Ocean of Stars

Author : Alicia Cerra Waters

Don’t they understand that we have no room for them here? Think about it. We are on the only blue planet in a galaxy of gas giants and colossal boulders caught in orbit, most of which are about to be swallowed up by their swollen, burning suns. Anyone who doesn’t have a death wish and isn’t a complete idiot moved here a long time ago.

Well, why shouldn’t I say it? Is it my fault that those people didn’t do their homework before they settled on a planet that was about to go up in flames? They chose the places they lived. Seriously. It’s 2578. We have ways of figuring out which planets are going down and which ones are going to sustain us. And with no sustainable planet, there’s no future. If you’re old enough to remember earth, you know all about what happens when a planet dies. You remember the oceans drowning cities with poisoned water, you know all about the air giving people a goody bag full of cancers, and you know that if you wanted to get the hell off of that place you had to be strong and you had to be smart. Some people didn’t make it.

As for me, I’m not going to sit around and cry about what I saw. And let me tell you, it was a mess. People needed gas masks and special suits to go outside on the planet that gave them life. If you couldn’t afford the gear, well, that was it. You didn’t last long. I’ll spare you the gruesome details of what people who died that way looked like.

Those of us who worked hard enough could pay a space shuttle to take us away. But if you lived in a poor little country, forget it. You weren’t going anywhere unless a missionary or a bleeding heart liberal saved you because there was no way you would be able to afford the ride. Of course, people fought it. There were riots at so many shuttle launches; guards beat back masses of people who were diseased and thin and desperate, people who had nothing to lose. A few of the riots were successful, but they didn’t do any good. A lot of people were killed, and the passengers who were going to get off earth didn’t get their tickets refunded, oh no. If they couldn’t afford to pay again, tough. Those people who paid everything they had to leave earth turned into the rioters at the next shuttle launch, and if they were lucky that’s how they died. It would be better than another day on that miserable planet. But what does that matter now? Am I supposed to worry about it for the rest of my life?

I survived, and if those people stuck on the desert planets and rock planets can’t do the same, it’s not my problem. Those planets glow red in the night sky. They should have known not to land there, and now they’re paying the price. And don’t talk to me about everything those people never had. I don’t want to hear about their disadvantages anymore.

I’m here in the sunshine. I can breathe and drink clean water, and I wake up every day in a warm bed inside my big house. No one I know is unhappy. No one I know is living on a planet that’s about to be burned. Those places are far, far away. If anyone is screaming, I can’t hear them.

7 Comments

  1. ivorydream1

    It seems that I haveave already said what I said three different ways. This story was well done, and sadly relevant to our times.

  2. ivorydream1

    This was a tale for our times. More truth than fiction, really.

  3. ivorydream1

    A tale for our times, sadly. Well done.

  4. Alderin

    The opposite of survivor’s guilt, or possibly the rationalization and avoidance of the repressed feelings of survivor’s guilt. Nicely done.

  5. Jae

    Tidy tale that has many sad truths within and about the story of one survival.

  6. SimonJM

    Hard-nosed attitude. But he’s alive and well, so … 😉

  7. russellwaters

    Very, very, VERY nice. I thoroughly enjoyed this, a unique vision; generally stories are from the perspective of the refugees themselves, I’ve found, not from those receiving the refugees.
    Poignant timing for such a story.
    Bravo!

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