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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Microstory 827: Worst of Both Worlds

The world is severely overpopulated, and our leaders have decided that the best way to combat this is death. We’ve tried incentivizing people to have fewer children, but that didn’t work. We tried punishing them for having too many children, and that made things a little better, but we still didn’t have enough resources to sustain everyone. We executed all of our criminals whose offenses suggested the chances of recidivism were above some established threshold. That helped for many years, but then things started getting bad again. Military conflict, blight, pollution. There are only so many safe places to live, only so much room in them, and only so much food to feed everyone. A mysterious collective, known only as The Universe—by their claim that they speak for the needs of the cosmos itself—has come up with the most recent resolution. All other remedies have merely staved off our demise, but they believe this will fix the world, and usher in an era of peace of prosperity. Many just hope it lasts long enough for us to migrate to other planets, or come up with other technological solutions. According to them, in all of history, only one thing has helped cleanse the world of the weakest was war, and so a new one was artificially generated to recreate this scenario. You don’t get to pick side; instead The Universe chooses for you. You’re either provided an allotment of all of the planet’s current resources, including weapons, or you’re given nothing. It is the former’s responsibility to rid the world of those who have been chosen to die. These crusaders are assigned targets, and must complete their missions within some specified timeframe. If they fail, they themselves become targets, and must submit to death. Of course, most of the chased don’t submit so easily, because they have no real motivation to do so. They now have nothing to lose, and will do anything they can to stay alive. Due to a clerical error, however, I was chosen both as crusader, and chased. I tried to get this situation resolved, but they said my only hope of surviving was to accept missions, as any other crusader, as well as try to stop others from killing me. If I refused, I would be stripped of my status, and simply become another chased. This put me in an interesting position; one the Universe clearly did not think through. Armed with the resources of a crusader, but the heart of a chased, I formed a rebellion against the status quo. We started fighting back, and stealing the crusader’s weapons, medicine, and food. But we did not have to do this alone. Just because someone was chosen as crusader, didn’t mean they enjoyed the life, so many of them have joined our cause. Change is coming to this world once again. And I am the spearhead.

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