Author: P. T. Corwin
The people of Earth didn’t understand what they were signing away.
We were swept up in the raving speeches of our leaders, who told us of a new life for mankind on distant planets. They promised us control, a free society away from our new owners, who had come from the stars more than twenty years ago to take our natural resources and tell us what we could and couldn’t do.
Our leaders ignited us with their slogans.
And we shouted them through the streets and carried them on our banners, lifting them high against the wind.
We applauded their ideas for new technology:
Spaceships that could take us to the furthest reaches of our solar system within five years.
A machine that would transform a gaseous giant into a new Earth. Our Earth.
Food grown from a single cell inside a room no bigger than a garden shed. Food we wouldn’t have to share.
Our leaders appeared on our screens, smiling, shaking hands, a perfect picture of peace, and they promised us an ark.
And after they had convinced us to believe in the dream, they asked us a question: “Do we want to leave Earth? Yes or no?”
And many of us wanted to stay, but more of us wanted to leave.
So we told our new owners we would leave within the next two years and prepared to fit our lives into suitcases as we awaited the launch.
All of us.
Because we believed that mankind should stay together. Because we believed that we had chosen. Because we believed that we were taking back control.
We still didn’t understand.
But we would soon enough.
On close inspection, the numbers didn’t add up. Transportation of over eight billion people for a reasonable amount of time would take more fuel than existed in the world. It would take time for technology to catch up. Time our leaders didn’t have.
The machine to create our new home turned a desert into a radioactive swamp on live television, burning the reporter and the cameraman alive.
The food grown from cells fell apart like wet cement in the hands of the scientists.
But still, our leaders smiled. Still, they promised us the stars.
Some of us took to the streets with different banners.
And still, our leaders smiled. Still, they appeared on our screens and promised they would deliver what we asked for.
They should have asked us again.
We leave in less than two weeks.
The calculations show that with the current ships and resources, more than three billion people will have died of starvation before the end of the first year.
Less than two weeks. And still, our leaders smile, as if they have more time, still confident they are giving us what we asked for.
I pray they will ask us again.