The Technocracy of Siberius

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story set in a science fiction universe about a pair of star-crossed lovers.



Good morning, Lena. The time is now 07:00. Today you are 25 years old. Happy Birthday from the Technocracy of Siberius.

Lena opened her eyes and smiled sleepily. Birthdays were always exciting, but 25 was a pretty special one. She got up and entered the washroom next to her sleeping cabin.

“Thanks, Rini,” she spoke back to the automated assistant. “Teeth, please.”

Her electric toothbrush whizzed out of the wall on its motorized arm, already with toothpaste on it.

Interstellar Chaos, please” she said, and Rini blasted out her current favourite sci-punk band. Entering the dressing cubicle, she looked at her reflection. “Today I’ll go for dark blue wavy hair, and purple body suit please, Rini.”

Rini scanned her body up and down and gave her the style she wanted today. Lena checked herself out in the mirror. “Thanks, Rini, can I have a red brooch to go with that?” A second scan of her torso and the red brooch appeared. Lena grinned and hopped downstairs to the food cubicle. Her podmate, Heath, was already down there, sipping an espresso and reading the Siberius Bulletin. He looked up and smiled.

“Hey Lena! Why do you look so wrinkly? Oh yeah” his eyes crinkled “You’re 25 now, right?”

Lena laughed and gave him a friendly punch. “Oh quiet you, you know I look just as great as always”

Heath laughed and gave her a big hug. “Happy Birthday, you old sausage. Here’s your present.”

Lena opened the envelope he passed to her and squealed as two tickets to an Interstellar Chaos gig fell out. “OMG! Heath, this is amazing! Thank you so much! I’ve always wanted to see them live; I think they’ll be incredible! Will you come with me?”

“Of course!” Heath nodded and grinned. “I mean, they’re a bit girly for me, but I think it’ll be a fun night.”

Lena started whisking some flour to make pancakes.

“Feel any different now you’re 25?” Heath asked.

“I guess not,” Lena answered, “But I guess it is kind of a big deal. I mean, I’m now entitled to submit opinions and questions to the Technocracy. I’m allowed to buy zomphan pills and drink Siberius rum. And I guess I suppose it’s officially time for me to sign up to the Institute of Genetic Partnering and find a mate.”

She rolled her eyes and looked at Heath. “You need to do that too, you know. They’ll start sending you letters soon otherwise.”

“Yeah,” said Heath. “I’ve just been lazy to get around to it, but I need to get on with that. It’s easier for you because you work there.”

“I think the process is pretty mundane. Better to just get it over with. Speaking of which, I’m late for work! Catch you later this evening?”

“Have a good day!”

Lena smiled. Heath was such good podmate. No petty arguments, always cheerful and friendly. If only everyone at work could be like that, she sighed, as she stepped onto the cramped tram to the office. She was lucky though to have been given her job at the Institute of Genetic Partnering – ok, so she spent her days clock-watching a bit, but it was stable and secure and paid the bills. And as she was now legally required to start finding her mate now that she was 25, that process would be a bit less of a hassle as she already worked there. She could get that sorted over the next couple of weeks.


Lena sat in the waiting room looking around. A girl with short red spiky hair sat opposite her, playing some game on her phone. A boy with a white mohawk and septum piercing sat nodding his head to whatever was coming through his headphones. The room was clean but not welcoming, with a bright but cold blue light.

Lena Gonzatt. Please enter the Introducer room.

Finally, thought Lena. She walked through into a small and cosy office. A few modern art paintings hung on the wall, probably designed to give the room more of a ‘cool’ vibe. A young woman with black braids neatly tied into a bun, wearing a smart business suit sat at the desk.

“Good morning, Lena,” the woman said. “My name is Scarlett Cullyan, and I’ll be your Introducer throughout the partnering process. My aim is to make the process as smooth and hassle-free for you as possible. If you have any queries, comments or concerns, I will be your main contact.” She looked down at her file, looked up again and gave a smile that did not quite reach her eyes. “I see from my notes here that you in fact are employed by the Institute of Genetic Partnering. So, you must already be quite familiar with our processes.”

Lena shrugged. “To be honest, I know a little, but I’m just an admin assistant. So, the full spiel would probably be useful for me, actually.”

