Black Mirror Reflection: The Center

By Anna Borgen

Scientists have developed technology that gives them the ability to make people live longer, adding years onto their lives. When this discovery was made, it was groundbreaking and exciting, with everyone wanting to be one of the first individuals to use it.

However, an organization simply known now as “The Center” are the only ones who possess the information and research that led to this discovery and guard it heavily. They are the sole provider of the operation that can give anyone a longer life span.

This procedure is very expensive, and the wealthy make up the majority of the population who receive it. Without it, an average lifespan is typically 50 to 60 years. Sometimes people are so desperate for more time that they spend all their money attaining extra time and can’t afford food. They starve, but continue living in agony until their time runs out.

When The Center began hiring employees to help them perform the operation, everyone wanted to work there, but only a select few are hired. The Center’s workers get paid a salary and six months added to their lives every year. Because of this, The Center rarely needs extra employees, but occasionally, they send out a notice that they are mysteriously in need of new hires.

Once a year, to showcase their generosity, The Center selects one lucky individual who could not typically afford the service and gives them 100 years of life. This year, the contestant that has been chosen is Kyle Warren, a mid-30s low class factory worker.

He has been a rule follower in society and never steps out of line, something that The Center always admires. He is excited and curious about the operation, which he has never undergone, and can’t wait to arrive at The Center.

However, when he arrives, he senses something strange, almost mechanical about the way the workers are performing their duties, all while flashing a blinding smile.

On his tour around The Center, Kyle gets lost from the group and wanders off into an older, seemingly uninhabited, side of the building. There he stumbles onto a dark secret that The Center has been hiding.

The technology that allows them to give life to the population actually takes life to do so. To harvest the extra years of life, they drain other individuals, eventually killing them and disposing of their bodies.

They select individuals that no one would miss, those without families, or sickly individuals in hospitals. After all, years are years to the masses. Why give thought to where the years have actually come from?

To keep their operations quiet, The Center brainwashes their workers, so they don’t comprehend the cruel acts they are performing. To them, their days at work are always good, always pleasant, and get them home in a timely manner. What more could they ask for in a job?

As for Kyle, he won’t be talking about this to anyone soon. After all, he isn’t the only unlucky individual who saw the truth behind The Center. There have been incidents in which workers at The Center have seen too much and needed to be disposed of, much like Kyle. His fate will be similar to theirs.

He becomes one of the “drainers,” living out his days until he has no more years left to give.

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