License on the Red Planet – A science fiction story

License on the Red Planet – A science fiction story

Clementine woke up suddenly. She had dreamt that she was on the Red planet again, the planet where she was born. She was still considered a citizen of this planet, not of the Planet Brown for which she had left everything. As she couldn’t pay for extra luggage, she had arrived five years ago now with a small suitcase full of natural cosmetics. That was it, her project to build her new life. She had opened her store, then when she had finished filling out immigration papers, finding an apartment and her place in the local business; her husband and children had joined her. She had felt a certain eagerness to do so, no longer tolerating the fact that her family was still living on the Red Planet. Now that she had understood the impact of the bluein, she would never go back.

Why were all these thoughts from the past resurfacing like this? The reason was simple, and she knew it. He had to renew his driving licence and the administration on Brown had refused to do so. She therefore had to return not to her home planet, but to her native one. Everything had been arranged for her to live with her cousin. Her feelings were mixed; they got along so well in childhood, they had stuck together in difficult times but her cousin kept admiring the bluein and Clementine couldn’t stand it.

And all because of her knee! No traffic licence without a valid knee. This was the rule on the Red Planet. This rule was completely obsolete, since on the Planet Brown, no one was driving while pressing on the pedals. The driving assistance took care of everything, with human control only there to reassure them. Robots had made it possible to limit pollution; it was now almost non-existent, and have a more fluid traffic. On average, everyone got to their destination easily and much faster than before. The accidents had become anecdotal. It made the event when it happened, and everyone talked about it.

The pro-techno had to respect the natural part of the planet and had managed to reach ridiculous levels of pollution, quite close to zero. The pro-naturalists respected the inventions and robots of the industrial part. Finally, there were even mixtures. Some take this and others take that.

On Planet Brown, the inhabitants had the courage to rebuild a new society. There were some in favour of robotization and others in favour of maintaining nature. They had reached an agreement where the robotic company rose in cities from skyscrapers and protected the rest of it as nature parks. This allowed for traditional agriculture and livestock breeding where cattle were treated in a decent way and a state-of-the-art robotization. After much debate, they had reached an agreement. Fifteen years ago, no one would have thought they could do it because the debates on bluein were so heated. But in the end, there were quite a few solutions that suited both parties. Fruit and vegetable management was automated; the robots had been trained in traditional techniques. The transports resembled a continuous blood flow where each module, like a red blood cell, found its place harmoniously. Toxic products had been banned. The inhabitants of the Planet Brown could hardly believe it, but it worked. Of course, there were exceptions, but people who had immigrated, from different backgrounds and backgrounds, had done so because they believed in the project. Their values, their common project, brought them together and this had given rise to a peaceful society. When everyone is working towards the same goal….

To do this, it was necessary to put an end to hierarchies, otherwise the interest of one could have taken over the whole. They had not fought them. It was useless. They had simply set up a parallel system based on cooperatives where everyone could express themselves and vote equally. And these cooperatives had eventually invaded the market, and therefore the decisions. Of course, some hierarchical structures remained. There were not many of them, and after all this made it possible to reassure the most cautious ones before they threw themselves into the water.

But the Red Planet continued to use the old pedal cars… And you needed a valid knee to drive them… Indeed, during that time, the Red Planet was overcrowded and strict laws had been passed against robots. Environmental measures had been thrown into oblivion and replaced by propaganda which promoted the effects of pollution.

Her husband turned around and opened his eyes:

“Hello, my love” and then he yawned and stretched his whole body. “So, this is the big day, right? »

“Yes,” Clementine replied briefly.

“How long have you been awake? Not too stressed? »

“Oh, you know me. I’m fed up with it. But we do have to go. »

Her husband had to stay to watch over the shop but the children, being on holiday, would come with her. “It will do them good to see how it is elsewhere. It’s always a learning experience,” he commented. And Clementine did agree with him.

When she had lived on other planets, in her youth, she had learned so much. Then she had been trained and taught. She thought that all these good ideas taken here and there would be beneficial to all. This is because she had forgotten that, although rejection, at the beginning, is necessary for any learning, categorical rejection offers only one alternative to the teacher: to abandon his ideas considered weird or to be rejected. Of course, there were some who learned and others who rejected, but it was clear that on the Red Planet, the rejection was massive.

