Dr. Reichmann and his son left the museum and entered a silver elevator. As the doors closed, Dr. Reichmann pressed the button for the top floor, which was one of only two buttons that were colored red. Once he had pressed it, an automated voice spoke out saying, “Authorized personnel only, please slide your card and enter your identification code.” Dr. Reichmann took out a plastic card with “Utopia Inc”. written on the front, and a barcode on the back with his photo. Dr. Reichmann turned to Billy and said “Unfortunately our fingerprint identification system is undergoing renovation, so we have to use these stupid cards for the time being.” Billy watched as his father typed in the code: 09-26-2098-12-15. “Hey, that first part is my birthday.” “Dr. Reichmann smiled and said, “yep,” down to the exact minute, September 26th 2098 at 1215 am.” They arrived at the top floor and the elevator door opened. They entered a large room with silvery furniture, glass walls, and a beautiful view of the entire city. A young receptionist was sitting at a table and said, “Good morning Dr. Reichmann.”
“Good morning Deborah, would you mind looking after my son Billy, I’m going to let him hang around in my office, I’ve got to rush to a meeting right now, it should only take about an hour.”
“Yes, no problem.”
Billy and his father walked over to a large office. Dr. Reichmann opened the door with his card, and walked in, quickly rearranging his desk. Before walking out of the office, he said to Billy,
“Ok, good, you can occupy yourself for an hour right?”
Billy sat down on the chair and said, “Sure dad.”
Dr. Reichmann gave Billy a pat on the shoulder and walked back to the elevator.
Billy immediately reached for the computer, which was a round metallic object the size of a jelly bean, protected in a crystal box. Billy took out the computer, and pressed it to his temple. As soon as he did this, the computer painlessly latched onto his skin and projected a hologram in front of his eyes that blotted out the surroundings of the office. In his mind, he thought, “Find video games,” and the hologram instantly changed to display several games ranging from 1st person shooters to adventure platformers. His mind focused on the shooting games, and the computer automatically narrowed his options. He picked an alien shooter game, but right when he was about to get started, the hologram disappeared—the computer was out of power. Billy looked for a charger but couldn’t find one, so he reluctantly switched over to doing his homework for math class.
Billy, a 9th grader, was currently enrolled in multivariable differentiation, which put him way behind most of the other students in his grade, most of whom had already completed the entire calculus series before entering high school.
After crunching through a few problems, boredom and hunger started to overtake him. He suddenly noticed his father’s security card on the table; he must have forgotten it. Billy glanced over at the clock, it would be 45 minutes until his dad would be done with his meeting, so after staring at his homework one last time, he put it away, took the card—he would need it to get back in the office—and walked out, the automatic glass door shutting behind him. He walked up to the receptionist, who was filing her nails and asked her, “Where can I get some food?” She glared at him as if he had interrupted something very important, and said “1st floor lobby.” Without any further questions, Billy headed to the elevator and walked in, pushing the first floor button.
As the elevator started to descend, he noticed a bright red button below the 1st floor button, the one red button that his father did not press the last time. When he arrived at the first floor, as the doors started to open, out of pure impulsive curiosity, he closed the elevator door and pushed the red button. The automated voice rang out in the elevator, “Authorized personnel only, please slide your card and enter your identification code.”
Billy swiped the card and entered his birthday. The elevator jolted into motion again and started to descend further and further underground. Finally it came to a stop and the elevator door opened.
Billy looked ahead at a large metallic hallway that continued at a sharp turn to the right. He walked forward, took a right, and saw a man carting machinery down the hallway, so Billy slipped back to hide around the corner until the man disappeared at the other end of the hall, making a left. Inching his way forward, and listening for any sounds, Billy came to the end of the hall, made a left, and gasped in surprise at what was before him. It was a vast dark, room, the size of a large warehouse, 60 feet high. From wall to wall were thousands of cylindrical tanks filled with greenish liquid and little indistinguishable blobs. Billy squinted his eyes, and couldn’t believe what he saw; those little blobs were human embryos! Suddenly realizing that he had been standing there gaping for some time now, he hid behind a stack of empty crates nearby.
From his concealed position, Billy got a better view of the room and noticed all the computers and machinery connected to the embryo tanks. He looked around and noticed passages that led to other smaller rooms with signs that read, “Genetic Testing,” “ “Gamete Synthesis,” and “Product Development.”
Two men suddenly walked out of the Product Development room: one was his father and the other was a man who looked somewhat perturbed. “…I apologize once again Mr. Nelson, for the long delay in our meeting, I have no idea where my identification card went. Luckily one of the lab technicians was around, but anyway it looks like all of our plans are in order, and I must say you are very lucky to be one of the first to invest in our new project.”