Alpha-4

The discovery of another solar system which could sustain life was nothing short of a miracle. The planet was dying – a terminal patient running on its last few gasping breaths. The damages in the ozone layer were irreparable. Solar flares had devastated a majority of the globe. It didn’t take long for wars to break out – who gets to live where, eliminating the competition for space, weeding out the weak. The few remaining survivors were forced to live in underground bases they called Hives.

We all tried to live as close to normal as possible but one couldn’t help start to feel that the end was just around the corner. Then came the discovery. The scientists, those who were still alive, named this solar system Alpha-1. They hoped it would be a chance for a new beginning. They indicated that this system was made up of a fairly young star which was being orbited by nine planets. A ton of research was conducted and finally they were able to determine that Alpha-4 was the perfect candidate. It had breathable air and huge bodies of water. It was a much smaller planet than ours but it was more than enough.

Every single citizen of every Hive scattered around the globe heard the news. All the leaders poured in all the remaining resources to make the migration to Alpha-4 possible.

Four years. Four long years but they were finally able to create a ship large enough and fast enough to travel four hundred light-years away to the Alpha System. The only problem to this was the mother ship was housed within Hive-12. It was the largest Hive built and the only one with enough space to construct the ship. This meant that those living in the other Hives needed to make the journey to Hive-12. The migration was scheduled to happen by the end of the year – whether or not everyone was able to safely make it aboard the ship.

The journey meant traversing the surface, a place wrought with destruction and filled with all sorts of danger. I lived in Hive-04 with my family and it took us three months by foot to get to the mother ship. By day, the sun’s flares were strong enough to burn down anything. And so we traveled by night. The landscape of the surface world had changed dramatically since we last set foot on it. The animals that survived were horrifically mutated and had grown savage. There were about five hundred of us who made the journey and only half were able to make it to the mother ship alive.

By the time we made it to Hive-12, the place was already heavily overpopulated. We were forced to camp outside the Hive, on the surface. During the days we were bombarded with solar flares and during the nights we fought to keep the mutations away. As the days passed, more and more people came from the different Hive stations. The camp of refugees stretched for miles. So did the dead bodies.

Finally, the day of the migration arrived. We were filed into a single line as we boarded the mother ship. It was the first time I saw it – a massive rocket shaped like a bullet. We were assigned rooms and a variety of tasks depending on our skillsets. Some were teachers, some were assigned to the ship’s maintenance, while some were placed in other fields. I was assigned to be one of the cooks. The mother ship took off. The ground rumbled and cracked as the boosters were fired up pushing the gigantic rocket off the ground. The ceiling of the hive slid open revealing the darkening skies above. The mother ship continued to accelerate as it pierced through clouds, ascending ever higher. This was it. This was salvation.

Space was vast and dark. Many of us watched our decaying planet grew smaller as we flew farther away. Its once blue and green color had turned into a sickly red. We stared outside as we flew by other planets and stars.

Life in the mother ship was a vast improvement compared to our time in the dying planet. Everyone felt at peace… But peace never lasted long. The journey to the Alpha system took longer than what initially was estimated. People started to grow restless. Leaders bickered and argued on who would rule over where. Impatience gave birth to fear and it spread like a virus – fear of the unknown, of whether there would be others already living in the planet, of whether we would be welcomed or rejected.

It did not take long for fights to break out.

A sort of civil war ensued between those who believed we could co-exist peacefully with the inhabitants of Alpha-4 and those who believed that we couldn’t.

The mother ship left a trail of dead bodies floating in the darkness of space.

***

We landed on Alpha-4. Only a fraction of those who left our planet survived… We landed on grassland. The ground burned up as the flames of our rocket torched it. Their sky was tinged with pink due to the color of their sun. A couple of hundred feet away we could see a line of individuals – we were right. The planet was already inhabited. The doors of our ship opened and we marched out carefully, slowly. The inhabitants of Alpha-4, or at least the part of Alpha-4 where we landed, greeted us warmly albeit cautiously. They looked very much like us – anthropomorphic – save for the color of their skin. All of them were bald, both male and female, and their skin was pink. They spoke using high pitched tones and rode on top of four-legged beasts like horses.

“We came to seek refuge,” our leader spoke though I doubt they understood him. “We came from a planet called Earth and it is dying so we sought a new place to live.”

They watched with astonished eyes. They whispered to each other as they surrounded us. They did not look as advanced as we were – their clothing made from what looked like fur and skin of varying beasts. We felt no malice from them, no sense of danger. They brought us food and drink.

“We are sorry,” our leader said.

He reached behind his back. We all did.

We started firing our guns.

We arrived in Alpha-4. We survived.