The following is an excerpt from a short story published in What's Afghan Punk Rock Anyway? (Winter 2018)
In the year 2089, the Earth stood still. By still, I mean Mother Nature decided she would no longer put up with the heedless behavior of the human race. The world’s natural elements would no longer rehabilitate at the usual biological speed of the past. The reproduction of resources ceased to take place.
There were millions still living on Earth, but the world’s wealthiest one percent had long gone. They left in 2080 after the nihilist regime achieved its victory. Unfortunately, this victory came too late and with the consequence of extreme poverty and being left with nothing. All that was created on the backs of those once powerless was used up or taken away by the supremacist systems that were finally no more.
Still, the world’s wealthiest managed to remain the winner. They left earth to live and thrive on some third galaxy living station, The Canaan Republic. A station created many years before in preparation for the dystopian reality that now existed on Earth. The Canaan Republic was a man-made space utopia with endless rivers of fresh water, beautiful waterfalls, pure recyclable oxygen, rainforests and the plushiest vegetation – this all taken from Earth of course.
During the initial migration of the world’s richest civilians, they made sure to take what was left of the Earth’s purest and richest resources to replicate for their own benefit onboard The Canaan Republic space station. What was left on Earth was hardly drinkable water, dry soil and the harshest air polluted by exhaust and burned coal that was needed to keep the population fed and in some degree of wellness.
In 2088, the UN of Universes – which was created off the false assumption that we were the only living things that existed in this universe (which was soon proven false, but I’ll save that for the next story) – announced a new city called Refugium-88 (R88) was built on Canaan. It was created in a humanitarian effort to address the dystopian crisis on Earth – as many were in dire need.
Lottery R88, the lottery that resulted from the effort, had many flaws. To test the system, R88 took place twice a year and allowed only 1,000 civilians a chance to relocate themselves to start anew in R88 in The Canaan Republic living station. It was a means of population control, as the lottery did not allow entire families to relocate together at once. They claimed it too risky to have a high population of children before fully creating a “thriving economy” there. They made an exception for single mothers with children under six years old. The exception allowed one child under six during their trip, an additional entry into the lottery for any children that remained on Earth, and a voucher to send for up to two children previously left behind after two years of settlement aboard The Canaan.
Still, R88 was an attractive way out for younger generations, singles, loners, weirdos and widows. It was a chance to start over – a place for new beginnings. It was life in a new world where entertainers and intellectuals were beginning to flourish in unbelievable ways. But they flourished from their fascination of the ones back home… And it was time for the creators and thought leaders on Earth, the individuals that represented the bulk of humanity and its bounty of cultures, to thrive in space as well.
“All numbers from B2000 to B2400 may now board the ship,” the announcer blared over the intercom. Their voice surrounded in static barely distinguishable as it rang through in a bizarre frequency. The silence that once filled the waiting area was quickly disrupted as bodies from various areas of the room began to rise and anxiously gather their things.
For context, my story is merely a capture of mental monologues from two individuals chosen through lottery to board the U9-Falcon – that’s the transport ship to R88 the futurist city for new migrates to The Canaan Republic space station. This would be the third trip carrying migrates from Earth to the station.
Number B2021, the young women sitting in the far back row jumped up quickly and fumbling her things. She had an old brown leather backpack hanging across one should, and despite the ship’s baggage policy of two large carry-ons only -- she totted several – four to be exact. Two suitcases (the kind on wheels), a large yellow duffle bag, and a black trash bag -- she was a glowing beauty, a gypsy bag lady to say the least.
At the other end of the room, B2022, a young man grabbed his suitcase. He had all the vibes of a minimalist down to his shoes. He carried a simple suitcase and dressed in khakis and a white button down shirt. He was modest but in the most interesting way and wore a septum piercing to project this.
They both walked toward the gate labeled for lottery numbers B2000 – B2100. “Remember when you enter the ship you will no longer be identified by name,” said the conductor. “Your lottery card and lottery number is your ID and will give you access to food and other amenities, as well as your ship pod,” he continued.
“You two better get real comfortable with each other,” the conductor said as almost a warning. “It’s a long ride to the station from here and you’ll be sharing a podcar with ten others. Your sleep vacs are connected and the two of you will be able to enter them by pulling down your seats. If you have any needs or if there is an emergency, there are hosts buttons for each of you located in your sleep vac.”
The conductor looked at the young women and then down at her bags. A look of irritation quickly crossed his face. “Look miss, if you want to board this ship, you better figure out which of these here bags you need the most. THE LIMIT IS TWO! This was covered in each of your orientations and your guidebook,” he bellowed.
“Whoops!” the young man said. “I’ll take those back.” He grabbed the two roller bags and proceeded to board. “Mmm hmm,” the conductor grunted – too exhausted by the repetition of words his job required to attempt to examine the bag tags.
Read the full story.