It Started With Paint

[Author’s note : Where the heck did this idea come from? I’m going to have to explore it more…]

“It started with paint, you know.”

That’s what he said. #VB275641. That was his number. He liked to call himself, “Frank.” None of us could figure that one out. I mean, “Frank” was not a name. #VB275641 was his name.

“It started with paint. When they put sensors in the paint. And painted hallways. And public places with that paint. And it spread from there.” I had no idea what #VB275641 was talking about. Sensors in the paint. Of course there were sensors in the paint. There were sensors everywhere. That’s how life worked. How things were.

“We used to have private lives. Privacy. Then the paint came along. And after the paint came the roads. Then the cars. Then the workplaces. Then restaurants. Then stores. Until finally, houses. So now, we have no privacy. We’re watched constantly.”

#VB275641-1 told him to shut up. That if he kept talking like that they’d come take him away again. For retraining. #VB275641 was his life partner. Good, solid genetic match. They made genetically superior offspring. Virtually guaranteed to be free of genetic defects. So far, they’d made two. #VB275641-2 and #VB275641-3. Those two had been so genetically fit, that #VB275641 and #VB275641-1 had been given permission to make #VB275641-4 and #VB275641-5. That was a rare thing. These were special units indeed.

The walls of the room turned red, and displayed bright yellow letters. “WARNING! WARNING! Improper Activity Alert! Decease Improper Activity!”

#VB275641-1 looked at #VB275641 and said, “See. Just you keep this up. And they’ll take you away again.”

#VB275641 sighed. “Apologies. Inappropriate behavior now canceled.” Then, as if to prove it, he changed topics. “So, #VB311684? How’s life? You authorized to change number yet? Next step in getting authorized to produce units.”

My designated life partner, #VB311684. We were not allowed to make units yet. Seems there were some snags on the genetic front. Unlike #VB275641 and #VB275641-1, our genetic match might not yield superior offspring. And because of that, the truth was we may never be authorized to produce any offspring. When I thought of that, it made me sad. But #VB311684 and I had another 2 years yet that we could keep applying. After that, though, we’d have to be altered so we could not produce new units.

We tried to convince ourselves that it was OK. That such was life. I mean. We knew a lot of life partners that had never been authorized to produce units. It made sense, really. If the new units contained genetic defects, then the cost of maintaining those units was higher. And, once we were modified, we would be authorized to engage in unlimited coupling. I’d watched many life partners engage in unlimited coupling after they had been modified. They seemed to enjoy it a lot. So perhaps such a modification would not be a bad thing.

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