A sea of tiny white pills moved in unison of 120 beats-per-minute towards the massive unseen doors of the packing docks. They would be boxed, loaded and shipped to mainland Europe to the people who were permitted to use them. Pills, as far as the eye can see, glistening brilliant white under the soft light of Production Hangar Seven’s magnificent glass dome. The hangar, situated on what had once been Southampton’s docks, was at six thousand square meters, the Coalition’s oldest and smallest RACHEL production site.
Klaus sat above the pills in his glass rotating observation globe, watching the swift movement in silence. He was not permitted to speak. No one was. He had been lowered down into the hangar three hours earlier; he had another six hours of pill gazing to go: a nine-hour observation shift, of watching millions of highly addictive tiny white pills moving silently across the floor.
Klaus was eighteen years old and “an Unrequited”. Born in a small village just outside Offenbach in Germany he had shown no early signs of negativity; indeed his Coalition teachers had always graded him with a Level 4 Beamter potential: not great but enough for a comfortable life in the nicer Hot Houses of Frankfurt. At sixteen he had proudly stepped forward with the other boys for his Passing, held out his hand and accepted his very first RACHEL pill. He swallowed and waited for the thrill of the network, the acceptance and finally her voice. But she never came. He’d been guided quietly away to a discreet quarantine facility in the forest of Rodgau for a series of tests and the final crushing diagnosis: Unrequited – RACHEL did not affect him.
He had been moved to Calais for final transportation to The Island. It had been comfortable, and they had treated him and the other Unrequited kindly: “The Island is punishment enough,” he had heard one of the Coalition guards say as he boarded the Telsacraft. They headed across the Coalition Channel and reached Dover at dawn. He had been assigned to Production Hangar Seven and had lived and observed there ever since. Imprisoned in boredom.
“You are The Unrequited. You reached out to RACHEL, but she could not reach out to you. You will, therefore, spend the rest of your life watching over her”. Klaus would never forget the words of Beamter Harrison, who had flown in especially to Unrequite them. “Watch over her carefully”, Harrison had said. The last spoken words he would ever hear.
Klaus spent endless days watching the endless stream of pills. His job was to watch, but for what? This had never been explained to him. His observation globe both a spinning cell and a place of work. A vacuum.
He’d been allocated to the central area of the hangar, close to the Beamter tower, a large mirrored structure that filled the centre of this enormous room. He could see at least three other observation globes that were, in turn, occupied by two men and a woman, who he had come to call Juliet. There were windows in the Beamter tower, and Klaus could see the Coalition Beamter watching him and his fellow Unrequited. After two years he had memorised their shifts and given them all names: Gordon, Hans, Kevin, Spike Head and Richard.
And so Klaus would watch over these pills as they moved towards a happier life. He would watch, plan, scheme and dream of a life outside the hangar: a life full of words, sound, music and laughter. A life with RACHEL. A life without the painful ache of human emotion: without the anxiety of wanting to be touched, kissed and being yearned for.
The globe rotated.
The pills moved forward.
He had fallen in love.
About Memories From The Future:
“Memories From The Future” is a weekly series written exclusively for bynd48 by Marcus John Henry Brown. Set in 2059, the series is based upon his Black Operatives Department Talks and explores technologies, society and businesses of the present by imagining them in a chilling near-future.