Writing & Photo Contest 2018 Winner — Fiction

11:07 AM, 25 February 3052, Laboratory Room 4

Located Dr.-serial number: 10007400-

You have chosen to begin at -Laboratory Room 4- on -February 25th, 3052 at 11:07 AM-.

-Rewind. Play –

In -Laboratory Room 4- , rows of long tables occupy the room’s center. Filled with beakers and flasks, the tables gleam with the bright overhead luminaires. A pile of unfinished notes lay rumpled on top of a counter. Only two humans currently inhabit the room.

“Dr. Horten, your latest drug, the ‘Youth Enhancer’, was truly astonishing. It retracted the visible signs of aging more potently than natural collagen has ever been able to do before. The people absolutely loved it. So the Orenago Pharmaceutical Association is asking you to solely dedicate yourself to the medical aesthetic field.” says Dr. -serial number: 18960309- , one of the humans inhabiting the room.

“But Chief Niven, what about the ‘Cancer Curing’ drug I’ve been working on? Please let me finish my research first” responds Dr. -serial number: 10007400-, the other human and a common inhabitant of -Laboratory Room 4-.

“I’m sorry Dr. Horten but you are needed in our aesthetics department, not the diseases department. Anyhow, with the new compounds from Saturn 3, a cure will be found shortly. Your priority should be to help Orenago progress!” exclaims Dr. -serial number: 18960309-. He strides to the room’s exit as he says with finality “I expect your next drug will enhance Orenago, Horten.” The reverberating sound of the slamming door challenging the fading timbres of his resonating voice.

The remaining doctor runs her fingers through her hair until it’s caught in the end tangles and sighs. Dr. -serial number: 10007400- walks over to the crowded counter and grabbing her X-pen she opens her Air File in the space above. Opening a new Air File she writes ‘Experiment Eternality’.

-Fast Forward- 2:04 PM, 10 June 3054, Laboratory Room 4 -Play

An empty flask rolls around in a looping circle, papers marked with illegible scrawls are scattered across the tables, and unused petri dishes are cluttered with the sanitized instruments.

The laboratory room is filled with young medical aesthetics practitioners; apprentices perhaps. They occupy every available space on the tables.

“Dr. Horten, astonishing news! The protein Q3 from Mars matches your formula for the ‘Ethnic Changer’’’ says one of the apprentices to Dr. Zero. With a tight smile Dr. Zero stands up and follows the apprentice. The table they stop at is far and the surrounding apprentices are obscuring my view. Voices are overlapping, indistinguishable.

Dr. Zero reappears. Sitting down at her centered table she grabs her Xpen to tap at the space above. An Air File with the title ‘Experiment Eternality’, alongside other files, appear on her Air Folder. ‘Hunger Eliminator’, ‘Face Reshaper’, ‘Mood Levitator’.

Dr. Zero’s eyebrows scrunch downwards and her lips tighten. She murmurs, “It’s not enough.” She scrolls through her Air Folder once more and then closes it. “No closer to being Prime Planet than two years ago.”

An apprentice working nearby, on what appears to be an artificial model of the dermis layer of the human face, hears Dr. Zero’s and turning to Dr Zero with a frown he says, “I wouldn’t say Orenago hasn’t progressed in the last two years Dr. Horten. In fact, your ‘Eternity Pill’ influenced the implantation of those new laws last year.” Dr. Zero frowns now as well. She’s trying to recall the laws the apprentice mentioned. “Remember? The set of laws that increased Orenago’s productivity over 60 percent”

“Oh! You mean the ‘Happiness Laws’.”

“The ‘Happiness Laws’? Oh that’s right, I forgot you like to give things a title.” the apprentice grins brightly. “Yes, the ‘Happiness Laws’”

Dr. Zero sighs, “but the laws implanted last year were just a logical follow-up to my drug. After all, why would Orenago continue to believe in inefficient notions like that of marriage or religion? They are now immortal. It’s logical that Orenagonians should now study longer, retire later, and work indefinitely.”

“Oh, I heard it’s because some people refused to take the ‘Eternality Pill.”

“Why would they refuse? The OPA is a part of Orenago’s healthcare system. We know what is best for the people.” She frowns. “Don’t they know we strive to enhance Orenago? So we can be Prime Planet?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway since your drug became mandatory to Orenagonians with the ‘Happiness Laws’. Even if they refused, they are obligated to take it.” He shrugs. “I hear it was even altered to be a vaccine so the process can move faster in conservative lands.”

“Really? I didn’t know they changed my drug to a vaccine.” she grins. “The name ‘Eternity Pill’ must be confusing then.”

The apprentice laughs.

-… My view is shifting. Figures and colours are swirling rapidly– No its– its advancing past me.

Its stopped. Its dark. Oh- it’s the same lab room as before, just empty of its earlier occupants. The room is empty, but still messy. Humans are so messy.

Something moved.

A hand running through tangled hair. My view is adjusting. Its Dr. Zero.

“Evolve” she whispers into the dark “Orenago needs to be Prime Planet.”

She’s standing by her table at the center of the room. With a firm nod she grabs a capsule infused with a dark substance from her table and swallows it unhesitatingly. Quickly grabbing a stray tablet from the table she lifts it to her face and gazes upon the hissing blue screen.

Dr. Zero’s body is changing. Blue electricity bolts race across her body. Her pupils dilate into a blue rim in a pool of whiteness. Her body glitches. The tablet falls through her faded fingers.

The glitches stutter.

She’s facing me. I’m facing me.

A high screech sounds. Frightened.

Glitch. Gone.

The tablet resumes its static hissing. Blue rimmed eyes flash from its screen.

– I… help… evolve … Orenago… Prime Planet –

-Rewind-

“Best for the people”

“Altered to be a vaccine”

“‘Eternity Pill’”

The apprentice laughs.