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The Hope of Humanity

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

The year was 2081 and so many of the social problems humans had faced over the last hundred years were still a pretty big problem. Most people were still poor, corporations still ran the government, and politicians were constantly caught with prostitutes of both sexes, living and dead. When politicians weren't blowing each other's personal lives completely out of proportion for political gain, they were starting wars with other countries. Sometimes, they would even start wars with people inside their own country, but those were usually ideological. Perhaps the biggest and worst change was that the polar ice caps had melted and much of the Mojave Desert was now prime beachfront property, and the air across the globe tasted like you were sucking on a tailpipe.

As pressing and horrible as those issues were, they really didn't enter into the minds of John and Mildred Bates. They were working class and average in most ways. John worked a standard 60 hour work week and, to help make ends meet, Mildred picked up 39 hours a week, part time, working at the deli counter at the local, national chain grocery emporium. Even with all those hours, supporting their modest household and single child, John, Jr., was a difficult exercise. After the mortgage, the bills, the poor tax, and their basic needs, there wasn't a lot left over for leisure, though they had saved up their pennies for quite a while to afford the sizeable Ramjac brand HD television that provided the centerpiece for their living space.

Each night after work, John Bates would settle into his favorite tattered easy chair that he was still making payments on, he would crack open an ice cold beer, and watch his immense television. Despite his disinterest, he seemed to watch the local, nationally-syndicated-for-the-region news. Little John, Jr., just before bedtime, would sit cross-legged in the space of carpet between his father and the television, transfixed by every image shown on the high definition display.

"Tonight, we have a special live program for you from science reporter Kurt Sanders."

"Mildred! Can you grab another beer for me, love?"

"This is Kurt Sanders, and I'm here at the Monsanto Space Center in Cape Canveral, Florida, reporting live for a momentous occasion, both for science and for mankind."

"Yes, dear! I'll grab another can from the ice box."

"With me, I have Doctor Thaddeus Quentin, chief architect of Project: Humanity, brought to you by Exxon, which is launching in a rocket in T-Minus 8 minutes."

Mildred arrived a moment later in the living room with John's beer, putting it in his hand and leaning down, pulling the foot rest on his recliner up for him. He sipped the head of the beer that had flowed over the lip of the can, paying far less attention to the launch than his boy was.

"What we're doing is really quite simple. The top minds in the world have created a 60 year plan to fix the problems of the world, hunger, disease, war, and monetize those solutions for their sponsors...."

John, Jr., blinked. At seven years old these concepts were still just a little too abstract for his innocent little mind. He'd been hungry before, but he couldn't understand how it could be a problem since food seemed so readily available. And he didn't think disease would have been a big deal because whenever he got too sick, he would be taken to the emergency room. And war was something cool that his dad had showed him in movies. But he was appropriately naïve for his age, like all boys his age should be.

"And what we're doing is quite revolutionary in order to solve the mortality problem and allow these brilliant minds and captains of industry to oversee their plan to the end and beyond."

John slurped his beer, worn to the bone. Mildred listened to the broadcast from the kitchen where the smells of a cooking dinner were all consuming.

"...and could you explain to our audience at home how you plan to conquer 'the mortality problem'?"

"Time travel," the good doctor said as he flashed a sparkling grin at the camera.

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.
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