Day 14

Prompt: Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it.

 

Red dirt transforming into green pastures.

I looked down over the valley, green patches littering the open space under the biodome. A few birds circled in the distance, coming dangerously close to that boundary. An alert from my suit pulled my attention back, reminding me that I only had an hour of air left. Then I would be on my own in this thin atmosphere. Someday this dead, red planet would be terraformed and lanky children would run across green pastures, their laughter echoing across the stars. Someday, but not today.

The trek to the airlock took almost the full hour. Cutting it close, Jup, I think to myself. The monitor there greeted me with a worried look.

“Welcome back, Jupiter. We were getting concerned here.”

The kid can’t be more than 25. He was probably born here or at least an infant when the colony first settled. I remember those first days, the stench of fear thick on the landing ships as Earth’s best and brightest set up the dome. It didn’t look like much from orbit, a glint of light on a dusty planet. But it had worked, just like they said it would, and here we were.

For the first year, everyone held their breath. It was an unconscious act, a reaction to the fear of losing atmosphere at any point. The dome kept us alive, filtering and recycling the air as our fragile ecosystem came together. Farms were first, ground slowly being terraformed to grow modified version of Earth crops. Next came the livestock. They were vat-grown species, designed so their bodies wouldn’t stretch out in the low gravity.

That was the worst part, the gravity. For months people were walking like clowns and over-jumping targets. Even the simulations didn’t prepare us for the reality of living in low g. I still get aches in my joints from the stretch.

Twenty-five years later and look at us now. Kids running through the dome, birds circling in the sky, and a true community developed. Every couple years we’d get some new transplants from Earth. Sometimes they were volunteers, sometimes they were society castoffs Earth didn’t want to deal with anymore. Not that their crimes mattered here. Everyone worked or everyone died. The stakes keep us all in line.

At least they did until last week.

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