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Fiction Science Fiction Fantasy

“Why are we at the arms market at Frenoiby?”

“Because you have been manipulated, Monsieur Zac Efron.”

The sarcastic comment hit Zac like a rude slap. He was calm, collected and rational, virtues prized in the 28th century. His partner Doreen looked apparently the same to untrained eyes. Centuries of selective genetics have tempered the emotional traits, but Doreen’s ardent temperament bubbled dangerously close to the surface. Anyone spending a reasonable amount of time with her would certainly get a whiff of it, and Zac wasn’t the one to miss the obvious.

“Doreen, it will just drag out the inevitable. I don’t see the rationale of it. There isn’t a place for unfit individuals here.”

“But I will know for sure. I will know we tried.”

-.-

Zac and Doreen stood pan-faced at the city gate as mounted cameras scanned the visitors from all possible angles. “Any particular stalls you would like to visit?”

“The Old World Section.”

“That would need security clearance level 3.”

At that moment, Zac realized he must have been out of his very rational mind to visit an arms and ammunitions exhibition without explicit permission from his superior. With his girlfriend in tow, or maybe the other the way around. And on false identification.

“We are aware.”

Whether the fleeting expression on the face of the Freniobyian security lady was of surprise or alarm, Zac could not discern. But she picked up the ID cards with her purple tentacles and returned them to Doreen standing in the front of the booth without asking any further questions.

“Please proceed to Level -7. Present the cards for verification on exiting the elevator.”

The Old World section housed samples and species from now destroyed and semi-destroyed planets. Said to be rife with materials and life forms which could be modified and bred into lethal chemical and biological weapons, it was open only to military scientists and anthropologists, and with requisite approval from the Intergalactic Peacekeeping Forces. Technically it was open to the Head of States of the different planets too, but they were not exactly looking to contract a century-old stray infection for which a cure had never been discovered. And it was the rational thing to do. Stay out of harm’s way. Why was someone as judicious as Zac even here?

-.-

Frenoiby was a desert covered in shiny yellow sands, and insanely hot, being closest to its sun. But at some point, the foresight of a visionary leader and literally groundbreaking technology led to the development of a complex 16 storied underground city, which not only housed its sparse population but also an arms and ammunition development and exhibition centre. Frenoiby was still very much a desert, but a busy and popular one.

Level -7, however, was empty, and silence reminiscent of a mortuary hung around. As the scanning machine blinked green and Zac inwardly heaved a sigh of relief, the Frenoibyian spoke something intelligible into the transmitter and a door further down the corridor opened and shut and a strong cold drift passed by. 

“I am the in-charge of the section. This way, please.” Zac swallowed. A Miflo in charge of the critical section. The green translucent blob-like body was not the reason. The Miflo were known for their energy-wave-detecting antennae and Zac was not sure if the truth would be welcome in the circumstances. He shot a sideways glance. Doreen looked eerily composed.

Sitting opposite the waving antennae, 7 stories down a heavily guarded underground armament establishment, Doreen decided it was better to stick to the truth wherever possible. 

“We need a bottle of Chaos 2.0.” 

“I can only give you the information about where to find it. But what will you give in exchange?”

Zac realized the hair on the back of his neck standing up. The Miflo looked at him and said, “We don’t kill live specimens for our experiments. And we have Earthen samples. Maybe you would want a tour to calm yourself down.”

The room was filled with containers of every imaginable shape, size and colour housing cadavers submerged in varying hues of preservative liquids. “That won’t be necessary. We would rather be on your way. What do you want?”

“Blood. An equivalent amount. From the female.”

“Why her?” Zac placed his hand on the annihilator.

“Calm down.” Doreen gritted through her teeth. “You will throw everything off balance.”

The Miflo said coldly, “Don’t waste my time with unwarranted conflict. I named the price.”

“Why do you need her blood?” Zac was only a hair's breadth away from losing his cool.

“Because she is with child. I am a scientist. And I want to study the chemicals in her blood.”

