Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

I am too old to enjoy the future. I am physically unable to.

People, like older trees and metal from the ground, could not be retro-engineered. Transporters were finally here but everyone who had dreamed of their existence could not use them. Anyone already born at the moment of their invention were forever denied the use of them.

It was a magic man-made molecule. A destabilizer, a cataloguer, and a quantum anchor pairing that, when activated, allowed for a temporal reversal field to happen to all particles attached to its field. Basically, one pressed ‘play’ and the object with these designer molecules took itself apart down to the base level. When the completion trigger was transmitted to a sister pad, it activated a ‘rewind’ function on the other half of the quantum anchor pairing, making the object build itself again by performing the actions backwards in time. The time debt repaid itself to the trillisecond and the universe remained in balance.

In effect, it made transporters a reality.

The only hitch was that transportable objects needed to be manufactured from the base up with the molecules embedded into their chains. This presented no problem to ferroplastics, ceramics and chemical compound agents which were the basis for most building materials and household utensils destined for the moons or the outer rim.

It was a simple operation to have the molecules chemically bonded into the DNA chains of an embryo but only in the first trimester. A new generation of people were being created with the ability to flit between transporters both on Earth and her fifteen colonies in the solar system. It worked for other biologicals as well. NuMeat and ReFish were plentiful among the planets.

The rest of us were planet-locked.

Cargo slingships pushed Gs that would crush a regular human, let alone an old one like me. Passenger ships were fewer and fewer in number with the new generation’s ability to transport instantly. It drove ticket prices into a cost bracket only the superrich could afford. And I was not rich. I could never leave Earth and even when traveling around my own world, I was restricted to fuel-burning planes and buses with the other old people.

I’ve read about getting old. How events around you seem to speed up. How life gets harder and faster while your ability to deal with it weakens. I feel that it must be more apparent now than ever before in the history of mankind.

I am not merely slow. I am going extinct. The other seniors and I are the last few remaining members of a pruned branch of the human race. Airports and bus stations are only for the aging and the already ancient.

We have an official classification now. While the rest of humanity is still referred to as homo sapien, we have been re-designated as homo tardus. Slow humans. The young ones simply call us ‘tards.

It is humiliating to have to move so slowly. I dearly wished to be a part of a future with transporters and now that it’s happened, I have my nose pressed against the glass with no ability to take part. Myself and the other science fiction fans who have lived to this moment are cursing our longevity, growing bitter.

We take trips together and huddle in our apartments, watching vintage science fiction shows using antique ‘DVD players’ and 2D ‘televisions’ with tears in our eyes as our numbers dwindle.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows