It’s already time for the final prompt given to me by you! Time flies when you’re having fun 😛 I apologise for being a week late. I wasn’t well last Monday and vertigo made it impossible to look at my screen. So many people in my library had the same thing that it’s officially been dubbed The Library Cold 😀
But let’s get on with it, shall we? 🙂 This week’s prompt was given to me by my SO, who found it on Reddit.
What will happen on Mondays from now, you ask? I had a few options, but was especially tempted by something I found on K. J. Chapman’s blog Writerly Bookish Stuff (check it out if you haven’t already – inspiration and great writing abound!). I’ll be using my book of baby names for my prompts, start at the letter A and then work my way through the book until I’ve done the whole alphabet. I’ll be using one name from each letter, chosen at random. I’m not sure yet how I’ll decide whether I’ll use a boy’s name or girl’s name since my book is split in the middle. Rolling a die, maybe? Bi-weekly Twitter polls? I’m open to ideas 🙂 (Honestly, though, would you guys be up for bi-weekly Twitter polls?) The first baby name prompt will be posted next week.
As always, if the prompt speaks to you and you’d like to give it a go, please do! Please link back here if you join in so I can be nosy and read your interpretation 🙂
All humans are made sterile at birth and can gain fertility at 18 if they pass a simulated morality and IQ test administered by an AI. Suddenly several generations later no one can pass the test.
“What do we do now?” I ask Luce. She’s been doing this job for longer than I have. If she doesn’t have an idea… Well, I don’t. I guess humanity as a whole is doomed? Can’t say I want to be the one who made our downfall possible.
“What do you mean?” she asks, leaning against her desk and sipping at her coffee. I can smell the vile stuff from where I’m standing, but then our office isn’t that big.
“Come here,” I say, and wait for her to stand next to me. I can just about smell the faint scent of roses on her, underneath the strong waft of caffeine. “See this, there?”
She nods, brows furrowing. “I see. That is a problem. What do we do indeed.” Her eyes have become distant, her voice quiet. “I guess we’re gonna have to hack the system.”
“What? You can’t be serious!” Manipulating the AI that determines who’s allowed to have a baby and who isn’t is treason. There’s a reason this system exists. If we ignore it, bypass the security and– I shiver. It is treason.
Luce raises her eyebrows at me, but sips her coffee as before. She’s far too relaxed given what we’re discussing. “Of course I’m serious. You can hack this shit, right?”
I lied when I applied for this job. They needed a hacker, a senior hacker, and I knew just enough to fake my credentials for when they ran their backup checks. I was shitting myself the entire first year I worked here, thinking that surely by now someone had figured out that I was a fraud, but nothing happened.
I never studied anything so ferociously in my entire life in such a short amount of time.
“I can,” I say, steading myself by gripping the edge of the table. “But this isn’t like faking your son’s grades so he can get into his dream college, Luce. If anyone finds out what we’ve done, we’ll be exiled!”
Luce snorts. “If we’re lucky, you mean. Look, you can either hack this, and the human race can continue, or we’re slowly going to die out. You know what leaving things as they are would cause?”
I do, but I don’t want to think about it. “Civil war, eventually.”
Luce nods. “We’re not that stupid, Eric. Sooner or later they’ll realise that class rooms are empty, that day cares are too quiet and too tidy, and that no one is applying to college and university anymore.”
She’s right. If I do nothing, I doom humanity, but if I do what she wants me to anyone would be allowed to reproduce again. There are good reasons we have this system.
I open the bottom drawer of my desk, and throw all the pointless, filler paperwork onto my desk to get to the bottle below. I unscrew it, and take a big swig.
“You had this under your desk this whole time?” Luce asks, and I blush.
“Funny thing to fire me over considering what you want to me to do.”
She walks over and takes the bottle out of my hands. “I’m not firing you, you idiot, I want in!” For a moment we’re both silent while Luce stares at me. I can’t tell if I’m blushing because her eyes are scrutinising me or because of the whiskey. “So, what will you do?”
I’m going to regret this. “I’ll hack it. Give me an hour, two max. Think you can buy me enough time?”
She doesn’t even hesitate. How can she be so comfortable with this? “I can. Hurry up, though, will you? If the managers ask for a random surprise inspection I won’t be able to keep them away.”
I smile, but my hands shake. “When has that ever happened?”
“Don’t jinx it, Eric.” Luce sounds worried now. Actually worried. She’s not as calm about this as I thought. “Now, get to work,” she says and slips out of the office, closing the door behind her.
I guess I have work to do.
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All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer