Home » Sci Fi & Fantasy » Bill Schlondrop » Flight to Eden

April 27 , 2008

Flight to Eden


It´s time. It´s starting in earnest with the increasing rain and earthquakes. Global warming is crashing through the myriad doors of Mother Earth´s mansion. The Gaian concept says the Earth is alive, and she´s pissed.

The planet Earth has been sick for a long while.Mother Nature has been leaving subtle clues to that effect. Mankind has caused the sickness, but humans ignored the fact.Nature’s announcements, noticed by only a few concerned scientists, have been largely disregarded by the rest of Earth’s population. More noteworthy, however, the economy has continued to improve over the decades.The first scientific base became operational on the Moon.As the lives of the people on Earthprospered, orbital habitats were built, and Man’s quest to journey into space continued.People didn’t give a damn about a few picky signals from their home planet.

My science fiction story, Flight to Eden, takes a searching, powerful, and thought- provoking look at a world suffering for years from a disease completely ignored by humans: Pollution!In a self-initiated treatment, Mother Nature wages war in her own unique way against the ravages of Mankind.In the process, she prescribes the medication, and then cures herself! The extent of the healing, and the ultimate destiny of the world’s former inhabitants, comes at a terrible though fascinating cost for Mankind.

The story spans a millennium, covers the progress, the devastation, and then the reconstruction in three increments: The one hundred seventy prosperous years up until the time of The Healing; the 800 years after The Healing, while Mother Nature, and the population adjust to the cure; and a brief time near the millennium’s end, when three divergent groups of humans attempt a reoccupation of Earth’s, now healed, and clean surface, with surprising consequences. The last page of the book will astound you.

Pollution, the mephitic toxicity of the air humans sucked into their lungs, continued to thicken and worsen.The average annual temperature continued to rise.Large chunks of polar ice, from both Arctic and Antarctic regions,fell into the oceans.Aircraft and ships reported an increase in the number of icebergs.Water levels along coastlines rose slowly but steadily.

A significant number of the populations sought cleaner pastures, their primary objective: Flee from the polluted atmosphere surrounding Earth. Some migrated off-world to live in space, others chose to join the exodus to live underground, and yet, most humans, for whatever the reasons, choose to remain on the surface and make the best of things.

As the delicate balance of Earth’s ecology had continued to change, Mother Nature became sick and tired of being sick and tired from all of Mankind’s abuse, caused by ignorance, apathy, and greed.The human population had picked away at the weary world, until there remained little else for it to do, but begin a massive healing process.In particular, the increase in pollution, acid rain, and Man’s continued destruction of the rain forests, finally tipped the scales.It became time for drastic action.In order to save itself, Earth fought back the only way her military force, Mother Nature, knew how: Environmental clean up crews mustered to the call for healing.

Self-preservation, and a clean environment were her generals.Like huge macrophages, horrendous weather, accompanied by earthquakes, flooding, vulcanism, and pestilence, scoured the surface.Resembling advancing armies, these weapons went to work mending the cancerous damage.The armies fought relentlessly, but before the Earth would be cured, a significant amount of healing had to take place.It did not happen overnight.

A period known as, The Healing, began with torrential rains, greatly exceeding the 40-day biblical epoch.It rained almost every day for more than three years, beginning a process of global cleansing never before witnessed by humans.In cities, entire sewage systems overflowed, and the lack of clean water for drinking produced sickness and hardship with little relief.Hundreds of thousands of humans died from cholera alone. Across the continents, tectonic plates, lubricated by so muchmoisture between the cracks, required less opposition before moving.The fearsome earthquakes, floods, and vulcanism caused significant topological rearrangement.Smaller, low-elevation land masses, and islands disappeared completely.Over six billion humans perished from the persistent quakes, and other weather-related disasters.Millions more died from worldwide disease, and the deadly poisons released by the unburied, rotting bodies.

In quick time, the continuing inhospitality of surface living provided the impetus, forced more people to leave Earth, and to populate the surrounding solar system.This flight to space came on the heels of the rain, and joined the lesser exodus, begun decades earlier, by people fleeing from the increasing pollution. On the brighter side, migrationinto space flourished, at least to that area of space encompassing the terrestrial planets, those within the orbit of the planet Jupiter.

Humans living in space, occupied six space stations, base camps of small colonies on the Moon, then Mars, and finally, on, and within, a few of the larger asteroids.In the relatively short time span of two hundred fifty years, by the year 2300, almost two hundred million humans existed on worlds other than the Earth.

The ecological disaster started the collapse of all of the world governments.In the U.S. alone, a nation-wide activism, close to anarchy finally reigned.By the end of the 23rdcentury, the government of the once all-powerful North and South American continents, called The United Americas, had been severely torn apart. Military rule had been called upon to hold things together.Across the globe, the rest of the world’s people suffered even more.

As if contained within a huge game preserve, or gigantic zoo without fences, humans roamed aimlessly from one point to another, slaughtering other humans they encountered along the way.Over time, spurred by the decimation of animals and grain foods, starving people resorted to cannibalism, as most humans on Earth regressed to the scavenging predators they originally were.Intelligent people still remaining, again flocked to leave. They joined the underground exodus that had been ongoing, although sporadically, for almost one hundred and fifty years.

In the beginning, this batch of undergroundpioneers had simply occupied existing caves and caverns, but as their undergroundtechnology improved, they dug their own cities.New Carlsbad became the focal point, and the largest underground city. At first, the propinquity of so many people, crowded into the severely limited space, created a sweat-infested atmosphere almost as severe as the smoggy environment of the surface before the rains.Claustrophobia affected nearly everyone below the surface, at one time or another.It was a small thing considering the alternative of remaining topside.

Living beneath the surface, caused a phenotypical change.The slightly increased gravity and artificial light, in conjunction with gengineering modifications, gradually forced the average shape of these subterranean humans down and out.A much stronger physical form evolved, more compact, hairless, and light of skin.

Oddly enough, some humans persisted in rebuilding a new life while remaining on the surface.Whether that desire stemmed from a deeply rooted feeling to regain what they once dearly loved, or that the brain had lost all sense of cognitive reality, wasn’t the issue; the people tried to make the best of it.There was little danger from nuclear radiation, as long as they remained away from the cities, which had seen their power plants crumble in the quakes.Surface living became lessons for primitive survival,

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