The Bridge, II
Requiem for the Blue Planet
by euhal allen
Table of Contents|
The Bridge, I appeared
in issues 99-113.
In a short time, the Galactic Council will englobe the Earth, cutting the remnants of its native people off from the rest of the galaxy for the foreseeable future. The Earthlings have been deemed too petty, cruel and dangerous to be allowed to wander the stars. Most are unaware that their planet’s sky will soon be blanked out and their view of all the universe will be occluded. But there are some who do know of the coming changes, and, whether they realize it or not, they have friends in unexpected places.
Earth was no longer officially its name. Now Dreamers’ World — the new home of man — had taken the name Earth in the minds of its people, and the name was starting to appear in some official documents. The old world was known now to many, who were eager to forget it, simply as the Blue Planet.
It had been a rough hundred years for the people on Dreamers’ World for, even though they were no longer a part of the human society on the Blue Planet, they were kept abreast of the happenings on their ancient home by those in charge of recording that society’s final days.
On old Earth there had been the great celebrations at the demise of the Bridge but then, when the euphoria of victory wore off, there was a return to the national bickering that led to a new round of war and devastation.
What seemed to be the final blow came silently and deadly in the form of a great influenza pandemic. The period of wars with its destruction and its accompanying famines had already killed great numbers of people those left had been so weakened that few had the resistance needed to survive the pandemic.
Starting in small villages in south Asia where few, if any, of the people had access to modern health care, relying instead on the local herbal knowledge and medicine, they were quickly overwhelmed by the new virus strain at the very start of the disaster.
The waterfowl, carriers of the virus, having no other place, fed and bred in the same area as did domestic birds and pigs.
As their livestock began to die in great numbers the villagers were forced to travel to other places to get replacements or to find another place to survive. Since the virus could, and did, transfer into the human population, those travels spread the virus into new areas with greater concentrations of people, greater incubators of the disease.
Government leaders, who had long ago emaciated the budgets of public health, were unwilling to admit that the disease was rampant in their populations. To do so could bring a loss of income from trade and tourism. So they denied its existence at first.
That denial lead to the continued spread of the virus into megalopolises where it could grow with unbelievable rapidity and deadliness.
Mexico City was the first to be hit. The millions of poor were a paradise for the virus and the tourism that was a major part of their economy was the final boost the virus needed to become an international scourge. There was no stopping it. Those most knowledgeable in the battle against it were often the first to die.
When it was over whole nations seemed to have disappeared. Ninety percent of human life, those left from the wars and the famines that had plagued the Blue Planet, had succumbed to the virus or the panic it had caused, the terror it had unleashed. Many of the dead were never identified or given an individual grave but were assumed to be among the corpses now lying in the thousands of mass graves found in almost every location on the Blue Planet.
The people of Dreamers’ World, even though they assumed such things would happen, were still devastated at the carnage. Most, but not all, agreed that the sooner that sad world was quarantined the sooner they could get on with their lives as galactic citizens. For that reason, the majority petitioned the Galactic Council for a Remembrance of the world they had left, a closure for their grief. Those who were a significant, but zealous, minority who disagreed, immersed themselves in other, less public, endeavors.
The Galactic Council, recognizing that the greatest gift humanity had given the galaxy was its extraordinary musical talent, commissioned that a Requiem be written by Dreamers’ World’s greatest composers and that it be performed in a Great Concert Hall built for that purpose.
Copyright © 2005 by euhal allen