“Me, too. It’s kind of strange, embarrassing even.”
Gregor and Aabha were in bed together in a small, spartan, dimly lit room. They were sitting up, their backs resting on pillows pressed against the headboard. A blanket chastely covered them both up to their collar bones. If anyone had been watching them, it would have been clear they had never been together before.
Aabha turned toward Gregor, looked into his green eyes as if seeing him for the first time, then slowly reached out to caress his cheek.
She giggled. “You need to shave.”
He reached up and pressed her hand against his face. “I suppose I do.”
“It’s really affecting me now, Gregor…the Desire.”
“I can feel it, too, Aabha.” He was suddenly aware of his erection under the blanket.
“I…I think I’m ready for this.” Aabha overcame a lifetime of inhibition and social engineering and hesitantly pulled the blanket lower, exposing, her small, firm breasts.
Gregor stared wondrously at her erect nipples.
He remembered the training videos and what he was supposed to do next. He leaned over toward Aabha, put his arm around her warm, supple waist, and gently kissed her lips.
The videos had demonstrated the expected actions to both of them, but it was the Desire in their bloodstream, hitting their brains, that fueled their passion. It was the only thing that inspired this young couple, who were nearly strangers, to make love for the sake of the human race.
Overpopulation, deforestation, mass extinction events of hundreds of plant and animal species had rendered the Earth nearly uninhabitable to human beings. For generations, only a select few people were allowed to reproduce. All others were inhibited from sexual contact and even sexual desire by social engineering and pharmacological treatments, in the hopes of reversing humanity’s runaway population growth and massive consumption of limited resources.
Then a plague devastated the human race.
Two-hundred people were selected to survive by boarding a Generation Ship and leaving the mother planet behind forever. Their destination was a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri B. It would be centuries before they would arrive.
Gregor and Aabha were typical of the first generation who boarded the “New Genesis”. They had grown up in a world where passion and desire were severely frowned upon. Even though they knew it was their duty to reproduce so that the human race would survive to be transplanted on the new world, they felt nothing for each other. The thought of sex was even a bit repugnant to them.
Only taking the drug Desire reawakened in them what was once a natural process. Someday, after years of treatment, Gregor and Aabha might even learn to love each other.
When I wrote A Boy and His Dog on Mars, I needed to know the minimum number of people it would take to make a viable and sustainable population. I learned the number was shockingly low. The other day, I read a small article on the nature of desire from a Jewish religious point of view (I can’t find the source anymore) and got the idea for this bit of flash fiction.