October 1st '15
On this momentous day it seems important that everything which
should be recorded as accurately as possible. I hope my memory serves
me well. It
would be hardly surprising if it didn't under the circumstances. I can
only do my
It seems like a lifetime since I woke in my dingy bedroom in Charlotte
this morning and fumbled my way to the kitchen. Things went wrong from
moment my alarm didn't go off. I left my glasses in the bathroom last
had to put the kettle on from memory. I missed the bus but George Dance
along and offered me a lift into work. I thought my luck had changed
until his car
ground to a halt and I had to push him to the garage. Poor old George,
help wondering about him now. I can't help wondering about a lot of
Things didn't go any better in the department. Prof. Sanky hardly
before coffee and when I asked what had got into him he grunted and
another of my chocolate digestives. My salary cheque was late again, I
find yesterday's notes and somebody had nicked the poison cupboard keys
my lab coat pocket. I spent an hour trying to trace them causing no end
of a stir
only to find Sanky had pocketed them. He didn't apologize. I left for
lunch half an
A sense of urgency overtook me as I strode through the
corroding gates of The University Hospital into the street where
carrying on the normal business of the day oblivious of my personal
My mind was in turmoil. A conflict, between the work I so enjoyed and
commitment to preserve our Planet Earth has been fermenting inside my
for some time and by 1100 hours today the pressure was nearing the
The Prof. is obsessed - correction - was obsessed with the production
H.S.P. I told him the idea was obscene. He respected my point of view
was no less determined to go ahead with it. Despite his great intellect
often overlook the obvious and I'm convinced he hadn't thought how he'd
confronted by the perfect human being, (H.S.P.).
He favoured in-vitro development and would undoubtedly have been able
find a willing surrogate - some women do anything for money - but that
infant's brain power might be almost equal to his own hadn't crossed
Scientific advances developed for all the right reasons so often have
immense potential for evil. The possibility of reducing pain and
suffering for the
few can easily result damage to the many though Professor Malcolm Sanky
- or wouldn't allow himself to - see it that way.
This was my dilemma and I couldn't handle it. I needed to get away
come to some carefully considered conclusions without prejudice or
needed space, without that old swine breathing down my neck. The irony
now I have plenty of it I'm not sure how to use it. Had I known at noon
know now would I have followed the same course of action
I wonder? I suppose I should be grateful that many of the
possibilities that bugged me yesterday no longer exist and questions I
answer need no resolution.
I pulled my air filter up over my nose and mouth and made my way
the overpowering smell of exhaust fumes from the heaving queues of
traffic in the town centre and turned onto the road leading through the
into what remained of the countryside beyond. Funny, I don't
ever having been that way before. I can be sure now I'll never do it
The undulant road stretched ahead skirted on both sides by rows of
fibro-plastic accommodation blocks; the '88 version, that I've always
quickened my step to keep up with others who were taking the same
felt driven to move faster by the unusual state of excitement of those
road, forging on towards the distant range of hills which was
Clouds had descended and an ominous air of mystery and
hung over the countryside as heavy drizzle brought about a change of
everywhere. Clumps of grass assumed a deeper shade of ochre, dark
became darker, black tarmac adopted a silver sheen, the clothes on
backs were visibly altered. No one seemed to care or even notice any
was all part of everyday modern existence.
I fell in step with two young women, shabbily dressed in long
skirts and incongruously heavy boots, remonstrating and talking wildly
strange tongue. My attempts to communicate with them in sign language
the damp and their near hysteria made them impatient to press on and
me the cold shoulder.
I asked a jogger where he was going. He smiled complacently,
buggered if I know,' he said, `What does it matter, it's all exercise
isn't it?' I
wasn't dressed for jogging and the incline made me breathless so I
as a jogger I'm a bloody good geneticist!
I thought I was lucky to be in at the beginning of the recent surge
study in genetic engineering. I was still a bit wet behind the ears
when I joined the
team but the Prof. assumed I knew what I was doing. I had access to his
and an almost free hand in projects he put me on. The time I spent in
and on the wards treating kids showing symptoms of genetic diseases,
gave me a
hell of a buzz.
Like two work horses, side by side in harness, treading separate
but sharing the same load Prof. Sanky and I achieved a great deal. In
hands the techniques we were developing could do nothing but good;
disease before symptoms occurred, controlling cancer, perhaps curing
preventing it - yet my constant concern was that some unscrupulous
would gain access to our classified information and abuse it.
Security was strict; the scope for devastation of the environment
certain of our discoveries got into the wrong hands didn't bear
Recently I had begun to think those hands were leading the research in
There was money to be made from the drug companies by patenting
genetic combinations and Sanky was first in line with his mercenary,
A Nazi-type dictatorship controlling the production of a
engineered race of `perfect' people ruling over a designer working
like drones in a hive; cloned bodies and brains programmed to specific
which would be their life's work, was a terrifying thought but quite
the bounds of possibility and one which increasingly appealed to my
boss. I was
programmed to believe that it would never happen and only in my worst
did my mind appropriate such possibilities. I thank God - if it's She
doing - that after the events of today it's unlikely to occur.
