Last Choice

“Your destiny, please.”

The synthetic voice, female to most who hear it, had been asking this question for hundreds of years.

The voice had been programmed to wait 10 seconds before asking again. Most who hear the voice respond quickly, as each person has had a lifetime to think about their answer.

Only a few choices are available, on this planet that the off-world colonists call the Pale Brown Dot. Earth had been off-limits to the colonists for 1,500 years, when the seas turned fetid, the land was covered in filth, and the air became misnamed.

Those remaining on the planet found, within the shrinking Survival Zone, that recycling was the only option.

“Dr. Green, your destiny, please.”

The voice asks no more than three times, and then the choice is automatic. Dr. Green knew this, having been taught as they all were when they were toddlers.

The Survivors were 150,000 in number, growing smaller every year. Machines provided their needs, powered by radioactive wastes. All of life was supported from wastes. All of death supported the wastes.

From birth onward, the Survivors drank their one food. Choices are limited. Choices are always limited.

“Dr. Green, your destiny, please.”

“Vanilla.”

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