On a college campus in the year 1999, a professor waits for his class of students to assemble. Once they have all arrived, the professor goes to the podium and greets them. He then informs them that it time for the oral section of their final exam. The procedure is to direct random questions to students and they’ll be immediately graded, and he can repeat the question to another student. He assures them that the staff hopes that the Class of 1999 will continue their high degree of performance.
The professor first begins with science and propulsion questions and each question leads to another, and then another. One of the students, Johnson, fails to answer completely and the professor tells him to sit down. Johnson insists that part of his answer was correct and should count, but the professor notes that he is proving himself incompetent by failing to respond to authority. The student hastily sits down, and the professor apologizes to the other students for the delay.
The questioning continues and the other students answer the physics questions. The professor then begins a new round of questions concerning behavioral science. He explains that it is the most important part of the university curriculum. The professor asks one student to describe another black student in competition for a job in a hypothetical interview. The student, Clinton, finally notes that his rival is black and comments that he may be inferior as a result, and a block to Clinton’s ambitions. The professor asks what Clinton would do and Clinton says that he would slap him, and the professor then invites him to slap the second student, Barnes. Clinton does so and the professor asks Barnes to describe Clinton, having him focus on the fact that Clinton is white. Barnes then describes Clinton as bigoted and illogical, and his response is to slap him back. The professor tells him to proceed, and Barnes does so. Both students say that they felt satisfaction upon the other, and the professor tells them to sit down.
Next, the professor calls upon Miss Peterson to choose a student that she responds to in a negative way. She chooses Miss Joanne Fields and describes her as wealthy and snobby, and explains her attitude comes from the fact she comes from a poor family. The professor tells her to proceed, and Peterson takes the necklace from Fields’ neck and throws it to the ground. Fields responds with hostility and describes Peterson as ignorant white trash. The professor tells her to proceed, and Fields gives the necklace to Peterson and then spits in her face.
Next is Elkins, and the professor tells him to pick out a potential enemy from the class. Elkins chooses William Chang, and the professor has Elkins confirm that no relationship is possible and he must kill him to survive. The professor gives Elkins a gun and tells him to proceed, and Elkins aims the gun at Chang and advances on him. He hesitates and the professor goads him on. Elkins finally fires at a lamp over Chang’s head, and the professor accuses him of deliberately missing. A confused Elkins admits that he did, but he doesn’t know why at first. When the professor demands an answer, Elkins says that Chang isn’t the enemy, and he can’t kill someone without knowing why.
The other students start to respond, and the professor tells his staff to deactivate all of them before they’re infected. The students stop, rewind, and then finally come to a complete halt. The professor admits that it is unusual to find such resistance, and has his aide give him selective control. He talks to Johnson and orders him to assume Elkins’ role, and then explain the ramifications. Johnson says that Elkins refused to choose an enemy and thus became a second enemy, a traitor. As the professor stares at him, Johnson takes the gun and shoots Elkins dead. The other students come back to life and they watch as Elkins, an android, “dies.”
The professor congratulates Johnson on reinstating himself and awards him an A. Later, Johnson makes a speech during the commencement salary and talks of how in recent history, major wars, pestilence, and pollution reversed population growth. The Class of 1999 has been created to repopulate society in Man’s image, with all of the attitudes and values. They are to be just but ruthless, and to refuse misplaced compassion. They will act and react as men, and shall be men. Share this article with your friends