explained, with a serious nature inconsistent for someone of her age. But then, the last few decades have been hell.  

I carefully took the proffered package and placed it reverently on my lab table. The fruition of my life’s work ready to manifest into a chemical liberation from infertility. I’d spent years working the formula and theorizing just the right combination to reverse what was once thought to be a permanent sterility. 

I, of course, am far too old to benefit from this now. I do this work driven by my own grief and loneliness. That I never got to be a mother due to the circumstances of my birth is a devastation I think I can alleviate for so many. Frankly, I’m fucking thrilled.

Abruptly, I remember the girl. Rome. What did she say? The next step? 

I turn back around and observe her for a moment. She’s lightly trailing her fingers along my bookshelf. It’s mostly filled with rare and unbelievably useful scientific texts. Remember the book burning? So much science was vilified in their attempt to discredit those of sound mind. These books are my fabricated family.

She pulls down an unusual tome on aerospace engineering. She flips through until she lands on a specific page. With one hand holding the large hardback, she scrolls her finger down the text with the other until she apparently finds what she’s looking for. Nodding her head a few times, she slams the book closed and looks back up at me.

I get the feeling I’m a cog in the wheel of her design. Who is this girl? 

I remember myself. 

“What next step? I’ve been briefed. The Collective knows what I’m capable of. This will work,” I begin to argue. I can feel her eyes making bruises on my ego. Do they doubt me so?

She holds a placating hand up. A mollifying gesture as if I’m the immature and irrational one. 

“No one doubts your aptitude or your motivations. However, there’s an additional step that we need you for,” she calmly states. Do her eyebrows even move? Do they Botox children now?

“We? Are you speaking French? Who is We?” Hah. Yeah.

“French? What? Your mental stability right now is a disaster. We, as in the universal We of The Collective, need your help obtaining a method to deliver your chemical salvation once complete. I’ll stay here with you in the lab for testing purposes. You can use me to test your final formula. Until then, I daresay I may be useful in helping draft a plan of sorts to procure the desired distribution system to…everyone.”

I’m speechless for a moment. Maybe my time in isolation really has addled my brain. I’m trying to read between her carefully crafted lines. A delivery system?

“And what’s The Collective’s preferred delivery system? I’ll be honest, I hadn’t thought about next steps. My only goal has ever been to create the formula,” I reply, trying to keep the confusion out of my voice, but failing. 

“But then what? How will we get this to the literal billions of people who would benefit from it?” she counters back.

We both stare at each other for a few spaces. I’m agitated and she’s entirely unruffled. Honestly? It’s unnerving.  

She relents, probably realizing my bafflement.   

“My dear chemist. Do you remember the Solar Impulse aircrafts The WRA deployed to furtively spray entire cities with calming chemical agents?” she asks as if this has ever been common knowledge.

“What?” I demand. “That’s…I’ve literally never heard of such a thing. Are you sure that’s –”

I’m cut off before I can even begin.

“Oh yes. If you’re interested, I can even tell you about the automated submarines designed to change the salinity of water reserves in areas where the undesirables used to frequent. I have a host of horrifying tales detailing what cruel and devious methods they used on us all. But first, we need your help. The Solar Impulse aircrafts? They’re currently being held by an admittedly intimidating group of Eugenic Believers in North America.”

She pauses here and for the first time since she’s been in my lab, I begin to see some expression in her face. A half smile begins at the corner of her mouth and her eyebrow raises (finally!) in question.  She looks far too devious this way.

“And before you decide to play the morally ethical card,” she smirks at me, “we know all about your involvement in creating and marketing some of the most popular hallucinogenic drugs that are still being sought after. And your little…accident involving the co-creator. Trust me, no one is particularly concerned about that.”

I just stand there, slack jawed. What in the actual fuck was happening?

“So, here’s the deal. I know you don’t want to hear or admit it, but we need to trust each other. For this to change, for us to be successful…” She lets the statement hang in the air.

The tension builds. It seems we both have a stubborn nature incapable of folding. Though, perhaps we can both bend, just a little. For this? I would. 

Warily, I motion my hands for her to continue. “And? What do you want from me besides the formula?”

She’s full on grinning at me now. I don’t care for it AT ALL.  

“Care to plan a heist?”

May 14, 2021 16:02

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47 comments

Daniel Hayes
16:38 May 14, 2021

Wow Kelly, this was incredibly amazing!!! I think this story fits the prompt perfectly. Your prose is so good, and I love the way you told this story. Eugenics is a huge complicated field, and I thought you really nailed this down and told a very creative story. I loved how you crafted this with a very high level of intelligence and thought. I'm just amazed!! Can you imagine living in a world like that?? Wow, just the thought of that chills me to the bone. One line that stood out to me was: "But gods, it’s so hard to fight against a cur...

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Kelly Dennison
16:53 May 14, 2021

Ugh, Daniel. THANK YOU so much. Honestly, this one was so fun... I so appreciate your kind words! CAN you imagine?! I hope this remains firmly in the realm of fiction...

