“The new world needs scientists”, “It needs doctors”, “No, it needs politicians”. A solemn gathering of delegates from all over the world in a well-heated hall; in contrast to the temperature outside -35 degrees Celsius. “Silence!”, the secretary-general tried to calm the crowd, “We need to decide carefully, putting aside our interests. Only 200 humans are to be selected for survival.” “Sir, can’t we decrease the number of animals and plants, in that way we can get more humans” someone suggested. “We can’t repeat our mistakes from the twentieth century, we have already arrived at a minimum-sustainable level by liberal calculations, decreasing it any further would mean endangering ourselves” the NASA chief explained. And with this, a lot of people started putting forward various theories and the solemn meeting descended to chaos.
Clara wrote in her diary dated 23 June 2561, “Today Daddy was very worried, even when he is the one among those who invented the “LIGHTX13” he is not sure of the survival of our family. I asked him whether he can operate it single-handedly and he said it was possible. I think I must give him the idea of escaping with just five of us: Daddy, Mommy, Kia, Coco, and me. I think there is nothing wrong with that. I read a chapter in my history e-book about the Covid-19 pandemic, and how carelessly and selfishly our ancestors acted. Their mishandling of inventions has led us to the apocalypse. It is because of their narrow-minded goals that we are required to escape not only the planet earth but the whole solar system………”, after writing this she started sobbing and fell asleep.
“Good morning, Miss Clara” the humanoid woke her up. There was nothing good that morning but her humanoid was a basic one that couldn’t read feelings and responded mechanically, as programmed. She got up from her bed and looked out of the thick glass window, grey snow all over, with no habitations except for moss, just sky-high ugly buildings with people stuffed within, after all the world population was 14 billion. She took a picture of the place with her smartphone and changed the settings to get the image of the place in the year 2004. The image looked like a scene straight from fairy-tale, bright sunshine, people on the way to the beach, greenery everywhere, and people smiling. She was envious.
She heard her baby sister cry and ran to her parent’s room. “Is Kia alright, Mom?” Clara asked. “No, she wants water, but our household has got only a 1-litre provision, out of which 200ml was stolen this morning!” Mom answered. “Mom you can cut my provision for the day, I will take hydrogen capsules. But this thieving spree! These robbers don’t have a heart or brain! What is the logic behind looting people when you can’t really store them! This whole earth, no this whole solar system is dying in just one month!” Clara was just thirteen but felt more deeply than most adults.
“Mom is this true that the warmth and brightness of the sun keep evil away….and now that our sun is cooling, it will be not long enough that we will experience extreme crimes?” Clara was curious. Her mother assured her, “No matter what happens, never forget your morals and have trust in us, we are your family tied by a bond that can never be broken.” Her Dad was to go to the office early as still the conditions for the selection of 200 humans were not led out. Clara wanted to tell the idea which she had thought last night but her mother’s words of holding onto ethics and morals stopped her. “Dad!” she had another idea dawn upon her, “how much time will it take to build something like the spacecraft ‘LIGHTX13’. I think it must not take much time if you reuse some parts of the old spacecraft. From what I know, most of the time is taken up in designing and calculating since all that is already done, what do you think?” “My dear Clara, your dad isn’t smart enough to comprehend what you said. Please say it clearly” her father said. “Daddy, be attentive, I want you to design a new spacecraft just for us!” Clara’s words were like a bolt from the blue.
“Clara, my darling, be a good girl and don’t bother your Dad”, Mom said. “No honey, she is not wrong and if we work together, maybe, we’ll be able to make a smaller ‘LIGHTX13’,” Dad added. “Sam please don’t get her hopes up, you know she is stubborn,” Mom whispered. “Honey, so am I. Like father like daughter,” Dad said proudly. “I can’t understand how can you be so proud when you use the wrong proverb. Do whatever you want just don’t involve me!” Mom exclaimed. Clara stood up on a chair and announced addressing her mother, “Just now, Mrs. Stein, you were talking about ‘bond’ between family members, you should remember, families should stay united both in times of crisis and happiness. You can’t just run away from a battlefield leaving behind your cute little children and your one-in-a-million handsome husband.” “You have a way with words, but remember, this person right here, is your mother. I will help you but don’t expect me to be on my toes.” Mother added. “Not at all, your little help will do a lot. You were working on this project before your maternity leave, so I guess having someone who has prior knowledge about this will make it a lot easier” Sam assured her.
Clara went to her room to look into some old ‘artefacts’, she had a whole collection of them. She thought, “What is the point in evolution when this can’t really save you! In the end, I can’t help but think there is some energy that controls everything, remotely, if not adjacently. Our ancestors called that energy God.” She was smiling with tears in her eyes.
Meanwhile, her parents were discussing something, “Don’t you think it is illegal to make an escape route exclusively for ourselves and that too without informing our chief. Moreover, if it is possible to make another spacecraft that will be this powerful with just you and me. Wouldn’t it be much better if we ask our colleagues to contribute and make another spacecraft with much more capacity that way, we can ensure a greater number of surviving humans?” Mom inquired. “You really, think of your husband as a fool,” Dad sighed “look, I have no idea whether or not I will be able to make this spacecraft but there is a probability of 0.3 that I will be able to do it. So, if I don’t even try it once, I will regret it. What do you think will happen if I talked about this idea to the chief and other members of our organization? They will put all their efforts into this rather than deciding the criteria of selection and if this great ‘venture’ fails that too when we are so near the fast-approaching apocalypse; everything will descend to chaos. It is not illegal; it is just unethical. Even if I failed, I will have nothing to lose, since, all the relations, feelings, institutions, wealth, system, organizations, every minuscule particle will be frozen to doom, before I realize it. I beg you, my eternal, would you accompany me in this last foolish adventure of mine?” Mom was overcome with emotions and all she did was smile and nod her head slightly.
After the mind-numbing toil of weeks, the family did manage to make the spacecraft. And international organizations chose the 200 selected humans. “Survival of the fittest!”, “Good-Bye, world”, “Doomsday tomorrow” were the headlines in most newsrooms. Everybody wanted to spend the last day with their loved ones, hence flights were packed, everyone was emotional, but Coco and Clara were excited. They were supposed to leave the solar system to “APTX3278” or to simply put, “NEW EARTH”. “Everything is all set, as soon as the “LIGHTX13” leaves earth’s atmosphere we will take off” Dad repeated the plan.
10,9,……..5,4,3,2,1,0. Take off, but just after 3 minutes in the air, the cockpit and passenger seats got separated. Everyone panicked. Clara fainted.
“Hey, wake up, kid!” Clara opened her eyes; she was shocked and happy to see sunshine. “Who are you, my poor child?” an old lady asked. “I’m Clara but where are Mom, Dad, and Kia. Did they get lost? It’ll be really difficult Coco to find them in this APTX3278 world, after all, you are just a dog and I’m just a teenager!” But soon Clara observed something strange, “HEY! Aren’t there just too many people! It was supposed to be 200. What on earth is going on!” “If I’m not on earth then what is this place?”
As she looks around she sees a man picking up a fragile and valuable artefact, “Why is this man so casually touching an artefact! Hey, give it to me it must be kept in a museum!” Clara exclaimed, “This can’t be true.” The newspaper read, The Guardian, 13 June 2019. Her phone rang. “Hello Clara, it’s Mom here, I know you’re scared honey, but you need to listen to me very carefully as I don’t have much time. Due to some technical issues, when the spacecraft fell apart you somehow managed to break through the space-time continuum and ended up in the past, but don’t worry we have managed to reach the new earth.” She heard some shuffling and then was greeted by a much deeper tone, “It’s Dad here, sweetie we are doing everything we can to get you back here but till then you need to do something for us. Now that you are in the past, please make sure that you help our ancestors realize the mistakes and correct the same. You are getting another chance at saving this planet please do your best. We’ll try calling you once again, after everything is settled, we are in some legal trouble here. Bye, take care.”
Safina Khanam is an extroverted class 12 student who loves to read and write. She enjoys gaining knowledge and experiences from interactions with people.