My private aug showed ages beside every face in the room, but maintained each digitally overlaid, customisable appearance.

“Miss-“ the one hundred and forty-three earth-year old who didn’t look a day over twenty.

“Doctor,” I corrected.

Doubt flashed across all faces.

“Project Fireweed will be swift and precise,” I announced to the group, “replacing current programming with our new system. Individuals deserve privacy once more.”

Everyone sat up in outrage.

“A complete overhaul is insane-”

“Do you even know if it’ll work-”

I raised a hand for silence.

“Can anyone see my age?” I asked.

None could.


This piece was inspired by the Carrot Ranch’s weekly Flash Fiction prompt.

February 8, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write.

Respond by February 13, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 14). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

16 thoughts on “Fireweed

    1. Age creates huge divides in our current society, and women suffer the most, to the point where any hint of physical ageing leads to an assumption of lesser value. I think in a future society where one can change their own appearance and eliminate the ageism we all experience at one point or another, people will. And the idea of having one’s age revealed against their will when they do everything they can to hide it, is horrific, but it’s also a power trip for those who can hack the system and reveal it. Thanks for the comment! I hope one day, biological age won’t matter.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. We can only hope! Though I see a future where people can adapt how others appear to them, through this augmentation, without those others ever knowing. I just hope at some point, biological age won’t matter. Privilege and equality will grow so far and wide that generational gaps will have a non-existent impact, unlike today’s world.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Agism is an issue isn’t it, I find people have preconceived notions about you just from looking at you…..The thought that in the future we might be able to change our appearance is something interesting and I imagine would create a whole new column in the social pages announcing your appearance had changed from…to ….would that mean vanity took on a whole new meaning?? I like the questions you raise Rebecca, and thanks for the follow, I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Michael. And yes, I think that we will be able to adapt our appearance freely in the future, it’ll make aesthetic changes more accessible to everyone and thus, differences will be a lot harder to judge, because anyone could appear as anything. I think it’ll create a level playing field for all humanity and only age then will be that defining factor that bigots will try to cling to. But if we could hide that too.. hopefully we will all get a chance to show our skills and have an impact no matter what biological form we take.

      But then I read a novel by Alastair Reynolds where people have transferred their entire consciousness into a different body. Or they’ve changed their body entirely that it no longer appears human. It’s fascinating, and opens up a whole new level to the idea of experiencing everything you can before death. When would death be? Would it ever come? If you can transfer your mind from one body to another over and over, surely no one can judge us by age then.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It raises interesting concepts doesn’t it as to what life would be like if we could deny death….we had a discussion recently about having our bodies frozen in the hope a cure for whatever we had wrong with us might be discovered. It could be far into the future that would coming back to life then be as desirable as we might think? Who would be our family, how might we connect and feel a sense of belonging, all issues we thought would challenge anyone.
        If we could transfer our mind to another body where would these bodies come from? And what might happen to the grandfather/grandmother figures we all know and love?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. All valid questions definitely. Another story by the same author explored a world where most of humanity had to be frozen and stored to save the planet from a (plot spoiler) threat and a select few hundred thousand were kept awake, and so every now and then one of them would die or become physically incapacitated and be put back to sleep and another would have to be woken to take their place in order to maintain the sleeper chambers in a certainly bleak part of future. It was fascinating

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I understand. I see these plans for the Mars colonies and I won’t ever go but I know my children or their children do have a chance to, and that’s why I submerge myself in sci fi so I can feel that hope for the future and how much humanity will change along with technology, without ever getting to experience it.

            Liked by 1 person

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