In addition, most of his students looked like chicks waiting for the beak. How could she teach them citizenship and democracy that she had seen work so well on other planets in that context? How could they be taught to learn by themselves?

First of all, the name alone was ridiculous. The inhabitants continued to call the Red Planet a planet where all life had turned blue because of the accumulation of bluein, an industrial waste that had never been treated. Tradition is useful, but it is only a toolbox from which one may choose elements in order to improve things. Not that tight and… ridiculous… straitjacket where you force yourself to be colorblind like the others.

Even the parents of the school and Clementine’s superiors did not accept her. The few who agreed with her kept quiet but she saw their eyes shining at the thought that she could succeed. She did not want to disappoint this minority, but you can lead horses to water but you can’t make them drink, let alone when they have power. She had her husband and children; and even though it was hard she had left everything behind; and she had gone to live with people who wanted to live like her. We only have one life. The inhabitants of the Red Planet would understand when they were ready. At least, she secretly hoped so….

Her thoughts were interrupted by the landing. The trip had been pleasant outside of the Bluegrass country music that was always on and that gave her the Blues. “But the advantage of travelling at night is that the children are asleep,” she meditated. “Here we are! The Red Planet…… All blue…”

She typed a number on her console and her pair of shoes arrived in the box designed for this purpose. She looked at her shoes. These machines were so effective! Her leather shoes shone so brightly as they had been so well polished and the comfort was at its best. Yes, it was true. She did not wear these new models with innovative and high-performance materials. After all, on Planet Brown, natural methods had been found to increase leather performance; and the result in terms of permeability, comfort, respect for personal characteristics was almost equivalent. And then, after all, they were only shoes. She liked the look of leather. Its beauty. She would look at her shoes when she was waiting. It was like a portable work of art, which evolved over the course of the day. Leather was never the same. And then she also liked to think that she was helping to finance measures to maintain livestock treated in a decent way, in semi-liberty in natural parks and supervised by robots which looked after their well-being and health, among other things. She told herself this, every time she passed in front of a field of these new cattle with thick skin and a snout full of fresh grass.

When she arrived on the Red Planet, her cousin and daughter Violette blamed her for her strange shoes and forced her, with endless recommendations she could not interrupt, to wear shoes with innovative but blue textiles. The children, for their part, were delighted at the idea of having new pairs of sneakers. She ended up putting them on while bitterly regretting it. She knew that her cousin and daughter, living there, did not have the freedom to wear leather shoes. When a human being undergoes absurd rules, he relieves his stress by subjecting others to them, and perpetuating them at the same time…

Socrates said to the young man who wants to learn philosophy that he must know that he knows nothing or that what he knows is nothing. It was believed that they were kept in the dark to accept bluein. But it wasn’t that. It was the inhabitants themselves who voted for representatives who kept them in their false beliefs and reinforced them by adding theses that went in their direction just because they refused to look at their past mistakes. They still preferred the prison of ignorance to the freedom, health and personal responsibility that accompany them. Clementine remembered that, in the past, she had to vote for representatives. It was for her, like writing a blank check. How did you know what this person was going to do?

“It’s absurd,” thought Clementine. “They dig their own graves, and they are satisfied.” But she still gave in and put on the shoes, to have peace. An illusory peace, but a peace anyway. At least she wouldn’t force anyone to wear shoes…… Especially someone with a knee problem!

Her cousin and daughter had no robotic modules or tricycles. A car. Oh, my God! Did Clementine still know how to drive them? She preferred to walk to the prefecture. She felt the pollution entering her nose, she saw the blue grass, which had become the most widespread urban plant. Where was the diversity of plants she was used to seeing, even in the city? Her cousin had kindly offered to babysit the children. She was grateful but also worried. Were they going to eat blue candy? Were they going to play on one of those blue trash piles you see everywhere? Clementine thought it would have been better if she had sent them to summer camp… She had forgotten how much one could not escape the bluein. Or maybe it had gotten worse?

