push my way through the crowds of unregistered citizens and anti-sterility
demonstrators. I am alone today. I have been alone for three weeks,
wondering the whole time what's happened to my boyfriend. I trudge
through the next check-point past the dark-helmeted armed guard
through a series of Pod-Gates. My implanted Citi-Pod registers
affirmatively on the screen inside the gates.
enter the city proper. More crowds; no less disciplined, no less
anxious. I make my way to the Public Square. The Government has
two sets of Pod-Gates set up: one marked "Decade Erasure"
and the other marked "Wait for De-Link." There
are hundreds of people standing on line, waiting to vote by walking
through one or the other. I haven't decided yet how to cast my
still obsessing about my boyfriend. My mind drifts back to when
I met him. My fellow Gardeners and I had attended a pro-procreation
rally three months ago. Afterwards, we went to Public Bar 782.
A group of Scientists were leaving when my eyes crossed paths
with Scientist Tang 53. We were instantly attracted to each other
although I'm not usually attracted to classic conflict-avoiders.
Our Citi-Pods exchanged all relevant contact information. On our
first date, he seemed reserved at first but slowly opened up to
me, like one of my flowers. He wasn't allowed to reveal the secret
project he was working on. After our last date, three weeks ago,
he never called me back.
realize the world may be coming to an end but the reason I'm inconsolable
is his absence.
beautifully-starred evening sky suddenly begins to glow that familiar
steel-blue color as the Government Sky-Screen begins broadcasting
its weekly report. Maybe it will help me decide how to vote.
news anchor stares down at us.
tonight is the last night you have to vote for the most important
decision mankind has ever faced. To re-cap, several months ago,
Scientists discovered that the size of the universe was equal
to the total length of the unraveled DNA strands of Planet Earth's
human population. Further, as Planet Earth's population increased,
the universe has continued to expand.
to the world's over-population, Scientists have proven that the
universe is threatening to rip itself apart. Until this issue
can be sorted out, the Government has forbidden human breeding
and issued mandatory sterility radiation for all its citizens.
hard at work, devised a plan to save us all. A crew of brave Scientists
and Astronauts has been sent out to the edge of the universe.
The Universe Mission Crew.
don't let the Universe Mission Crew down. Vote. Vote for either
"Decade Erasure" or "Wait for De-Link." You
decide, Citizen. Vote. Vote for Humanity! Humanity marches on!
Vote! That is all."
was fucking helpful. Well, let's see. Do I want to wake up tomorrow
and have it be five to ten years ago? Do I want to place my faith
in a bunch of Scientists and Astronauts who weren't smart enough
to get out of a mission they'll never come back from? And if I
do vote on traveling back in time a decade, will I remember what's
happened since then? The Scientists aren't sure since this has
never happened before.
steel-blue glow of the Sky-Screen again.
we have late-breaking news. We are receiving a live feed from
the Universe Mission Crew. We now bring you, live, the Universe
of Earth. I was one of the Scientists who volunteered to go on
this mission. I did not go for noble reasons but for cowardly
ones which I will get to shortly."
our mission is to interrupt the link between humanity's DNA strands
and the universe's expansion so the universe can continue to grow
at its own pace. Our other theoretical option is to reverse the
expansion into a contraction. Scientists have proven that this
contraction would cause time to reverse temporarily from five
to ten years. I understand that the world will complete their
have some good news and bad news."
some bad news. Except for me, the Universe Mission crew did not
survive the hyper-drive space jump and they're all dead.
good news: I said earlier I was one of the Scientists. Since I
am inexplicably the only one left, I am now Astronaut Tang.
No number since there are no other Astronaut Tangs.
good news: I can complete the mission. I have found the edge of
the universe and both options are available to us. I can de-link
us from the fate of the universe or we can go back in time.
first, a personal note. This is a message for Gardener Fletcher
211. I am sorry that I didn't call you back after our last date.
But, as you see, I had to go and save the universe. Also, I feel
I'm at a safe enough distance away from you now and have the proper
detachment from the situation to tell you that
I want to break up with you.
I'm deciding. Because I want to erase ever having dated Gardener
walk into the University Registrar with my forms for next semester's
classes. I'm thinking about maybe majoring in horticulture. I
notice a cute guy in front of me and decide to take a chance.
Isn't that what being nineteen is all about?
I say. "I'm Kelly Fletcher."
he says, turning around, clearly interested. "I'm Clayton
Tang. Physics major."
physics. I just love science."