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Daniel Hayes
16:59 May 14, 2021

I totally agree!! I hope it never happens in real life ;) I'm glad that you had fun writing this, I had fun reading it. Thank you for sharing this one :)

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Cole Lane
23:25 May 18, 2021

Would you be ticked if I said this was my favorite so far?? OMG, Who doesn't love a dystopian world, a wonderfully irreverent heroine, and a plan to storm the damn Eugenic castle (or at least sneak in any way)?? Was the ending designed to leave us saying, I WANT MORE?? Oh, and you had drones, every story needs more drones! ;) In all seriousness, this obviously touched on some important topics. One of the aspects I thought was good to point out was how our human condition would actually worsen from a single gene pool, diseases would resurfac...

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Kelly Dennison
00:24 May 19, 2021

Ha! Not ticked in the slightest 😉 Thanks so much reading it! It was a bit heavy, yeah? I’ve never really tried my hand at anything dystopian. Or with drones! I’m still laughing about storming the eugenic castle... 😂😂

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Kelly Dennison
15:25 May 19, 2021

Any new stories you're working on???

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Arwen Dove
05:20 May 16, 2021

I love it! Enjoyed reading! :)

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Kelly Dennison
14:20 May 16, 2021

Aww thank you!!! Appreciate that :)

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R. B. Leyland
10:01 May 15, 2021

It's a horrifying concept you've created here, that's for sure! This could definitely become part of a bigger novel, probably the best you've put out so far in my opinion. The way the story flowed from you explaining the situation of the world into the present was barely even noticeable (in a great way), really hoping there'll be more on this one. Amazing work!

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Kelly Dennison
12:19 May 15, 2021

Thank you so much for the complimentary words!!! 😊😊 Right?! Horrifying indeed...

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R. B. Leyland
13:34 May 15, 2021

You're very welcome!

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Stevie B
10:44 May 26, 2021

Kelly, just wanted to stop by and say how much I enjoy reading your work. You're a writer brimming with talent who (and I am sure your readers will agree) always leave us eagerly awaiting your next tale. Keep'em coming, my friend.

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Kelly Dennison
14:58 May 26, 2021

Wow. That’s unbelievably kind of you!! It’s comments like these that keep me motivated to write and share... THANK YOU!!! 😭♥️

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02:55 May 24, 2021

Wow. Eugenics--that's hard but you did an amazing job in your execution! This was a perfect example of a dystopian society. The dialogue seemed so formal, quirky, and incredibly intelligent. I found myself getting a little excited when emotion showed on the young woman's face( I couldn't help but hope that both women could form friendship). Every detail seemed intentional; as if written with meticulous care. I found myself confounded by this dystopian society. I can't imagine living in that kind of world! It got me thinking about how I mig...

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Kelly Dennison
15:09 May 24, 2021

Wow, thank you so much! I can't tell you how much I appreciate these deep reviews. I'm so honored you took the time to read and review so thoroughly... <3 <3 <3

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21:52 May 24, 2021

My absolute pleasure:)

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Shaia San
16:21 May 23, 2021

This was really good. It's amazing how the prompt sparked such creativity!

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Kelly Dennison
14:47 May 24, 2021

Thank you so so much!! :)

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J. Storbakken
02:25 May 23, 2021

This is great. The lost lingos, the indigenous magic. So true, so well thought-out. Great story!

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Kelly Dennison
14:38 May 24, 2021

Thank you so much!!

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Twisty Girl
12:52 May 22, 2021

Hi Kelly, I love this story, once it gets going it really draws you in. The subject is most definitely a horrifying one, proved by both history and the idea of "Designer Babies". Some Advice should you want it; To help with getting the story moving from the start, I would make it clearer what it is your chemist is getting, you refer to the package as "it", when it's actually a collection of chemicals. This would build a little more intrigue and make your reader want to figure out what they were for. You gave a lot of world building, and i...

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Kelly Dennison
21:41 May 22, 2021

Thank you for the incredibly thoughtful review. I very much appreciate the constructive feedback...I’ll for sure relook at this with a different lens!! ♥️♥️♥️

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Twisty Girl
00:21 May 23, 2021

I’m happy to have helped in any way. After all, these were things that were taught to me at one point or another, and you, like everyone else who submit to these competitions are incredibly brave and I find constructive and fair feedback to be the best way to learn. You’re story, and you deserve my full attention and an honest review. You did great, next time you’ll do even better, I’m sure of it xxx

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Kelly Dennison
14:38 May 24, 2021

Too true!!!! Thanks :)

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Aurora Spencer
13:23 May 20, 2021

Oh My God this story is crafted so beautifully, Kelly! The concepts you've introduced are shocking to imagine happening in real life. They certainly have that Sci-Fi vibe! The narrative flowed really well, and it didn't detract from the storyline at all. I hope something like this never happens in reality because it would be horrifying. Dystopian stories generally have that 'aura' about them, and yours was no exception. I especially loved the characters (I could sense how the protagonist was feeling) and the terms you used in the prose. Keep...