A slightly impatient look passed over Scarlett’s face, which she quickly masked with a fixed smile. “That’s great, Lena, of course. As you know, it is a legal requirement of the Technocracy of Siberius that individuals, on reaching 25 years of age, must be partnered with a suitable mate. What we will do is scan your genetic profile in detail. Your matches are selected based on those who will provide the most effective offspring for the society of the Technocracy of Siberius.” She paused.

“Of course, the first and most important factor is that your match must be unlikely produce an offspring with any form of disease or disorder. We will assess you and your matches for any genetic conditions, chromosomal conditions, and perform carrier testing to ensure that there is no risk of you being matched with a partner who carries any alleles which, when combined with your genetic make-up, may result in a phenotype considered disadvantageous by the Technocracy. We also carry out a range of predictive models to ensure a limited risk of offspring by yourself and your match developing disadvantageous mutations.

The second factor we take into consideration is personality trait profile. You and all potential matches will be genetically screened for traits including anxiety, depression, introversion and/or extroversion, temperament regarding ability to handle external pressure, neuroticism, outspokenness, creative potential and emotional stability. This is to ensure that any offspring produced by yourself and your mate will have the ideal personality profile to best suit the Technocracy of Siberius.”

Scarlett paused and took a sip of filtered water sitting on the table beside her.

“Finally, of course, we screen for physical characteristics. Our aim is for all individuals within the Technocracy to be between 170 and 180 cm in height as adults. All individuals must have a body mass index of between 20 and 22, although we do in some circumstances allow for a deviation of 1 unit on either side. We aim to have an even distribution within the Technocracy of blue, green, brown, dark brown and hazel eye colours. Skin tones may range from fair to deep brown, but of course we aim to keep an even distribution across the Technocracy.”

Scarlett took a second sip and paused for another breath.

“Ultimately, all these factors will generate a percentage partnering rate between you and several potential matches. The law states that your selected match must have a partnering rate of ?85%. Any lower than this not accepted by Technocracy law.

You will be expected to select your mate within six months of entering the partnering process. As much of the screening is already done by the Institute of Genetic Partnering and its well-validated methods, we consider this adequate time to select your mate with whom to generate your future offspring.

Scarlett stopped and leaned back.

“I hope I’ve explained our rationale well to you, Lena. Do you have any questions at this stage?”

Lena tried to take in everything she had just heard.

“Um, yeah” she said. “That second bit you said about the personality traits. So like – will my mate be likely to, you know, have the same interests as me? Be into the same music, or want to go to the same hang-outs?”

Scarlett gave Lena a clinical smile. “Well Lena, interests in ‘music’ and ‘hang-outs’ are not considered a priority by the Technocracy for the welfare of society, so that’s not something I’m able to answer for you, I’m afraid.”

Lena sighed. This process seriously was mundane. “So, you said I need to select this mate within six months, right?”

Scarlett smiled rigidly again. “Well, yes, but we do recommend that individuals try and complete their selection sooner. As mentioned, every match selected for you will meet the requirements of the Technocracy, and often we find that individuals who are too…picky…really end up wasting their time and causing more hassle for themselves and us. I would highly recommend that you go with one of the first two to three options, if I were you. Much less time-consuming for all involved.”

Lena nodded. “Yeah, I guess that’s fair enough. Ok, let’s get this over with then I guess!”


Lena stood in front of the door to a room with a large grey sign above the door which read in bold letters:


She walked through to a well laid-out room with machines and technical-looking equipment dotted in various corners. A large cubicle stood in the middle of the room, labelled: Partnering Process Cubicle.

A young man with a neat beard wearing a white lab coat came up to Lena and held out his hand. “Hi there, Lena. I’m Dr Lupter. So pleased to meet you. Please come through so that we can screen your genetic profile. Following this, we will show you individuals that meet the requirements of the Technocracy to be your mate – those with a ?85% match rate.”

Lena entered the cubicle and felt a warm light scan her up and down. A computer in front of her flashed numbers and percentages that she didn’t understand. The process continued for two minutes, after which some words popped up on the screen.

