Only women give birth, that's it! This dogma seems to have gone off the rails around the year 2084. The woman's total emancipation is within reach. Jana, a burnt-out archaeology student, uses the hedonistic zeitgeist for her obscure ideas. A pinch of salt (!) gives her unexpected fame and wealth. Obsessed with the idea of total emancipation and driven by her pronounced business sense, she pursues unorthodox paths. The Ex Utero movement founded by her abolishes the gender role and even turns it around. In the end, men also give birth to children. But the initial enthusiasm of the fun society has its limits.
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A scary story around the year 2084
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- gekürzte Vorschau -
Jan & Jana
Change of strategy
Jack the Zipper
Ping is coming
Pinch of salt
Marketing and sales
By the way
In retrospect, it was all coincidence.
Who would have thought that salt, this innocent white crystal, would be the decisive switch for total emancipation? It all started so casually. Jana attended the evening lecture of a palaeographer named Hal, who spoke with a high fistula voice - she still remembers with some disgust the gray tufts of hair coming out of his huge ears - about a medieval document supposedly promoting salt as an effective aphrodisiac for the first time. It was essentially about the art of deciphering this handwritten text and less or not at all about its content. Hal deciphered with visible satisfaction that he had succeeded in combining the washed-out signs on a piece of goatskin, clamped in a wooden frame, into a meaningful whole. Jana found this idea funny, and while the old man with the grey tufts of hair in his ears was still analyzing the individual signs on the yellowed parchment in detail, she sent this amusing message at the push of a button into the virtual net to her acquaintances, provided with the lascivious comment to try it out after all.
A while later, Jana registered a growing number of pregnancies among her friends, which she initially mockingly, but soon more and more seriously associated with her commentary at that time. That wasn't by chance, because after two joyless semesters Jana dropped out of her archeology studies and took a job in a third-rate institute for reproductive medicine, hoping to earn enough money with little work, to indulge her real passion for the rest of her life, tracing the habits of Stone Age people.
Her job was essentially limited to distributing small plastic tubes to men whose sperms were useless for unknown reasons and who brought as many of these little guys as possible to light, with the help of vulgar videos behind closed doors, and deposited them in those tubes for medical diagnosis. She had become accustomed to the morning moaning from the cabins and collected daily with professional face the small tubes, which - filled with milky-cloudy contents, but sometimes also empty - were handed to her shamelessly by the often exhausted looking men. Since this ritual sometimes lasted many hours, because many a man had to change from soft to hard porn videos in order to achieve a reasonably useful result, Jana had a lot of time to think about all that.
One day, when she had to wait all morning until the very last tube arrived, she remembered the lecture of the palaeographer with the hairy ears. What the hottest videos couldn't do, that could be done with salt, she thought. If salt makes tired men awake, then one could perhaps break down this knowledge from the Middle Ages to the level of sperms. Pars pro toto, this saying occurred to her again, the sperm is the part, the man the whole thing. The sperm is the reduced copy of the man, a male fractal so to speak. Mandelbrot came to her mind, the man who called this smallest constantly reproducing whole a fractal almost 100 years ago, a term she had never understood in its meaning, but which seemed to inspire her imagination in a strange way.
Jana has always had a special preference for salt. Not in the sense that she wanted to consume a lot of it, but rather something like a haptic passion. She loved to feel salt between her fingers and probably since Hal's memorable lecture an erotic component had been added. And so, out of this abstruse mixture of traditional half-knowledge and mysterious gut feeling, a rather naïve theory arose in Jana's head, which finally turned the world upside down. Just as in the Middle Ages tired men had been made awake by salt embrocations, so she made her breakthrough in the quiet chamber. The third-class Institute of Reproductive Medicine, which was soon to be closed down by the university management because the success rates of in vitro fertilization in the same institute were far below expectations for years, this institute became the worldwide Mecca for men with feeble sperms.
But this is only the beginning of a breathtaking success story.
Jana succeeds with a pinch of salt, to put it bluntly, to awaken lame sperms from their sleeping beauty nap. But more than that! Jana's lack of an academic degree frees her to act instinctively. Every sperm is a score and no egg, no matter how hidden, is safe from it. Salt makes it possible. Only much later will academically trained experts discover the underlying mechanism. Salt removes the protective gel cap from the head of the sperm so that it can penetrate unhindered into the egg cell. This knowledge is first published in Future, the world's most influential science journal, and then begins its triumphal march through the gazettes of any country in the world.
