‘Verse: Blackguards and Plaster Saints
Length/Rating: 231 words, PG, Gen
Summary: No one had slept.
No one had slept. The world teetered into Exodus bleary-eyed and clinging to loved ones as they watched the news media countdown the seconds. Then it happened, no slivery beams, no sparkling swirls, just an instant unequivocal absence of those who had chosen to go.
And then the Ship’s announcement, calm, but stern, reciting the names of those zones who still had a debt to pay. They’d hit the percentage of no return, whatever they didn’t volunteer would be taken at random. Those who ran would be targeted first.
That set off panics and riots and in the end it didn’t matter, because the Ship took them anyway. And when the dust had settled, the world watched the Ship leave in that numb state of shock as they adjusted to the literal decimation.
One tenth the population was one twentieth of the world between the age of five and thirty-five. So for the younger generations it wasn’t one in every ten people you knew, but two in every ten you had grown up with.
The media took to calling it the Children’s War, because in the end it was the world’s children and grandchildren that went off to the stars with Ship. And it would be their children’s children that lived to reap the benefits of that bargain.
But war was coming, and the world didn’t have the luxury of grief.