This morning I got a message from a writer friend that yesterday’s Song Title Challenge had inspired her to write a story of her own. She didn’t want to post it on her own blog, though, as her mother reads that one (which I totally understand – my mum has thankfully not yet discovered this blog…all my in-laws have, though), but she wanted me to see it.
I loved her story (even if it is double the challenge length and not in the suggested genre), and being the swell guy I am (and realising I can get a post for today without actually having to write one myself) I offered that she can post it here as a guest post.
So, give a warm welcome to Liese le Roux, normally residing at the Dead Sea Diaries, the first person ever to do a guest post on if all else fails…use a hammer. (Drats! This probably means I’ll have to go write a guest post policy now. *grumble-grumble*)
Every Sperm is Sacred – Liese le Roux
“Only seven left? Are you sure?”
“Yes, General,” Major Steele whispers in answer to the question shouted at her from across the office.
“How the hell did that happen, Major?”
Her fury is palpable as General T.P. Deaver slaps her polished chrome desk, pushes back her chair so quickly that it scrapes on the white floor, tips over on its back legs and almost falls over, but even it doesn’t step out of line in the presence of an angry General.
“Someone made a mistake, General.”
Steele takes a step towards the General, arms stretched out, hands open and her palms facing the ceiling, as she was taught in a conflict resolution class once, so long ago.
“Last count showed 10 000 vials of Potentials, but that was clearly an error. I did an unscheduled stock count this morning and discovered that we only have seven vials left, General.”
“Seven vials of Potentials,” General Deaver whispers to herself, then louder, “Do you know what this means, Major?”
Steele finally utters the words she’d been saying to herself over and over since her shocking discovery that morning,
“We are doomed, General.” Major Steele shivers as the reality sinks in.
“We are well and truly doomed, unless we manage a successful Procedure within the next seven tries.”
General Deaver walks around the gleaming desk, turns her back on the Major and stares out of the glass wall that overlooks the jungle outside. She wonders if the Major really understands. If no male child were conceived within seven Procedures, the entire human race, what’s left of it anyway, would die out. One female after the other, with no way possible to save mankind.
“Huh!” Deaver snorts. “Mankind.”
She shrugs and loses herself in thought again.
“Womankind, to be completely accurate.”
There are currently no males left on Planet Earth. Only Potentials. Seven vials full, to be exact. Each vial contains the semen of top scientists, mathematicians, strategists, artists and soldiers; harvested when it became clear what the full implications of the Disease was.
The Disease hit suddenly and without mercy. All men over 40 started to succumb to the unknown virus, dying within three days after the first symptoms. The dormant virus only became active shortly after a man’s fortieth birthday. Death came relatively quickly, but not without pain.
Over time, all men fell, one-by-one. And women? They did what women do: they hurt, they grieved, but they survived, became stronger and eventually Earth began to thrive again as womankind laid down all weapons, pooled their resources and tried to find a cure for this devastating virus.
But now they faced yet a different problem: all children born after the Disease first appeared were female. No boy child was conceived and the Authority, first led by General Deaver’s grandmother, had to make a plan. When it became clear that the Disease only targeted men, scientists harvested the semen of carefully screened, suitable candidates amongst an elite group of men, tested the samples for any sign of the deadly virus, used this for research and tried to conceive boys, so that they could keep the human race going.
These samples were carefully catalogued and stored in marked vials in the Facility, of which General T.P. Deaver was in charge. The General is third generation Authority and oversees all research and fertilization Procedures and she hoped to be the Deaver to finally achieve success. A boy child will be born under her watch, even if just one.
Now it seems Fate stepped in again. Somehow something went horribly wrong and now only seven vials were left. Seven precious vials of washed and protein boosted semen. Each vial contains between sixty- and ninety million sperms.
“Launch a full investigation, Major.”
The General turns away from the lush forest outside. If only it was as easy to turn away from this news.
“In the mean time, we have healthy harvested eggs and very little time left. Instruct the lab to go ahead with the Procedure.”
Major Steele stands up even straighter, unconsciously runs her sweaty palms down her all-white uniform as if to smooth out any nonexistent wrinkles. She pulls back her shoulders, lifts her right hand in a salute while clicking her heels together and with a loud “Yes, General!” she turns on her heel to leave the General’s office.
“Tell the lab to be careful. Every sperm is sacred.”
Copyright © 2014 Liese le Roux