I remember being happy not so long ago, when I was poor. But then, everybody was poor.
I was in the army with the thirty-fourth company stationed in the orbit of Europa. Our base was in such a bad shape that it could barely hold it together, and Jupiter’s gravitational pull wasn’t doing us any favours either.
There were constant blackouts, and life support had to be shifted from one room to another to keep the hull from cracking. Supplies were late, the equipment was obsolete, and we had no spare parts. On top of that, we had to go through rigorous training every day just like in any other boot camp.
When the heat was out, the cold would creep into the deepest parts of the station and we had to keep the water bottles in our pockets so they wouldn’t freeze. Marcus made a small burner out of some old flanges and we started to make a fire in our sleeping quarter. Each night, one of us would stay awake to keep the fire lit so the others could sleep. The next day the rest of the squad would carry that person through every stage of the drill so the sergeant wouldn’t blow a gasket.
However, the sergeant wasn’t too bad, he understood the situation and cut the training by half. We actually bonded for a while over some tea.
We had two meals a day: a cold one in the morning and warm one in the evening, both consisting of a powder omelette and potato flakes. That was all. We had plenty of salt, so we made good use of it to keep the hunger away, but even so, after nine months of it, we were all skin and bones.
I remember one night when we were all weakened and sick, a female sergeant had finished eating her plate before anyone had even started his. By the time anyone had taken one spoonful, she was licking the paint off her bowl.
She was starving.
Tommy, who was sitting next to her, looked in her lap and saw her belly hanging over her uniform belt. She was pregnant.
He then got up from his seat in anger, took his plate, walked slowly to the sergeant and gave her a portion of his food before returning to his seat without saying a word. All the other soldiers got up, and one by one went to her and each gave her a spoonful from their plate before returning to their place.
The sergeant couldn’t control her emotions and cried her heart out at that table.
That was my baby they fed, my little girl was growing in that belly thanks to my boys.
The ration supply came five months later than scheduled and with only half the required amount. A fuel tank on the supply rocket exploded and damaged the cargo section. They had to cut part of it loose.
Despite all that, we were all grateful for the little they could bring. We needed it for our newest member of the family: little Sophie.
Everyone was her big uncle or auntie and she was the main attraction of the base, running through the hallways and singing all the time.
By the age of four she knew how to fix a secondary mainframe with Toby; by five she was readjusting the plumbing pressure in the station, and when she was seven she was helping Admiral Mathias adjust the orbital position to avoid the huge magnetic storms from Jupiter. She was brighter than any star in our galaxy. We were happy and poor, we had nothing but each other and we learned to enjoy it.
Then Antares was discovered: A giant planet with the mass equivalent of Earth in crude oil inside of it, covered by a five-hundred-foot thin crust of rock and ice, and only a few million miles away from our planet.
Tekchorp took ownership of the planet as soon as it laid eyes on it and began preparations for extraction.
The initial tests exceeded the most optimistic predictions. The new oil was burning seven times faster and cleaner than conventional oil. The traders were in a nonstop celebratory frenzy while the environmentalists were filling the streets condemning the return of fossil fuel in their lives.
But people listen to someone in a suit and tie, not to a shouting teenager with a banner, and soon, your average Joe would have a V8 powered lawn mower for that smooth rumble on low revs.
All that potential for prosperity at the hands of the wrong people could only lead to one thing: war.
Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, and it was not fair that a single company owned an entire planet full of oil.
Laws had been drafted in favour of both sides in a stupid bid of “I want the red car, mommy,” while good soldiers were dying at the hands of their former comrades who were now killers for hire.
We were called in for active duty after Tekchorp paid the government, and for the first time in more than ten years, we had food in our bellies and heat in our quarters.
We had the best gear money could buy: no more torn boots stapled to the soles, and no more reasons to talk to each other anymore.
Comfort changes people, mostly for the worst, and soon the hallways were full of stupid rumours and gossips rather than the usual banter and laughter.
The attack was sudden.
A huge explosion woke me up in the middle of the night, and before I knew it, I was trapped under the floor in the emergency capsule while my daughter was being sucked out into space. She was too light for the capsule to recognize her as a person and it didn’t engage.
She died along with my wife and ninety percent of the people on board when the missile struck our station, because the chairman of Tekchorp was on board at the time, and half the planet wanted him dead.
There was no money to send us food on a regular basis, but for a ballistic missile in space? No problem.
I lost everything.
The minute you bought us, you made us a target for your enemies and used us as expendable pawns in your quest for greed.
But the joke fell on you, when it was discovered that the exhaust from that fuel of yours was causing human infertility, and not just normal infertility, no siree, that little wonder piss of yours blocked the human DNA from passing information any further. It would self-destruct on any attempt of multiplication. That’s why it was so difficult to detect by institutions that were not in your pocket.
Twenty years later, the human population was down to five percent. None with any viable DNA to ensure a future for the human race.
After I lost my family, I cut out my ID chip and went on a lunar mining rig by myself, until your boys came knocking on my door with the news that I was the new messiah, courtesy of the regular drug tests we had to take while working alone on the moon.
How can humanity’s best hope lie in the hands of the same people who destroyed it? Time and time again, you and your kind have brought our world to the brink of destruction, only to be bailed out or blamed someone else for your wrong doings.
You will never learn. You will just go back to your old tricks like the bankers of the twenty first century.
You got your money. Isn’t that what you wanted? Go buy something. Go buy life, just like you wanted to buy me for my little swimmers. Bet you’re sorry for getting my family killed now aren’t you?
I thought about it a lot that night.
Right before I went to bed.
How would I die.
Being the last hope of the human race, to have my DNA spark an entire new civilisation, to be a god, to be immortalised forever and have my nut sack hanging on every church door for years to come, or take a walk by the reactor core and have my amino acids dissolved by a few isotopes.
Feel free to use my DNA if you like. You never know, you might actually spark a race of superheroes.
If I fix the world, you would just destroy it again. Because money never sleeps.
I decided to end the human race without a shroud of doubt. Without you, Earth would be booming with life again, pure life, unaltered by greed and stupid ambitions, as it was meant to be.
In the end, I hope you all die a miserable death, and that my solicitor has his middle finger raised as he is reading this to you.
By Dan Alex