A young woman with a child at her side had broken a sandal in the
at the edge of the road. I bent to help her repair the strap with a
piece of string
from my pocket. Why do I always have string in my pocket? I suppose I
Boy Scout for nothing
She was an attractive little thing, - physically - but I had no
inclinations at that moment, - not something I'd have considered
screening anyway - but I was pleased to make her acquaintance.
`Where's everyone going?' I asked.
`I understand an historic event is about to take place. I imagine
going to the top of the hill to get a better view or to try to be part
of it. 'The little
boy was short of breath, struggling with wasting limbs, a disease I
recognized. I couldn't recall having treated him myself but no doubt
There was no hope of shelter save for a cluster of skeletal saplings
kilometre or so ahead and I didn't understand why the young mother was
with her sickly sprog, but neither did I understand my own enthusiasm
improbable journey, so while his mother took one of the child's hands I
other and together we stumbled through scrubby vegetation onto the
rough track to
the summit and began the final steep ascent as if our lives depended
It took us the best part of two hours to reach the top. My
other sandal came adrift and I did more running repairs, by which time
raining so hard rivulets of stinking water were trickling round our
feet and our
bodies were sore from rain which had penetrated our clothing.
The child whined to be held out for a pee a couple times. Twice I
fruit and bottles of spring water from opportunists who had set up
the roadside. We were grateful, but it didn't do them a lot of
At last we stood on the ridge gob-smacked at the deluge of
descending into the valley on the other side, determined to be involved
historic event, whatever it was going to be. My suggestion that they
lemmings was more truthful than I knew. None of them seemed to be aware
rain; their only thought was to join the moronic rush downhill.
I spotted a platform a little way off the path so I picked up the kid
made our way towards it. - The ungrateful little sod hollered like a
stuck pig. - It
looked like a good place from which to view the goings on, so we
and like punters in the grand stand at Ascot settled down to watch the
Several others joined us and our excitement was honed - I remember
Ladies' Day with Dad shortly before he died. - Thank God I have no
From our vantage point we surveyed a microcosm of life on earth. A
board-game of human behavior belying all logic, all understanding,
over the lowlands beneath us.
Morality, decency and integrity were buffeted in gale force winds
promiscuity and greed; honesty and kindness succumbed to huge rolling
Villages, towns, cities and nations disagreed, wallowed in vice,
ridiculed sacred beliefs, coveted property and unattainable
Marauding like ungainly, prehistoric beasts, discontent and avarice
populations, trampling them into an unyielding earth depleted of all
Man fought with man, families fell apart, nations disintegrated.
red, yellow, brown and white, were at war with each other and with
Nobody listened or tried to understand another's point of view.
from landscape to ravaged landscape pillaging and plundering, each one
insane with a desire to live and to deprive his neighbour of the right
to do the
same; competitive to the end.
Unsettled by the avalanche of multifarious events which had beset
seething, lurching mass of unidentified humanity poured in from every
shouting, rushing hither and thither, overflowing into a turbulent pool
People demanded to know what was going on but there was no
response. Gaps in the walls of secrecy were temporarily unstopped;
was a seepage of information, intentionally or otherwise it was
impossible to say
but the result didn't inspire confidence in the ruling parties. -
Blue capped protagonists jumped up and down, frustrated by their
to settle battles in front of them and those they'd left behind.
crossed and re-crossed the borders afraid to give the order to
workers gambled with their own lives and other people's money,
decisions. Who's distress is the greatest? Who's need most desperate?
disadvantage most poignant? Who's luck is in?
The end was near. The awful game of chance was reaching its
Packs of players were thrown aside, firing squads raised their
terrorists ignited fuses, suicide squadrons started to roll,
negotiators begged for
mercy. There was pandemonium, deafening beyond belief. I cried out,
Christ's sake, stop! Use your powers of deduction Homo Sapiens if
you are! Think, before it's too late,' but the words died in my
`My turn to throw. Double or bust!' shouted a guy, nearer to death
realised. In a last ditch attempt to save the game, he seized the die
and cast it.
A pause; one which may have lasted, two minutes, two hours or two
I do not know and I have no way of finding out. Alarm bells were
ringing.... In the mayhem that followed the young man's dismembered
seized and his remains tossed up, up onto the catafalque with the rest
For one beautiful moment when I retrieved my senses I thought it
all a terrible nightmare and I would wake sweating and thrashing about
my own bed... but it was nothing of the kind. This was for
I find myself strangely calm and at ease, reasoning that things had
out rather well since The Cataclysm - I shall call it that because
would be an inappropriate and totally naff way of describing something
beyond description and normal comprehension. - After The Cataclysm I
longer be in danger of being held to ransom or tortured until I
everything I know to an Ultimate Dictator, nor can I be held
misuse of my specialist knowledge. Only death threatens.
