Last One Off
The monetary crisis was global, the debt bubble finally burst. Money became worthless, the cities burned, the farms and factories went belly up. Some survived on their food stocks, some on barter but it was useless. Even the idea of starting over with no debt didn't work, government unions demanded that their benefits be guaranteed under any new system.
There is very little lift. Those of us lucky enough or who had the resources were getting off this doomed planet. Maybe one day some of us will return when this brush fire ran out of brush to start over. There was no more looting and rioting, there was nothing left to steal or burn, the remnant still alive were living under tarps and those could be stolen by thugs at any time.
I avoided eye contact the whole way to this secret location. They brought me into the underground launch center and strapped me into my seat. There were a few dozen of us. Nobody said anything as the countdown proceeded quietly on the screen at the front of the cabin. My eyes were still red, civilization had once again crashed and burned. But I refused to shed another tear. It might not be true, but I cannot say humanity didn't do this to themselves.
Lessons learned to be unlearned again in the future. Like a never-ending cycle. Let it burn, rebuild from the ashes. Maybe the O'Neil cylinders weren't so bad, maybe I could have a nice life there and slowly forget about Earth. Less than a quarter million humans were escaping to the cylinders, well already had really.
This ship was the last one. The launch pad rose until we were on the surface. The lights illuminating the ship and rocket were the only electric light that could be seen across the continent now. Briefly I wonder how long the lights would last after we leave.
The countdown reached 3 and the main engines were lit up. Goodbye Earth, maybe my children will return some day to rebuild.
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