Inspired by “The ones who walk away from OMELAS- Ursula. K. Le Guin. With a sci fi twist
March 25, 2049
A withering planet, few powerful people and a dream of a new home for mankind.
Mars was made into a Utopia of Happiness.
‘Atlantis- A Martian dream,’ read the fancy advertisements on billboards that looked down
in major cities- New York, Tokyo, Delhi…etc. Atlantis was the dream life everyone wanted.
Some wanted a better future for their family, some desperate to escape the misery on earth
and some just go with the trend.
When one board the Space kite-the new age aeroplane, they’d reach the Moonbase- Artemis
in a few hours. A spectacular waiting area with the view of the earth, sun and other celestial
bodies open into a cemented ground with Space kites lined up preparing for the long
voyage. The whole base stimulates an artificial gravity field. One wouldn’t feel any
weightlessness until the kite throttles into the Martian belt- an expressway to the red
Several hexagons spread across the vast red sands. Glass domes confine each of the
hexagons, with luscious greenery, long blue rivers and a few snow-capped hills peeking through
the transparent panels. The city sleeps as its visitors- perhaps soon to be citizens
arrive. Elegantly clothed men and women welcome the visitors whose jaws are probably
dropped in awe. Some think humans are amazing, a few anxious ones call them “monsters”
that twist the impossible. The morning streets bustle with people racing to work, Parents
dropping their children at school, the elderly taking a stroll along the canals enjoying the
pleasant sunny weather. Although, most times the climate is artificially controlled, it uncannily
resembles earth. Hovers- levitating cars glide smoothly on magnetically enhanced
asphalt. Sometimes there are accidents and traffic jams. The makers wanted to keep it real.
Skyscrapers, high-rise buildings, residential areas, recreational structures are a mix of
different architectural styles. Gothic, Japanese, Middle eastern…each different and distinct.
The residents of Atlantis were a mix of all races, cultures and languages. They were happy
people; comfortable and content.
The visitors are brought to the outskirts of the city where they take an elevator ride down into
the depths of the red sands, only to find their smiles fading. There were kids, probably
between the ages 5-12, covered in red dirt, creeping in and out of holes that went deep into
the planet’s crust. They carried baskets of glowing rocks- Flatherium, the soul of Atlantis. The
the compound was found only in the red planet’s volcanic tubes. Powerful enough to run
hundreds of cities on earth. Flatherium being unstable explodes under pressure. Mining it
was risky and hence the makers thought of using tiny humans to extract it. The children
worked round the clock mining, carrying rocks and pulling carts. Most don’t live past the age
of 12. All Atlanteans were made aware of this. Yet they choose to unknow the truth, ignore it
defining the deed as a sacrifice for the greater good. Some continue to live in guilt. The visitors
are handed the documents to become citizens of the dream city. A simple signature would
make them Atlanteans.
Most of them, although disgusted, sign up for a better life. A few cry and cry, yet give in.
Some think, contemplate for hours. Days even and eventually say yes. Like the other
Atlanteans, with time they blend into the city and enjoy the pleasures of the Martian paradise.
And then there are a few, an old man, a widow, a young couple, maybe a youth, or perhaps a
a child would exit the room. They’d head back to the Spacedock, board the kite and leave.
They’d spend their time on earth making the best of what they had.
To them, Atlantis was a lost city indeed.
The question is “ What would you do?”
Written for Themed Monthly Contest in March 2021: Outer Space.
Writer of the Month