‘I don’t want it to be over.’
‘I know. But it’s not up to us,’ she said, resting her hand on his shoulder.
He looked out of their perfectly, and needlessly, triple glazed con-apt window and admired the glorious verdant wall of vegetation the planet had built around Freedom Towers. He blinked and wondered if a tear had been welling. He was certainly upset enough to cry, but that was not at all his usual reaction to stress.
‘I just can’t believe they’ve fucked up so badly that they need… Well…’
She was packing her stuff as if she didn’t really care, and this added to his annoyance. He knew his blood pressure and heart rate were rising, and waited for his bracelet to admonish him with a shrill beep. Soothing music started to play over the con-apt speakers, unbidden.
‘You’ve been reading the news. We’ve talked about it. We knew that this might be coming. I’m as sorry as you, but–‘ She stopped when she saw how red his face had become.
He took a deep, long breath but couldn’t stifle his fury. ‘Four generations. Four generations of this: perfection. Why couldn’t they just get on by themselves?’
‘I know. I know… But I suppose we did leave them–‘
‘When my great grandfather settled here it wasn’t easy. A whole new planet. It wasn’t terraformed. It wasn’t ready to live in. It took decades of hardship. We’ve earned this… This paradise! We should just abandon them to whatever hell they’ve made for themselves!’
The con-apt whispered some advice in her ear and she stopped packing. Her smile was genuine but she knew that in his agitated state he’d assume otherwise. She understood his frustration, it was hers too. It’s just that she’d been mentally preparing for this these last few months. The feeds had been talking about how it was a possibility, but few had believed it would come to this. She was one of those few, but took no pride in being right.
‘You saw what they’ve voted for. If we don’t go back in a matter of months Earth will be nothing but a charred ball. They need us.’
‘They need our IQ points. We were smart enough to go. Survival of the fittest. Right?’
She hugged him and felt his tension easing slightly.
‘It was always part of the Charter. Our great grandparents knew that they were taking the best genes, and that one day… Earth might need them back. It’s only right. It’s our planet too.’
‘I’m not marrying one of them,’ he said, still angry.
‘You won’t need to,’ she said. ‘Just a bit of breeding. They only need our brains.’
They both packed in silence for a short while.
He looked out of the window again. ‘I bet they still blow up the world.’