The Day One Event

It has been the same day for about the past five years. No one knows what caused the “event” and no one knows how to stop it. We all remember what happens each day, at least for a while, but just about anything we do has little consequence as at eleven fifty-nine each night for 30 seconds the world turns off. Everything goes black. No one knows what happens during those 30 seconds, but everything turns back on at midnight with almost everything reset except our memories. Some speculate that the event had to have occurred in California, specifically in Silicon Valley, as that is the time zone where the midnight reset starts, but honestly, it could be anywhere along that longitude, 122 degrees west.

Society has had to make some adjustments to the situation. One of the major changes are the Day One laws. They are so called because it is the same day, every day, not because they were passed on the first day repeated. They actually came about three weeks into the repeats. The first week wasn’t so bad. Days one to three, everyone was trying to figure out what was going on. We wondered if it was happening only to ourselves, just locally, or if it was global. Some questioned their sanity, while other people didn’t notice anything as their lives were practically on repeat already. By day four, though, we realized it was global. The news was buzzing with questions, but no answers. Speculation was that it would end any day, now, pun intended. Because of this, days four, five, and six went without much drama. There were a few reports of increased crime, but overall, everyone kept doing the same day to day tasks as if there were consequences, as if the next day would be the day things would not reset.

After the first week, though, most realized the world would not be going back to normal any time soon. That is when all hell broke loose. Bank robberies soared, murders, rapes, police chases, you name it, it happened. With virtually no consequences, everything was fair game. You see, by day six, there were reports coming out that if you died, you still came back. That was the trigger point, I think. Without the fear of death, with everything resetting, people just went mad. Sure, people remembered what happened. Sure, the police tried to follow up, but there was a legal gray area. Once the reset happened, had the crime really been committed? Where was the proof? How can you convict someone, just on someone’s memories?

People realized that what they stole would be gone the next day, but if you got away with it, you had the rest of the day to enjoy it. If not, then, oh, well, try again tomorrow. Life became like a video game. We finally had infinite lives to play around with, and during the next two weeks, let me tell you, people played around. No new permanent diseases meant monogamous relationships went out the window for many. Sure, the more religious types abstained, but they were the minority. Many religious groups preached that these were the end times and we were going to be judged on our actions, even if the consequences were not in the present. There were cults that tried to find ways out through suicide. This sect became known by the abbreviated term “Ciders”. No one was successful and by the end of the second week, even 911 started ignoring calls for them. In fact, emergency services were starting to break down from the overload in need. The ones that did stay on soon became despondent in trying to save as many as they could, only for the details to start changing with each reset to the point it became hopeless to predict anything. Life became a crap shoot for them. Save one guy one day, only to have him die in another manner the next. What was the point anyway, when they would just come back with the reset? The only thing they were achieving was to ease the pain and suffering during that day.

The third week was the worst. It got so bad that many people didn’t even leave their houses. Governments started breaking down, WWIII scenarios played out at least three of those days until they realized that any gains were just reset anyway and because memories were retained, their playbooks and strategies were being revealed. I think they only tried it hoping that one of those days it wouldn’t reset.

After that, the first world leaders gathered at a summit and declared the Day One laws. The first, the FZT law, which stood for Felony Zero Tolerance, stated that for as long as the day kept resetting, any felony crimes committed would be punishable by immediate execution. It only required two officers to be present before action could be taken. This helped prevent abuse by individual officers. To further ensure there would not be abuse of this law, a system was created that would randomly assign internal affair roles within each department. These people could at their discretion serve an execution warrant on any officer found to have abused their power. Police abuse of power went to almost zero within a few days. A few more days after that and it was virtually non-existent, as people learned who abused their power and those who abused learned the hard way that it didn’t pay.

The second Day One law took care of the rampant theft issues. Since everything reset every day, property always reverted back to the original owner. This made money, personal effects, ownership moot. You started every day in the same place with the same status. The poor would always want to seek more. The rich would always try and secure what they had. It was counterproductive, if such a thing could be said when everything resets. So, the second law, Ownership Nullification Equality Act, or ONE Act as it was known, stated that all property was communal. If a person could show reasonable need or want for property, then they had the legal right to appropriate that property for a day for as long as the day kept resetting. There was a limit here, too, in order to avoid abuse of this law, the same person could only appropriate the same property for a maximum of three consecutive repeated days. After that, they could not use the law to appropriate the property again for a minimum of one week. This gave a sharing sense in the public. Also, two days out of every week, the original property owner, should one be legally established, had ultimate rights to the property regardless of need or want from any other person. These of course were set to coincide with the weekend. While reluctant, even the rich agreed to these terms. The few hold outs quickly gave in when refusal of the terms was made into a felony act the following week.