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Kelly Dennison
15:30 May 20, 2021

The topic and history of eugenics TERRIFIES me...and at the same time makes so me angry? I definitely didn't know how this one would turn out. That is has some semblance of a plot is surprising lol. THANK YOU!! :)

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Aurora Spencer
14:29 May 21, 2021

It sure does! Like the other authors said, I'm certain this plot can suit a story longer than this (even something novel length). Do you plan to add any parts to this or just leave it as a stand alone? No problem! :) Also, I think I read a book where the author was speculating a scenario in the future when they could select the 'right' genes and obliterate all the faulty genes to increase life span and all that. I think it is the 'Homo Deus' book? It sounds slightly scary, too, and your story reminded me of that predicted technology.

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Kelly Dennison
15:03 May 21, 2021

You know, it's really hard for me to go back to a story. I don't think I've ever added on to one. Honestly, it's almost hard to reread them! I'll have to think on why that is lol... Ohhhh that does sound like a good and horrifying book...thanks for the recommendation!!

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Aurora Spencer
16:19 May 22, 2021

I face that sometimes, too... Lol! The entire book isn't about that, though. It's only a part of it. The author does talk a bit about thud history of humankind in the start, so you could skip that if you want. Np!

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Asha Pillay
11:22 May 20, 2021

You writing style us so distinct. I love to read your stories.

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Kelly Dennison
15:28 May 20, 2021

Thank you so much!!! :)

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Monica June
17:35 May 19, 2021

Okay, this was SO interesting! I loved how you wrote, this, I can't even explain it. The very formal... kind of... talk... You know what I mean xD The science fiction theme was really fun! I'll have to keep that in mind for any upcoming prompts ;) I was very impressed with the morals you snuck into this story! Some very serious and important stuff, too. I was trying to think of what this story reminded me of, and I found it out when I was looking through the comments! K. Antonio said it was like the Giver, and I agree. That was probably my ...

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Monica June
17:37 May 19, 2021

Oh-- I also love the name Rome, and also the name Roman for a boy.

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Kelly Dennison
19:06 May 19, 2021

You know...I had been listening to a song called Rome that week and even though it was referenced as the place name I was like...sure why not! I'm thrilled that you love it!!!!

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Monica June
20:00 May 19, 2021

I loooove unique names, so I'm putting that one on my list ;)

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Kelly Dennison
19:05 May 19, 2021

Ugh. THANK YOU. It was my first time trying a sci-fi-ish story?? I was trying to make sure it stayed interesting without bogging the reader down in details. It still feels a little heavy in the beginning, but meh, too late now lol. I so appreciate the kind words and compliments!!!! :) :)

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Monica June
19:59 May 19, 2021

I liked the details personally, it helped me visualize. And you're so welcome!

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Charli Britton
17:38 May 18, 2021

Hmmm I am noticing a pattern with your last two stories... Very science-y! I love it. I am such a nerd, so good job! I have yet to do a science fiction story myself, but I hope to get the chance. :) Again, nice work.

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Kelly Dennison
17:57 May 18, 2021

I must have been in a mood LOL! Thank you so much :) Ohhhh...hopefully there are some compelling prompts next week! I'll look forward to reading a sci-fi one of yours whenever you get the chance!

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Charli Britton
17:59 May 18, 2021

Yes, I would love some... better prompts. I disliked the party one, and this weeks was eh for me. I did just submit a short story for this week, but I don't know how. feel about it yet. xD You write awesome Sci-fi!

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Kelly Dennison
18:12 May 18, 2021

Yeah, I haven't been too inspired by them lately...but fingers crossed for Friday! :)

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Charli Britton
18:17 May 18, 2021

mhm. Fingers crossed. I love the chiaroscuro and library one though...

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Kelly Dennison
18:22 May 18, 2021

Yesss the library one...

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Scott Skinner
03:33 May 17, 2021

This was great. Very quickly I was able to believe this world. This is a credit to your writing and descriptions of the current state of affairs. When you first started talking about society I was getting 1984 vibes, but then the ultimate 'reversal drug' that she was trying to make and that reveal of what was in the package and who the girl was that was delivering it - I was into it. And you built it all super well, I really wanted to keep reading and find out more about the situation this narrator was in. I believed the narrator - I definit...

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Kelly Dennison
15:06 May 17, 2021

Hi Scott! Thank you so so much! Honestly sometimes I have an idea and just start writing...if there's an actual plot it's entirely accidental LOL. I'm so glad with how their dynamic turned out! I love a good odd pairing... Right?! Had to throw in at least one or two things that weren't apocalyptic! Thank you! :)

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K. Antonio
14:59 May 16, 2021

Hey Kelly! I don't usually comment on a lot of your stories, but I got to say I really enjoyed this piece. It was a blend of Atwood with Bradbury, with little hidden themes that reminded me of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". I really liked the characters, this entire story felt like a chapter of a bigger body of work, which is probably why when the story came to an end I was like "Huh?" because I could have honestly read more. If I was to offer any critique it would be that the beginning has a lot of information, and I would have preferred a b...

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Kelly Dennison
15:03 May 17, 2021

Hi! Thank you for the constructive feedback. I'm definitely going to take a good reread and see if there's a way to parcel out the information better and speed up the pace in a few sections. Or, even see what's really relevant or necessary. I really appreciate this! And I'm really REALLY glad you enjoyed it! :) :)

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