One Day in 2070
Flash Fiction Anthology
What a Wonderous World
by Laura Hack
Oh no, a virus again! Huh, what is this? Hello? Hello?
“Good afternoon Miss McMillan, welcome to the 567th prototype test of the 243rd cloud time machine of 2070. You are here so that we may spread the message of the future to those of the past. If you are willing to participate we invite you to interview one of our selected participants to ask about your future and our present day. Are you willing to accept full responsibility in case anything goes wrong, not that it would, and participate in this test as a participant from 2020, Miss McMillan?”
Ahhhh, is this a joke? Please hack someone else, whoever you are, I still need to complete my English essay which is due in 45 minutes!
“This is no joke Miss McMillan.”
What? Who are you? Hello? Uh, this computer is really the last garbage, I told my mother to buy me that new one I just recently saw at...
“This is not a joke Miss McMillan, but of course if you refuse to accept your duty as a subject for our research we must, unfortunately, accept your offer to pay us for the loss caused. The information given during this intervention will be deleted under all circumstances of approval—”
My what? Offer to pay for the loss caused? When did I ever—
“Five, four, three, two—”
Okay, okay I will do it. But do it quickly. And also I’m not paying one penny if this is a scam!
“Well done Miss McMillan you have now officially become a success to the future. Please press the blue button on your screen to start the redirection to the live transmission of your interview. Well done Miss McMillan you have now offic—”
“Welcome to the year 2070, I am Claudette Hollow or 2239FPA, your guide whom you will be asking all the questions you have about the future.”
Well, Where do I start?
“How about I start telling you about 2070’s regulations of society and education?”
Yeah.. you’re probably right! But how about you first tell me more about yourself?
“Sure will, I’m Claudette Stephanie Hollow or otherwise known to the government as 2239FPA. In case you’re wondering 2239FPA is my civilian number, I have to know it to be able to do everyday duties such as school (or work in case some of you are over eighteen), going to any type of shop, using public transport, getting lunch from the daily pickup cafeteria… and, and, and. For everything really.”
And... what about your age?
“Well you could say I’m Y12 but my legal age is 17. Y12 stands for the number of legal educational levels you have completed. On average in your lifetime of about 96 years, you complete around 48 Y levels. So, as you can see I am doing a great effort with being ahead by 3.5 Y levels of the average 17-year-old.”
Wow, that’s amazing! And what do you do in these educational Y levels? Is it different from how school works, I mean worked in 2020?
“First off, thank you! I appreciate your kindness, and yes it is different indeed. Depending on the level and what major you have chosen at the end of level 10 determines the tasks you will be completing during your lifetime. The first 10 levels are basic teaching about the understanding of our world, then as mentioned before you choose your major out of the catalogue which is found on the cloud on any governmental device; which are all located all around the outside of the parliament. You often have to book your slot first and then you have about 2 hours to search for the major of your interest in the catalogue. At the end of level nine, you then get an online test to complete, which will sort you into a sector that suits best your abilities. Once sorted you are free to choose any major in that sector's category. For example, I was sorted into the computing sector and I chose to go into robotics, it’s as easy as that. The first 20 levels are compulsory for all citizens though.”
Sounds interesting. And so much better than our current school system. I didn’t want to say it but...
“Ah, haha well. As you continue to work up the levels you improve your abilities, work ethics, and pace which are all monitored on your chip implanted into your working hand’s wrist. To access your data just press the blue button on the inside of your wrist and wait for the program to project your information, there you can see all your activities ever performed. Data such as name and civilian number, age, level, performance percentage and your personal timetable created by your household's AI can be found there. When you reach level 15, however, you apply for a job. With an easy press of ‘Send’ on the chip all your non-confidential data is sent to the company you have applied for. If accepted, you will get a direct message sent to your chip within exactly two days. So, there is no need to stress or worry! Any other questions?”
Well, what if I change my mind about my career?
“Your career can be reselected by seeking an attendant at your local major office, but your chosen sector is permanent. If you want to change your major again, a fee is transacted from your bank account. All automatic and online (as you would call it), of course, so that you can focus on studying or, in case you have free time scheduled, pursue your favourite hobby!”
What hobbies are there to choose from?
“All that you desire. However, if you choose a hobby that is not linked to your sector you need to apply to get permission from your local site to leave your sector.”
What is a local site?
“A local site is your sector's building in which all governmental decisions for your sector are decided and data is stored. Ah, I forgot to mention, once sorted into a sector you are transported to your district, where you live and spend most of your time. But of course, you can, if applied, leave to different districts. If so, however, only for a certain and permitted time.”
Woah, that’s really crazy! What if you fail a level?
“You can’t really fail a level but if the government realises that you’re making less progress than their data says you should they might alarm special services to help you out. Most people, however, will recover relatively quickly. If not, you are taken to the outskirts of the city for peaceful reinforcement. I think you used to refer to that as ‘vacation’ in the old days.”
Free vacation? Woah really? What about mental illnesses how are they taken care of in the future?
“You’re funny. These days there are only rare cases of any mental conditions since we are all made inside the incubators and often modified before birth. If however, a case does occur they too are taken to reinforcement to help them get treated.”
Incubators and modified what do you mean?
“I mean that most of us are not made through natural human reproduction anymore like they used to do in 2020 and earlier. Since 2045 incubators are used to grow embryos inside plastic bags which stimulate all of the conditions of a female womb. Of course, there are some of which still refuse to do so as it is often not so little in expense. But then again, there are disadvantages of the traditional way and through the incubators, the embryos are monitored as they grow, to supply them with the best living conditions possible.”
And how does the embryo get in these plastic bags?
“The egg cells are first extracted from the mother, observed in a laboratory the same goes for the sperm and then get combined in the laboratory to produce the zygote which is then placed in the bag, and grown there. The best thing is that the parents can then visibly watch their child grow. An add on to that is, although oftentimes only provided for the rich, higher-class citizens of which I am part of, is to modify your child even before it is being fused together. The only thing you have to do is select your preferences of appearance, gender, strengths, weaknesses and so much more online on a form and your baby is made. Once it’s fully grown, the parents get a mail with a date and time to pick up their offspring up from their assigned incubator, which can also be modified with an extra fee. Isn’t that just wonderful!”
Umm...yeah. I guess that seems quite extraordinary, don’t you think?
“Oh not at all. It is all according to plan.”
Ah, I see. So... you don’t believe that there are areas of improvement in your society, am I right?
“Well, no why should I?”
“Oh pardon me but, I wasn’t sincere in my asking, but rather I used it as a rhetorical device.”
Ah… I see... Well, thank you so much for the little insight.
“No worries if you have any further questions on the World of 2070 just contact my chip through the cloud using my civilian number as stated earlier.”
Ah, yes… of course, 2239FPA alias Claudette.