Congratulations, Lena. Your profiling by the Institute of Genetic Partnering in partnership with the Technocracy of Siberius is now complete. Please tap on the green button below to view a selection of your matches.

Lena tapped the button. Three male faces popped up on the screen.

Roy Irwin

Investment broker

Interests: Cooking, photography

Hamzah Zain

Personal trainer

Interests: Climbing, television

Jack Terry


Interests: Painting, tennis



Wow, thought Lena. Not much to go on here. She clicked on Roy. He looked ok. Well, she thought, she’d better get cracking if she had to find her mate within six months.


Lena sat across the table from Roy at the diner, sipping her milkshake. This was their third date. Roy was talking about a work project he was on. Actually, he’d been talking about it for about 20 minutes now. Lena finally interjected “So, my podmate and I are planning to go to an Interstellar Chaos gig later this week. I think they’ve got some last-release tickets going – do you want to get one and come along?”

Roy stared at her blankly. “I’m sorry, who?”

Interstellar Chaos. You know, they’re on the radio a lot at the moment? I really like them, but I understand if it’s not your kind of music. Well, what is your kind of music?”

Roy stared back blankly again. “I don’t really listen to music.”


“Anyway, Lena, I was going to say, this has been our third meeting. I don’t have a lot of time for these and I’ve decided I’m happy to select you as my mate. I understand that we must submit a form to the Institute of Genetic Partnering to formalise our selection. I assume you are also happy to proceed?”

Lena blinked. “Well…I mean I hadn’t actually thought too hard about it…”

Roy tutted. “Gosh Lena, maybe this lack of decision-making is one of the reasons why you’re still in an admin role.” He stood up impatiently. “It has actually been one month since our genetic profiling date, which means we have five months to make a decision. Now we can either see more people, and waste more of our evenings, or we can formalise this now. My Introducer has told me that he is hoping for a decision by the end of this week, and I imagine yours has too – I don’t think we need to keep them waiting for much longer.”

This was true. Scarlett had been sending Lena the odd reminder fax and seemed to expect her decision soon. Well, Roy seemed nice enough, she supposed. And they had displayed a 93% match rate, according to the report from the Institute of Genetic Partnering – her parents would be pleased. And maybe Roy was right – maybe she did need to make decisions faster. That was the way to get ahead in the Technocracy, after all.


Lena was on a massive high as she and Heath came out of the Interstellar Chaos gig. “That was incredible!!” She squealed. “Oh my gosh, and when the last song came on and everyone was singing the chorus. Wow, they are even better live than I expected!!!” She gave Heath a squeeze. “Thank you so much Heath! That was an awesome birthday present.”

Heath smiled. “I have to say I wasn’t sure I would enjoy that, but they were pretty cool. The bassist was incredible, and that guitar solo before the interval was really good.”

Lena grinned and nodded. “So, what shall we do now? Home for takeaway?”

“Sounds good to me! Prawn crackers and dumplings from The Solar Lantern?”

Soon they were back home munching on their dinner.

“So, Roy wants me to formalise him as a mate selection.” said Lena. “I guess I don’t have that much time left, and he and Scarlett want me to make the selection quickly. I hate that we have to do this – I’m happy with my life as it is.

How’s your partnering process going? How’s it going with…err…Suza, wasn’t it?”

Heath shrugged. “Same really. She and my Introducer are getting impatient for a decision. So, I’ll probably just go for it. She’s a nice girl. We don’t have much to say to each other, but she seems to like me anyway. There are penalties if you keep the Institute of Genetic Partnering waiting for more than six months, so I guess everyone’s just trying to avoid that. I think in the end you may as well just go for it Lena – it’s not like we get that much choice in the Technocracy anyway.”

Lena sighed. “Sometimes I wish life could be different. There must be more out there than…this. The Technocracy and all its stupid laws. I know we’re lucky and they protect us, but don’t you think there might be planets where you get more…I don’t know…freedom.”

Heath smiled. “So Suza works for the Intergalactic Travel Association, and she gave me a book about a planet 581 light years away from us called Earth. Apparently in lots of places on Earth, you can choose any mate you want, and take as much time over it as you want. And they don’t even have a genetic partnering process.”

Lena burst out laughing. “That sounds crazy!! How do they select the best mate for their society then?”

