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When they called Cissa’s name, she hugged Jig and whispered, “Together forever.” Jig watched as she followed the nurse down the hall. A few minutes later, they called his name.
The nurse led him to a tiny room that smelled like a bottle of generic mouthwash. He sat on a translucent chair and slid his feet across the shiny tile floor. Ten minutes later, the door opened and a man with gray hair and a long blue coat entered.
“I am Dr. Nolan. I see you are here for age acceleration.”
“How does this work?” asked Jig.
“First, we analyze your genetic structure. Second, we synthesize a custom chemical agent, known as a mutagen, to match your DNA. Third, we inject you with the mutagen. Once inside your body, it will stop your DNA from conducting its normal repair operations. It will also prevent the growth of anomalies, like cancer cells. The procedure will cause you to age at an accelerated rate.”
“Why are you doing this to me?”
“Age acceleration is mandatory when you turn 18.”
“But why is it mandatory?” said Jig.
“It is how we control the population. Modern life spans can exceed 100 years. If we allowed everyone to live that long, we would soon exhaust our planet’s resources.”
“How old will I be?”
“Patients can choose whether they want to be 50 or older, ” said Dr. Nolan.
“Why would I want to be older than 50?” said Jig.
“We provide substantial tax breaks to patients who choose our advanced aging option.”
“Great. I always wanted to be a 90-year-old millionaire.”
“Now that you know all the details, how old do you want to be?”
Dr. Nolan shook his head. “You cannot stay your current age.”
“I have to stay 18.”
“Why?” asked Dr. Nolan.
“Because I’m dating someone,” said Jig.
The doctor sighed. “You can maintain your relationship. We can make you both the same age.”
“We’re already the same age,” said Jig.
Dr. Nolan closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead with the palm of his left hand. “So you are refusing the procedure?”
“Yes. Me and Cissa decided this morning, while we were in the waiting room. We’re staying 18.”
“Is she still here?” Dr. Nolan said, opening one eye.
“Give me a minute,” said the doctor. He turned and walked out the door.
Thirty minutes later, the door opened and Dr. Nolan entered. “I spoke to Cissa. After reviewing the full benefits package, she agreed to the procedure. She chose to be age 50 and asked that you do the same.”
“You’re lying. Let me talk to her,” said Jig.
“She is unavailable,” said the doctor.
“It’s not true. She wouldn’t do this to me.”
“It is already done. Now, will you agree to the procedure?”
“So be it,” said Dr. Nolan. He left the room. He walked down the hall, scribbled a few notes on his tablet, then handed it to the nurse.
“Any luck?” she asked.
“No. He refused, just like his girlfriend.”
“Do you want me to notify the technicians?”
“Yes,” said the doctor. “Tell them to prepare for two decelerations.”