Okay, so maybe it wasn't all fun and games in the end. I look back on all that and I realize that as great as things got, they also got sort of weird, too. People would wander into the streets, pick up a car and careen down the highway at 120, crash into a fence and if they were lucky, they'd go right through. Otherwise, the machine stopped short and your young head was stuck through the windshield for everyone to see for days and weeks and months to come. There were too few of us then to clean up the bodies. There were too many dying.
Mass exodus they called it. I was only sixty five at the time and by modern standards (can I call things modern now that everything is over?) that is pretty damn young. At the time, it was mid-aged. Now, you gotta be on the upper levels to get that far and still be pretty. I had red hair with no trace of grey and I looked like I was twenty nine. Again. And again. And again. Who the hell cared about repopulation? We could all live forever. Biological immortality. Of course, the problem was, that the term had been misunderstood. Scientists knew it well enough. But the lay-person took it at face value. Living forever. It seemed like we were all living forever.
First sign that maybe we weren't going to do just that was the so, so sad sudden drop-off of lower SES groups. Hell, how were they supposed to get the transhumanistic treatments if they couldn't afford food? But like Antoinette and her crew, we just figured there would be more to replace the ones we'd lost. Problem being, they weren't having babies. Planned Parenthood had a few words to say on that. You couldn't drive down a highway or a back alley without seeing a poster or a big ass sign crying, “Here is Sylvia. She has a cleft pallet and a 70% chance of going manic phase by the age of 23. Why do this to your child? Sterilize to prevent tragedy in a child's life.” Smaller pamphlets just called out, “Is your baby going to make it? Ask your doctor about reprogenetic treatments today.”
You get given a list of the shit you pass on to your future kids and maybe you don't want to have kids no more. The suicide rate was out the roof fifty years before when genetic typing became available to anyone with the forty bucks for the test. Some people just needed to know that they would hit thirty and probably start hearing things to want to end it all at twenty five. Life wasn't worth living if your dreams had no basis. I got close myself, only I was a lesbian and I hadn't intended to have kids anyway. No chance of passing on my crap genes.
So there we were, living on the hog and those poor slobs who had the crap reports and had no futures were dying off and not having kids. So what? We'd just have some ourselves. In vitro was our savior and one genetically sound woman could make hundreds of these sweet little suckers. But we'd been doing that for a hundred fifty years and getting more and more selective as we went on. We had ignored nature, they said. Or God. Or maybe we'd just put ourselves into extinction through weeding out the mutations that had made us a strong species to begin with. Who knew that schizos had creativity and that genetic depressives were well known for changing the world? Mutations were the way of evolution and mutations were the enemy.
So suddenly there wasn't enough genetic material to keep us going and one out of a thousand eggs remained viable after hitting the zygote stage. The dismal numbers of children still was okay because we were biologically immortal.
Then we found out that biological immortality just meant an average change and that because we hadn't had average change at all in mortality, didn't mean that we didn't have a cut off date. It was just no one had been all that sure about the numbers stamped on our little milk carton world. When we hit it, when we first started to drop suddenly, body functions ending, DNA run out, no more renewal of cell growth, we didn't believe it. We figured it just took a bath in stem cells or a new origination point. Problem was, how did you fully replace origination points throughout an entire body? Eventually you'd miss one million, one hundred cells and the walls of your heart, the synapses in your brain, the lattice of your bones would be gone, deteriorate, and your time was up. It didn't matter if you still looked twenty nine.