For the past few months, Sora had felt guilty. Pushing her half-eaten porridge away and getting up from the stool, she left the morning meal bar and walked over to one of the circler front windows. Behind her, the voices of her parents and the whirling of machines whispered softly. Sora hugged herself, desperately wanting comfort and an escape from the guilt. It was new to her this nagging feeling and she wasn’t doing well at hiding it or the other feelings the guilt brought on.
‘I’m not feeling well. I’m going back to bed,’ she called over her shoulder then fled to her room.
The voices of her parents and their breakfast clattering rose behind her, but she shut it out with her bedroom door. Laying on her messed up bed, she looked up at the solar system projected on her ceiling, whose light glowed gently down. Her parents thought she was too old for it now, but Sora found tranquillity in the ever moving planets, stars and asteroids. Snuggling into the large pillows and pulling a microfleece blanket half over her, Sora shut her eyes and tried not to sink lower into the guilt.
She heard her parents leave, no doubt believing that because she was nearly an adult she could take care of herself. She wondered what their schedules were like today. Maybe her mother would go to the saloon and get her hair and nails done, then she might visit some friends and go shopping. Her father would make his normal mid-week tour of his business, have lunch with some business partners, then go to the gym or to play golf. It was all too predictable.
Sora put a decorative cushion on her face and breathed in the faint traces of synthetic vanilla. A light tapping, almost made her remove the cushion, but her arm flopped to the side instead. The door opened silently and soft footsteps entered. Sora knew who it was instantly, the android housekeeper, who’s soul function was to clean and cook.
‘Can I tidy in here, please?’ a female like voice asked.
‘No. I’m sleeping,’ Sora answered and tried to stay still.
‘But won’t you be late for lessons?’
‘I’m not feeling well,’ Sora counted back already getting bored with the questions.
‘Shall I get the Doctor?’ the android questioned.
Sora pulled the cushion off her face and half sit up, ‘I found out something,’ she started, ‘something I don’t think I should know and I don’t know who to talk to about it.’
The housekeeper didn’t move and continued to stare at her with lifeless eyes. From a distance any android could pass off as human, but up close they just looked like good imitations. Sora didn’t really know or care, how much the androids understood human emotions or if they even knew the differences between them.
‘I read this old book and I found out that once there were different societies of people and they could be divided into a number of categories, but most of the time they’d be divided into how much money they had,’ Sora paused and tried to judge the android’s reaction to this, but of course it didn’t have one.
‘There were three classes of people; rich, middle and poor. The rich have everything and got to do little work, just like how we all live now. The middle classes had to work, but they had comfortable lives and could have most things they wanted. The poor class, well, they had nothing or very little. They lives were all about surviving and not much else. Can you understand that?’
‘No,’ the housekeeper replied, ‘shall I get the Sympathiser? I have not been programmed to connect with humans on this level.’
Sora shook her head, ‘nor has he, it, look it doesn’t matter. Just clean,’ she waved her hand then got up and left.
In the lounge, she turned on the InterFace and giving into the whims she looked up more about the different classes and what had happened to the population. Oddly, all the information she could want was easy enough to access, though she doubted it should be so. The 2101 Freedom Information Act had seen to that and what Sora found made her feel guiltier then before.
When her parents came home and they sat to have the evening meal, Sora told them everything she had discovered and watched their expressions closely. However, if her words affected them in any way they kept it hidden and they seemed non-interested in the matter.
‘Don’t you get it?’ Sora pressed.
‘Yes, of course,’ her mother snapped.
‘It had to be done,’ her father answered solemnly and nodding at his half-eaten steak.
‘Don’t you think it’s wrong? Who decided it was okay to wipe out most of the population? And how did they decided who to keep?’ Sora demanded.
‘Didn’t you find that out?’ came a delayed response from her father.
‘Somewhat. But no real names. I just…I…’ Sora trailed off and looked down at her hands folded into her lap.
‘It doesn’t matter. You can’t change it,’ her mother cut in, ‘if it hadn’t of happened you might not have been born and we wouldn’t have be living like this.’
‘The world was too pollute, we were the cause and we were going to die out,’ her father clarified, ‘so the Tops got together and thus decided only the most important genes could stay in the pool.’
‘And everyone else?’ Sora spit.
‘Scarified to save the human race,’ her father explained, ‘it had to be done. Now, let’s not have any more of this and just enjoy the evening.’
‘I’m not hungry,’ Sora pushed her plate away and got up.
She went to her room and curled up on her bed. Above her the solar system glowed and a comet shot across the inky blackness, Sora let her thoughts go with it.