The Speculative Fiction Library

Welcome to my page! I feature a new speculative fiction story here every month. Hope you like what I wrote!

December Story: An Afternoon Assignment

Katie sat down at her computer and opened the word processor. She entered the date, October 24, 2027 as well as the title of her paper, “The Effects of Global Warming Since WWII”. She took a deep breath and cracked her neck - she hated writing papers, and now that she was a junior in high school she had a lot of other things on her mind, like getting into college.

She needed to prepare for the SAT. There were plenty of prep resources that she could access on her computer, but she figured she might also need a tutor, and she had no idea where to start looking for that. She would have to reach out to her teachers in school and ask them, or maybe call older friends who had used a tutor. She wished that the prep resources on her computer included local tutor information, but since most tutoring was for-profit or privately operated, it was barred from RIGED.

RIGED was the source of pretty much all information on a computer. Though initially created for the military, RIGED (known as the Internet, at first) quickly became of interest to scientists and the government at large. The government worked on developing the Internet into a collection of articles, publications, datasets, encyclopedias, etc. Though at first this was only meant for researchers and scientists, the government understood the massive social benefit of allowing the general public to access this. It was essentially an online non-fiction library, curated and verified by the government and less confusing than the Dewey Decimal system. All the resources were purely informational and public, meant to be consumed and used to enhance one’s education. The Internet is what it was called in the early days, but when the government opened it up to the public, it was dubbed Resources for Information, Growth, Education, and Data – RIGED. This was all before Katie’s time, of course, but there was mandatory training on the usage and history of RIGED in elementary school when they learned how to use the school library, and she remembered it still.

Katie grabbed a pen and jotted down on a sticky note to investigate SAT tutors. She minimized her word processor and opened RIGED. The homepage featured several news articles and government press releases. In order to access RIGED, you were required to open up one of the articles or press releases and click a small checkbox at the bottom to verify that you had read it. She quickly scanned the press release and moved on. Now she was presented with a search page, featuring just about any search feature you could imagine. She entered the keyword phrase “global warming effects” and selected the date rage to be mid-20th century to present.


A list of hundreds of publications and numerical information, chronologically ordered, appeared. After adding a few more specific search criteria, Katie settled on 4 useful articles. She printed them and exited out of RIGED. With the help of the articles, Katie quickly finished her paper and found herself having the rest of the evening free.

She could watch TV, but her favorite show only came on once a week and she was tired of everything else. Glancing at her sticky notes, she saw a scribble that read “Send pictures to Michelle.” She walked over to her dresser and picked up the small pile of photos. She went back to her computer and typed a quick message:


Here are the photos from our vacation that you wanted to see! We missed you this year! Hope your second year at UVA is going well. Give us a call soon – I know mom would love to hear from you.



Katie printed the message, folded it up, and placed it in an envelope along with the photos. She wrote out her sister’s college address methodically on the envelope as well as her return address. She rummaged around in her drawers for a stamp but couldn't find one, and slammed the last drawer shut in frustration. Sometimes Katie wished there was a way she could use RIGED to send those photos to her sister, but there were several government restrictions against things like that. A few companies tried to lobby for opening up RIGED for sharing messages, documents, and questions with other people, but nothing came of it. The government was too scared that widening RIGED's features might mean losing some of the control they currently held.That's what her mom said, at least.

Katie didn't really understand or care much about all that lobbying and control stuff - she was just tired of having to look for stamps all the time.

Speaking of her mom, Katie could smell her starting to cook dinner - perfect timing. Katie walked downstairs to get a stamp, placed the envelope by the door, and then went to the kitchen to help her mom cook.

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