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Jess dropped her mother’s wedding ring and watch into the box and watched the scale. 0.1 kilos. That left 4.9 kilos for her to fit the rest of her life into. The limit was the same for everyone: 5 kilos per person, no exceptions. Everything else stayed on Earth, and she would never see it again.

Books were out, obviously. They would have nearly everything ever published on the Ark, albeit in electronic form. As far as pure information went, the Arks had staggering libraries. Which was good, because they were going to need something to do for the next four hundred years.

Pictures were out, for the same reason. She’d already transferred all that, and hadn’t come close to filling her ten terabyte allocation. Everything she cared about was now contained in a fraction of a gram of silicon, somewhere in the massive memory system of her Ark.

She paced back and forth, picking up things at random without really looking at them. Clothing would be provided, and anything she brought wouldn’t last long anyway, so that would be a waste. More jewelry, maybe? Small, although a little heavy. At least it would last, maybe even be valuable down the line.

She regretted not planning better. If Jay was still around, he would have told her to sell her stuff and buy precious or heavy metals or something, stuff that would hold its value through generations in a tiny isolated economy in the middle of nowhere. But that was the problem with Jay. Too much thinking and not a whole lot of feeling.

She took another sip of her wine. Maybe the last she would ever have, she reflected. She poured a bit more, since it would be a shame to let it go to waste. There were a lot of things that would be like that. Commodities at best, maybe even literally worthless here on Earth, but priceless once you can’t get any more. She wished she knew what others people were bringing.

She sighed and sat down on the bed. The bus would be here any minute, and they would physically drag her to it if they had to. A berth on an Ark was carefully and scientifically assigned. Her personality, genetics, estimated lifespan, everything that could be known about her was plugged into the simulation. Of all the population of earth, she and her 4,999 shipmates were chosen for her Ark. Once she accepted, there was no changing her mind.

She heard voices outside the apartment building and nearly panicked, spilling her wine. Her first instinct was to clean it up, but then she realized nobody would be coming home to the mess. Furthermore, she was responsible for 4.9 kilos of human history, and she had thirty seconds to find it. What would be valuable to future children? To future society?

There was a knock on the door. “Coming!” she shouted. She swept around the room, collecting things she had never thought of as valuable until now. Arriving back at the box, she dumped a few more pieces of jewelry, a small carved picture frame, and a set of harmonicas that she had bought on a whim once. According to the scale she had 0.9 kilos to go, but someone was pounding on the door and it was time to go.

She picked up the box and nearly ran to the door. “Coming!” she shouted again. She nearly tripped over the mail on the floor as she opened the door.

A grim-faced man stood outside, fist raised to pound on the door again. “You have your box?” he asked, lowering his hand.

“Yes, it’s right here. I just need to–“ her eyes swept her apartment, a little shaky from the wine. “This!” she nearly shouted and grabbed a fistful of packets from the table. Seeds for the vegetable garden that she never got to plant. “Okay, let’s go.”

She locked the door behind her.

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