Cuento del mes: “The other Earth” | Gabriela Cabezas Borja

By Gabriela Cabezas Borja

(Special collaboration for Science Fiction in Ecuador. The story was shared by its author for publication)

 

Honestly, I felt relieved when we discovered life on another planet. There were several suicides, individually and in mass, but that was also relieving for me, why? I’m not sure. Most people became religious, it didn’t matter the religion, but the churches became full with devotees. The afternoon when it was discovered was the most chaotic one. I was in my house and the coffee was great, and the news didn’t affect me like it affected everybody else. The supermarkets were raided by hordes of people in search of water and canned goods. Other people were crying in the streets and I firmly believed a lot of babies were conceived that day. It was the end of the world and yet people could not remember to wear a condom. I just stared through the window, with my coffee in my hands, at all the crazies.

Six months after that day and people started going back, slowly, to their natural state. Things were getting boring again. I mean, how long is it going to be exciting to see another anthropomorphic being on TV, speaking things in rudimentary English? Also, how could I explain what was happening? It was the cold war, again! This time, however, it was an intergalactic cold war. It seemed like no one was going to compromise anything. I was angry by that time. Both planets! Neither opening the doors to the other. There was an order to shoot any alien ship that came too close to Earth and another order in the other planet to shoot against us. Intelligence was stupid, on both planets. There were other rules, if any human was found helping an alien (not that it had happened), they would go directly to jail. C’mon! We were all cavemen running around with lit torches. Somehow, it had coincided that the other planet was similar to us in evolution, meaning we were all dimwits. One day I read that you had to travel for fifty years to get to the planet. Imagine! 50 years! And no one wanted to negotiate anything. I thought it was so important to talk to them, to know what kind of energy they used, to know what kinds of books they had written (if they had any books), but governments were far away in negotiating land, preparing for the third world war.

It was interesting that translators would be already available, for world transmissions, in two months. Also, the other planet had something similar to internet and if things went the right way, we would be contacting them soon. So, bloggers and youtubers were the first to communicate through the intra-red and they were also the first to go to jail, but from one moment to the next, everyone was doing it, everyone was sharing pictures and videos with aliens, and aliens were doing it with us. The things we learned! And governments became softer. No trips, however. Our generation was dying of impatience. It took us all by surprise when the first space trips were announced. Of course, first went the government officials and we had to wait fifteen years for them to arrive to the planet. Soon after that, touristic trips were opened and I waited on my own for five years more when the new ship took you in under two years. “Bye”, I said to all the cavemen. Nevertheless, I, another cavewoman (just a day before travelling) am watching through the window how new civil wars are forming, this time with aliens involved, of course, with a cup of coffee.

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