The Deeps, Part 3

I find it interesting that time, while steady and consistent – and so much so that is tracked by atomic clocks – to us personally time just isn’t. Yet, according to what is happening around one time appears to either move quickly, or drag on forever – or so it seems. It doesn’t matter whether one is alone on a quiet weekend, or surrounded by the multitudes during a sporting event, it is there and consistent. It is us who perceive it differently. For example, when at work, at times, it may feel that hours have gone by because of the intensity of the tasks before you, but when you actually look at the clock on the wall barely any time has passed. Mark Twain stated it this way (and I paraphrase): “If one stares at a beautiful woman for 2 minutes the time appears to be instant. But if one sits on a hot stove for 2 minutes it can seem forever.”

For Ed, the last man on earth, he has now moved past his father’s death and is now dealing with this reality. There is no one to discuss this with, no one to talk to, no one to watch. How would such a realization affect you personally? Once again he decides it is time to look at the past, to see how the original ones tried to cope. This is followed by recent history, but in the end it still leaves only Ed. (If you are coming here for the first time, I suggest you go to the sidebar on the right to February 2015 and read parts 1 and 2.) And for your reading pleasure is, The Deeps, Part 3:

What had it been? Three weeks since he became the last one? He knew they still tracked time the same way as it had been before the event, and if he looked at the calendar it would probably read somewhere in the month of June. The year, he didn’t have a clue. He knew from the archives there had been an argument as to how to track the years. Some thought it should begin from the point when they sealed this place from the outside world, others wanted to continue as it always had been. In the end it was tracked both ways since no one could decide.

And if he wanted to admit it, again since he was the last, why would it be important or matter anyway? Once he was gone there would be no one who would care, and there was a great chance there wouldn’t be another intelligent species arising that would track time the same way anyway. Still 3 weeks had passed and in a sense, even with all this space, the walls were closing in on him. He swore he could hear voices, see shadows, and it felt as if the ghosts of the ones who had lived out their lives here were watching him, judging him, and shaking their heads, seeing the end close at hand.

He had decided, in the near past, to go back over the vids of his parents. Not that it mattered. He knew, again from the history of the original occupants, from the vids and records, the idea of monogamy had been thrown out. To have the greatest chance of survival everybody had to spread their genes as widely as possible. It wasn’t the best of solutions, and had created its own problems, since most were of the belief that monogamy was the best way to go.

Some of the issues were obvious, especially for the women because they knew that this fell mostly on them. They would become nothing more than baby factories, sperm depositories, with no love or support for what lay ahead for them. Many rebelled, but when desperation reigns such rebellion doesn’t last long. And whether they wanted to be a part of this or not, they were forced against their will to participate. It was the reason for the brief population explosion, but the widely mixing of the genes from this – experiment, for lack of a better word – didn’t save them in the end, and again, he was the proof of that.

It was probably six months after the sealing of the facility they knew there would be no others. This led to many arguments, discussions, anger, fear, and chaos. Eventually, even though with some reluctance, they put into action their plan to give the human race a chance of survival. The exam rooms were turned into production rooms – more of reproduction rooms really. They determined for the best success that each woman would have three males leave their seed inside of her, and this would be done one after another with only 5 minutes between encounters. To help the females they would lie on the exam tables and use the stirrups to support their legs and make it easy and quick. Then a few days would pass and the procedure would be repeated with a different set of males.

Each male would be given a random room number, a time, and once there would be assigned a number ranging from 1 to 3. The guard at the door would admit each one, announce the number to the waiting female who wouldn’t be seen by the males, and the timer would start. The process was a simple one, the male would touch the female on her leg to let her know he was there and ready, at which point he would perform the act and leave. No talking was allowed to further the anonymity of the participants. The second reason for this was simply the chance to reduce jealousy, and the possibility of violence among the members of “The Deeps”. By no one knowing who either the father of the child, or which female each male may have mated with, other than when the child resembled a particular male, or possibly a female or male of a different race, it could have been any of them.

