Adam - A Story of the Future

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The year is 4848. The world is freezing due to man's greed and Adam Johnson has had enough.

Submitted: December 30, 2011

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Submitted: December 30, 2011

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Adam
 
By James Begert
 
 
“I am truly sorry, but the exodus cannot yet occur.  We are still working on a solution.  I am sorry my people.”, said High Elder Zutali and out when the transvision set.
 
“You bastard! You will kill us all!”, yelled Adam Johnson at the mechanical device.
 
“Easy.  Please hun.  You know the penalty for treason.”, said Lorna trying to quiet her husband.
 
Johnson picked up a crystal vase off the table, an award from the foundry.
 
“Death!”, he yelled as he plunged it into the screen of he transvision.
 
Usually he would have to explain to the servicepeople why his transvision was broken, but due to the upcoming exodus all the servicepeople were busy getting ready for the voyage to Mars.
 
“Johnson, please calm down.  The elders are just doing what is best for us.  Please.  You watch the news and heard the updates just like I do.  They a formulating a plan to help us get off Earth.  All of us.”
 
“Don’t bet on it Lorna.  Don’t bet on it for a second.  It was the elders’ greed which got us in this mess in the first place.  It never had to come to this.  Greed.  Plain and simple greed.”
 
“Oh yeah…and what would you have done different?”, asked Lorna.
 
“First of all, I wouldn’t of let them launch any of the junk into place.  Not a single damned thing.  Not even a satellite.  No matter how big the company was, no matter how many jobs or bribes they could offer the elders.  If I was running things the landfills never would have been filled to capacity.  It never would of even happened.  I would of organized teams to sort through them and recycle what they could of.  Things like that.  But what does it matter now Lorna?  It’s about 2000 years late to do anything.”
 
Johnson lit up a cigarette.
 
“Adam Johnson, you know there is no smoking allowed in the dorms.  Please hun.  You might set off an alarm!”
 
“And who would respond to it?  All the service people have been gone for a week now. “
 
“Adam, please put it out,”, begged Lorna.
 
“No, I will not!  What’s it matter?  We’re all dead anyways.  If we can’t get to Mars we are all dead.  This is going to the mass murder of 20 billion people.  Without sunlight we are all dead Lorna.  We’re going to freeze to death.  The generators have been out for two days now.  You better smoke one too while you still can.”
 
Lorna knew her husband was right.  It was the elders’ fault that there was no sunlight.  That the government had allowed to much junk to be shot into space that it blocked the life giving warmth.  But she would never say it out loud like her husband did.  To do so meant the death penalty on the spot.  To question the elders is any manner was a form of treason.
 
“What do you think is going to happen next Johnson?”, asked Lorna.
 
 
“Well if they really do have a plan, they are going to have to blast it out of orbit, at least most of it.  Enough for people’s pods to escape through the atmosphere.  Most of it is rubble, concrete, metal…old satellites and rockets…stuff like that.  If they can figure out a way to incinerate it, we might have a change.  Maybe some sort of thermite could-”
 
“But what if they destroy the ruble and the sun returns.  What if we get back the sunlight.  Then what?  Will be able to stay?  I really don’t want us to leave here.”
 
“Even if we wanted to stay Lorna…if we had the sunlight again…we wouldn’t have any food.  No direct sunlight in three years now and the plants are all dead.  The plants are what feeds the animals that feed us.  Without them, there is no food chain.  Without the bees, there is no pollination.  The cycle of life is going to take at least a couple generations to repopulate, if it even does.  Humanity doesn’t have that long.”
 
“Two generations?  You are right Adam Johnson, Mars is our only hope.”
 
“This just make me mad, my wife.  This could of all have been prevented!  Tell me why…why Lorna?  Why do you believe the propaganda off the transvisions?  The lies of the elders!  There is a reason why the give each of us one, for free!  It is because they all want us to think the same!  To suck up the lies of the elders like a sponge.  I’ve had enough Lorna!  I’m sick of it!”
 
 
A mischievous smile grew on Johnson’s face as he ran across the room.
 
“What are you doing Adam Johnson?”, pleaded Lorna. 
 
Johnson pulled out something which would also bring him death, a bottle of tequila.  In the year 4848 all alcohol was a black market commodity which brought imprisonment if you could bribe the elders, but for any middle class person such as Johnson, it would surely bring death.  There weren’t many bottles to be found, but Johnson had a friend in the foundry who made it.  A friend so dear that they trusted their lives to one another, literally.
 
“You are afraid Lorna, and that is okay!  I am no longer.  I have had enough!”
 
Johnson ran into the halls of the corridors and screamed as loud as he could.
 
