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Image by SpaceX
Refugees from Earth
By Tom Ball
What happens when denizens of Earth abandon their homes & flee to a space settlement?

I, Bertrand, said to Nellie, “Here on the Lunar equator, it can be extremely hot in the daytime and very cold at night. It’s inhospitable is what it is. And you and I are all cooped up in our air car.” She said, “Let’s not forget we narrowly escaped death on Earth for our political views.” I said, “But exile from Earth is a high price to pay; we have nothing here.” She said, “But we’ve been invited to dock with another air car with 2 men and 2 women, all refugees from Earth.” I exclaimed, “Of course we will go!”


And I said again and again to Nellie, “I feel sorry about our friends and family back on Earth. The Emperor tolerates no dissent or indeed deep thinking from others. As Socrates is quoted, ‘The unthought life is not worth living.”’ Nellie kept saying, “It’s just a matter of time before the Emperor colonizes Luna and you and me will both be toast…”


Anyway, we docked with the other air car and were surprised to see 3 other ships all docked together. Total 10 men and 10 women. We all drank to one another’s health. We didn’t have an alcohol making machine in our ship and were glad to get drunk. And an orgy broke out and we all eagerly joined in. It was sweet ecstasy instead of our humdrum existence on Luna so far.


So, we all agreed to remain docked to one another and we kept an eye on Earth which we now faced all the time, looking for new refugee ships. But a year after docking with one another there were still just the ten of us and we didn’t dare send signals to Earth.


We got to know the other 8 people. One man, Wolf was a screenwriter, he’d made some pirate waves movies despite the Emperor’s power. Like he made, “Earthlings Rejoice,” about a saviour who appears in Toronto and tells the people to love one another, not the Emperor. The saviour wants free love and freedom of association and freethought. In the movie he starts a revolution which overthrows the Emperor. But he told us, “Only a few dozen people saw it as he didn’t trust anyone else. And I made a narrow escape with his lover, Anita. Anita was a pop music artist who now made deep music, which was why she had to leave Earth.”


Another couple, Brad and Jenny were both architects who designed some skyscrapers that were too good, better than the Emperor could do, so that’s why they were on the run. Another couple were multi-sexual. The Emperor looked down on such “freaks” and basically eliminated nearly all of them. 


Then there were two others, a man, Mark and a woman, Julia, who came with the multi-sexuals. They were both soul mates who mainly wanted to just love one another. Aside from the now regular orgies we had. They were both businesspeople who had brought a lot of gold with them. I remarked, “Gold has no use here.”


And then there were an odd couple, who didn’t appear to have anything in common. But they said variety is the spice of life and appeared to love one another. The male, Ron, said, “I am an engineer and my partner, Mikki is an exotic dancer.”


And Brad and Jenny’s aircar was equipped with a robot builder which we used to build a two story condo with 10 units, we each had one. The building was sealed off from the outside and we had a gravity machine in the building. And we had a greenhouse for growing stem cell meats, and rice and plants to make drugs. Ron, the engineer, directed the constructions.


After the condos and the greenhouse were built, we had a meeting and we again decided against sending signals to Earth. Even if good people came here, they would attract notice from the Emperor. As it was we worried Earth’s telescopes could reveal our tiny settlement.


But then into our fourth year a ship containing 12 playwrights arrived on Luna and we welcomed them to land on our condo roof. They had a leader, Frank who was the best playwright. For example, he’d written, “Days of His Imperial Majesty,” which was a lampoon of the Emperor, depicting him as a pompous idiot savant, who was skilled at seizing power and warring but otherwise a fool. And he had a network of evil spies who prevented would-be intellectuals from succeeding. The Emperor considered himself to be a genius and only he could do great works of art. And science was banned.” I said to him, “It’s a good thing for us that he’d banned science, so that he likely wouldn’t come to the Moon.” He said, “The Emperor knows about this settlement, but it is so miniscule, he couldn’t be bothered to do anything about us.”

And Frank had also made a play about “Suicide Camps,” in which depressed people were rounded up and executed. Only happy people could exist in the Empire. He said, “The play was based on reality…”


Another playwright made a play called, “Sex World,” which followed the life of Earthlings who just lived for sex. Sex between humans was given the Emperor’s blessing. But not sex with androids (who were on the run) or “freaks.” The androids liked sex with one another and with humans. And some humans hid them away as secret lovers. And the freaks too, were in hiding. The oceans were full of freak sea creatures who were difficult to find.

Also, there was a playwright who wrote “Descendants of Cain,” about how humans were doomed to all be slaves to the Emperor, who was evil and greedy and full of shit! Another playwright penned, “Imperial Spy,” about a spy for the Emperor who tries to undermine his majesty by allowing radicals to live unchecked. But when these people try to start a revolution, they find that vast majority of people support the Emperor, and are thankful for their easy life.


And there was a playwright who was known for writing, “Art Commune,” about a group of artists who were in hiding and created great books. But finally, the Emperor’s spies were tipped off and destroyed these people and their books. And another writer who wrote, “Love in Imperial Times,” about secret lovers who try to make other people live for love and forget about the Emperor. But the spies catch them, too.


And these playwrights went on and on about the evils of the Emperor. And, of the twelve, 6 wanted to beam their plays back to Earth. But they were outvoted in our nascent democracy.


Then in our fourth year, a couple of lovers arrived. They were refugees from harassment by the Emperor’s spies. The Emperor only wanted people who loved him. And forced people to love others every night and had them pray to the Emperor, thanking him for all he had given them.


And slowly refugees trickled in. By our tenth year, we were up to 100 personae. But that year was marked by an Imperial invasion from Earth, and we were all summarily executed. All except me. I was brought back to Earth to face charges and sentenced to 100 years of torture. Of course, I wished I was dead, but was given eternal youth so I could suffer more.

Image by Thomas Griggs

Tom Ball is currently senior editor at FLEAS ON THE DOG His work has appeared in several journals and magazines including 'Down in the Dirt' magazine, 'Conceit' Magazine, Literary Yard, Newark Library Literary Journal, Fresh Words Magazine, Local Train Magazine, Gargoyle magazine, PBW magazine among others.He has also self-published two novels with American Book Publishing, and Xlibris. Tom has also co-authored, 'Of Heaven and Hell,' a graphic novel with Zen Wang.

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