‘Verse: Blackguards and Plaster Saints
Length/Rating: 474 words, PG, Gen
Summary: Ten percent of the population was twenty percent of my friends.
Ten percent of the population was twenty percent of my friends.
Because the ship didn’t want everyone, just five to thirty-five, and those were the people I knew. When we talked about it –and you couldn’t not talk about it– we talked in terms of who was going and who was staying. ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ had been permanently redefined.
We’d reached the tipping point two days ago, where the registrations for Exodus had passed the point of no return. For every ten people you knew, at least two would be leaving and nothing could stop it now. The scary part was you could still be one of those two, if the world around you didn’t pitch in, didn’t volunteer to take your place.
I thought about it, even before the tipping point. Not just because I was scared to stay behind, but because it was the first time I’d been given the chance to do something for the ‘greater good’. It was stupid, and heroic, and pointless, and maybe the one thing left that I’d ever get to do for me.
There were no illusions left, the ship’s stories had long since been confirmed. A hundred years of war was coming, and the precious few years of peace before it would swallow up the rest of my life. None of my dreams would come true now, they couldn’t. The whole world had changed when the ship first appeared.
Art had always been a luxury, I knew that, even though I’d fought enough with my parents over majoring in it, but now there was no point. What good was paint and clay when there were more important things to do? They’d do away with those majors, if the folks in charge had any sense. They’d do away with anything that didn’t support the war effort, because that’s what you did in war, right? I couldn’t blame them, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around for it either.
My parents were too old to go, my brother too young. If I went, I’d be the only one. There had been some argument already that each family should give at least one person, but nothing was decided yet. If I went, I’d know they were safe. Or as safe as they could be. My parents would be dead before the war arrived –heck I’d probably be dead– but they’d have to live through the years before it.
I’m not sure when I decided to go, but in the end it came down to fear of the known. I knew people, I knew what they did when they were scared and cornered and facing something that they might not win. And even if the aliens were a hundred times worse, at least we’d be running away, not trapped like a fox gone to ground.