Too Perfect

by Jeffrey Blanchard © 2002

There is no way to describe my feeling upon waking. The human population had topped six billion by 1999.

What had the others been doing?

Rushing into the hibernation alcove to rouse my colleagues I demanded an explanation. I discovered nothing.

Never having met the others, only seeing their faces through the glass doors of the hibernation chambers during my hundred-year watch, it was a comfort knowing I wasn't alone. Alone was how I found myself. A quick inspection of the compound's logs confirmed. No one had left. No one had entered. During the last six hundred years, my immortal colleagues had returned to dust.

I didn't panic. Difficulties were not uncommon.

In the 14th century, the human population in Europe and Asia was growing exponentially. Without intervention, carrying capacity was inevitable. I sent a plague. Before entering my hibernation chamber, half the people on two continents had succumbed.

Needing information on the intervening years, I checked my colleagues’ logs. The strides made in medical technology were stunning. My plague was all but dead.

Setting aside my questions, I calculated that thirteen years were all that remained for humankind. Eradicating three billion people in that span would be difficult.

As I pored over the death logs, my mind continually wandered to the fate of my companions. I saw the note -- just a simple scrap of paper clipped to a log. With trembling fingers I held the warning, staring at words scrawled childlike in black ink. Those four words answered many questions.

“Black Death -- Too Perfect.”

x x x

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