Thursday, May 24, 2018


Regulated Planet
By David K Scholes

“They are reducing our allocated living space again,” I exclaimed with a mixture of surprise, anger and fear. “It’s the second edict in less than 2 years.”

Joy reviewed this information on the mind channel reserved for Earth persons.

“35m2 living space per adult, 10m2 working space if you work away from home and 65m2 outdoor recreational space per adult are the new figures,” she had difficulty saying it without crying. “Half that for children.”

I whistled. “How much further can they reduce us?” I asked.

“I don’t believe that they are done yet Dave,” there was a near certainty in Joy’s voice. “That’s five reductions in all since the planetary judgement first came down and the Ploorst took over.”

At first it hadn’t seemed so bad. I mean Earth had been at a low ebb with our world laid waste by a world war followed by several large scale alien incursions.

The Ploorst prefabricated cities and towns seemed like the answer to our problems. We had seen that the “prefabs” had the capability to expand. From individual rooms to the entire prefab city. What we hadn’t realised was individual spaces, rooms, halls. congregating points, even an entire pre-fab city, could all similarly be reduced. This unedifying, indeed frightening fact only became clear after the first of the brutal forced space reductions.

“I don’t think that I can take another space reduction,” offered Joy. “It’s not quite so bad for those that have a workplace to go to but for those of us who work from home!”

“And the children,” I said, “the children.”

The dreadful thing was that the younger children didn’t know anything else.

“With most family units reduced now to a single room the concept of an actual 2 or 3 bedroom residence, a unit or a house even, was just that to the younger children. A dream - a theoretical concept.”

* * *

Our “group” – a collection of 10 family units – and the maximum social-interaction allowed us – had discussed options many times. Including getting out of the prefab city and to the countryside. Though we mostly accepted the official line that the countryside was all still high radiation wasteland. In any event in all the time we had been in the prefab city no one in our group had even been able to get to the next module let alone outside the pre-fab.

* * *

“I think I’ve found something,” I told Joy in a hushed tone. “Something that might help with our space problem.”

“The only thing that could help us is more space,” Joy couldn’t quite see how that was possible and said as much.

“That’s what I’ve found,” I whispered even more quietly. “Somewhere – where there’s more space – sort of.”

I took Joy and Dirk from our Group to part of the interface between our module and the next. Technically en route to Dirk’s work station but an unauthorised area for Joy and I.

Theoretically it should have been possible to walk through the interface to the next module but we had all been too fearful to test this out. Until now.

With me leading we walked sideways into the interface. It looked like we were just continuing down the walkway.

“Have we gone over into the next module?” enquired Dirk. Things were very similar to our module but also somehow different as well.

“No, I don’t believe so” I replied.

“We kept on going and going – corridors and hallways and the occasional small room. Mostly with nothing in them and taking us progressively further away from our interface entry point. Eventually we returned.

* * *

Later we made a group decision to conduct deeper forays into this place, this alternate module, or whatever it was, that I had discovered. To try to find out if it offered us something our present existence didn’t.

We never got the opportunity. The next forced living space reduction came far sooner than expected. It was just too hard for us to take. Our entire group left our module via the interface for what we hoped had to be something better. Our brave new world.

* * *

They could not have known it but Joy and Dave’s small group was one of the last groups to leave their modules in the pre-fabricated cities and towns of Earth.

In time these prefab cities and towns contracted to nothing. The work of the Ploorst on Earth was done. Ultimately all part of the Judgement.

Joy and Dave’s group and all those that left before them will not be troubled about any lack of space in their new extra-dimensional environment.

What they ultimately make of this is up to them.

- - -
The author is a science fiction writer who has written more than 200 short stories. He has written eight collections of short stories and two novellas (all on Amazon). He has been published on the Antipodean SF, Beam Me Up Pod Cast, Farther Stars Than These, 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles sites and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is currently about half way through a new collection of science fiction short stories


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