a not to distant future where people are expendible.
|Specimen Number 35-757-51
Supreme war goddess specimen number 35-757-51 slowly awoke from her drug-induced slumber. It took her a while to recognize where she was, but when she did; she quickly looked at her upper arm to check her number tattoo. It had been changed. Her latest progeny had survived, and it was a female.
She should have been ecstatic, but it dawned on her that she wasn’t. Now she would have to make a choice: relegate this one to take her place, or send her off to war, hoping against all hope there would be no war. She realized the president had signed a peace-pact, another one, but she knew how long those lasted. This latest product would undoubtedly lay wasted on some battlefield before she turned twenty. All the others had. She wasn’t sure she could bear it. She didn’t know why they bothered to tell her, every single time. Why? She wasn’t sure.
She rang the call-bell. She needed more sedation or possibly electroconvulsive therapy. This was probably post-extraction depression. Usually, it didn’t occur so quickly. In the past, she had managed to be discharged from the extraction dormitory before it hit. She asked the nurse for the shock therapy. Forget the slow acting pills. Why play with drugs when all you wanted to do was take your ball and jacks and go home?
This time when she awoke, she had the familiar bite marks on her swollen lips indicating they had been chintzy with the drugs and she had had a seizure or two, or three. It felt like three. Her lips were practically hamburger. Or, at least, what she thought hamburger must feel like. She’d never seen or had any. It was forbidden to all supreme goddesses since all the hormones present would make them fatter and more likely creative of cattle-children or some such simple animals incapable of aiming a rifle.
The ability to have an almost funny thought alerted her to the fact that the shock had worked. She’d be back to her old sour self in no time.
As she walked in her front door later that morning, she realized someone had been by to clean up the mess. She was grateful. She thought that surely her artificial wood would be buckled and warped. Sometimes, she thought, they really went too far with this artificial stuff. Everybody knew it wasn’t real, so why try and fake that it wasn’t. Boy, she was really coming back.
As her mind returned, she returned to her dilemma. She only had 48 more hours to decide. It shouldn’t be so difficult. It really shouldn’t. Now, she understood why some of the war goddesses creatively managed to have only male progeny. Their male progeny gonad size, percolator counts, and gestational fluid production rates determined whether they would be donors or go off to war. The female progeny were all considered fertile and were guaranteed fertile once the fertility implant started working.
Maybe she should focus on something else. Something like, who came into her home and, of all things, cleaned. She couldn’t even smell the sleegards and that smell usually lasted for weeks. It was as though the smell invaded your pores and all the pores of your furniture, so every time you sat down, you spilled it back into the air. At least she could tell the difference between the couch farting and her own body farting; at least, sometimes. Her farts were positively pleasant in comparison, at least when they didn’t chase her from her single room dwelling.
Her mind was beginning to wrap itself around the fact that no one she knew would come in and clean her cubed space. The fact that all of them were the size of small elephants and due to drop warrior products at any moment may have had something to do with her conclusion. She surmised that if any of them bent over and tried to wipe the floor they would likely expel their fetal products across the room smack into the wall behind them. Then, they’d have another mess to clean up and the smelly sleegards would likely show up and doubly concentrate the stinkiness. It could really get messy. When she came home and saw and smelled the mess, then they would have to deal with her pouty disposition while she was sourly post-partum depressed.
Maybe she should just give up guessing and start asking around. But whom would she ask? In any case, it was clean. Why complain?
She was lying on the couch admiring the luxurious cleanliness and enjoying the icepack massager when the door buzzer sounded. Again, the war goddess was disturbed. She’d taken a deep breath, now that she could breathe, and was readying herself to be ugly, when she realized she needed to reconsider. Maybe it was Bill. She smoothed her dress to look at the video security screen. It looked like a woman, but again, so did Bill.
She was just about to turn away when the visitor turned and looked directly into the camera, and there he was, Bill.
She opened the door to let him in without even thinking about it. As he entered she couldn’t help but remember the last time she’d seen him. That was a mistake. As he went over to the freshly laundered couch to sit down, he saw the melted ice pack. She needed help. How could she discuss this? Again, without even thinking she just blurted it out, she needed ice for her hoo-hoo. She hoped he didn’t mind, but she did just drop a baby and the ice pack was to keep her staples and stitches in place.
To her amazement, Bill didn’t miss a beat. He quietly got up, went into her kitchen and wrapped some iced gelatin squares and brought them back to her. She didn’t remember purchasing gelatin squares. He was about to place them when she plaintively requested to do it herself, if he wouldn’t mind turning around while she adjusted herself and applied some ice. If he didn’t turn around quickly though, she would just have to embarrass herself and show him her swollen stapled and stitched hoo-hoo.
He turned. Again, she hoped she hadn’t repulsed him. She didn’t know if she could stand it if another person turned from her in disgust. Being a war goddess just didn’t appeal to most people. She was no more than a specimen shoot to most people. Some people held her and producers like her responsible for the continuous wars and conflicts. Some bizarre twisted reasoning, if you asked her. Produce specimens and the world will create a war to use them up? Then again, if there were no specimens, there would be no wars. At least, not wars with living breathing people fighting them. It did have a certain appeal.
Before she began to spiral down that deep dark hole of despair, Bill spoke. What he said was so simple. He wanted to get to know her and he asked if she minded that he called her Susan. She just looked like a Susan to him and he really liked the name.
As he looked at her, she realized she must resemble a piece of meat, a piece of meat with a whole lot of fat and gristle on it, she surmised. Still, she felt good about it. Imagine that, a Susan, and a Susan that somebody wanted to know. Bill wanted to know. Now, what did he really want?
Maybe he was just a test. She’d heard about tests. She’d failed a few in her time. She hadn’t ended up hooked to a machine, but she’d been warned often enough. Everyone had.
But what was life if not lived with risks? She’d call him Bill. She’d also have two more children. Let the female progeny make the choice for herself. She’d at least start off with a clean slate. It was the least Mom could do.