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Dreams of Tomorrow

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Dreams of Tomorrow

The Red Planet Bar & Grill was like a thousand others. It was a seedy little establishment at the edge of Flynt-towns spaceport and, much like the town, it had seen better days. When Mars was booming, the place would easily seat a few thousand people a night. Now it saw barely a hundred on a good night. It was just the sort of dark, quiet place that Daniel Sokolsky was looking for to do business. He picked a nice dark booth in the back, ordered a steak and waited for his contact.

Peter Devries of GenTech arrived shortly after his steak. The dowdy scientist looked a little twitchy. As he arrived at the table, he scanned the few customers in the bar. Satisfying himself that nothing looked wrong, he sat down in the seat opposite Sokolsky.

Daniel looked up from his steak and said, "Could you have tried to look a little more suspicious?"

Devries ordered a beer and sat back in his chair scanning the small crowd. "What you are asking me to do is a serious crime Mr. Sokolsky. I have to ask: are you a member of the Alliance Secret Service?"

"No. Of course not."

"The Human Genome Preservation Act is very serious business. They would send us to a penal colony for decades if they knew we were even talking about breaking it."

Sokolsky waved his hand at the bar, "You can buy guns, dust or arrange to have someone killed here. The mob runs this place. The cops are paid off."

Devries still looked skeptical but he seemed to relax. He turned on an electronic jammer device so that their conversation could not be recorded. "Like I told you and your wife, we take samples of both your DNA, sequence it, remove any genetic defect or disease and implant a perfect fetus. That's legal. We do it a few hundred times a day all over the planet. It's even necessary because of all the genetic damage that most Mars natives have taken from radiation over the years."

Sokolsky said, "It's the enhancements that we're interested in."

"So you want a genius or a champion athlete."

Sokolsky shook his head. "No. We just want to give our son an edge- edge enough to get out of this place. Mars is a slum and since it was mined out, it is only getting worse."

"So why don't you sign on for one of the new colonies?" Devries asked and sipped his beer.

"Because it is dangerous and difficult and so many colonies fail. I've got a good job here but I want to give my son options."

Devries sighed. "OK. It is expensive and I've got to tell you that it is dangerous. Ordinarily our implantation procedures are completely safe but with enhancements, there a 27% failure rate. There is also a small chance of a rare genetic anomaly occurring as the child matures."

"You aren't much of a salesman Mr. Devries."

"I'm trying to talk you out of it. Public hysteria over enhanced individuals is... quite hysterical these days."

Sokolsky said, "I think we can keep it under wraps."

"You better. Enhancements carry a mandatory ten year minimum sentence."

"So let's talk specifics. What exactly can you deliver?"

Devries smiled and said, "I think we have just what you are looking for. Dr. Bruckner discovered it in her masters work. For her masters thesis, Dr. Bruckner studied the DNA of a number of very prominent scientists: Einstein, Gauss, Liu, Shu- men and women who were the genius of their age. She found something that 98% of them had in common: a mutation in the gene designated H76. We can add it and your son will have the tools that will put him well ahead of his peers."

Sokolsky asked, "How much?"

"400,000 credits. Under the table of course."

"How will we know that we have gotten what we paid for?"

"You will know. Believe me. You will know quite soon. Just be prepared for Ivy League tuitions in fifteen years or sooner."

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I guess I'm going to have to change my diet again. I read the story and thought, "What was the point? Interesting, but what was the point?"

It was only when I read the other two comments that I figured out (ie. read) that this is the first part of more, not a short to stand 100% on its own. Duh. Now it makes more sense.

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That looks great, James :wav: You definitely have a talent for science fiction. If you're looking for constructive criticism, though, I'm not sure I can help you. The only line in the whole piece that didn't feel quite right was the opening dialogue. I had to read it twice before I realised the first phrase was supposed to be sarcastic. Otherwise, I just read and enjoyed :icon13:

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?I think that you be very pleased with your decision Mr. Sokolsky.? Devries drained the beer mug and stood to leave.

?There is one other thing Mr. Devries.?

?What is that??

Sokolsky said, ?Mona is to know nothing of this. If there is any blame, it will be on me.?

?I understand. I will see you Thursday.?

* * *

It was past seven when he finished his dinner. The streets were dark and empty as he walked to the tube station. Beyond the dome that enclosed Flynt-town?s fragile atmosphere, the stars glittered and twinkled brilliantly against the black veil of space.

Walking through Flynt-town any time of day was depressing. He passed row after row of abandoned businesses and shops. What a stunning difference just a couple of decades can make. Twenty years ago the streets were alive with activity day and night. Ore shuttles were lifting off from the space port every thirty minutes. Saloons and nightclubs were open to all hours catering to the miners and other workers.

That was before the ore dried up and the bottom fell out. Ten years ago he wouldn?t have dared walking these streets. Now even the desperate and dangerous were gone leaving only the employees of Flynt-towns fledgling businesses and industries. If it wasn?t for the shipyard being built in orbit, he doubted that the powers that be would keep the city open.

He walked up Anderson and turned left on Keller- avenues named for Mars pioneers that were largely forgotten. Another ten years and he doubted that anyone would know who the large statue in mid-town plaza was. Henry Jefferson, the first human to set foot on Mars a few kilometers from the spot, forgotten in the rust.

Ironic he thought as he walked into the tube station. Nothing rusts in vacuum. Or does it?

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  • 1 month later...

Terrific premise. I've toyed with the idea of pre-determined genetics; imagine being able to go down a checklist for hair color, height, race, body type, resistance to disease, athletic ability, mental capacity, and other aspects. (I can think of a few others I'd be checking, for sure.)

Ve vill haff de Master Race! siegheil.jpg

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