What finally did it? What finally set us back to the stone age? It’s not what you think. Unless, you’re warped. Then, maybe it is.
Technology. Advances in science. They had worked on the nanites for a long time. Nanites could cure our bodies of disease. No more cancer. No more heart disease. Parkinson’s? Alzheimer’s? Paralysis? Those would all be things of the past.
They were right. They did it. Some people were afraid. Truthfully, those people died off. Natural causes. The ones who were willing allowed the nanites to heal them. And, heal them it did.
Our world’s people became strong, healthy, ageless. The problem wasn’t our bodies. It was our minds. The thing is: our bodies healed and became perfect physical specimens, but our minds were still petty. We couldn’t look ahead. We could slow down reproduction.
What would all the societies do if their populations didn’t get sick, didn’t die, but kept reproducing? It seemed like such a gift—until the gift became a curse.
The pollution was overwhelming. The cities burst at the seams. The suburbs became cities. The small towns became cities. The rural areas became cities. There were no forests left, no places to grow food, except through hydroponics. Life became more and more clinical, taking IVs for nourishment, creating pills for sustenance.
There was a breaking point. The population was out of control. The culling began. There were wars over that. How would we choose who, in perfect health, should die?
The sterilizations began. More battles over that. Religious arguments ensued. The wealthy wanted the poor to be sterilized. The moderates wanted all those with one child to be sterilized to reduce the population by half within a generation.
Camps formed. Governments became hostile. People fought for their right to be illogical and make their own choices. This went on until the scientists suggested withholding the nanites from any newborns beyond the firstborns.
New battles ensued over that. Gattaca was brought up. Ethnic cleansing was tossed about. World wars started over who had the right to have children, or more than one. Some countries wanted two. Some wanted a limit of four.
Ironically, the disparity and polarization that fueled the battles reduced the population. It was a short-lived solution.
The scientists met at a secret spot in what used to be Switzerland and agreed to replace the nanites with placebos until the world was set back into a semblance of order. Somehow, they did it.
People became sick again. The children became sick. Disease swept across the Earth. For the second time in two centuries, the population was again under control.
The problem is the wars that were raging bombed the place that held all the answers to disease. The nanites were a thing of the past and the countries all hated each other. Most of the scientists were dead and the people were left to find a way to end the war of all wars.
They needed to find a way to meet together again, rework the technology, and develop a way to be perfectly healthy but not destroy the Earth in the process.
One scientist, who escaped the mess, stole a few nanites in a heart-shaped locket. No one checked because scientists are so logical-they only had searched her briefcase.
She looked at the world and tried to decide which leader to take it to, which place to begin again. The world was a mess, so she put it in a lockbox.
And, here we are. She left me the locket in her will. I’m her granddaughter. The wars ended two decades ago and we’re still picking up the pieces. I don’t know what to do.
I’m no scientist. I want the best for humanity, but perfect health brought out the worst. I don’t know if we’re ready for this. For now, all I can think is to put it in my own lockbox, but I have no one. Nobody to will it to if I die.
I guess I can’t die just yet. I need time to think.
About the author
Zephyr Zywick has three books, each #1 New Releases, still Top 20 Best Sellers on after six months, and remain in "Amazon's Top 100 Best Sellers." She is neurodivergent (on the spectrum) and has specialized in short fiction for two decades.