The third Day One law handled the issue of money. Since memories were kept, initially the banks attempted to hire a new breed of “book keepers” whose sole job was to memorize all the transactions of the previous days and enter them into the computers each morning before business could begin. This quickly required more and more people, costing the banks more and more money until it was realized the task was impossible. Without this record keeping though, everyone was reset at the beginning of the day financially, too. That meant your credit scores never changed, your bank balance never changed, or at least they were reset at the start of each day. Because of this, money had no real point and it was only holding people back with petty arguments over fiduciary property. This led to the No Established Currency Act. Pronounced similar to RICO except with an N and an A, NECA allowed no governmental body to establish a formal currency and abolished all existing currency systems for the duration of the “event”. Should the days stop repeating, then all governing bodies would convene to reestablish a global currency system, but until then, bartering and trade were the only laws of the land. With the second law, physical property being communal anyway, it only made sense to do away with the non-physical representation of ownership, too.

The banking industry, the investment industry, the insurance industries disappeared virtually overnight. Many people who had spent their lives building up virtual wealth, zeros and ones, found themselves paupers. Sure, they could access the technology. The internet, the websites, the systems were still in place. Just, again, with everything resetting, what was the point? Whole segments of the population went on vacation for a while. This went on for almost the first two months. Everyone needed a break. We found life suddenly lost some meaning and we had to discover a new meaning, a new drive. The nine to five lifestyle was upended. People still got hungry, people still had to fill their day, but suddenly there was no urgency. There was no need to struggle towards the next paycheck. Bills could be ignored. Money didn’t mean anything. Property didn’t mean anything. Life took on an idyllic existence for a brief time. Society started to break down again, this time, not because of evil, but from apathy. We found yet another issue that had to be addressed, giving us the fourth Day One law.

The Everyone Must Pitch in And Try Helping Act, or the EMPATH Act made it a felony to not spend at least eight hours each day working at some approved task. A new bureaucracy was created to oversee task assignments. Everyone was given two days off each week for rest, divided equally to avoid any issues with shut downs. You took the first letter of your first name and that position in the alphabet divided by 7 gives you a remainder. That remainder is the day of the week that starts your two-day rest period. Each person was also allowed to specify a religious exemption day, but these took the place of one of the two days off. Existing holidays were still allowed to be observed, but no new holidays were allowed to be declared by any governing body. You were also allowed a one-week vacation period every year, but it had to be approved.

Since our memories are the only thing retained from day to day, you might wonder how all of this was maintained. Well, since money was gone, the IRS no longer served a purpose, or rather it was repurposed for this task. Instead of being anal over how much money people earned, they became anal of how people spent their time. They already had a tag on most people. Sure, there were some that slipped through the cracks, but there is always going to be that segment in any society. So, tax agents, now called time agents, were assigned around two thousand people they were in charge of, and out of those people, there would be a random hundred to two hundred that were checked up on each day. Some by phone, some in person. If a person went “rogue” from their assigned task, a bounty was put on their person. People registered as rogue hunters could track them down, provide proof of execution, and then receive a mark. Whoever had the most marks at the end of a week for a given region, of which there were thirty-three in the U.S., the same as the previous tax regions, would receive an extra week vacation that could be used at any time, or saved to allow for an early retirement. At first it really was a sport for the hunters, but in the end, rogues became fewer and fewer as people learned of the consequences. Even if death was no longer permanent, being executed hurt! Especially if it wasn’t a death shot, which many times it wasn’t as these people enjoyed making their prey suffer. It takes a special kind of person to execute another human being.

Anyway, some time agents were tasked with remembering people’s tasks, some were tasked with remembering days off, others had to keep track of vacations, while more kept control over the bounties and their payoffs. Each morning started with these agents writing down their lists. Every person’s information was maintained by four different agents who would compare lists. Any discrepancies would easily be weeded out. Should all four differ, then the senior supervisor’s list would be used. It rarely happened, but if a bounty was issued incorrectly, and an appeal won, that person would gain an additional week vacation to be used during the current year.

How were tasks assigned? For the most part, any task could be picked. People were still free to choose where they wanted to work and what job they wanted, within reason. You still had professional qualifications, training, and such, that required approval for certain jobs. You obviously don’t want the teenager down the street manning your nuclear power plant. Or your neighbor’s nine-year-old daughter performing open heart surgery on you. That said, once you registered a task, you were stuck with it for at least one week. No quitting just because you don’t like it, or you chose poorly. A supervisor could still fire you for cause, but the first month of the law saw too many people jumping from job to job, so the time limit was added. With there being no money issues anymore, people could apply for training time for any skill they wanted to improve themselves. Up to two hours per day of training was allowed, providing slots were available. Many people took advantage of this quickly.

What about critical roles, or jobs many people don’t want, like food service, garbage service, retail, etc.? These roles became draft roles. A list of these roles was maintained by the time agents and on a rotating schedule, for one week per year, each person was assigned to one of these tasks in a round robin fashion. For instance, one year you might have garbage duty for your week. Another year you would have to work at the local restaurant as a server, and the next year as a dishwasher. Everyone had to pitch in to help. That was the point of the law. It really did open up people’s eyes to understanding. A more perfect name could not have been picked, EMPATH. No one was exempt from the draft roles. It made most people more caring, more understanding.

