Atom was lying on the couch when his hyper comm link, or HCL for short, beeped. He glanced down at the digital display, and then, waiting for a moment of silence in-between food processor pulses, called to his wife, Lora, who was making brunch in the kitchen.
“New results, babe!”
Lora pulsed the cole-slaw once again before responding, “Anything good?”
Atom scrolled through the list of entries on his HCL before replying, “There’s a bunch of new ones, including some systems we haven’t seen before. Come over and let’s take a look together.”
Lora emptied the cole-slaw into a mixing bowl and placed it in the fridge before joining her husband on the couch. A quick thought turned on the television. A second brought up her digital inbox. Finally a third opened the msg from “Colonial Associates”. She looked at her husband of almost a year and asked, “Shall I continue to drive or do you want to take control?”.
“Nah you are good, open the first entry.”
- System: Apex Blue
- Planet: AB-3
- Available: Now
- Surface: 90% Ocean, 5% Arid, 5% Jungle
- Atmosphere: 99.995% Terran Equivalent
- Gravity: 0.95G
Comments: Must see “near-earth” in the desirable Quan cluster! Atmosphere and soil revitalization now completed and approved by accredited inspection agencies. Aggressive megafauna have been safely transplanted to off-planet reserves. Quick jump gate access to nearby Praxan and Feetha systems. Coastal parcels available and ready for development. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
Atom and Lora looked through the photos of AB-3. Pristine blue skies and seas, sparse nebulous clouds, and large terran palms adorned the various pictures of the archipelagos that littered the planet’s surface.
“Sure looks nice.” said Lora with a sad edge already creeping into her voice, “How much?”
Atom clicked on the details page for AB-3. He sighed, “575 million, about 375 million more than we can afford.”
“I’m not too surprised,” replied Lora, “beachfront property has always been expensive. Let’s keep looking.”
- System: White Lotus
- Planet: Hollow Asteroid
- Available: Now
- Surface (Internal): Prairie, Grassland, Meadow
- Atmosphere: 99.94% Terran Equivalent
- Gravity: Rotational/Variable, 0.82G – 0.86G
Comments: Rural living at it’s finest! This recently renovated asteroid in the Tanaka belt takes it’s inspiration from the midwest American grasslands of the 19th century. A recently installed next gen fusion bulb ensures a twenty four hour day that mimics that of earth to near millisecond accuracy. Long term contracts with Lifeworks Corporation ensures a steady stream of air and water at a locked-in and competitive rate for all future colonists! Reserve your parcel today!
“Not too bad. You can’t even tell you are living on the inside of a rock,” said Lora as they browsed the pictures accompanying the profile.
“I know it’s come a long way in the last hundred years but I can’t quite shake the fear associated with the risks of asteroid living,” replied Atom.
“Perhaps other future colonists share that same sentiment. How much?”
“Are you kidding me?!” Atom moaned as they both stared at a 389 million dollar price tag, “Who can afford these places?”
Lora took her husband’s hand in hers, “Let’s go back and look at that one we found last week. The one in the Locke system.”
Atom took control of the console and brought up a search form before turning to his wife, “Do you remember the parameters?”
“I think it was primarily desert, with a natural atmosphere of 72% Terran and 1.25G. The parcel we were looking at was 185 million. It’s not perfect but it’s a decent starter home and they say a little rough living builds character, right?”
Atom spent a few seconds searching for the planet but came up empty-handed, “I’m not seeing it. Hold on, let me broaden the search.” A moment passed, “There it is.”
- System: Locke
- Planet: L-5
- Available: Coming Soon!
Lora looked at Atom with a look of confusion, “It’s been available for months now, what do they mean by ‘coming soon’ ?” Atom shrugged and they kept reading.
- Surface: 50% Ocean, 25% Grassland, 25% Mountain
- Atmosphere: 99.99999% Terran Equivalent
- Gravity: 1.01G
Comments: This recent acquisition by Star Dream Terraforming will be available next year. Mass displacement and soil revivification are already underway to make this planet feel like home. View the attached mock-ups to see what this paradise has in store, and reserve your spot today! Parcels available in the low 400s!
Atom raised his gaze to meet Lora’s. A look of gloom across both their faces. Atom shook his head, “Unbelievable”.