She was waiting in line like everyone else, fuming internally. ‘How did this happen?’ she thought, ‘How did we get to this point?’ She took a few steps forward as the line shortened. ‘I hate space, why couldn’t I have just bought more land and stayed behind?’ she pondered pointlessly.
She turned her head and outside the printed diamond wall was earth. The once pristine oceans had turned a sickly green and its land was black and brown. Looking at the edges of the planet she could just barely make out the layers of atmosphere. She had been told the air was too poisonous to stay but that was just something silly poor people said.
She crossed her arms and pouted, glaring at the people in front of her. She wanted to march to the front and demand the best they had to offer as she deserved. Unfortunately, she had tried this twice already and been tazed then returned to her position in line.
In truth the line was moving extremely quickly considering its volume. Everything for the space habitat known as the Eratosthenes, named after some old mathematician that calculated how big the Earth was. She vaguely recalled the briefing the UN had issued regarding it. It was a last ditch effort by scientists and major tech companies to save the dwindling population of Earth.
She wanted to know why so many had laughed at her when she had suggested cleaning the air and oceans with positive energy crystals. They had worked wonders when she felt like she wasn’t pretty enough, just standing in that room of expensive crystals reminded her of how important she was.
She glared at the line in front of her again, ‘Why do I have to wait with the riff-raff? I’m practically a queen.” she reasoned. With her head held high she jumped out of line and marched up to the guards processing the near nine billion people into the station. She refused to believe that money had no value anymore, no matter what all the experts she’d paid told her. She hadn’t become one of the most powerful fashion designers in the world by sitting around.
Reaching the front of the line she said, “Sir, I am…”
“Look lady!” the guard yelled, “We understand this is a rough situation, we’ve all been there.” he joked garnering laughs from literally everyone in earshot. “However, I need you to return to your assigned spot in line on that bracelet there.” he pointed to the thing on her wrist. “Otherwise this will be your last strike and once we get you inside you will face criminal charges and incarceration, do you understand!” He glared the challenge at her and waited.
“I…I…um, I just wanted to know if I could have some water?” she said sheepishly as everyone glared at her.
The guard’s features softened, “You know what that’s not a bad idea.” He turned back and said, “Vince! Get the bots out here to hand out some water!” Within seconds a small army of bots came out handing out small reusable pouches of water to the few billion left waiting in line.
“Thank you” she said, embarrassed as she made her way back to her spot.
“Now hold up!” the guard yelled, she stopped and turned back expecting another slight against her pride as she looked at him. “Everyone here is stressed,” he said, “we all feel embarrassed and guilty for messing up our own home this bad. We’re literally taking everyone to a new planet in hopes of salvaging what’s left.” Everyone began nodding in agreement as he spoke, “The only way everything works out is if we give up on ideas like superiority, race, religion, and all that BS. We need to move forward as a species and build a future together.”
“Why are you telling me all this?” the woman asked as all eyes fell on her again.
“Because I’m pretty sure it’s been a long time since you’ve been scared or said thank you.” he smiled softly. She hadn’t thought about it but he was right. She always had guards, and security, and power, and money, everything. Now she was the same as everyone else for the first time since she was a teenager and it scared her. She looked up at the man in shock, tears starting to fall from her eyes, and then she collapsed to the floor and cried. People around her in line helped her to her feet and back to her spot in line where others began to cry and share their stories to pass the time in line.
When she finally got to the gate and into the floating paradise that was supposedly Eratosthenes, she shook the man’s hand and said “Thank you” for the second time that day.
“You’re welcome,” he said, “besides, we’re all in this together.” With that she made her way inside the moon sized station and followed the instructions on her bracelet to her new home.