It is strange how tranquil the human mind - or is it spirit? -
when faced with inevitability. - I remember Mum told me that child
always frightened her until she discovered she was pregnant. Then its
made it no more than another bridge to cross. - My impending death has
no feeling of panic, no outrage; only sadness that all those years of
research will be wasted.
Children with disabilities, like the boy I met on the way here and
children I treated in hospital will not be born, but it will be no
thanks to my study
of human genetics. This is the beginning of the end. All babies born
historic event like most of the rest of us will live no more than a few
is unlikely there will be future generations to profit from the endless
scientific exploration and deduction through which I laboured.
* * * * * *
I am spending my last hours recording my thoughts as honestly as I
At a time when my demise and that of the remains of the human race must
imminent why do I feel compelled to do it? I suppose in the vain hope
someone will come after; that there will be another tomorrow even if I
don't see it.
With predictable inevitability the most advanced form of life on earth
done it's level best to destroy itself and civilizations are no more. I
events as I saw them.
* * * * * *
22nd October '01.
I have settled on this date although I am unsure of just how many
and days have passed since the Cataclysm or since I last made an entry
diary of events. I do not know if the month is still October. This may
New Beginning. If it is perhaps I should call this month January? It is
January I have ever known but seasons were already changing before
Cataclysm so perhaps this is not Autumn sunshine on my back. I am
pleased to discover I am still alive and apparently in good health
The left lens of my spectacles is chipped and two finger nails are
seeming trivialities but with no scissors or nail-file the nails were
nuisance until I tried my teeth but was revolted by the taste of my
filthy hands so I
improvised with a fragment of sandstone. - Apart from that I am
Oddly enough most other survivors are stunned but more or less O.K.
Entries I made in this journal only last month seem unreal,
impossible yet I know they are true and words I wrote before it all
words which have survived with me, authenticate my memory and
me doubting my sanity. August and September are a lifetime away.
5th November '01.
We shall not celebrate tonight! The dust has finally settled and it's
joy to breathe clean air. Vegetation is appearing as if from nowhere,
green and lush
as I remember it when I was a child. Some bird and animal life has
with us though it is hard to tell if any will have the ability to
breed. Oh, for a
few meagre facilities so I could practice some cloning and help things
along a bit.
I find the current state of affairs unsettling. Food is not hard to
but food isn't everything. There are no facilities; few utilities of
any kind have
survived; everything we have is improvised, even cups and cooking pots
be re-invented and re-fabricated from whatever we can lay our hands on.
picked up a book of matches the last time I was at the Holiday Inn. -
That was some
evening! - A good thing the matches were still in my anorak pocket or
have been rubbing two sticks together! Never could get the hang of
that, Boy Scout
There's no means of transport so we travel on foot. We have no idea of
size of the land mass we're on, let alone the size of the planet. Are
more heavily populated than this? Are they populated at all? I doubt
October 1st it has been the survival of the fittest in every way. - Old
what he was on about after all. - Swift adaptation to the changed
environment is paramount and will continue to be so. I have observed
skin colour has no apparent bearing on it. I have carefully assessed
and considered it with and without prejudice and persuasion.
9th November '01
For some years I've predicted just such an eventuality as this. Of
colleagues, family and acquaintances thought I was a complete nutter. I
lot of time before The Cataclysm applying my mind to the direction in
survivors, if there were any, should move. In retrospect it seems the
I am ready to meet the challenge. Yes indeed! I am youngish, I
the courage, the knowledge and the ability. I have survived with a few
others, whose suitability is endorsed by their survival. They have the
adjust - or be adjusted - to life under the chosen system. There are
decisions to be
made, and quickly.
One option is for the resurrection of the human race within new
systems. Over a period of a few hundred years there could be a return
to a more
circumspect, caring normality in a replenished, no longer
idyllic world. This is the road of conscience and will take time.
The other is an easier, more rapid inflation of human numbers
may be preferred by those with superior intelligence. Setting aside
and with ingenuity on my part the resultant society using this system
can be up
and running in a matter of a decade though it cannot be described as
solution. Under current circumstances cloning and the Bee Hive Syndrome
their attractions. I freely admit that a few of us are warming to
It's up to us. We must choose between a rapidly developed system or
which takes time, - more than most of us have at our disposal.
It is fortuitous that as Chairman of the New democratically elected
World Governors I have the casting vote.
A TIME &; A PLACE Pages from the Diary of a Young Boffin.