Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 41

After the success of Jonas, the Director instructs his project manager to form a list of requisitions. Requests come for neurologists, botanists, biologists, chemists. Names to meet the requests are selected by an array of criteria: the accessibility of their genetic material, their accomplishments, the diseases present during their lifetimes, their ages at death.

The scientists at first refer to the children who come through the machine as “past kids” for its actuarial clarity, but it does not sit right in anyone’s mouth. Soon the children are known by their destination rather than their origin. Future kids, they call them.

They emerge from the machine with unbroken immune systems, with long-extinct antibodies coursing in their blood. The Director marvels at their health and says that they will outlive all the babies born in the next thirty years at least.

None of the scientists can say why they have arrived as adolescents. The programmers attempt to adjust the commands, and still the machine spits out teenagers.

Within months there are too many of them to house onsite, so the Director tells his assistant to find host families for them all. Nearly every household in the Green Zone volunteers, but the Director wants the future kids kept close and only applications from families in the city are considered.

The future kids attend a public school but are set apart from other students. They are given extended school hours, attending classes six days a week from seven a.m. until seven p.m. A rigorous curriculum is designed for each individual student, crafted to guide them to proficiency in their fields as quickly as possible.

Insurgency comes swiftly and sharply, led by Jonas the First. He declares the sciences in general and chemistry in particular to be baloney. Percy

Jessica Rutland | 41