Monday, February 29, 2016

A Hard Decision

"Ms Thompson."

"You know why are you here. Let's not pretend otherwise. There's very little privacy on a space station. The environment is too precarious. What would be a minor unplanned event on Earth, or a 'small' oops, could instantly kill us all. We are not some libertarian society up here. We can't afford to be. You know that. Everyone who lives here knows that. Everyone who ever gave some real thought to how space is knows that. Or should.

"Space is unforgiving. It will kill you if you're not meticulously careful. There's no room for dissent on too many issues. Too much must be planned very, very carefully. One thing that must be planned for very, very carefully is life support, Ms Thompson. We only have so much air and so much water and so much food. We can't change that willy nilly because we want to.

"And as a consequence, reproductive rights are highly curtailed. Every pregnancy must first be planned. Every child must be licensed. You were. But now, Ms Thompson, you and your boyfriend have put us in a bad position...

"Wait. You look honestly confused. You don't know...oh my God, I am sorry, Ms Thompson. I am afraid this is NOT the way to inform you, but you're pregnant and we have to resolve what to do about that.

"How do we know? Every sewage system is monitored. We do this to make sure no chemical substances are being taken that might endanger the station. We also watch for biological traces for disease and what have you. Pregnancy hormones are another thing we watch for. It took us a couple days, but we traced the hormones back to your family's apartment. We tracked who was home when the hormones were detected and it wasn't your mother. There's only one other person who that could be, Ms Thompson. That's you.

"I'm sorry you're finding out about this this way. I truly am. However, we need to make a decision here and now. Both for you and your child.

"If you wish to carry the child to term, you are going to have to leave the station. We do not have an open slot in our nursery. We do not have resources for another person, at least not until you are 23. You're underage by far. We will provide a ride for you and your family down to Earth. It will mean your father and mother will have to find other employment, I'm afraid, unless you have relatives on Earth you can stay with?

"Otherwise, I'm afraid staying here means ending the pregnancy. I'm sorry.

"It's a lot to be hit with, Ms Thompson. We are willing to give you a week to decide, but you will have to decide. Soon.

"Please let us know by a week from today.

"Thank you, Ms Thompson. You're parents are here to pick you up now."

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