Life I've been shaking the cobwebs out of my hard drive again. I have files on here which have been knock around since I was at University and often have desperately obscure file names like 'Ugh' and 'Dissme' (wierdly not my dissertation which I don't seem to have on file anywhere....) Anyway, some years ago I followed a night school course in Science Fiction writing which taught me that I didn't know how to write in that genre. But during the lessons we would have to do some short writing exercises. Which is were the following comes from. I haven't the faintest idea what it was in aid of or for that matter why I'm showing it here, except to say that even through the dialogue is extraordinarily clunky in places I like the mystery. Just what are they arguing about?


Darkness.

Lights up.

An office in a governmental building. Most of the furnishings are imagined, except for two large desks at opposite ends of the stage. Upon the left hand desk sits a personal computer and modem. On a swivel chair before this sits Dr. Amy Wood. She is in her early twenties, and wears a white lab coat. She is concentrating intensely upon the screen, her eyes in a state of sheer wonder. Upon her face are projected the green hexadecimal characters of the computer screen.

From off stage, a tapping is heard.


Amy:
Come in.

Her father enters. He is in his late thirties, and wears an old fashion tweed suit, and carries a battered leather suitcase. He projects a feeling of nerves and grief. He approaches his daughter tentatively.

Father:
Amy ...

Amy swivels around on the chair.

Amy (excitedly):
I've just been looking over the theory again. It's so amazing, how simple the whole thing is.

Father (dejectedly):
I ...

Amy:
So when can the trials begin?

Father:
I'm sorry.

Amy stands up and approaches him tenderly.

Amy:
Father ... (urgently) what's wrong.

Father:
We lost the vote.

Amy:
Sorry?

Father:
There won't be any trials. Funding is being withdrawn. The team will be re-assigned.

Amy turns her back to him. She is filled with horror. She recoils, and slaps him hard across the face.

Amy (screaming):
You bastard! How could you?

Father (rubbing his face):
There was no other way. No other choice to be made.

Amy:
You had the carrying vote - we both knew that. I thought I'd made you see how important this is.

Father:
I did it for all of us. For the future.

Amy:
What future? You'll be dead in a couple of years.

Father:
Please. Just calm down. Try to understand.

Amy (urgently):
Understand what? We have, sitting on that hard disk, the ability to double, perhaps triple our lifespan. The chance to do something with our lives ...

Father:
Sit down

Amy:
Spend more of your life doing some good other than being educated ...

Father (with force):
Sit down!

Pause.

Amy:
I won't do anything until you understand how important this is ...

Father (Fuming):
You may be a prize-winning scientist, but you are still my daughter. Now, sit down!

Amy gingerly sits on the chair. Her father breathes deeply to calm himself down.

Father (thoughtfully):
I don't want to lecture you like a child. We went through the projected statistics together. If we were to use your treatment, if we were to ... slow down the work of the aging gene, and everyone does live decades longer, within a few years, we would be in a state of over-population. Our planet would never recover.

Amy (also somewhat calmer):
What about the controls. Choosing who receives the treatment and who does not.

Father:
Who would make that decision? Who is to decide whether you or I - as was muted - should live longer than someone who works in construction or a similar profession? What makes our lives more important than theirs? These are simply the careers we chose.

Amy stands up and begins to pace around him.

Amy:
Can't you be selfish for a moment. You saw how Mother died. Wasting away ..

Father:
Her death hurt me more than you will ever know.

Amy (flippantly)
Not that you were there. She just slipped away, and you couldn't even be there.

Father:
I was busy. Despite the vote, this is an important discovery. You were there for her ...

Amy stops in front of him.

Amy:
I would just hate to see you go through the same thing, now. That was why I worked so hard. Now we have, and you are ignoring it!

Father:
So in your little scenario. Everyone is living longer. Has a whole life ahead of them. What I can't seem to make you see. In a few years, that's it. Not enough food. Fuel. What is there? Anarchy!

Amy (reflectively):
Maybe if I talk to the council again.

Father:
It won't help. The decision has been made.

Amy:
I can't accept it.

Father:
You must. For now. And perhaps, in the future, someone will find a way to spread our resources better. There will be an abundance. At that time the contents of that disk will bring what you hoped. But not in our lifetime.

Amy:
There is nothing that can be done?

Father:
Nothing. Let's not spend the time I have left fighting.

Pause.

Amy:
We won't. But it will take some time.

Darkness.

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