by Ed Jowett
Even small children were quiet, waiting in the long line for the transports; the awe of the situation had touched even them.
Brian could hardly believe what he’d learned in the last 48 hours. The Forseen Land – within reach of all of The People! Finally, salvation was at hand. Juliet was close, Samantha was clinging onto his leg… he didn’t care what this world was physically like; with his family with him and his religion satisfied, it was paradise.
He hadn’t always been a member of The People, he was fairly sure of that, even though he had lost his memories, like all the others who travelled on the Kurmaja. From the first moment he had heard the teachings, though, which speak of tolerance, acceptance and englightenment, they had sung to him. Within, he had known this was his path. And it had led him to Juliet, his wife, who had borne him a daughter a few short years ago and was now heavily pregnant with their second child.
A child who would be born in the Foreseen Land. Father Voice, the leader of The People, had proclaimed this fact for all to hear, and by now all The People were aware. An escape from the filthy moral corruption of Taranis and Kurma City, where names like “Hayden Bank” and “Hodder Security” held power beyond his comprehension. Yet, it was one of those names which held their salvation, “C&C: Colonisation and Construction”. This company had promised them that they would be able to build their own community on Nodens, make the world their own, and had given them the technology to do so. All they lacked was the manpower.
The Taranis Free Press called it exploitation; individual citizens even stood not far from them now, holding banners and shouting that this was defying the Senate. Somehow, these people hadn’t realised that the slogans and banners spurred The People on in this act – an escape from Kurma City to an untainted, pure paradise was only made sweeter by the promise of the Senate’s disapproval; a moral compass which without fail claimed South to be North.
Everyone knew that this decision had been 10 years coming – the constant blocking by the Senate had to be ignored eventually – the mineral richness of Nodens was too great to simply let it lie while the economy was struggling to maintain the booming growth rate. The workers of the Consortium refused to unite in the assistance of another company trying to make a profit, but The People saw more clearly. To work for a company that wanted to unlock the Forseen Land and was willing to help the people claim it was an honour. They had accepted that honour gratefully, and now thousands of them were standing in a line – more than the shuttles could cope with!
The line shuffled forward as another shuttle took off – no room for personal belongings, he had sold everything they owned except a few sets of clothing for those who had chosen to remain here and continue to spread the word.
A man broke through the security line and came running towards them yelling.
“Don’t you see? They are just using you to make money! You are being packed into shuttles for days, like cattle, to take you somewhere where Humans can’t survive without their technology.”
As the security guards chased him, he fixed on Brian for some reason and ran towards him.
“You have a child! Don’t do this to her!
Brian stood his ground, staring the man down. “We have made our choice. We choose to live as The People, away from those who would tell us what to do.”
The man was still several metres away, running as this registered in his mind. He slowly came to a halt, shaking his head, barely two metres away from Brian.
“We are trying to save you from your blind beliefs. I don’t understand why you can’t see that.”
As the security guards pounced on him, Brian took one small step forward and spoke quietly.
“We can see that. That’s why we’re leaving.”
He turned back to Juliet and supported her lower back as the line shuffled forward once more.