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Yesterday Should've Been Glorious

metaphorical_cowboy's picture

I rerealize we’re our actions’ consequences as I look out the apartment window. Even with the tinted windows I still have to apply sunscreen. The people move like ripples while boarding/exiting the layers of monorails.

The wall rings and I scuttle to the closest one to answer. The woman on the other line says I have an appointment for stem cell reprogramming. It’s so I can live another decade. I try keeping the conversation alive to maintain the contact high. It’s nice, but nothing compared to when my great great great grand daughter came over. I couldn’t remember doing the things she said I did, but it’d explain how I was living in an above surface apartment.

The woman on the other line hung up. When I move, all my joints pop. I dress myself and eat a little something. A little something’s all anyone has. With nearly eighty-billion people here and mars, you have to do with the bare essentials.

I hadn’t really noticed how small my place was until I was in the hallway. During the sixty story elevator trip, I decided on what I’d do with my hour of net access. I wrote myself a note to research myself so as to not forget.

I clutch the map in my pocket as I prepare to move onto ground level. The doors open to reveal a mass of skinny people stretching beyond view. There’s barely enough room to move.
Eventually, I arrive at the closest monorail. I’m lucky enough to snag a seat. The women standing with her child gives me an evil look. She can go to hell. This generation’s gender “equality” cycle’s probably patriarchal, meaning I’m expected to be a gentleman. I like matriarchal cycles. There’s something enchanted about being useless.

I’m not sure when I fell asleep, but I woke up as the monorail reached my destination. I got off and bumped my way through the human river. I heard suicide pills were the cause of death for ninety-five percent of claustrophobics. I wonder if it’s universal. I’ve seen many familiar faces going like that. I’d realized long ago that I wasn’t the best. I just outlasted my enemies.

I signed in at the front and found a place to sit. The elderly surround me. I’d comfort myself and say I’m different, but I’ve seen myself. I’m not sure when I fell asleep, but I woke up after my name was called over the intercom.

The nurses do tests and eventually I meet the doctor. She takes half an hour to politely say everything’s breaking down. I used to only buy direct program stem cells, and then I didn’t have the money to be moral. Eventually I couldn’t afford to buy the normal embryonic kind. I know it’s cheaper to get the ones I have reprogrammed, but even then I’m not sure how I paid for everything these last years. She says we’ll work something out. Apparently, I’ve got some government deal with them. I’m now ready for the next decade and I’m on my way. The ride home is exactly the same.

It felt good to be back, but I enjoyed the physical contact from swimming through the crowds. I was going to sleep when I felt the plastic paper in my pocket. I forgot about researching myself.

I logged on to the wall and found only one Earl Rodriguez Mohamed Goldstein. This young me saved his journals in the archives, making the download quick. Afterwards, I had to sleep.

The next morning, I read some pages over breakfast. Everything used to be fresh, but the chemical bonds didn’t last long and soon the body was hungry again. Processed foods were different. The human body couldn’t break down the artificial chemical bonds as fast and the filler flavors gave a full feeling.

The early journal entries were overly dramatized teen angst. I couldn’t attach relevance to the names and photos. Somebody cheated on me with somebody else. I cheated on somebody with somebody else. Somebody cheated on somebody with somebody else. The mars landing day entry tried to hard to inspire.

A single word caught my attention.

The entire sci-fi genre’s pillar was progress. Empty promises flooded back into my brain. Where were all the robots, flying cars, and aliens? Why wasn’t I part of a supreme intelligence?

I couldn’t read anymore. None of my other adventures mattered. Suddenly my apartment felt small and against all instinct, I left. There was nowhere to go, so I started walking. Lacking inspiring qualities, this city looks like an organized wheat field from above.
I don’t walk often so my heart’s racing. After a while I realize I’m lost and sit down. At least the cold air helps me clear my head. All around me the city’s life blood populace gushes around me. As soon as I notice a face, it falls from my memory. Every couple of seconds someone bumps me.

Hopeless and philosophical zombies are just words. Still, I wonder if any of them are mine. By the very nature of nature, population control is an uphill battle. Even if nine in ten are aborted, the average woman becomes pregnant close to seventy times during a lifetime. Somewhere along the line, the human sexual psyche broke from mimicking the last generation’s birth rate.

Historically, exponential growth waned with decreased resources. Chromosomes 3 and 17, responsible for obesity, broke the cycle. While natural selection largely deterred their genetic assimilation, society hindered Darwinism and allowed population growth.

Larger populations have always been ideal virus breeding grounds. One such virus, AD 36, symbiotically carried said chromosomes globally within a single generation. Those not infected starved.

Reminiscing is too depressing, so I start heading opposite my last direction. After a little while, nothing looks familiar so I’m going to have to ask for directions.

I don’t even feel the first blow, I just hit the ground. Before I can turn around, she’s on my back. The second blow temporarily separates my lobes. I’m still not past the point of no return. I only need half a brain. The third blow mashes my short-term memories together. No one stops her. Group mentality’s constant. I’d like to say I’ve seen things people wouldn’t believe. I’d like to say I’ve seen ships on fire and plasma shots glitter through the darkness. The next thump alters reality.

I yank the controls, but the mecha’s equilibrium system kicks in, preventing a potential crash. I grab my head and feel hair. This isn’t real. I remember remembering something else a second ago.

There’s a flash. I’m face down on concrete. My head feels sticky. She’s checking me for a wallet. I try to say something but can’t. People just walk around us. I’m not sure how long a mental minute compares with a real minute. She gives me one more hit.

The flash reappears and I’m driving a giant robot again. The reflection in the mirror is young and fit. The pain in my head stops and megacity day dreams fade. An all pilot message opens on screen. We’ve just defeated the first wave of the Kii invasion. A host of familiar icons pop up on screen as the other pilots take to the skies. Everything feels like a dream with no plot twists or sad endings. Perception is easy with no alternative. The mecha shifts into jet mode and join my comrades.

I didn't get the

I didn't get the chromosome/virus stuff. Is it supposed to make sense? You don't have to assume anything to get overpopulation except that having more kids is 1) genetically or culturally heritable and 2) not balanced by, for example, higher death rate from less resources per kid. On the other hand, there are parasites that enhance growth by suppressing reproduction, so maybe you were trying to say something about that? I couldn't tell.

metaphorical_cowboy's picture

Virus AD 36's partially

Virus AD 36's partially responsible for obesity w/chromosomes 3 and 17. Add "fullness" from fatty foods to end up w/the equivanlent of more resources in ability to support vastly larger masses. Add longer life and there's a population acceleration far beyound "normal" natural laws. Instead of a wax/wane regarding people/resources, you end up w/a semi-conscious mental retreat/stall. Hope that semi-explained it.

Interesting shifts of

Interesting shifts of perception going on here. (I also liked the passing nod to Blade Runner, if I'm reading the 'ships on fire' line correctly.)

The topsy-turviness comes across well, giving the narrative (if that's the right word to use here) a disorienting touch without actually being all out confusing. Nicely done.