Jana's passion for salt has blown all boundaries and given mankind a completely new face. Woman giving birth has now become obsolete worldwide, at least in the enlightened societies. For a few years now, practically everyone has been able not only to create his child in his own home from zero hour on, but also to see it grow up, a huge step forward, Jana believes. She is one of the first to raise a breeder product, a BP, as this form of offspring is commonly termed.
After she had caused a great furore with her salt experiments that opened the door for everyday fertilization in the test tube, politics gave way under the pressure of the large corporations and by law allowed not only any kind of artificial fertilization but also the unhindered handling of the resulting product. In the beginning there were still sporadic resistances from the churches, but these disappeared without a trace like the dew in the morning sun. Jana sensed her chance, patented the process of revitalizing sperms with a pinch of salt - the exact recipe is still hidden from the public - and founded the Company Capoff (derived from capoff, the biological effect of a pinch of salt on the sperm head). The star designer Bobo created a striking logo that shows a man-like sperm in an upright position, with a hairless hydrocephalus at the top that symbolically penetrates a wall.
Capoff has meanwhile become the world's leading Company in terms of creating offspring. It distributes all kinds of products for in-vitro breeding and rearing of humans. The range of products is wide also including social classes with small purses. For example, a Starter Kit contains a relatively simple two-component set consisting of a mixture made up of different sperms and an egg cell. Similar to New Year's Eve lead molding, the surprise is inevitable as the sperm mix contains material from all over the world. It may well be that the resulting BP, for example, has an unexpected skin color or a pronounced eye fold.
For more safety-conscious people, the Advanced Kit is currently being offered, which of course means that you have to dig deeper into your pocket. It is a sperm mix from guaranteed only one population (e.g. Iroquois, Herdsmen, Tuaregs, Inuits) and also the egg cell is provided with a kind of quality seal. After all, the High-End Kit is reserved for well-to-do people. The sperm mix here is recruited exclusively from Nobel Laureates, whereby one can choose between the fields of natural sciences, medicine or literature. Capoff originally also carried sperms from Nobel Peace Prize winners, but this branch was later abandoned due to a lack of supplies.
However, the actually decisive process that accompanied this development took place in the people's minds. In the early days, Jana's technical and biological breakthrough was to revitalize weary sperms with a pinch of salt. A real baby boom was the result. But peu à peu the desire to gamble gained the upper hand at the expense of the desire to pass on the original genes. Jana almost wistfully remembers this creeping process, which ultimately led her to adapt her business model. Capoff’s product managers have urged her to focus more on the Fun Factor and less on the rather dull idea of passing on one’s own genes. Fun are those moments of surprise that the genes of alien donors evoke during the child's development, in contrast to the body's own genes, which offer little surprise and only lead to often negative déjà vu sensations.
Then, there is another decisive technical achievement that has revolutionized the process of childbearing from the ground up, the development of the product in one's own breeder. Jana must smile when she thinks of the first naive attempts to tackle this problem. It was her idea - and she is proud of it - that people could raise their child from scratch within their own four walls, not at the expense of the woman, who had to fight her way through nine long months, to accept massive changes in her body and her psyche, but as a lively pastime, similar to keeping fish in an aquarium or hamster in a cage. This was initially difficult because there were many technical and emotional hurdles to overcome. The problem of fertilization in the test tube had long been solved, but the development from a mulberry seedling to the first cry, everything outside the mother - or rather outside the uterus, in technical jargon ex utero - was still marked with many yet unanswered questions. The actual breakthrough came with the provision of public indoor swimming pools for the mass breeding of fetuses in amniotic fluid basins, which ultimately turned out to be a wise political decision.
Over the last century, Jana wonders, women's equality in society has only been babbled about, with no visible success. The women were the ones who were responsible for having children. Thank God those days are over! With a shudder Jana, and with her probably all progressive-thinking women, thinks of the earlier struggles of childbearing. She herself never knew her genetic parents, especially since she had grown up in an orphanage from the very beginning. She assumes that she is the product of a traditional conception. Jana is almost disgusted about this imagination. When she was still in primary school, she was taught that it is essential to deposit sperms in the uterus in order to have a child. Even at the time of her studies it was still common practice to fulfil a child-wish with traditional methods. All this has changed fundamentally, Jana notes with some relief. While in earlier times the fleeting fun of the matter had to be paid exclusively by women with the agonizing months of pregnancy, now finally justice has been achieved.
