Allen David Patterson

ZPG: To Protect and Kill

In the future, the Earth has changed dramatically. After nearly destroying ourselves in a global war, humans now live in peace. The Global Coalition, a group of the strongest and most developed countries surviving the economic chaos that came with decades of war, brought that peace by violently ending the fighting that had ravaged the Earth. However, that world peace came at a very dear price. We sacrificed one of humanities basic freedoms: the right to reproduce.

The Global Birth Act was a brutal response by the Global Coalition to the near ecological disaster of the global war fed by overpopulation in the mid twenty-second century. Zero Population Growth, ZPG as it became known, was the agency formed to enforce the Global Birth Act.

Cyborgs were originally created at the end of the war to help humanity. Dr. Bentenhausen, their creator, programmed the Cyborg brain to serve and protect humanity. They were first tasked to help clean up the environmental damage inflicted by the global war. They did so well with that task they were enlisted to help ZPG enforce the Global Birth Act.

Chuck is Cyborg with ZPG. As a nearly immortal Cyborg, Chuck and his subsequent line of human partners struggle with the duty of enforcing that act.

The Global Birth Act requires mandatory implants of a birth-tag, a micro-transponder filled with ones personal data and powered by body heat. Then there is the mandatory birth control at age ten, chemically linked to ones birth-tag, to ensure it is working. Other severe requirements are in place. One must meet stringent genealogical, genetic, and psychological parameters to earn the right to have children.

Circumvent your ZPG enforced birth control to have a child without a ZPG birthright, and you are removed from society in one of three ways; sterilization and a life of forced work camps, stasis (if you're too subversive for the camps), or death if you resist either.

ZPG and its teams of elite humans with Cyborg partners hunt the Illegals, and either bring them in or kill them. Death for most Illegals usually comes at the hands of a ZPG Cyborg. Chuck must reconcile his programming to serve and protect humanity with the brutality of his duty to enforce the Global Birth Act. All Cyborgs must do the same.

In this world where Cyborgs struggle with their duties that are at odds with their innate programming, humans also have a choice. Live by the law and live in peace. Choose not to obey the Global Birth Act and live as an Illegal. Most humans live in peace. Some cannot and become Illegals.

Illegals fight for their lives everyday. Some days they win.

Most days they lose.
305 printed pages
Original publication


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