The final Day One law established the Seeking Information To Return Everything Promptly, or SITREP department. This taskforce had agents spanning the globe looking for answers to the “event”. So far, little information has come forward. It has only been five years, after all, and most of the first year was spent reorganizing society. Honestly, many people hope this task force fails its mission. Maybe even the agents themselves hope it fails, and that is why they have no real leads. Society seems much better off now. Crime is at an all time low, virtually non-existent. There are the occasional arguments, some in the heat of the moment crimes, or crimes of passion, but for the most part, with there being immediate repercussions for one’s actions followed by next day forgiveness, at least in the physical sense, even if not through people’s memories, people are much more hesitant to commit evil acts. With the draft program and the bureau of time management keeping people motivated and on tasks, things are progressing, even if new technology has to be redeveloped every day.

At first it seemed an insurmountable task, as if there could never be new technology, but in reality, we’ve found a way. Physical objects have to be rebuilt every day, but we get more and more efficient each time we build them. New medicines come out even quicker because we can test them “live”. There are restrictions, of course, “Do no harm.” and all, but that said, if something goes wrong, the patient is alive again the next day to figure out what went wrong. In fact, autopsies can be performed in almost every case now. Religious exemptions are moot, because the person is whole again the next day. We even have two fusion reactors now. It took an enormous amount of people, but we found that large projects could still be built. It just took more man power and more planning to coordinate everything.

You might think that fusion power is not necessary in a world that repeats every day. Why not just use non-renewable because they come right back, right? Well, we discovered one odd quirk pretty quickly. Even though everything reset except our memories, we found that one thing that did progress normally through time was birth and dying from old age. While many people worried that there would be an overpopulation issue when the first babies born stayed born and the pregnant mothers were no longer pregnant on the day following birth, thank goodness for that, it was soon discovered that while the elderly did live longer now, there was still a preprogrammed cell death. At a certain point, every cell in the body just knew it was time and ceased functioning.

We didn’t have the first elderly death for almost eight months. It made headlines. It even started a small panic that the day hadn’t repeated, but that panic was squashed within a few days. It had something to do with telomeres, the aging signal in DNA. While heart attacks and other physical ailments occurred, up until this point, the people that died from them would come back, seek medical treatment, and most returned to a normal, if not adjusted life. New medicines, new treatments made these occurrences less and less, pretty quickly. In fact, it was surprising how quickly medicine advanced when money was no longer the focal point for health administrations. The first elderly death was thoroughly investigated. When the second one happened, and then the third, it was noted that the only thing in common was the size of the telomeres and a new protein in the blood. This protein seemed to signal the end. For years now, there has been focus on how to remove this protein, or prevent it from triggering “perma-death” as it is now called, but so far, no real progress has been made. Despite our best efforts, it seems as if this protein just appears. It defies natural science as much as the repeating day does. Knowing that the perma-death seems to only happen after one reaches 120 years old has given many people a peace that has before now been unknown.

Well, back to the natural resources issue, with babies aging, everyone living well past the previous average of mid-70s, and the increased promiscuity during that first few months, the world population was starting to grow, and not too slowly. This meant that even though the day repeated, the same amount of resources had to be spread among more people. This drove an increased demand for power, food, and other resources that in turn directed our most critical efforts in our new society. Besides the reach for more efficient power sources, better medicines to improve quality of life, especially in the elderly, we also had a renewed drive for space exploration.

At first, a large majority of the population was against space exploration as a wasted effort. It was quickly explained that even if we spent resources on it and it turned out to be a waste, those resources would still be available when the day repeated, so approval was finally given to do some space tests. We already knew from the astronauts on the ISS, that the day reset for them as well, but it was observed that there was a tiniest bit of an offset from the reset on Earth. In fact, it was so miniscule that it went unnoticed for almost five months. Even then, the offset was discovered to only be about five seconds. In other words, during the five months in orbit, the ISS slowly desynced with the Earth by five whole seconds, one per month. This may not seem like much, but it finally gave people hope for a growing population. Until then, there had been some talk in government of imposing restrictions on having children worldwide. After that discovery, a rocket was sent towards the moon.

Even with our best rocket it would never reach the moon as the moon is almost three days travel from Earth. The day would reset the rocket every time with it only reaching one third of the way, but the most sensitive time piece ever created was put onboard. With every trip it was accumulating a drift. Initially it was thought by many that after a month of trips it would only show that same one second difference in time reset, but it was in fact resetting almost five and one-half minutes later than everyone else on Earth! In fact, it was resetting 10 seconds later every day it was sent up. Otherwise, they might have quit after a week. Excited by the possibility of actually escaping the “event” field, research began in earnest of developing faster rockets and faster propulsion systems. They knew this would be a long-term process, so while a lot of resources went into their efforts, they were scaled back some to address the resource issues on Earth for the time being. With two working fusion reactors, we have all the power we need to survive, even if the population doubled. We discovered better food growing techniques, allowing for more food per square foot requiring less and less water and sunlight to grow. Water is still a primary concern, but we have drastically improved desalination technology, so even there we are doing okay. The only problem we really have is that these new technologies have to be rebuilt every day to function, but with more people to do the work, and more and more efficient techniques brought on by repetition, even that problem is becoming less and less. Overall, despite society having drastically changed overnight, again, pun intended, I think it has turned out for the better.

Copyright September 7, 2021. All Rights Reserved.