Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
One ingredient can change so much.
In this case, it caused a genocide that’s lasting my entire life.
It’s my birthday today. Me and my siblings. Well, I call them my siblings but they’re just hundreds of variations on a theme. Millibicentadodecaheptuplets, technically. One thousand, two hundred and 19 of us. All hatched on February 20th, 2352.
The fact that we still use dates out here based on the orbit of a planet a few thousand light years away makes me laugh. That we use month and day names based on rulers, gods, and religions of that planet makes me laugh even harder. The further away we get, the more arbitrary the names seem.
I wonder if we all would have died on the same day. I mean, those of us that haven’t killed themselves already.
We were supposed to be the first generation of a ship that would reach a fertile planet and populate it with little baby humans. It was to happen on our 25th birthday. Such will not be the case.
An intense wave of EM radiation knocked out the genetic blueprint downloads. The computer was left with one useable sample instead of the thousands that had been saved. Such an event wasn’t foreseen by the creators. A loss of up to 80% of the information was planned for but just one surviving blueprint was not predicted as a possibility.
At the appointed time, the ship did what it was supposed to do with limited information; it made a lot of people. Or, to precise, it made a lot of one person
Today we are all 22. We were awakened by the nurse AI at a physical age of 13 so technically we’re 35 but we don’t count those years we slept in the dream schools learning our specialities.
Genetically, we should have been diverse enough to make gloriously different children in wild combinations, creating a stable population base resistant to disease and illness. But being so similar, we cannot impregnate each other. No babies take hold. There is no purchase in our womb walls. Our sperm don’t recognize their targets.
That didn’t stop us from trying at first. They didn’t need us until puberty, you see. That was the plan. Keep us asleep in our incubeds and educate us through thoughtfeeds until we could start the party. Then wake us up and get half of us good and knocked up so that we’d land on the planet with a bunch of twelve-year-olds a few years away from starting another party of their own on the ground.
It’s all automated. The ship is going to arrive at the planetoid dubbed Sisyphus II in three years to the day. The plan was to head out, build buildings, and take stock of what wildlife is edible.
We won’t build schools or nurseries.
We stopped celebrating our birthdays here on the ship. We don’t keep a lot of eye contact and we don’t talk much. It’s like looking into a mirror but your reflection is a different gender or has a different haircut than you.
The one surviving genetic blueprint we’re all modeled on was a donation specimen from Earth labeled Jacob (Jake) Peterson. If we’re like him, it’s apparent that he was a sad person who would rather end his own life rather than face extreme hardship. Not that big a deal if he was only one person amongst a thousand. But a thousand people prone to sadness?
The ship is dark. This ship is silent. We only cry in our quarters but we cry a lot. I honestly can’t tell you if anyone will be left alive when the ship touches down.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows