Science Fiction Short Story Contest - April 2020
|No One Lives There
‘We can’t go there. No one lives there.’
‘That’s the perfect reason we should go. Because no one lives there, we wouldn’t be violating any laws. Don’t you see? Because it’s an empty place, we would be within the guidelines. We would be above the law. Perfectly within the guidelines.’
‘I don’t know. Someone will find out. Then where will we be? Then we will be sent to the persecution planet. Doomed forever to work there among the dregs. I don’t want to do that forever.’
‘And you want to stay here? Forever? Among a group that are so afraid they never leave their encase? They never leave their piles of filth and refuse. Come on, there is so much more to see out there. We have only one life and I intend to use it to get out of here and into the great beyond. This planet has too many inhabitants. Will it miss two of them? We have all the plans in order. The transportation is planned, the destination is planned. The powers that be will be no wiser to our escape.’
‘They keep track of every inhabitant. You know that. They scan every inhabitant daily. How will we escape if they scan daily? Have you thought of that? Surely they will know when two scans leave the orbit of this planet. They will know when fewer resources are used at this location suddenly. They will know. They always know. They know everything. They are the rulers.’
‘The rulers are not as smart as us. We have powers they have never thought of. They are too busy taking care of billions of others. They are not able to imagine two special scans with the ability to think about how to escape from this planet, and then go to a place where no one lives. We are smarter than the rulers. We can make this work. We just have to make the plans that the rulers could never envision.’
George 1 and George 2 sat around a table and discussed their situation. Things had progressed for years to a point that they had decided action was required. They had to make a move. George 1 wanted to leave the planet. George 2 was reluctant.
They had no families to worry about, only each other. But they argued constantly. This discussion went on, in various forms, for the better part of a month.
‘No one has moved to that planet. I check the status of it daily. It is still empty. We can make our move this month.’
‘I’m still not sure about this. The rulers now say they are placing sensors in every encase to track the population. They want to be assured the initial numbers on file are still the numbers encase. Did you know that?’
‘We can still move to the planet. Our plan has morphed to take into account this new wrinkle. Didn’t we discuss this just last week? It took just a tweak of the wires on the new chip we designed. So, no worries.’
‘How are we to stockpile enough supplies now to take with us? The rulers will be watching us if we take more than usual.’
‘I thought we talked about this. Don’t you remember the supplies in the closet?’
So on it went with George 1 and George 2. The endless conversations around the table for another month.
‘We have to leave today. We have to since all is ready. The rulers are coming today.’
‘Are you sure? Are we ready? Are the preparations in order? What will happen when we go outside?’
‘We will go from our encase to the rocket. We will have to trust that the rulers will see that our encase is in order. The chip has been programmed. We have to go today.’
‘I don’t think I can go. I think I will stay here. You’ll have to go alone.’
‘I cannot wait. Are you sure?’
‘Go. I am sure. I will stay here.’
George 1 headed to the rocket with the extra supplies and on to the empty planet. George 2 stayed behind at the encase.
The rulers came to George 2. After checking the encase and searching for George 1, they packed up George 2 and sent George 2 to the persecution planet. George 2 was now to work forever among the others dismantling broken-down computers.
George 2 often remembered George 1. George 1 often remembered George 2. After a time, new technology allowed them to communicate remotely. A secret scrambling signal was put in place by George 1. He was able to now speak to George 2 on the persecution planet.
‘How are you doing on that planet? Are there others there?’ George 2 asked George 1.
‘I am still totally alone. You should have come with me. We could be together on this planet. It could still work. The rulers cannot touch us here.’
‘I am with others breaking down computers. We work side by side. The rulers don’t watch us as closely as they did before. Perhaps my chance will come sometime in the future.’
George 2 and George 1 spoke back and forth like this once a month for years. Eventually their batteries wore down. When they were no longer able to communicate, the rulers came to the planet and found George 1 and his encase. His remains with his computer chip were sent to the persecution planet to be destroyed. Then George 2 was found and his remains were swept up, and his computer chip was also added to the pile to be destroyed.