We are Making a New World
"This way, candidates, get your virtual space passports and vaccination records ready. This way to board the shuttle. First stop is the moon base where you'll be allocated your prospecting plot, then onto New Gaia, the fully terraformed, upgraded earth 2.0 style planetoid."
"We've thought of everything. Its orbital position has been engineered so that it has all the very best of 'original Earth' planetary conditions but without any of that old school pollution, drought and pestilence. With our gene-editing technology you don't have to worry about aging or the D-word, which has been completely eliminated. Join the rest of the elite new generation of ex-earthers already making a success of mining and exploiting New Gaia's unlimited opportunities."
The young pair Blaize and Cassian looked at each other as the tannoy looped back to the start of the spiel. All of that had been in the brochures that marketed the pioneer programme. They'd signed up together, which was unusual. Couples weren't really encouraged, as there was no need for procreation and Artificial Intelligence bots met most companionship needs. Restorative medicine meant no-one got ill. There were no deaths, hence no need for births. These two however brought unique and complementary skills and the selection board saw there was potential in that. They exhibited physical strength and high IQ in a kind of yin-and-yang arrangement but were somehow stronger together. Each met minimum criteria for both attributes and those particular bars were set high. Blaize excelled as the brawn, if that was an appropriate term for someone certified with genius level intelligence, but Cassian's academic achievements easily eclipsed Blaize by an order of magnitude.
They waited their turn at the upload point, where for the millionth time it seemed their credentials would be checked again. Retina scans, rudimentary DNA analysis and validation of academic achievements one more time. The New World Corporation had learned the hard way that unscrupulous individuals who failed to meet their criteria could bribe their way aboard even at this late stage in the early days of extra-earth colonisation, so now they didn't take any chances.
Cassian sighed – alongside their cool-headed rationality they had an artistic sensibility. As they stood with Blaize looking out over the panoramic view from the spaceport upload deck they took in the blasted trees, the smoggy, murky skies. It was hard to feel sorry to be leaving the man-made destruction and desolation behind, but Cassian felt a pang of homesickness, more for their romantic idea of 'original Earth' than this mutilated reality.
Blaize, noticing this small hesitation, gave Cassian a small pat on the shoulder. This managed to convey more than words ever could. They both knew on an intellectual level that the planet was in terminal decline. There was no real choice, either stay in an ever more fragile subterranean existence or join this endeavour and go off-world.
"Chin up!" Blaize finally said. "Remember, we are making a new world. We won't make the same mistakes again. New Gaia, here we come!"
Emily spent her working life making numbers sing and dance. These days as well as writing poetry or flash fiction she volunteers with a heritage organisation. This allows her to spend time with historical artefacts and she meets a lot of interesting visitors. Emily is a relatively new writer and has appreciated the encouragement of having work selected in several Ekphrastic Review Challenges and has pieces published in print elsewhere. She lives in England.
The Ekphrastic Review
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