The year is 2033. You own nothing.
Even the ‘morality pills’ in your pocket are on a microfinance loan secured against your future exhalation-metrics. You regularly practice shallow-breathing techniques, which register on your subcutaneous FitByte as ‘Earth Tokens’. In ten years, you hope to trade them for a day-trip out of the city.
Your daily conversations are an admixture of corporate slogans and approved talking points. Intelligence is commonly understood as the ability to quickly and accurately assimilate and regurgitate your daily news-bites; ignoring contradictions in the narrative is seen as virtuous. Yesterdays news can be today’s heresy and expressing ‘violent opinions’ (even to yourself) is a guaranteed trip to the Tranquillity Camps.
Your co-child’s preschool has recently been upgraded to an immersive ‘Edutech’ pod, and once a month (when it’s your turn to see the child) they come home, talking about getting nudged and poked by ‘Uncle Bill’ and Madam Abromavitch. You think nothing of it, as you see the pair on TV regularly enough.
You work for the OSS (Office of Statistical Security), revising and re-revising historic mortality data (prior to 2020), in line with the latest science models. You learnt in school that work has no meaning, it’s just an organised system of oppression for wages, but it gets you out of your Smart Pod (and away from your 22 room mates).
You save a few carbon-credits by entering a scopolamine-induced mindfulness trance when on all forms of public transport. Studies have shown this can reduce your toxic CO2 emissions by as much as 6% over a lifetime, you tell yourself ‘every little helps’ each morning before you mask-up and begin your daily ‘gas-brings-freedom’ work programme. You had originally signed-up for it, to get a ‘top fan’ badge from the Greta Institute (which has since been revoked).
As of 2029 all statues and iconography of “Greta the Denier” were anaerobically combusted as per EarthGovt Diktat G92188106A2: as-such any discussion of the incident that led to her voluntary interment in the Tranquillity Camps has been disallowed. You secretly hope she’ll survive and be re-canonised by the Climate Regime, in the near future. In your more paranoid moments, you suspect that this thought may be the reason why you’ve been restricted from leaving Biocircular Doughnut Region 12 (the human habitation zone surrounding the green-city wasteland formerly known as Bristol). There are rumours on several State-owned alternative information channels, that she’s now genderfluid and on the road to remediation.
You pass the Covid-Cheka shuttleblocks on your way to work, and see a bearded man being rectally probed beside the road. You say to yourself, “I’m sure glad I got the permaSchwab embedded last year!” Your Neural-lace responds by triggering a small serotonin release and you gain +2 Responsibility Points, which register on your Human Capital data-hub. The driverless Uberbot overhears the word ‘permaSchwab’ and asks if you want to swing-by the clinic… your buttocks twitches and you double-up on morality pills.
Your cousin has a place out in the country, and you sometimes wonder if the rural life would be less demanding. After all, he’s allowed to work the land in accordance with a few simple mandatory guidelines. His ‘CommuPod’ must submit their combined CO2 emissions to Gaia (the Global Artificial Intelligence Amalgamation), every Earth Day; use less than 0.1 global hectares of the EarthGovt’s resources (per mask-wearer); have only 0.23 children per couple, and set-up a shrine to Maurice Strong or Al Gore besides their bunk-beds.
… last time you spoke, he said that the neighbouring farmers had just been “Net-Zero’d” for failure to register unlicensed vegetable production. If only you could find another 32 people in your socially distanced tech-cubicle VR office, and convince them to leave the city, maybe you could move into the farm next to your cousin. You begin to wish that you were still allowed to talk to your colleagues, before popping another pill and forgetting about the whole idea.
Your Quadupem-Dot tattoo is continuously connected to the ‘Internet-of-Bodies’ (IoB), monitoring and reporting your vital body-data, happiness and arousal metrics which are shared in real-time with Caresforce. You got the full package deal, because it came with free complementary shares in your own Happiness-Data, which you traded-in for coupons for a limited edition MucSoylent slushy. Your Caresforce Virtu-Twin warned you at the time, against such reckless Human Capital management, before processing the transaction for you, whilst you waited in the MucSoylent Uber-Q.
You missed the bus today, and so spent a weeks microfinance on a Genobike Share Scheme. You’ll earn some carbon-credits back, once you get to work and sell the electricity that your weary peddling has generated, back to the EarthGovt. The peddles are stiff, but you’re late so you take a shortcut through the soy plantations. Swarms of Monsanto nano-pollinators ziss all around you.
As you finally get to the top of the hill and start to descend, you feel exhausted and yawn, accidentally swallowing a patented Pollinator-bot. Your Smart collar constricts tightly, choking, you fall off your Genobike, the NurtiBullet Al-Gore-rhythms detected a non-approved bug-protein. As such, you are deemed to be using more than your Fair-Shares of the EarthGovt’s resources and are demoted to half Soylent rations, until next Earth-day.