“Who will join me?  Who will join me in a drink of alcohol?  A toast to our demise!”
 
One by one the men came out of their perspective living quarters into the hallway of the dorm.  Johnson could hear their wives warning them about the penalties of such behavior.  It was not the temptation of alcohol which drew them out into the hall, it was the sound of Johnson’s screaming.  Screaming and excitement was illegal.  Johnson quickly ran back into his room, secured a strong metal box, brought it into the hallway and stood on it to 
announce to the makeshift crowd.
 
“My friends, fear not!  There are no service people here among us today.  We all know that!  They are in their pods with the elders about ready to travel to Mars to leave us all behind.  The transvision has lied to all of us!  The elders are liars!  Liars!  It doesn’t matter now.  I have no more fear.  Drink and share in this bottle with me.  It is tequila, it is alcohol!  Risk death with me and enjoy life for once while you still can.  We are all dead anyways.  The generators are out.  Very soon we will all freeze to death.  Drink like our forefathers did so many years ago!”
 
Johnson stood proudly on his metal pulpit and opened the bottle.  He took a drink from it and offered it to the men in the hallway.
 
“Who will drink and share in this bottle with me?  I also have cigarettes in my room!  You all know that the transvision lies!  Will not even a single one of you join me?”
 
Then a voice from the rear of the crowded hallway.  At first it was small, then it became larger announcing itself.  A stranger which Johnson had passed only on the way home form his shift at the foundry.  One of his foreign neighbors.
 
“I will drink with you brother!  I too do not trust the elders or the transvision!”
 
All the other men gasped.  How could these two men not trust the elders or the transvision?  Who would be the first of the crowd to place them under citizen’s arrest and report them to the servicepeople?  They talked to one another as they parted to the sides of the hallway to allow the man up to Johnson and the bottle.  They all of should of places Johnson and the other traitor under arrest, instead they were too curious to see what would happen next.
“Brother”, said the man looking up at Johnson on the pulpit, “I will risk death with you.  He is right”, yelled the man, “we have all been lied to!”.
 
The crowd gasped again as the man too the bottle from Johnson’s hand and chugged it as hard as he could.
 
“Treason! Treason!  This is treason!  We must arrest them and report them!”, yelled a voice from the back of the crowd.  
 
“Treason?”, asked Johnson, “What have we done so wrong?  Because we have questioned the elders?  How is that treasonous?”
 
“You know the law!  You know the codes!  You know the infallibility of the elders!”, yelled the voice from the back of the hallway.
 
Johnson addressed the crowd.
 
“Men, very soon we will all freeze.  The generators work no more.  We can already all see our own breaths.  To go outside is to instantly freeze to death.  Our wives and children will freeze along with us. The sun has been blocked-blocked by trash and greed!  The same elders to whom you have trusted your very lies with and never questioned have put us all in this situation.  I say, for the remaining time we have left, we drink and be merry.  Men, I have heard rumors that some of you have alcohol as well.  Risk death with me!  Risk and let us drink to our remaining time-to the life which we still have left!”
 
The crowd grew silent and each man headed back to his room.  Johnson bowed his head and failure. None would defy the elders, even at this point of certain death.  The Johnson looked up and smiled.  About 10 men each walked into the hallway.  Some with their wives and some without, but each had a bottle of alcohol in their hands.  They gathered before Johnson.
 
“I see we have about 15 people here.  This is great.  It brings a tear to my eye.  My wife feared for me coming into this hallway.  She feared for my safety.  It is reassuring that other people think as I do.  It is good to know that there are others who question the elders, others who think freely!  Please all, let us return to my quarters.  Let us tell stories to one another and be merry.  Let us drink and smoke together like the old days and tell one another about our life experiences.  Let us get to know one another.  Let us die in 
peace!”
 
The small group cheered and followed Johnson into his quarters.  Lorna smiled awkwardly and greeted each of the people as they entered her home.  She finally realized Johnson was correct.  There wasn’t much time left.  She gathered some glasses and passed them among the group.  This experience was something new to them all.
 
“What a shame”, announced Johnson, “what a shame that we have lived to close to one another for many years and the elders have not allowed us to talk to one another.  We used to be called neighbors!  What a shame I do not know the name of any of your children.  But now I will get to know all of you.  I will get to know my neighbors in this short time we have left!”
 
Johnson and the men passed around the bottles drinking after one another.  They shook each other’s hands and exchanged stories of their jobs and lives.  The wives talked to each other about their children and their careers.  Lorna looked over and smiled at Johnson is exaltation.  The whole room was filled with laughter, warmth, and defiance.  It was good to have neighbors.  It was good to share tales of common experiences with one another.  For twenty short minutes the room was filled with a true sense of freedom and community.  Something which had never happened in the 300 years since the elders took over.  And then, there was a knock as the door.  The familiar knock of the servicepeople.  The room quickly fell silent.
 
