alternative futures: library stretch

nado slid into the seat, the surface still warm from the last student; the station had cleared up just in time. it was 11:50 and his bibliography was due at midnight.

the retina scan, effortless now that he’d gotten used to it, let him into his athena locker. he picked red for his session tonight. he hoped people would respect the boundary.

he closed his eyes and let the himself feel his feet on the ground. he had found that before diving into the archives and journals, even just a few minutes of meditation helped him stayed focused. and right now, he needed all the focus he could muster; ten minutes was almost no time.

he opened his eyes, pulled on his holohelm and took a deep breath. he’d slept for a solid twenty-four the previous day in order to conserve energy for this ten minutes. he was getting better at stretching, but he knew it was still going to take a collosal amount of energy to stretch those ten minutes into the time he needed to find enough resources to cite to appease his classmates. he felt confident that he could find enough to appease his professors, but his classmates were the real challenge. he really hoped he wouldn’t have to do a secondary stretch.

already aware that his four hours was going to fly by, he clicked to open up his previous session and got started.

just as he was preparing to begin reviewing where he left off, someone tapped him on the shoulder. clearly, the red had not been enough. next time he’d do an invisible session.

as he turned to see who it was, he recognized the head librarians. all three of them were standing and smiling at him.

the youngest of the three spoke gently.

“the identity feature you’ve requested is ready. all resources in the library can now be identified, categorized, and queried by the race, class, gender, and sexual orientation of the researchers. we’ve even created an upgrade to the visual interface. will you be the first patron to try it out?”

dado squealed. he immediate turned to the last article he had placed in his to-read queue. sure enough, when he went to open the metadata, there was a new checkbox that said identity.

he checked the box.

above the paper stood a 3-d image of the paper author. a balding white man with enormously bushy eyebrows, a taut but substantial gut, and a soft smile.

his mind raced. what might this tell him…

he pulled up all the papers on his current draft bibliography, clicked select all, and then checked the identity box. a room full of 60 men, mostly white, with a few brown and black faces. and no women.

dado thought to himself that this would never do. he nodded to the librarians.

“thank you. this is incredible.”

as he turned back to his blank slate, his heart sank. four hours wasn’t going to be nearly long enough. did he have enough energy to pull a secondary stretch? he didn’t know, but he was about to find out…

words / writing / post-processing
512w / 24min / 5min