Thursday, August 17, 2017

8/17/17

Disposable World
By David K Scholes


“Re-user!” the young uniformed enforcer yelled out accusingly as others watched on.

How embarrassing. The flyer backpack was only just past its mandated use by date and I thought I could get away with a few small repairs. But no, it wasn’t to be! Was the young whippersnapper actually going to arrest me?

No – instead he let me off with a severe reprimand and some more demerit points on my already heavily scarred citizen resume.

I thought I remembered a time when the whole focus was on sustainability. When someone would be more likely to have yelled out “tosser” if you threw something away other than in a waste disposal bin.

Waste disposal bin – you never saw any these days – where were they? I had my suspicions that they were still around, just buried somewhere beneath all the disposed-of items.

How things change.

* * *

The man flew down onto the old style road, then put his flyer into auto-land car mode and let it run automatically into the monstrous disintegration tunnel. With obvious consequences. He seemed to be enjoying it. The flyer didn’t look that old but I guess it was probably somewhere just past the mandated 3 years.

How did we get to be like this? I wondered.

Was there anything now that wasn’t disposable?

Of course the discovery in deep space of a new addition to the periodic table changed all that. The previously unknown Asimovium had been located on certain meteoroids and offered a seemingly unlimited source of energy. Far beyond even fusion energy. For a time.

Sadly by the time our supply of Asimovium started to dry up, we were locked in to an irreversible course of planned quick obsolescence.

* * *

It was very confronting and I’m sure not at all the way that these things are normally done. I entered my own dwelling only to be confronted by myself. A double of some kind.

“Sir,” said a late model droid entering my dwelling moments afterwards. “Sir, there’s been a dreadful mistake, we need you to come with us.”

It turned out that my replacement had taken up station prior to my disposal date. Both the replacement and supervising droid couldn’t have been more apologetic.

“Clone 19 came here too early,” the droid continued.

What did the 19 mean? I wondered.

Then I twigged to what should have been obvious – I was clone 18 – with a 3 year life span. For some reason, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I had started to think of myself as an original uncloned human. Especially since the memories were passed on.

* * *

“Planetary energy reserves just dipped below minimum subsistence,” said the advanced AI looking down on the blue green world.

“We have a suitable replacement in stock and easily accessible sir,” offered another only slightly less advanced AI. “Though this world wasn’t due to be replaced for another millennium.”

“Do it, log it,” replied the senior AI.
“And the existing life forms?” asked the subordinate.

“The usual procedure,” offered his boss.

The planet size starship moved on – its occupants not giving either the replaced world or its replacement a second thought.

Deep in its vast memory, the starship’s computer made a minor entry.

Earth World replaced.

Existing life forms cloned prior to disposal.

Cycle continues.


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The author is a science fiction writer with eight published collections of short stories and two science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF, Beam Me Up Pod Cast, and Farther Stars Than These sites. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles and the former Golden Visions magazine.


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