The BP idea could be so beautiful if there weren't so many little bumps! At least that's what Jana thinks when she sees the hurdles that suddenly appear, which can often only be overcome with great effort and painful compromises.
First, the positive.
The fact that a pinch of salt - there is far more know-how in this deliberately concealing term than just a few simple grains of salt - is capable of triggering an avalanche of social changes, gives the future a whole new perspective. Jana had this vision printed on the nylon packaging of the BP kits, apparently following the urging advice of her marketing psychologists. It is a simple rhyme that today - translated into many languages - goes around the world trying to convey a completely new attitude to life.
Man or woman, this doesn't matter
Childbearing is now much better
Making it possible by the BP-kit
So you will ever stay in shape and fit
Capoff has now grown into a global corporation. It offers everything necessary for the development of children ex utero. Each item can be conveniently ordered online from the kitchen table. The central element is of course the BP kit itself. It is shipped deep-frozen and transported by drone even to the most remote areas. The storage of sperms and egg cells remains a real logistical challenge for the Company. Due to the limited shelf life, especially of the sperms, delivery bottlenecks sometimes occur. This does not affect the Starter Kits as much as Capoff's male employees have to sign a special clause in their employment contracts in advance when they are hired, stating that they would have to step in temporarily in case of a possible sperm shortage. This is also one of the reasons why in the large storehouses of the Capoff branches almost exclusively young men are employed, who can then be relieved on an hourly basis to alleviate the sperm shortage. It is even rumored that this part-time job was a welcome break for many of them, especially as the stimulating films were also an incentive for their private lives, and always better spending their time in this way than doing their boring jobs as warehouse workers.
Also the storage of the Advanced Kits does not create any huge problems, because the stock of warehousemen of the different Capoff outlets is mostly multi-ethnic so that in case of sudden sperm bottlenecks of a desired population almost always ad-hoc solutions can be found. Since Capoff has committed itself to delivering to the customer within 24 hours, sometimes grotesque situations arise in the individual outlets. For example, it is reported that a customer's order of alpine sperms led to a feverish search for an alpine inhabitant among the stockists, with the result that a young man with incomprehensible language and dressed in leather pants was tracked down and ordered to the obligatory sperm donation. Only after the dispatch of this Advanced Kit it turned out that this warehouse clerk was Japanese, who had been at the Munich Oktoberfest immediately before and could no more change clothes in time. His Japanese was considered an alpine dialect and therefore nobody was worried. The customer was of course informed immediately. To everyone's surprise, however, he did not opt for the possibility of exchanging the Advanced Kit free of charge, but instead argued that the Alpine inhabitants and the Japanese people would in any case have common characteristics for him that were decisive for his choice, namely to be small, tough and taciturn.
It turned out to be extremely difficult storing enough sperms from Nobel laureates. There are several reasons for this, which can lead to considerable delivery delays of many months. On the one hand, the majority of Nobel Prize winners are generally older, so that spontaneous requests for a few sperms often go nowhere. In addition, Nobel Prize winners are often skeptical about sperm donations, allegedly for ethical reasons. In the inner circle of the Capoff management, however, it is rumored that ethical concerns were not the reason for the frequent rejections, but simply the egocentrism of these extraordinary people. According to the somewhat sarcastic words of one of the managers, a typical Nobel Prize winner would rather take his genes with him to his grave than place them in the Capoff Company's shopping basket, thus making them accessible to the public. While the supply of sperms by natural scientists is still quite smooth, that by scientists of the humanities is completely unpredictable. Above all, Nobel Prize winners in literature are pushing the management of the Capoff Corporation to its limits. These people cannot simply be fobbed off with stimulating film material to make sperm donations possible, but would like, for example, a reading from one of their works on site, conducted by a female model of their choice. So the bizarre situation arises again and again that top-class literature is recited from the mouth of a bosom star and the only listener/viewer is the author of this text, who then often disappears abruptly in an adjoining room and reappears after more or less a long time with a test tube of milky content, while the hastily imported model has long since fled.
The selection of oocytes (egg cells) that, like sperms, determine the characteristics of a new human being is less meticulous. This is for purely technical reasons. Although it is possible to distinguish between individual populations, it is usually too late in the truest sense of the word to receive a high-end egg - an egg from a (female) Nobel Prize winner - in time.
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