It had never been easy managing the population of New Chicago – the undersea colony deep in the Mariana Trench about 1,000 miles north of the Challenger Deep, but as an essentially self-sufficient biospshere it had become necessary to do so in the two decades since the outpost had come online.

As Human Resources coordinator for the entire complex, Matt had the unenviable task of ensuring that everyone on board had sufficient food, water and energy – the finite resources that were so carefully managed by him and his small team.

Matt glanced down at the morning report – three births and two deaths had occurred in the previous 24 hours; this was a typical scenario – with health being greatly improved in this hermetically sealed environment people were living longer and the attrition rate was dropping.

Settling in his chair, still sipping the first coffee of the morning Matt pressed buttons on his console and the computer deep in the bowels of the structure whirred and clicked as it carefully calculated a new report; facts and statistics combined with random numbers to ensure fairness – everything was precisely determined; there could be no errors.

Matt picked up the report and casually looked at it for a moment before his heart dropped to the floor as he saw his wife’s name on it; before the day was over there would have been three births and three deaths – the population was being managed perfectly.


Lillie McFerrin