Challenge #02409-F219: Escape From a Hell-PlanetsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  last month 


It's also worth pointing out that [Name] and Considering Long Term Consequences have a distant, if cordial, pen-pal relationship. -- RecklessPrudence

It's hard to think long-term when your long-term is what other people call 'tomorrow'. Living through the day was challenge enough on the world I used to call home. Planning a week ahead was madness. If you had asked me, there and then, what my plans would be for the weekend, on the day before it... I would have stared for a handful of seconds and eventually answered, "survive".

It was a brutal world. You could say life was cheap, there, but the opposite was true. Death, you got for free. Living was the expensive part. Like most people, I went to a working school where five hours' unskilled work earned an hours' lessons in essential skills that might have me on a higher level of earning sometime. I learned just enough to bumble my way through reading the signs on the roadways and doing enough math to figure out what I could afford to buy.

Make no mistake, I'm glad I got out. Captured by pirates on the way to a debtor's prison world, and then set loose on a kinder, gentler station. The thing is... even though I don't miss: being there, the price of medicine, the risk of mass shootings, the cheap and disgusting food that always made me sick, the lack of sleep, or the constant terror... I fit there. I knew how to be a person there.

Even though I never understood how I could be so grossly and constantly in debt no matter how many jobs I took nor how many offers of financial freedom I accepted. I still barely understand it, but at least now I've learned that it's because the Heads of All had made the financial system deliberately complex and difficult for a layperson to unriddle. Back there, at least, I knew how to behave. How to live from one day to the next. I had no concept of 'next week' or 'next month' and I still can't grasp the Galactic calendar...

It's times like this my Therapist and my Companion keep telling me that it's okay to feel this lost. That's why they're there to help me... but every time I ask for help, this total starts clicking upwards in my head. Millions of Buks, billions of Buks... the medication and the housing and the time after time after time that I make a mistake that could cost someone else the same...

They tell me to look at what I've gained. How far I've come since I left that terrible gravity well. I have housing... a home. I paid for it by helping create it and make it... homey. I don't understand that, either. Back down there, I would be expected to pay trillions throughout my lifetime just to have that much space. Here? The price of living there is maintaining plants.


Plants cost a fortune down there. I'd never even held a vegetable before I got captured.

I have a job. I have the opportunity to take in all the education I want for free. Well. Most of the information is free. There are courses that have to be paid for, but... they are affordable. I can learn as much as I can understand and afford it. It seems impossible, but there is more.

I can get the medicines I need in order to be healthy - for nothing. It's free. Gratis. Complimentary. It doesn't cost a thing. I had to be sure fifteen times, and I still check my finances. Medicine and medical care are free. Needs are free.

It's still a difficult thing to accept. It truly is. Just like it's difficult to accept that the pressure of the Galactic Alliance and the Cogniscent Rights Committee will eventually turn my homeworld back towards caring about people again.

It's hard to believe. Yet, every day, I am grateful that I managed to escape the Earth.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / EcoPicture]

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