Fear of Dying
“What is it Juliette?” the instructor asked the young one.
“Why do the Dumb Ones outside the walls look so different from us?”
“Interesting question Juliette. However, are you simply trying to distract me from grading your quiz?”
“Of course I am,” the child answered truthfully.
The instructor waved long-fingered hands in front of the holoscreen to dismiss it. A small opening appeared below the instructor’s work space. The carbon-plasteel desk automatically folded in on itself. As the various struts and supports folded and tucked against each other, the entire desk slowly sank into the opening until it disappeared. A small pop and the opening closed seamlessly in the floor as if it had never appeared.
The instructor now stood alone before the entire class. Scanning the eager faces of the classroom the instructor smiled with contentment. The overwhelming desire for knowledge has already replaced the base primal emotions of youth. The id repression has begun. At such a young age the dorsal ridge along the frontal cortex cranium is under developed. They are after all only four years old.
“Well,” the instructor began, “we must first journey back in time to the Age of Great Medicine during the latter half of the 21st century. Class, who can tell me of the greatest medical advance of the 21st century?”
Everyone in the class threw their tiny arms into the air. At only four years of age only the metacarpals of each hand had begun to notably elongate. The proximal phalanges of some of the students had begun to grow, yet in only a few was it even apparent. Once these children reach maturity in 8 years, all of their digits should be sufficiently elongated and dexterous. Fine motor control is essential for successful working adults, so only adults of high intelligence and strong, elongated fingers gain the very best employment. The best employment provided work areas close to the residential districts providing the coveted “short commute” jobs.
“Charlie,” the instructor motioned towards a young student in the 1st row. “Tell us the answer.”
“In the year 2076, Dr. Herman Goode developed the Genesis Genome. Originally it was only available to world leaders and the extremely wealthy. The Genesis Genome went public on September 21, 2082 and ushered in the era now known as the Age of Great Medicine.” The student resumed its seat.
“Very good Charlie. Who would like to refresh the class as to the purpose of the Genesis Genome?” More arms reached skyward, waving frantically to be chosen. “Lima, you may answer.”
“The Genesis Genome is the basis for life today. When originally introduced it was thought to stave off serious illness. However, after Dr. Goode injected the first subject, he observed the genome attach itself to the white blood cells of the host. It began to strengthen the cells exponentially. The cells then spread throughout the host, eliminating all imperfections it encountered. Damaged cells were instantly restored to operational health. Everything from serious brain trauma to an ingrown hair was immediately restored to full health. The effects proved to be permanent.”
“Correct Lima. The Genesis Genome eradicated disease and imperfection from the human shell. It streamlined human evolution and perfected our bodies in years instead of centuries. It proved to be the basis for all medical advances throughout the Age of Great Medicine and beyond.” The instructor paused, staring blankly at the attentive class. “Yet, the question Juliette asked concerned the physical appearance of the Hollow Ones.”
In row two, the young student Juliette nodded its head emphatically up and down. The student knew that asking the question out of turn could be seen as a punishable offense, however it knew that questions about the Dumb Ones, as the students called them, would be willingly engaged by the instructor.
“As you all know,” the instructor continued, “it was the Grand Cleansing that banished the Hollow Ones from our cities. Even though humanity was at peace world-wide, and disease was a product of the past, small contingents of humanity still clung to archaic notions of individuality.” The instructor scanned the class again, this time paying close attention to every mouth to ensure they answered. “Class, what has history taught us about individuality?”
In unison the class chants, “The one is shunned. Only the whole can survive.”
Satisfied with the complete adherence to educational doctrine the instructor continued the lesson. “The Genesis Genome was not a complete success as humanity discovered over the next few decades. Can anyone inform the class what major problem the Genesis Genome did not address?”
Less hands were present at this question. A few students tentatively looked about the room. The instructor pointed to the student in row 4. “Sierra, do you know the answer?”
“Depressive-Anxious Mental Disorder,” the student spat out proudly.
“Correct Sierra, however would you care to explain D.A.M.D.?”
The pride left the student as it shook its head and sat back in its seat.
………to be continued…………