“Apparently on Earth, it’s all based on individual choice – literally whether or not they ‘love’ each other. They’re primitive about it though – apparently about half of them have things called ‘divorce’ and ‘affairs’, which is basically where they end up finding another mate halfway through their lives. Or some of them end up with no mate at all. But that’s allowed by their government.”

Lena looked interested. “I mean, their government sounds pretty relaxed! I like the idea of making my own decisions in theory, but what if I made the wrong one? At least here we’re protected by the Technocracy from making mistakes.”

“The book said that apparently the culture on Earth is that mistakes are allowed, and people learn from them. They even get to choose their own jobs, and who they work for.”

“Woah,” said Lena. “Imagine that. Gosh, if I could have chosen my work…I think I’d have done something with music. Working with singers, producing it, selling it to people who love it like me. What would you do?”

“I would choose to be a writer. Fiction or even for newspapers and magazines.” Heath sighed. “Well. No point wanting what we’ll never have. Also, Earth is no utopia. They have wars, and crime, a backward technology system, and poverty. Oh gosh – and the book said that apparently one of their largest countries…has an orange president.”

Lena stared at Heath and then they both burst out laughing. “That place sounds hilarious! Earth. Wow. I need to borrow this book after you.” Lena giggled.

The two stopped chuckling and then sat in thoughtful silence for a moment. “Okay, well, thank you for a lovely night, Heath. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Good night, Lena” Heath gave her a warm smile and hug. “See you tomorrow.”


As Lena sat on the tram the next day to work, she thought about how much fun the night before had been. Interstellar Chaos had really exceeded her expectations, and Heath had seemed to enjoy himself too.

She entered the office with a spring in her step, not noticing a couple of colleagues looking at her strangely. As she sat down at her desk, her boss, Charles, a small man with sweaty hands came up to her and said in a serious tone “Please would you come into my office, Lena.”

Lena wondered what he was going to say – judging by his tone, it didn’t sound too good. She sat down opposite him.

Charles removed his glasses and wiped them with his handkerchief. “As you may or may not know, Lena, there have been some economic concerns this year in the Technocracy that have indirectly affected our resourcing capabilities here at the Institute of Genetic Partnering.

Whilst we have taken every appropriate measure to ensure that the welfare of our staff has been considered, unfortunately I regret to inform you that I have been notified that there has been a requirement to make redundancies.”

He paused. Lena tried to take in what he was saying.

“But… what do you mean? I…”

“Unfortunately, Lena, we have had to come to a decision over which staff members to let go, and I’m afraid that your name was on that list. We hope that you understand the current situation, and we greatly appreciate your valuable contributions to the Institute of Genetic Partnering. I believe the process is that you will have one hour to clear the contents from your desk, following which you will be escorted out of the building. We truly hope that your time here has been beneficial to you, and we thank you for your service over the last five years.”

Lena’s eyes filled with tears. “I see.” She muttered. Charles was already looking at his diary for his next meeting. Lena sensed that he had finished what he needed to say to her, so she got up and with as much dignity as she felt she could muster, and started clearing out her desk.

That evening, she met Roy for dinner. He arrived, gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, and then launched into a spiel about his day “Good gosh, you won’t believe what my colleague said to me today about the Omega Index. After we tried to secure that deal with the Syndicate…” Lena let him carry on for ten minutes until he finally stopped. “Well, I’ve had a pretty bad day today,” she began, her lip starting to wobble, “I got fired. Made redundant. I can’t believe they would do that to me, with so little notice, after five years.”

Roy looked at her and tutted. “Gosh Lena, well, in all honesty, it didn’t really sound like you were trying to showcase much initiative there. Perhaps if you had been a little more proactive, you wouldn’t have been the first on their list to be let go.”

Lena’s eyes welled up. “That isn’t fair, Roy! I was proactive in lots of respects, and yes, I’m not always the most confident of people but….” She broke off into a little sob.

“Oh, please don’t make a scene in public, Lena, I don’t want to be embarrassed now. And what in Siberius do you think crying is going to achieve?”

Lena sniffed “Wow Roy, well if I’m embarrassing you so much, I suppose I’d better just leave then.”

