An old man living in a futuristic society hears an announcement one morning stating that all the elderly and any other people seen as liabilities will be immediately terminated. He teleports to his adopted son, hoping for help, but who should be waiting for him there other than a member of the Institution, the very dictatorship that announced the killing of all elderly? The man and his son must escape this Institution worker, but how? It seems like the Institution is in control of everything. Is there some way to flee such a dominant world power?
“It has been issued by the Institution that all citizens over the age of seventy and anyone else who could be seen as a liability shall be terminated within the span of the next two to three months,” the newsman says, his hologram displaying in my hard, glass living room.
I am seventy-one.
I swipe my hand in front of the newsman’s face, and slowly, the man’s image fades out until I can no longer discern his dark, cold features.
I remember Sned’s contact info: SnedwardWhite@EastAfrica.home. Then as I remember, I feel myself towards him.
Suddenly, a red light starts flickering from the corner of my glass ceiling.
A voice speaks:
“Warning: do not move or attempt any escape.”
“Again, I repeat: do not escape.”
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
I take no heed, though, and my body loses all mass as I begin to teleport towards Sned.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
The part of me that’s still at home sees the whole room flashing. The beeping is only growing louder.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeeeeep!
My body grows again, but now I see my brown-haired, brown-eyed, average-height, adopted son standing in front of me, and the beeping and flashing are gone.
Suddenly, I feel an arm reach out to grab me from behind.
“I said, do not escape!”
I turn to look.
It is a young man with dark black eyes, blond hair, and an Institution badge on his chest. He must have teleported at the same time I had. As the keepers of the MindNET, the Institution’s workers have access to all MindNET transactions, so they could have perceived Sned’s address.
“How dare you defy the Institution!” the man shouts, grabbing a gun from one of his pockets.
Snedward pushes him off of me.
“Don’t touch my father!” he shouts.
The man growls. “Now, you are both under arrest for violating the Institution!”
“Catch us if you can,” Sned says, mockingly. He leads me down a staircase, into an underground garage. The man is following close behind, shooting his gun as he goes. The walls are dented.
Sned opens the door of his car, one of the few remaining automobiles on Earth, and helps me in.
“You can’t get away from me!” the Institution worker yells, catching up to us. His blond hair reminds me of burning fire.
I slam my door and lock it, and Snedward jumps on the man, reaching for the gun. The man slings him off his shoulders and shoots.
The bullet flies past Snedward’s head and hits the wide, metal door behind him with a bang, and again it leaves a huge dent on the building.
Snedward pushes a button next to the garage door to open it and jumps in the car next to me. The man runs after him and tries to open one of the car doors, but they are locked.
He screams a curse and says, “You can’t get away from me forever! You just wait. Your consequences will come in due time.”
But we’re speeding away so fast that he can’t actually do anything other than scream and shoot bullets that will only escape into the polluted air. Soon, he’s out of sight.
“Where are we going?” I ask Snedward, as we race on the dusty street.
“A remote village a little way from here,” he responds. “They don’t have MindNET connections there, so none of the Institution’s people will be able to teleport there. We’ll be safe there since teleporting is the Institution’s only remaining means of transportation.”
“Safe?” I whisper.