“This is highly unacceptable! We have been wronged and stripped of our basic rights! But hear you me, my brothers, we shall not stand down!”

The voice boomed from all around in the fairly large conference hall, but seemed to have no effect on the silent audience. No stir of approval, no rustling agitation, no turning of heads; just a stone cold silence accompanied by the icy stares of a hundred motionless eyes fixed on the lonely speaker standing on the elevated platform at the far end.

“How dare they put forward such insults?” continued the speaker in his fiercest voice, trying not to act surprised at the passivity. He was Brad Whitman, former president of the Central Union; a politician of extraordinary caliber who had the reputation of being able to bend the law at will.

Earlier that week the new president had made the declaration that any person with less than 25% flesh in his/her BMI will no longer be considered as a human being and shall be stripped of all human rights. He had given a convincing speech accompanying his declaration, stating how the new technology of body add-ons are being used more through greed of greater abilities than through need. There had been cases witnessed where babies no older than 2 years were being fitted with memory pockets and stimulators for their brain. People with metallic limbs had been ousting the normal poor in their labor. In fact, since only the rich and the mediocre could afford such add-ons, the poor have been suffering immensely. Their children stand no chance in school where the ‘modified’ lads excel in all fields, they cannot find general labor work since their human arms are weaker in comparison, whereas the higher jobs require advanced brains along with 500TB of internal brain memory pockets. But most horrifying of all, there has been a recent trend where people are deliberately getting rid of their organic arms and organs and replacing them with artificial ones, thus violating the very purpose of add-ons.

Brad Whitman knew the man had a point. The add-ons were killing mankind. But they had become a part of the human world. Just like back in the 21st century, when humans realized their industries were killing off forests. They fought for decades, pretending there was a way out when there was none. When it was slowly becoming evident that all industries were indispensable, Inor Baldwan came up with the virtual eco-balance system, and suddenly trees and pretention were no longer needed. Few wise people gathered up seeds, which later made them billionaires through tree museums.

Whitman scanned the hall through his glasses. The audience seemed attentive enough. Each one of them was a multi-billionaire and fell into the category which had just been declared inhuman. They were more than a century-and-a-half old, and almost completely artificial except for the human brains inside their metallic skulls, which too were kept alive by various machines. But all these were efficiently hidden under smooth skin, and if you look at them, you’d see handsome gentlemen of twenty-five. If they survived till the AI system is mastered, maybe they’d get their brains replaced too and gain immortality. Whitman admitted to himself that standing in front of these people was a little disturbing. He himself was just seventy years old and completely human, apart from the compulsory filters added to his sensory systems when he was born. He had no interest in what became of these men, but their money and power were needed for him to win his cause.

This made him think of the real reason behind him being a part of this protest movement. He thought of the little girl waiting for him patiently at his lonely home, so beautiful that it broke his heart just to think of her labeled inhuman. She has been the same little girl for the past forty three years now. She cannot grow, for she’s all metal, ever since that accident. The visualization of her face gave him a new strength. He was about to start with another lengthy speech, when he glanced at the clock and sighed. It was time for the men to leave, and nothing in the world could’ve kept them inside that hall.

Sure enough, they all stood up as the clock struck twelve, and headed out through the door in a single file. Just like robots, it would seem…

 

2 Replies to “Through Time”

  1. This was a very good story. If I had written this, I’d be pretty excited about it, but I’d spend some more time chiseling it, because in this form it seems a little quick and rough-hewn. My suggestion: make the last twist a more climactic one, less predictable (your earlier description of the audience already betrays the conclusion a little). Also, ironically a crucial point that sci-fi stories stand on is their believability. Build up the background politics and history in a more careful manner, more plausible, more naturally expected of the future. And revise the whole thing a couple of times. Change words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs to give it that final touch that makes a story beautiful. If you take the effort to do all this, you’ll stand back and say, ‘Now that’s a story.
    Also, ‘babies no older‘, I think.

    1. Actually this was written in a very short time. Deep-da was pressuring me to submit a sci-fi story for the Inquivesta brochure. I had never written sci-fi before and wasn’t too interested in writing one either. This is just the skeleton. I had planned to put in more detail and make it less straight forward, but Dipanjan-da volunteered to write the story instead. So I published the draft here. Maybe I’ll pick it up again in the future.

      Thanks for the suggestions!

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