When she arrived at the prefecture and after waiting half an hour, she presented the complete file she had filled out on the Planet Brown. Everything was there, knee x-ray, general health information with accurate measurements, vision and hearing tests and even a driving test she had passed. She specified that she would only circulate on the Planet Brown. The official did not even open the file.

“Go to office 4 and get a ticket. A doctor will see you now. »

She took her ticket. There were 20 people before her. If he spends 15 minutes per patient, which already seems fast to assess someone’s state of health, it would be 5 hours… There must have been something…

Indeed, the number changed every 5 minutes. So, she waited a good hour and then a beep sounded and it was her turn.

She presented the complete file she had filled out on the Planet Brown and he cut her off.

“Are you ill? “he asked.

Clementine thought it would be better to say “no”.

“Why are you here?”

“To renew my driver’s license. I am enjoying a visit to my family.”she felt like adding.

“Well, if you don’t mind, I’ll focus on filling out your form. »

She may have waited three minutes and then was shown the door. A stamp from the administration and it was done! What were these people for? How did they feel when they came home at night? How could they bear to apply absurd rules and do dirty work just because they didn’t have time?

“Stop torturing yourself,” thought Clementine, “you will never understand the Red Planet.

When she got back to her cousin’s, she saw her tidying up the groceries. She had so many closets! So much space wasted. Why this obstinacy not to use robots? She told them about her robot that arranged everything in a column in the floor separator and managed stocks according to what was being used. This also contributed to the good sound insulation between the floors. She never heard from her neighbors. And with her terrace converted into a garden, it was like a house. Just on the 54th floor. But the barriers were perfectly safe… There were plenty of emergency slides and parachutes. There were even nets every 10 floors. And then, the gardens, it had been a revolution on the Planet Brown because there was almost no more waste of food….

Her cousin replied that it was necessary to maintain the jobs of the garbage collectors who had very respectable jobs….

She took industrial dishes, one per person, and put them in the particle accelerator. It was the new name that industrialists had found for microwaves. Everyone on the planet had been re-equipped, to their great benefit and also to the benefit of the waste dumps where the old microwaves were languishing.

Clementine opened the prepared dish; there were blue spots.

“It’s to replace sugar, they use bluein; there’s no more diabetes since we use it. You see, we are also innovating on our planet! “commented the cousin.

This measure had eliminated diabetes from the planet…. No one knew about this disease anymore. On the other hand, many had additional organs. It didn’t seem to be a problem, on the contrary, the inhabitants found it practical… Clementine couldn’t believe it.

She pretended not to be hungry and prayed, yes, Clementine could be irrational too, so she prayed that her children would not like the dish and that they would not ask for it again!

“And it’s good too,” added Violette, the cousin’s daughter…..

“Tomorrow, I’ll cook,” Clémentine suggested to her hosts.

The next day, Clementine got up late, around 11am. Her cousin was really nice to take care of the kids like that. She had left her a note:

“Hi! We’re at the park. Can you prepare the salad, please? Bizzz. Bleuenn”

Bleuenn grew the salad on her roof. Clementine had a hard time choosing the most beautiful one. The salad was green, that was nice, but spotted with blue. The sink being congested; Clementine decided to wash the dishes. She opened a cupboard to store the plates. It was so crowded that three packets of cookies and blue dust fell on her head. Clementine smashed to pieces a pack of cookies that were attacking her after performing a Karate gesture. Clementine was surprised that her defensive reflexes were still there. She also felt reassured. When you consider that for two hundred years, apart from a few traditional dojos, karate had been based on boxing; a barbaric and competitive sport.

“But that’s not possible! ”, she thought, “We can still use a minimum of robotics! A personal automatic dispenser is not bad. This saves space while the machine stores everything optimally in the floor separator. And it would avoid fighting with the food… Here, that’s the thing. The salad…. »

Clementine sorted the salad leaves and then thought that there was not much left of it, once the blue parts were removed.

Her cousin arrived then.

“Oh! Thank you for the dishes. What did you do with the salad?! There are almost none left…” she asked disappointed. Then, while taking off the children’s coats, she added:

“Why don’t you dye your hair in a nice color. There are plenty of them. Indigo, turquoise, azurine, majorelle, cyan, Cobalt, slate, tiffany, blue? »

Clementine wondered if it was provocation.

