Something Better
Teaser #2 - The Test
By: Jim Bates

Quinn and his wife Karen lived on the fourteenth floor of the fifty-story concrete apartment complex they'd called home for the six years of their marriage. As he hung his oxygen mask on the peg by the door and stepped into the living area, Karen turned to him from her desk, a palpable tension in the air. Something was up.

"I just sent my test in."

"How'd it go?"

"Not good." She slammed her hand down hard. "Damn it! I don't know what went wrong. I know this stuff.

Quinn rushed to her side, knelt, and put a supportive hand on her arm. "Wasn't the subject microbiology? You're good with that. There's probably nothing to worry about."

"Easy for you to say, Mr. Hot-Shot Engineer."

She was right about him being an engineer. He was pretty good with mechanical and electronic devices of all kinds. A hot shot? Debatable.

Nevertheless, Quinn understood what Karen was worried about. Even though she was brilliant in chemistry and biology, if she didn't do well on the test the company she worked for, Millennium Microbial, had the authority to dock a day off her LifeLine, the mandated life span for humans set at forty years of age by the World Order. She'd already lost thirty-four days during the first twenty-five years of her life, and she didn't want to lose anymore. Not like her husband. He had already lost one-hundred and seventy-seven days, nearly half a year, and he was her same age.

Quinn and Karen were among a small group of citizens that didn't always play by the rules established by the World Order. They weren't radicals per-se, but they were more free-thinking than most of the population. That attitude sometimes got them into trouble.


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