A not-to-distant future where people are expendible.
|Specimen number 35-757-51 was tired, just tired. She was on her fifteenth pregnancy in six years and had seen none of her female gestational products mature enough to exempt her from her recurring obligations.
Since 2092, with passage of the “Self-Selected States Rights Act”, she being of empty mind and fertile body was required by law to put her best parts forward and produce. She wished she’d been born back then, she would have voted for something else, anything else. As it was, her state had two options when their vote came up. They could have opted to make nuclear missiles and succumbed to radiation induced leukemias. It seemed a fair exchange over fetal donation. But no, her state, being a state of rifle-toters, was also a state of game hunters, and they didn’t want to risk hunting three headed bears and two tailed elk; the animals might actually win.
Her state, being one of the rifle-toting throwbacks of the right-to-bear arms movement had voted to supply the country’s war machinery. That was their solo obligation. Fight, hunt, breed, or die. She could either go to war herself, since gender and/or pregnancy was not an automatic disqualification, or she could send rifle-toting progeny in her place.
She considered going once, early on, but then her fertility implant starting working and due to hormone-induced psychosis, she thought that by carrying the trainable replicative genome to term, well…at least it had a fighting chance. Now she was just scared. If she went and got herself terminated, well, then they’d both be dead. Right? Maybe not? There was the stasis remune regenerator which, when plugged into you, impregnated you, and your brain dead body construct continued to breed, but just unconsciously now. Or at the very least, it was a little less consciously than she could fake. They would also speed up your pregnancy from the usual three months to who knew what? The maturation accelerator hormones only made the mother insane if it was used more than 3 times a year or was accidentally leaked into her system, rather than the fetus. And no one knew what happened to the fetus when its growth was accelerated to such a rate. The parasite probably sucked the life out of the mother right along with her few functioning brain cells.
As she thought about being unconscious, it did have a certain appeal. It wasn’t easy to bury one’s progeny, but since she didn’t really know them, it became somewhat easier as time wore relentlessly and predictably on. She reminded herself that the government had been correct in taking the life products at birth while she was unconscious or paralyzed, rather than waiting for three generative years, as had been suggested in one of the earlier proposals. Who could give up a three-year-old?
She sighed deeply as she contemplated continuing to do her part, even if it was for a good cause. She began to contemplate “good cause.” She realized she’d better stop thinking like this or she’d have to go out and get a gun and shoot somebody. The problem with that was, they’d shoot back and then where would she be? Back to the remune regenerator with somebody’s hand up her hoo-hoo, that’s where. Still doing her job, but with no ability to resist, complain, or even hold her breath until she turned blue.
Being a “supreme war goddess” was tiring though. And since election of the Border Expansionist Party, she had personally witnessed three border skirmishes, two failed coup attempts, and two police-state emergencies. She hated the term “police state emergency” as it gave the president free reign to attack any enemy at will, as long as she didn’t use a nuclear anihilating device or advanced mechanize war-craft.
She pondered; it was hard to call the president a “she” since she had to give up her uterus and ovaries at puberty in order to be a future candidate from the state of Presidentia. No one wanted a president subject to pregnancy, monthly cycles, or menopause, especially other women. She had to be manlier than men, hence her eunuch status. It was sexist, even for the twenty-fourth century, but what could she to do? She was a throwback to the Stone Age and could easily be hit in the head with a wooden club and impregnated for all the protection she had. The state might even think it was cheaper.
In a police state emergency, the president could also readily supply her generals with an endless supply of volunteer warriors since the fighting age was dropped from sixteen to twelve. It also automatically increased the donor requirement by negating the current pregnancies while the police state emergency was in play. The involuntary agreement was clear, sixteen pregnancies, not deliveries, were required, and twins, triplets, etc. only counted as one, even though multi-births did earn you dividend points, as did the uncounted PSE pregnancies.
She sighed. There was no check. There was no balance, and God had been deleted from written language long ago. You could verbally swear to Him, but that was it; no praying and no groveling.
Sometimes she wished she had been born in some other state. Perhaps, the organ donor state would have been less harsh. She could have had a few fetuses, donated one of their paired organs, or a lobe of their liver, as required, had them replanted in someone else, and then thankfully retired on her government stipend with a letter of esteem gratitude from a few imminently deserving recipients.
