Author : Liz Lafferty

Seven years I’d waited for my DNA match.

Seven years of anxiety about what she would be like. Seven years of stress about whether she’d find me attractive and a suitable provider.

Nineteen billion people inhabited the planet. I never understood why it was so difficult to find the right person. The wheels of Sovereign Earth ran slower than any single nation’s government had before. Always paperwork.

The idea behind DNA review seemed palatable: to prevent physical defects and mental illness. I’d just never thought I’d have to wait so long or that I wouldn’t love my match.

Whoever she was, we were the fortunate ones. We’d get life partners. We’d get to breed, have a plot of our own in one of the eight hundred outliers of our city. It would be better than the concrete and steel, four hundred and ten square feet we were entitled to as singles. I’d recently lost my only window, too, when some bureaucrat’s son trumped me on the ‘need’ scale.

The match meant freedom.

I’d picked up my papers yesterday morning from the databank in Pelnan. I’d slept with them under my pillow.

I only knew her by her serial number. It would be imprinted on her spinal column if I wanted to check once she arrived. I didn’t. I just wanted to see her, say a few words, find out if her match had been as difficult in finding as mine had been.

And then…the rest of our lives.

I was expecting the knock but it startled me anyhow. When I opened the door, my sister Livy stood there.

“Liv, my gosh, how are you?” I pulled her into my arms and hugged her. I hadn’t seen her since my work orders came in. When I gripped her shoulders, she stared at me like she didn’t know who I was. “What’s wrong? Is it mom?”

“No. I…” Tears rolled down her face.

“Tell me!” I nearly shook her to find out why she was so upset.

She held up her papers. They had the Sovereign Earth databank seal. Like mine.

“I came here to meet my DNA match.”

I might have gone as pale as she did. My legs gave out and I collapsed into the only chair I had. “You mean…”

She nodded her.

“Oh, Liv. I’m sorry. How long have you waited?”

“Nine years. I thought this was it. What about you?”


Seven years I’d waited for my DNA match.

Seven years to find out the clowns running Sovereign Earth matched me with my own sister. The next election cycle seemed years away. And it would probably take that long to convince the czars running the databank they’d made a mistake.

“Could be worse,” I finally said.

“I don’t see how.”

“At least we’ll have our own plot of ground.”

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