It had been conjectured, somewhere in the past, that in the wilds a female (before civilization and written history) would mate with more than one male, and like in the ideas of the fittest surviving, it was thought that even on the level of sperm, the fittest would be the one to fertilize the egg. And within a short period of time, where in the past the attempt to prevent pregnancy was paramount, now it was the opposite, and all of the fertile females were carrying. And once they came to full term, then 3 months would be allowed before they would try again. All would be responsible for the care and the raising of the new generation coming out of this, with the hope of success.

Part of the problem from this desperate attempt lay in the fact that this process was a slow one – nature made it that way. Once a child was conceived then the mother would carry the child to term and hope for a successful birth, this followed by 16 to 18 years of life before the children would be at a time in their life where they could add their genes to the mix and enter into the program. And with the few women who were at the facility at the time of sealing, they could generally only add one life a year to the population, and only for so long before their bodies would give out.

Then there was the age factor. A woman could only safely produce offspring for so long before genetic errors, personal survival, and the ability to become pregnant arrived. And many of the women who were here at the facility were close to the end of their child-bearing years, adding to the odds of failure. This didn’t mean that there weren’t problems on the other side. Males or men had issues also. No they didn’t carry the burden as the women, or pay the price, still there were no guarantees they were fertile either. And add to the mix there were no doctors or nurses – they wouldn’t have arrived until the first of the ones who were to occupy this facility were to arrive, which, of course, never happened – only added to the complications.

Without nurses and doctors, midwives and such, there was a greater chance of losing both the birthing mother and her infant, furthering the chances of failure. And each time it happened it weighed heavily on the population, because there were no others to replace the losses, replace the females who died in childbirth. And as time and desperation drove the residents of “the Deeps” on, the inevitable happened and the population had dwindled down to his mother and father.

Of course, with his parents there was no choice. They were the last of each sex to be alive, and if anything, the vids of their relationship showed they were not compatible at all. But desperation creates strange bedfellows, and it was obvious as he watched the vids this was the case here. They had nothing in common, and it was painfully obvious for them to come together physically was a difficult proposition. Yet, eventually he was conceived, and it was while he was still young – 6 or 7, if he remembered right – his mother died.

He could tell from the desperation in his father’s attempt to save her, it was important – critical really. But at that age one didn’t understand other than the hurt from not having her around. Her skills had been computing and as a dietician, while his father was an engineer. He, more because of the need, had no specialty, but kind of a cross-section of everything. This allowed him to repair anything that might break down, and break downs did happen. Things just naturally wore out just like their bodies. Time, it seemed, tore everything down.

He remembered, after her death, things seemed to fall apart – especially between him and his father. He didn’t understand it at all. After all, he really was too young to understand. Yet, after what seemed to be too great of a time both of them fell into an uneasy routine, an uneasy understanding, and a shaky relationship. What else could they do? There was no one else, only the two of them. And as time moved past both of them he realized, in most ways, he had taken after his mother’s side, and since he knew how poorly the two of them got along, he could see it would be the same with him and his father.

Yeah, it had been tough. They had compromised a lot. Even still there had been fights, arguments, and disagreements, followed by anger and silence between the two of them. Still, they had no choice; they depended on each other just to survive. This eventually led to an understanding of what could and couldn’t be discussed. And the years moved rapidly until here he was – alone. Alone, such a scary word. He had learned, through his studies, they were a gregarious species, ones who needed others. Yet, when there were no others what did one do?

The obvious answer was – die. Well that option would be coming soon enough. Heck, if he was younger, by about 40 years, maybe it would be worthwhile to head back to the surface if for no other reason than to be able to say he had been there. But he was now in his 60’s. All he could do is shake his head and ask, where did the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday when mother had passed away and I tried to hold back the tears? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I was no longer a child? And yet only a short time ago father joined mother and all the others before them in death. Now what? Yes, now what indeed. No answers, and in truth, no one to ask.

* * *

There are times when the idea of being alone seems to be wonderful. Yet, we only look at that possibility as a brief respite from the busy and noisy world. None of us have the expectation of remaining alone. Once we are refreshed we are more than happy to go back and join the noise and chaos which is this modern world. Next week we continue the short story with part 4. Have a great week and I hope to see you here next Saturday. God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

 

Advertisements

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://windmillsmetaphor4writing.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/the-deeps-part-3/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: