Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Microstory 1498: Those Who Stayed Behind

The Solar Democratic Republic was over, as was the Durune civilization in general, and everyone knew it. Now, accepting this reality was a different matter altogether. Most people agreed to evacuate to Dardius. It was warm, safe, and reliable, and there was no good reason to stay pass up this opportunity to lead happy lives. The only reason humanity survived on Durus this long was because of time powers. Had they never existed, Savitri would have died within minutes of falling into her portal, and everyone after that would have probably lived out their lives in Springfield, Kansas, completely unaware that the rogue planet even existed. Even their regular technology was based on decades of the development of a society that took powers for granted. Living in the underground bunkers—or worse, being stuck in the stasis pods indefinitely—was an irrational way to live, and most people understood that. The rest, well, they held firm. They believed, almost in a spiritual sense, that Durus was destined to go on forever, whether that meant finding a new host star, and spontaneously forming a new atmosphere, or the replenishment of temporal energy, and reëmergence of time powers. They just couldn’t surrender to the fact that there was little to nothing they could do to make life easier on Durus, and that the chances of it happening on its own were negligibly low. The problem was that the chances were not at zero, and that was enough to keep the stubborn people going. For days, they argued their case against the other side. They never tried to stop anyone from leaving, but they felt entitled to stay if that was what they wanted. To prevent this from growing out of control, the government, in one of its last acts while still in charge, created a set of criteria. Only certain people would be allowed to stay, and all others would have to evacuate with everyone who had already left. The most notable requirement was that all remainders—as they were called—would have to be romantically unattached, and be responsible for no children. In the end, 216 people fit the bill.

Some who had already evacuated changed their minds, and wanted to be considered for the same treatment, but they were summarily denied. Transportation through the Nexus was going to be heavily regulated, and that was out of Durus’ hands either way. There would be periodic travel, however, and this required a little help. Dardius had no problem leaving their power source on Durus. They had no shortage of resources, and maintained a strong enough connection to Earth to keep up with technological advancements. They had one major condition, though, and it was non-negotiable. A small Dardieti contingency would be left in the Durus bunkers, and have any veto power when it came to what happened with their technology, or the connection back to their home. The remainders had no problem with this, especially since they would be sleeping in their stasis pods most of the time anyway. They created a system to keep things running. One remainder would wake up from stasis every year, and spend the following year looking after all the others, and tracking the planet’s progress through interstellar space. This system would last for over two centuries before anyone would have to wake back up more than once, though they had no idea how much time would pass before anything interesting happened, so that wasn’t saying much. The Dardieti contingency would each wake up less often, but do so at strategic times. They worked with the government to identify remainders who were at more risk of threatening the system, and would benefit from a little oversight. Most of those types of people were disqualified from the beginning, but everyone was a risk, and anything could happen during a year alone on a dead world. Even though no elected official stayed behind, the remainders insisted on continuing to call themselves the Solar Democratic Republic. It would be like this for twelve years, until a catastrophe leads one remainder down a different path.

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