She had had two of her male progeny deemed mentally disengaged which meant they couldn’t be expected to volunteer for military service and so were transferred across state lines where they only had to donate a kidney apiece as their governmental service. Of course their progeny would also have to donate an organ or two, but you could live with one kidney, one lung, or a half a liver, but not necessarily with a bullet in your cranium. She felt she’d done them a good turn, so she should have some “goody points” in the bank. Besides, as future gestational fluid donors, they were of no use to her.
She’d heard, but never seen, that though they used Teflon coated insertion devices to evacuate the fluid from the donors, some could actually self-extract, if necessary. Unfortunately for them, the required weekly volume removed all desire to self-extract. Many of the male donors were on gonadal supplementation anyway. And if caught wasting preconception products, well, it was off to the experimentation labs for a minimum of six months. She’d heard those gonadal labs were truly barbaric. No one ever admitted to being in those labs, but you never knew. Maybe she should check her latest donor and see if he, at least she thinks he’s a man, had one of those bypass valves. She’d never seen him produce anything. He just came with the injector device weekly until she’d conceived, did his duty, and left. He could be so cold and detached, and he never heated the injector. It was like being injected with ice-cubes.
She was ambivalent about the failed conception episodes. It was nice not being pregnant, but being on her hands and knees in that sling device for weeks on end made her head swell. She also had to worry that the government would just come, rip out her ovulator, and dress her in a camouflage uniform. She was too close to completing her mission to end up on the battlefield. Nobody ever came back from there. At least, they didn’t come back with every natural part still attached and recognizable as humanoid.
She remembered when she saw one of her brood-mates, 35-757-46. He’d survived the “Coastal Battle of Nevad.” He wasn’t tightly wound when he left; he chose to go into battle. But when he returned, he was completely unraveled. He was useless for progeny donation, even with a diverting device, and they had no idea which direction he would shoot in, so battle was out. They were about to donate him for parts when scientists noted that he had a photographic memory and could reproduce indistinguishable copies of important pseudo-art of the 18th century. Why anybody would want that stuff soared beyond her. It wasn’t as though you could eat it, spend it, or choke it. It appeared to have no discernible value whatsoever, but it did save him from being redistributed.
If only she could have been born in another state or had conjugation donor mates who put out more than defective female bullets. Maybe she could have avoided all the weight-bearing complications like the clots in her legs, her watermelon-sized uterus, and the inability to sneeze, giggle, or let out a relaxing silent one without wetting herself. Life was hard. It was just her luck to be born with liposuction resistant fat deposition disease. She could have sold the fat globules permanently entrenched in her thighs to all the stick women with no curves whatsoever, and used the surplus income to buy dividend points.
She also had an inability to be anorexic, though she illegally prayed for it. And binging and purging, well whom was she kidding? She was born without a uvula and gifted with no gag reflex, so she could stuff her whole arm down her throat and…nothing. Besides, eating disorders were criminal offenses and if you got caught, you had to volunteer for genetic experimentation until you returned to within ten percent of your ideal body weight. Nobody ever lost or gained weight fast enough to survive the experiments and no government investigation had ever figured out why or placed fault with anyone. She was sure some of the experiments tested just how much food you could eat before you exploded or wretched until you ruptured something. At her rate, she’d be hooked to a genetic extraction device just about three months from now. She could pray this was all water, but it didn’t shake like water. It shook like fat.
Her reciprocal cousins over the state line looked the luckiest by far. They had elected to be a state where transparental fetal transposition was an option to be utilized episodically, at the woman’s discretion. She would have loved to tell her most regular male depositor that it was his turn to harbor some stretch marks, have people pinch his more than ample behind, and pass out while trying to catch his breath every time he needed to run to the little boy’s room. She did manage to laugh at that. Damn! Now she had to go change.
Maybe next year, during the 5-year authorized state population redistribution schedule, she could use her fetal wastage dividends and option up to a blood donor state, or better yet, a state where all she had to do was work at some menial job like fluffing cotton-tip swabs and paying taxes on your salary. That would truly be a blessing. She might actually become interested in sex again, sex without repercussions, of course. As soon as she had state clearance, she would have the fertility implant removed, and personally take a hammer to her ovaries. They did allow that after all. It was the one true gift a gravida producer looked forward to. Her maternal donor, who she relieved after only seven pregnancies, had promised her that though the little egg bags looked shriveled and worn, they still popped with a supreme satisfaction no one could appreciate like a henny penny. She looked forward to that. It was nice to have something to look forward to.