“Everyone hide the bottles and drinks.  Hide the cigarettes.  Remain quiet, please.”, whispered Johnson.
 
Johnson went to the door, unlocked it, and cracked it open slightly.  There he saw five servicepeople.  Each was armed with a weapon.  
 
“Adam Johnson”, said the head serviceman, “we received a report that you have incited a riot.  You are here in charged with treason of the highest order, which is only punishable by death.  As you know, by elder’s law, you have the right to report any coconspirators along with you.  Do you wish to report anyone with you?”
 
The lead serviceman picked up Johnson by the neck and threw him into his room.  Johnson slid across the frozen floor into a couple of the partygoers.  Lorna screamed for her husband and the other stayed quiet.  The service people looked around and searched the room.  They found the bottles and the cigarettes.
 
The lead serviceman was huge and intimidating.  He addressed the crowd as they were, property of the elders.
 
“You should all be ashamed for defying the elders.  You all know the penalty for treason.  You know the penalty for drinking, smoking, and mingling with unauthorized co-inhabitants.  Who’s bottles are these?  Who’s cigarettes are these?  This is treason!  Speak 
up if you have defied the elders!  Speak up and-”
“They are mine!  All mine!”, yelled Johnson from the floor.
 
Lorna wanted to scream and tell the servicepeople it was a lie, that the other men had also brought their own bottles but it would only have meant death for them all.  Johnson looked at Lorna in a way in which she knew not to open her mouth.
 
“They are mine”, said Adam, “The glasses, the alcohol, the cigarettes are mine.”
 
“Very well.  Adam Johnson, you are here by sentenced to death”.
 
Two of the service people picked up Johnson and dragged him out of the room as Lorna screamed and cried.  Johnson only had a few seconds to get out his final world to the small crowded room.
 
“They arrest and condemn me to death, not for being a traitor or a conspirator, but for being human.  For being human and loving my fellow man.  Please remember to be human and love our fellow man.  Love him at all costs, even that of death!”
 
Adam smiled as they dragged him out of the room across the frozen floor.
 
“Clean up this dorm and return to your proper quarters, all of you.  Now!”, yelled the lead 
serviceman.  
 
Each listened and quickly returned to their proper quarters and Lorna cleaned up the illegal substances with tears in her eyes.  The servicepeople then took the items and disposed of them.  For three days, Lorna sat alone in her room, afraid and freezing.  Each day she cursed her brave yet stupid husband.  On the fourth day, she realized that what he done was not a crime-it was only to have been human.  The temperature had now grown unbearably cold inside.  Lorna realized that Adam was right-the elders had lied, there was no plan to get to Mars.  
 
Lorna finally mustered enough courage to leave the room.  Her door was frozen shut and she took the now worthless fire poker and pried the door open.  As she entered the hallway she saw men, women, children and even some servicepeople who had frozen to death in the corridor.  Human ice cubes littered the ground.  As she walked down the hall  with her eyes almost froze shut, she walked by the rooms looking for any signs of life but only found silence.  As she walked past the dorms some of the doors were open and she saw families huddled together.  Families that had frozen to death together.  Lorna figured she was the only one still alive.
 
Finally at the end of the hall, she heard noise and entered the small dorm.  There she saw a group of people nestled under a huge blanket.
 
“My poor dear, please get under this blanket with us.  We are keeping each other as warm as possible”, said one of the women from the blanket.
 
Lorna walked over and joined several people under the blanket.  One of the people rubbed her hands, and another rubbed her cheeks to bring life back into her skin.  After a half hour her left hand had some feeling in it again.  She felt something, something like glass in her hand.  Someone has placed it there, Johnson’s tequila bottle.  Lorna smiled and took a drink from the bottle.  The she heard a voice talking to her from under the blanket.  It was the lead serviceman.
 
“He was right you know.  Adam Johnson was right.  This is how we should of lived the whole time.  As humans.  This was how is was supposed to be.  The elders lied to us, even the damned transvision.  I am ashamed.  The elders assigned us to return here on duty, they promised they would return for us all.  They never did.  I am ashamed and sorry.”
 
“I forgive you”, said Lorna as she smirked and thought of Johnson.
 
That night the remaining inhabitants all froze together but they were the last to go on the whole Earth.  They had defied the elders to keep each other warm.  They had defied the elders and formed a community.  They were humans.  
© James Begert 2011
 
 


© Copyright 2017 James Begert. All rights reserved.

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