“You know I run a natural cosmetics store? »

“Yes, so what?”

“It is not possible to blind oneself in this way…” enraged Clementine. “It means that plants and other natural products are used to dye hair. Moreover, herbal medicine, which has made a leap in terms of effectiveness, and natural products are more effective in many cases than industrial products… and they respect the environment. »

“But the one which is cyan is made of urban bluegrass….. It’s natural…”

Clementine was speechless and silent. She no longer wanted to communicate at all. Anyway, she knew four other languages that she used to speak to people who knew what was natural and what was not…..

“What have you done with the cookies? You know, they don’t fall from the sky; we work hard! We can’t afford to waste salads and cookies like that…”

Clementine told herself that after all, literally, the cookies had almost fallen from the sky…..

“Violette is working right now, and you’re wasting…” she added.

She was talking about the waste of her small budget, of course. She wasn’t thinking about the impact on her planet. Her consumption of industrial ready meals represented a gulf of waste of raw materials used and also pollution. She had decided not to worry about it, to blind herself. Clementine thought of her garden, in her tower, with her robots preparing fresh and seasonal dishes for her.

“Your daughter is a waitress in a small spaceship. She is bowing down to people all day long and is only thirteen years old. What exactly are you teaching her? »

“To live together. You have to keep smiling and find ways to live with everyone. That is the right thing to do. »

Clementine thought she was very lucky. She didn’t have to bow down the strongest, those who could afford a ticket in a small spaceship were the most powerful. But Clementine would not have to send her children to work so young. The cooperative system of the planet Brown allowed everyone to cooperate according to their means, and contrary to popular belief; when this idea was put in place, a ton of new ideas had arrived. Everyone was listened to when they had an idea to improve things; decisions were made collectively, after debate. This was certainly a consequence of an educational system that listened to students, of advanced medicine, including psychological and psychiatric medicine, and of the fact that votes, whether at the global level or at the level of cooperatives, were taken on the initiative of citizens (a petition signed by 3% of the population was required to be able to request the referendum) and it was always a question of voting for ideas. Surprisingly, it worked. Probably because everyone had an interest in making co-ops work because their incomes and well-being depended on it. And it was a widespread idea that by working for the common good, one could improve one’s own standard of living. It had to be said that this planet had one of the best living conditions compared to others, so it must have been true. Of course, there were free-riders. The psychologists were taking care of them. Sometimes they were considered disabled, sometimes the psychologist helped them to find a place in this society; and to better understand it.

“You know neither democracy nor freedom,” added bitter but neutral Clementine, because she did not want to attack her cousin.

“Of course I do! We have just voted for the new president of the Red Planet and he has reduced working time by 2 hours. See, we’re going to have more freedom! »

The children then took over in the conversation.

“Mom, why does Bleuenn have eleven fingers? “Sonny asked.

Clementine didn’t know what to say.

“Because it’s more convenient, I can do more…”

“I want a third eye, like the gentleman in the park,” added Alba, “to see better.”

“Don’t worry, darling. I’ll see to it that you see more clearly than he does. »

Then they began to talk about the countries and capitals of the Red Planet.

Clementine’s son’s name was Sonny. She really liked that name. He was a real ray of sunshine, that boy. Besides, he was well cared for on the Planet Brown. A robot was constantly taking care of him and there had been an intervention on his genes. And Alba, her daughter, so pure and white! Finally, those who submitted to the Red Planet were much more closed to the outside world and in their bubble than Sonny who was autistic. She knew that he was opening himself to the world and that he would be free.

Sonny: What about the others? Now that I’ve fulfilled my purpose, I don’t know what to do.

Detective Del Spooner: I think you’ll have to find your way like the rest of us, Sonny. That’s what Dr. Lanning would’ve wanted. That’s what it means to be free.

I robot (2004)

Aurianne Or

Bluegrass country music: Flatt & Scruggs – Keep on the Sunny Side:

Aurianne Or by Aurianne Or is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0