“Yes, Lena I think that’s best, I really need to eat, I’ve had a very busy day. Let’s meet another time when you’re feeling more together.”

Feeling like she’d been rejected for the second time that day, Lena picked up her bag and left.


Lena sat on the sofa of her pod sobbing when Heath came in through the door. His usual warm smile faded quickly as he saw Lena crying. “Lena! What’s happened?”

 “Oh Heath, I got fired!!” Lena wailed. Heath sat next to her and hugged her as she sobbed into his shoulder for five minutes. When she had calmed down a bit, he gave her back a little rub and said “It’ll be ok, Lena. The Technocracy will find you another job soon. And if money is an issue…well, I think I can cover the pod on my own, for a short while at least.”

“Oh Heath, I couldn’t make you do that, that wouldn’t be fair at all.”

“It would only be for a short while. You’ll be given another job soon – the Technocracy would never let someone like you go to waste! You’re smart, fun, bubbly, and hard-working.”

Lena wrapped her arms around Heath. He felt so solid, so comforting. Without thinking, she leaned in toward him and suddenly his lips were on hers, as they entwined in a close embrace.


The following morning, Heath and Lena sat across from each other in the food cubicle. Lena smiled sheepishly at Heath.

“Oh, this is bad, Lena.” said Heath. “I mean – what about Roy?”

At Roy’s name, Lena shuddered.

“Well – what about Suza?”

Heath sighed. “Suza is…a nice girl.”

They stared at each other.

“What are we going to do about this?” said Heath. “I want to be with you, Lena. But will this be allowed by the Technocracy now?”

Lena sighed. “I’m going to call Scarlett.”


Lena and Heath stood in the Genetic Partnering Testing room. In front of them were Dr Lupter and Scarlett, Lena’s Introducer. Scarlett was staring at them with a look of exasperation on her face.

“This is a most unconventional request. I’m not even sure this is in accordance with the policies of the Institute of Genetic Partnering. Our partnering process is designed to ensure that you are matched with the best possible partner for the Technocracy. This request to establish a match rate with a known individual…this is highly unorthodox.”

Dr Lupter shook his head. “I’ve seen this happen once before, and the individuals in question did in fact achieve a successful match rate of ?85%. It is unconventional, but if we test them for their match rate now, it may save on costs later down the line, so let’s just put them through it.

Please would you both now enter the Partnering Process Cubicle.”

Lena and Heath held hands and walked into the cubicle together. The warm light scanned them up and down. Numbers flashed on the screen in front of them. Finally, the words popped up on the screen.

Match rate: 79%

The Partnering Process indicates that you do not meet the requirements of the Technocracy to establish a successful match.

Tears filled Lena’s eyes. “Oh, no.”


Heath wrapped the last mug carefully into the box of things he was moving out of the pod. Lena stood by him, holding back tears. “Please don’t go, Heath. I’ll miss you so much.”

“I have to, Lena.” Heath shifted his box toward the door. “You know I can’t stay here. If anything happens between us, you know what the penalties will be. It’s just too hard. I’m better off leaving. We don’t have a choice here – stay with Roy, it’s the best thing for you.”


Lena sipped her soup quietly across the table from Roy. They had not spoken for about ten minutes. In an attempt to break the cold silence, Lena said “How was your day?” Roy answered shortly. “Fine, thank you.” Silence for another ten minutes. Finally, Roy broke the silence. “I think we should discuss the next steps of you moving into my pod, Lena.”

Lena’s head jerked up. “What?” She said. “But…I think I’m quite happy in my pod, actually…”

Roy tutted. “Lena, once our forms have been processed by the Institute of Genetic Partnering and we are officially mates, I think we should really be sharing a pod. I’ll also be hoping for us to begin trying for a child soon. My manager at work has told me that the corporation is hoping to push forward that we have strong ‘family values’, and I don’t want to waste much more time in being able to show that I fall into that category.”

Lena felt a little sick. “These are all quite big things that are happening quite fast, Roy…”

Roy tutted impatiently. “Oh, in the name of Siberius, Lena! And you wonder why you never get ahead in work. You are so indecisive. Well, I intend to make a success of myself, and as we are soon to be mates, I strongly suggest you support me. It’s not as if you have much to fall back on, right now. You really need to get out of the childish mindset you have of thinking about that cacophony you call music all the time. You’re expected to take your place in the Technocracy now.”


