Author : James Anderson
They called us handicapped. Our bodies didn’t develop the way other people’s did. We were weaker than them, we tired more easily. Some of us thought it was God, others just thought it was genetics. We didn’t know we were being prepared.
Decades after the war ended, humanity thought they had finally gotten it right. There was plenty of space for the survivors, food was plenty. For the first time anyone could remember, there was hope.
But the war had an effect no one foresaw. The scientists called it subnucleonic atmospheric degradation, whatever that is. All we know is that the weapons which had finally ended the war, had also poisoned the air. It didn’t manifest itself immediately, but by the time we noticed the effects, it was too late.
We needed a new home, somewhere out in the stars. Our scientists had already solved several of the most difficult problems posed by interstellar travel. Nuclear propulsion came from advances in missile technology. The hardened shield to protect travelers from cosmic radiation came from a need for protection from those same missiles. But mankind had not yet solved the debilitating issues associated with prolonged weightlessness on the human body. That’s where we came in.
Those of us in the Exploration Corps have all been diagnosed with various muscle diseases when we were young. Muscular dystrophy, fibromyalgia, even soft tissue sarcoma. Experiments showed that our health actually improved in space. We had been dealing with atrophying muscles all our lives, and in the weightlessness of space, what hindered the young, strapping astronauts of yesteryear was daily life to us.
So we will leave, and we will search the cosmos. There isn’t much time, but there will be enough for our small group of explorers to find a new home.
They called us handicapped, but now they call us the future.