(Read part 2 of the story)
Sarah was old now. But looking back, she couldn't help but feel satisfied with her life. She was glad of her gift.
She remembered how she had fantasized about the man of her dreams. How, in her youth before the gift kicked in, dating had been so incredibly difficult. How hard it had been to not settle for Joe, when she knew that in a few more years she'd be able to get any guy she wanted.
But after the gift, the only difficulty lay in finding the right man, with the knowledge that this would be the one - the one that had no chance of escaping her. She agonized for a long time between various CEO's and high-ranking politicians. She wanted a high-caliber man, but didn't want her family life to be too public. And in the end, when she finally selected her catch, she was sure that she had made the right choice.
And time bore out that choice. She was happily married. She was now in the twilight years of her life, and she had the perfect extended family - two capable children, who themselves were happily married to give her four promising grandchildren. She could even expect great-grandchildren soon. The gift had indeed been good to her and her family, and would continue to be good to her descendants.
Khan enjoyed watching his family grow. He had two children, and four grandchildren, and though he might not be around to see it, he'd surely have eight great-grandchildren and sixteen great-great-grandchildren. His entire extended family seemed to be doing equally well. And really, wasn't this the best that life has to offer? To see your children prosper and multiply? His descendants would be unstoppable. They had the gift. They would continue to prosper and multiply, until they filled the whole earth. It was an inevitability of exponential growth: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 ... on and on, until eventually everyone on earth would be descended from him. It sent shivers down his spine to think of it.
Of course, there would be the rare few among his descendants that, for whatever reason, won't have their full allotment of two children. But that could hardly stop the overall trend. He did also wish that the gift would allow for more than two children, because his family would then grow faster. But he wasn't complaining. In due time, in either case, his descendants would inherit the whole earth - maybe even the whole universe.
Elizabeth was worried about her country. As the ruler, there were hundreds of thing that demanded her attention, but the latest hot-button issue was immigration. And it was giving Elizabeth nightly headaches.
Elizabeth's country was the envy of the world in a lot of ways. Yes, it lagged behind some other countries in scientific and economic development - but not by very much. However, in every measure of happiness and stability, it was miles ahead of the rest of humanity.
It was all thanks to the gift. A large majority of people in the country now had it, including Elizabeth herself - although she was not aware of it. And once enough people in the population had it, the gifted could now often marry one another. And marriages from such pairs were ideal marriages. Both partner's gift would affect the other, so that they both loved each other. Such marriages were incredibly stable. They had virtually zero divorce rates, and made for a picture-perfect family - with happy, content parents, and their two children being raised in that loving environment. For many of them who were not aware of the gift, they simply thought they were a very lucky couple.
The country was therefore known as the country of families. And yes, that did perhaps limit the kind of national achievements that required 100 hour workweeks from some people. But the stability of the citizenry as a whole compensated for that in a myriad of other ways.
But because of that stable native population, with two parents nearly always having two kids, the proportion of the population growth that came from immigration was increasing rapidly. And many people wanted entry: the country was stable, happy, and prosperous, and therefore a popular destination for immigrants. Furthermore, many citizens would travel outside the country, find a marriage partner, and hook them with the gift and bring them back. And people were becoming xenophobic from all this immigration.
Elizabeth sighed. She supposed, on the whole, that things were not so bad. I mean, if the country was doing so well that people were worried about too many immigrants wanting to come in, that was a good problem to have, right?
Thomas wrote out the terms of the gift:
1. From the moment of the gift's activation, any sexual partner you choose will fall in love with you when you display affection towards them.
2. The gift will allow you to have up to two children.
3. The gift will not do anything else. It has no other supernatural effect. It will not drive people crazy with love or lust, it will not make anyone homicidal maniacs, it will not unnaturally "corrupt" you, or shorten your lifespan, or do or prevent anything of that sort.
4. Any children you have will also be born with the gift.
Those were the terms of the gift, as they were first given Adam, all those many years ago. And they were easily verified through the stories of many of Thomas's ancestors, as well as the undeniable demographic trends throughout history.
Thomas looked at the list of terms, and the graphs showing the demographic trends, and the map showing the dispersion of Adam's descendants throughout the whole of humanity. The terrible conclusion was inevitable. It had been, ever since that first day, the day of Adam's fateful decision. Everything was perfectly clear. Thomas did not want to speak his thoughts out loud. But in the end, the weight of despair upon him finally forced the words out, in a sinking sigh:
"Humanity is doomed."
(Continue on to part 4)
You may next want to read:
The want of a mate (Part 4) (Next post of this series)
The want of a mate (Part 2) (Previous post of this series)
The lifetime of evil (part 2)
Another post, from the table of contents