Thursday, October 15, 2015


Grey Power – Consolidation
By David K Scholes

Grey Power Retirement Village
Canberra, Australia
5 years after the Young/Old War

The retirement village still had its fortified walls and elevated guard posts. Both were legacies of the Young/Old war. Though the guard posts were no longer permanently manned and the crude laser-etched age discriminatory graffiti had long since been removed from the outer walls.

Management, that is to say the multi-national Grey Power organisation, had been in no hurry to remove the fortified exterior. Not just here but in any of the other many thousands of retirement villages that it owned world wide.

Me? I’m a resident of the village now and one of its several token security guards. A far cry indeed from the height of the war. Then, as a young “whippersnapper” ex paratrooper aged just 55 years and 6 months, I began serving in one of the front line Just Over 55 (JO55) Grey Power military units.

* * *

On this particular day just outside the retirement village and unlike most other days, there was actually a bit of excitement.

Two youths, one male, one female were observed speeding in an early model electro-magnetic cruiser. Some 15 miles per hour above the mandatory 20mph speed limit around any Grey Power facility. My reaction was instant. I drew out my speed limiter device and, overriding their cruiser's controls, brought them down to just below the speed limit. I then made the voice entry that, after verifications, would see the Grey Power computers automatically debit both of their mandatory government accounts with the appropriate fine. Both the boy and girl knew this and looked suitably cowed. Such a far cry from the slavering feral youth packs of the war, I thought.

Jennifer, my fellow token security guard on our token patrol, was quite excited. “The last time we had this much fun was last year when some young students started an outdoor party in a vacant house down the road.” As she said this I noticed her dipping surreptitiously into her supply of “forever young.” The latest in the long line of drugs designed to temporarily return senior citizens to a more youthful capability. In fact this was a bit of a sore point with me. As she was over 80, Jennifer had greater access than me to the now carefully-controlled supply of the drug. Again, memories of the war came back when, as a first responder to youth trouble, I had unlimited access to the then current drug Boostein. Though I needed it less then.

“I remember that party,” I said. “They were recorded at over the 30Db noise limit at the boundary of a Grey Power facility.”
“Yes, I forgot that you were there,” replied Jennifer, “when we dropped a noise suppression envelope over the building. What fun!” She chortled. “I can still see their faces now.”

Just then, a late model vertical take off and landing flyer landed at a respectful distance from the entrance to the retirement village. Inside it was one of the detestable “middles” that had business in the village. Disdainfully, we waived the occupant on into the village.
“Middles!” said Jennifer “I suppose we have to deal with them.”
I nodded, always mindful of how the “middles” had mostly stayed “on the fence” during the Young/Old war. At least until it was obvious that Grey Power would defeat the youth packs.

After the war, the whole focus of most world economies had shifted very much in favour of senior citizens and their requirements. I hadn’t thought of it, but the truth was that most “middles” were just surviving until they could make it through to the golden age of 55.

Strangely, neither of us gave any thought to the fact that eventually youth became middles and middles became senior citizens. If we did, perhaps our attitude would have been quite different.

If everyone had thought this way, perhaps there might not even have been a war.

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The author has written over 140 speculative fiction short stories, many of which appear in his six published collections of speculative fiction short stories and two published science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF and the Beam Me Up Pod Cast sci-fi sites and more recently Farther Stars Than These. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is close to completing a new anthology of short sci-fi stories and is also writing a “Human Hunter” series for the Beam Me Up Pod Cast site


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