Warning: This story alludes to injustices towards women, sexual coercion and medical malpractice.
"I can see it now," I said, followed by a dark chuckle.
Sarcasm. It's the only way to get through these days.
"Yeah soon they'll just be barging into hospitals and chaining us up. Keeping us nice and healthy so it all goes well." My friend replies.
She's sitting next to me. We're at the park. Observing the playground.
"Hell, we probably don't even need to be conscious. If our hearts are beating and our brains aren't dead, we could have shit happening while we're in a coma!" I exclaim.
"For real, I'd rather die."
"Girl, don't encourage them!" I swat at her shoulder. "Although, they probably wouldn't mind that to be honest."
"Yeah they do it themselves so often for no reason. Now they can say they have a reason. It's actually insane." We both laugh, as loud as we can, unbound.
"Oh yeah, it's ridiculous."
A child screams in joy at the top of the slide. Prepared to go down with a smile.
"Like that kid, what's he so happy for?"
"Yeah he has no idea what he's got ahead of him," I say, eyeing the same child.
"...no idea." She grips my left hand with her right, her other hand on her belly. She takes a shuddering inhale. "I'm scared."
I turn to her, put a lock of hair behind her ear. "I know honey. I know."
"I just... I just can't. I'm– I need to do what's right."
After a short period of her sniffling and getting her bearings, I ask her if she's ready.
I tap my watch and the holographic vision fades, leaving just the sterile white room.
My friend now sees me in my lab coat, gloves on, assistants called in.
The procedure is quick, messy and a bit painful, but successful.
"Congratulations, you made it out alive."
"Just me... or?"
I lasted 2 hours. 2 hours before I broke down laughing. I lied. To my best friend. I lied, I lied, I lied. I had no choice. I kept thinking about how betrayed she would feel if she found out. I could see it now, how her face would crumple up in disgust, and the rage would clench her fist, and the disappointment would make her cry. But she'd be angry. So so angry.
An angry best friend isn't your best friend anymore.
Not in this bubble of time.
This wondrous, confusing, fascinating, bewildering bubble of time.
Where procedures are done to replace parasites with cells with perfect enhanced genes. It's chosen for each person individually. Then, thanks to advances in gene editing, the cells can be activated by detromoxyltin, a specific drug that gets the cells to activate.
Thus creating more genetically perfect human beings.
I am one of the first genetically perfect humans.
I was created. I was molded. I was perfected.
I was taught. I was trained. I was raised.
I was told. I was explained to.
I was convinced.
Best friends don't stay best friends in this bubble of time.
Not if they're not the best.
"Doctor, we have the next patient due in 10 minutes."
I wipe my tears as best as I can before telling him I'll be right there.
The next patient. My next best friend. My new best friend. My temporary best friend.
Nothing will last longer than it needs to be. Nothing that isn't perfect.
I can see it now, the perfection. No problems. No wrongs. No inconsistencies. No surprises.
Once we've achieved perfection, we can rest. Because it won't last longer than it needs to be. Not after everything is perfect.
My next patient will not learn. They don't need to know. They'll never know.
"Hi, I'm Dr. Thea, I'll be taking care of you today. What seems to be the problem?"
"Hi doctor. Yes I've been feeling a pain in my abdomen and am nauseous more often than usual."
Perfect. "Ok I see. And when did this start?" I'm looking at her charts and records. Perfect.
"Just about 2 weeks ago? My primary care suggested some medicine called doxymolytin? And it worked up until yesterday. I thought I could tough it out but I woke up today and vomited. Did I do something wrong?"
"No no, not at all. And the medicine did its job. So what you felt yesterday must have been something else. Tell me, did you recently get into any... trouble?"
Her shoulders stiffen and she fidgets with the edge of her gown.
"This is a safe and protected space, you can tell me."
"Well... my boyfriend called the police on me because I said I was... tired. Ya know like, too tired for.... ya know." She shakes her hands in self defense. "Not because I didn't want to! I wanted to. But I was just tired. But- but he didn't believe me. So he got mad and called the police. They picked up and my boyfriend said I should talk to them myself. But I started crying and told him I'd never say something like that again. So he hung up. We did things just fine after that. I mean, just the phone call wouldn't get me in trouble, right?"
"No, it wouldn't. Thank you for telling me. I'm going to take good care of you now that I have some background. Your boyfriend, is he the one in the waiting room?"
"Ok, let me speak with him and then I'll tell you what will happen next, ok? Sit tight."
The procedure was calm, not messy, and well worth the wait. It was so easy. The boyfriend signed the release forms, the girlfriend followed instructions, and the assistants were dutiful in their aid. I look back fondly on that case from a year ago. I watch the product from the window. 3 months old and already crawling. He passed all the tests so far. The 6 month mark is usually the hardest to pass, but if he does, he'll be added to society as an asset. Another perfect puzzle piece to complete the perfect society.
If not, the trace amount of stem cells will be extracted and perfected once again, until there is no need. But I have high hopes for him.
I can see it now.