“Ten With a Flag” — Joseph Paul Haines

Joseph Paul Haines is the author of several stories, which have appeared in magazines such as Interzone, Aeon Magazine, and Abyss & Apex. He is also the editor, with Samantha Henderson, of the anthology From the Trenches, and his short story collection, Ten With a Flag and Other Playthings, came out in November. This story first appeared in Interzone and was adapted to audio on the Transmissions From Beyond podcast.

Newly pregnant women face a great deal of difficult decisions, and modern medical procedures have only made those decisions more complex.  Once, women expected to struggle through forty uncomfortable weeks, drive to the hospital, and go through the rigors of labor with their babies’ entire future being a mystery.  Boy or girl, no one knew.  Healthy or ailing, no one could guess.

But today, a woman is confronted with medical technology almost from her first obstetric appointment.  Should she have an ultrasound?  What kinds of blood tests should she take?  Should she ask for maternal serum screening?  Is amniocentesis in order?

These are the questions facing today’s pregnant woman.  What about the mothers of the future?  What kind of tests will be offered to them?  What kind of choices will they need to make?

Our next story takes us into that future.  Here is a world where it is possible to know too much about your baby’s potential—or at least, a place where the government knows too much.