Heath sat across the table from Suza, staring despondently at his plate. Suza was a nice girl, and seemed to like him, but they had just run out of conversation.

“Heath, are you ok?” Suza asked. “You’ve been very quiet. How are you finding your new pod?”

Heath shrugged. “It’s ok, thank you. Pretty comfortable, I suppose.”

Suza looked at him thoughtfully. “Have you heard anything from your old podmate? Lena?”

Heath tried to look nonchalant. “No, I’ve not.” He said. Silence again. Finally, Suza spoke softly. “I’m not stupid, Heath. I know that you are in love with her.”

Heath looked away. “I’ve never said anything like that” he muttered.

“I know. And I’m aware that feelings like that are not given much priority here in the Technocracy. But there are other places where…things are different.” She paused. “I work for the Intergalactic Travel Association. There are ways…” She paused and thought carefully before the next sentence. “I could get you two one-way tickets to Earth. For you and Lena.”

Heath stared at her. “But why? Why would you do that – for me?”

Suza sighed. “You’re a really good person, Heath. I don’t want you to spend your life being unhappy, and I don’t want to be the cause of it. I’m not the same – I can live in the Technocracy, be protected by it, find another mate, and I’ll be ok. Some people are different. I’ve always sensed that about you. There are other worlds out there where you would prosper. Through my job I have seen people who have travelled to Earth and I’ve heard the stories they come back with. I like you, but I know that I will never make you happy. There are other ways of existing. Earth is not always an easy place to live in – but humans value freedom. It’s your choice, Heath. I’ll give you help if you want it.”


Lena sat curled up on the sofa of her pod, looking around and wondering what it would be like to leave and live with Roy in his pod. She shuddered. If she was feeling like this already, imagine what the future held. Suddenly she heard a knock on the door. Who could it be at this time of night? Tentatively, she opened the door and felt her heart jump as she saw Heath.

“Heath! What are you doing here?” She threw her arms around him. Heath held her close – he had missed her so much.

“Lena, I have something to ask you,” he said. They sat down and he began to explain to her what Suza had said. “What do you think, Lena? Will you go to Earth with me? We can start afresh, have a new life.”

Lena tried to take this all in. “But…Heath…Earth is 581 light years away. And if we went there and broke the laws of the Technocracy, we could never come back. And we don’t know what to expect there – it sounds so…uncontrolled!”

“I know it’s a risk Lena, but what is going to happen if we stay here? You stay with Roy, and I with Suza? I can’t bear to see it…you losing your passions…both of us. For us to never see each other again.”

Lena looked thoughtfully into the distance. What Heath was saying was true. Their future in the Technocracy looked bleak. Slowly, she nodded.

“Ok, Heath. Let’s do it. I’ll go to Earth with you.”


Lena got off the subway and walked toward her flat in downstate New York. She entered and there was Heath, looking pretty good in his funny red and blue Earth suit – apparently known as a t-shirt and jeans. Earth had taken some getting used to. Their technology was primitive, their voices were strange. Suza had helped them prepare as much as she could and had advised them to go to this Earth city called New York – she said they were more likely to blend in there. It had taken time, but slowly they were starting to understand the workings of this strange new world. Lena had managed to get a job in a place known as Starbucks, which sold a strange-looking, warm, brown-coloured drink which seemed very popular with humans. Heath had been given a job serving an unusual type of food made up of a slab of meat-like substance in between two pieces of bread, normally served with food shaped like little yellow sticks.

“How was your day?” asked Heath. “Good!” said Lena. “I’m going to that music venue tonight to speak to the owner about a job there. Earth music is kind of weird, but I like it. And they seem to like my stuff as well – they said it was ‘unique’, even though I don’t think anyone in the Technocracy would have been that into it.”

“That’s amazing, Lena! I’ll be out as well – to the writer’s workshop I saw advertised yesterday. I’m so excited for it.”

Lena smiled at Heath. The two sat down for a quick dinner, as they planned out their new beginnings on Earth.




Submitted: December 02, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Maya Kaushik. All rights reserved.

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