Doreen said, “Let’s get on with it then.”

The Miflo didn’t move. “Chaos 2.0 is a banned lethal weapon. And you two are military personnel from Kluwza. What is your purpose for acquiring it?”

-.-

“The machines never predict incorrectly.”

“But the machines never design wrongly either. The initial tests didn’t indicate anything wrong, and now you say that the child is going to be born handicapped.”

“If. If it is allowed to be born.”

“This is a lab-fertilized foetus. There are no chances of a handicap.”

“The reports are never wrong. You are a part of this 28th-century society. You know how advanced our AI systems are.”

“I don’t want to abort”, Doreen whispered.

“The other option is to allow the pregnancy to advance normally. If the baby is born handicapped, it will be terminated after birth. ”

“That way we would know for sure.”

“Yes. But the committee has to approve this option. Chances are bleak. The database shows no precedents in your favour. And the results have been negative. Thrice.”

-.-

The Miflo certainly prized his own experiments and was in no mood to pass on the chance to study the effects of this old drug against the fortifications of modern medicines, especially on the powerful Kluwza populace proud of their meticulous analysis and rational decisions. He directed Zac and Doreen to the semi-destroyed Solar system to search for the origins of the esoteric drug. 

Earth was no longer the picturesque green and blue planet it once was. Once a prospering civilization, the aftermath of nuclear warfare had left a large part of the planet barren. The rich and the elite had migrated to other planets and galaxies 800 years back. Only a handful of impoverished lived on with nuclear hazards because their ancestors couldn’t afford a ticket on the spaceship. Earth’s barrenness was in sharp contrast to Frenoiby. There were no visitors, no markets, no business and not much busyness.

Doreen was at the bunker with the ‘normal’ Earthlings. Her ancestors belonged to this planet, but she didn’t share much other than some physical features with them. She was born and brought up in the affluent Kluwza, and though she appreciated their gestures, she had no clue why they would offer her a bottle of Chaos 2.0 with nothing in exchange, at least nothing tangible she could put her finger on. Of course, they looked happy at the prospect of the drug making a comeback, and Doreen wondered if the once-hailed-as-lethal weapon could turn the fortunes of the surviving population of the planet Earth.

Chaos 2.0 had the property to influence rationals to make suboptimal decisions which couldn’t be logically justified. It exposed otherwise carefully planned schemes to vulnerabilities. As civilizations moved more towards prizing science and technology, it was no wonder that such chinks in the logical armour were banned and locked away in dark corners of the failing dying galaxies.

But that was of no concern to Doreen. She tried to remain rational and cheerful about her own situation. She concentrated on her own problem and the task at hand. The Earthlings said Chaos 2.0 would work with food, water or even with sprinkles in the air. Rationality was a known antidote. So, they brewed and packed in an extra bottle, just in case she needed more to protect her unborn. And advised stealth till the effects started to take root. 

She would only need a few drops of Chaos 2.0 to sway the committee members, to let the unborn child live till delivery. The only catch; she needed to take a few drops herself too. The drug, referred to as kindness by Earthlings, apparently worked with reciprocity, by forming a bond between the users, regardless of the initiation being voluntary or otherwise.

Whether the kindness drug would work, and what would happen if the contagion started spreading was not a possibility she was considering yet. Though she overheard the Earthlings offering Zac to take in the child, should it be born unfit to live in the rational world.

November 13, 2020 05:33

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2 comments

Fiza Hasan
23:43 Nov 18, 2020

Wow! That was a great line to end off with and makes me consider what it really means to be born unfit in this world. I just have a couple of points to make. Firstly, I would've loved some description of how this world looked and even worked. Secondly, I think sometimes, the character voice was lacking. For example, one line was "Zac realized the hair on the back of his neck standing up." As soon as I read this, I felt so distant from Zac. Perhaps you could try something like "The hair on the back of his neck stood, with goosebumps runni...

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Mou Sukoshi
05:29 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you. :) Will try longer descriptions.

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