“Wake up, Karo. You have an important incoming call,” Sida, the voice in his head, said.
“Who is it?” Karo asked with a sleeping voice.
“It’s from the Planetary Union.”
The name of Planetary Union made him fully awake. It was early in the morning, and his bedroom was still dark. He quickly checked the time via his Neuralink. He could have two extra hours of sleep before getting up for work. While annoyed by the untimely call, he accepted it. He was grumpy, but eager to find what the call was about. Instantly, a 3D motion picture formed in front of his eyes, only visible to him. The implant in his brain simultaneously converted the received video call into tiny electrical pulses and sent them to his visual and auditory cortices. His brain perceived the received electrical pulses as visual and audio inputs.
“Hello.” He answered with a coarse and sleepy voice.
“Good morning. Mr. Veron. This is Tina from the Planetary Union’s immigration.” The caller, an attractive young lady in a distinctive immigration uniform, said.
“Good morning,” Karo responded. He was curious about the nature of this untimely call.
“I am sorry for calling you this early in the morning.”
“Not a problem. I should wake up by now,” he lied out of politeness.
“Mr. Veron, I called to inform you that your application for immigrating to Vega Grandis is approved. So you will be among the first group of settlers traveling to the planet. And your ship is departing in just two weeks from now,” she stated in a formal tone.
It had barely two weeks passed since he lodged his immigration application. And he did it impulsively after an argument he had with his unfair boss at work. Karo worked as a waiter in a retro-style bar-restaurant whose customers still valued human interaction than androids that replaced workers almost everywhere else. It was a long time since he wanted to quit his tedious job, but the prospect of finding another job was little. And likely, he would force to live on the government’s base payment, which was enough to survive and not to live. Therefore, he had to stay on.
“Did you say my immigration application is accepted?” Karo asked, as he didn’t believe what he heard was true.
“Yes, Sir. Your application is approved.”
“But just less than two weeks ago, I lodged my application. I didn’t expect to get its approval this soon!”
“The Planetary Union policy about Vega Grandis is recently changed. Populating the planet is a priority now.”
“And...?” Karo wanted to ask something but couldn’t articulate his question. He had many things in his head, but the news came as a shock, and his overwhelmed brain couldn’t think straight. He even wasn’t sure about leaving his hometown and planet yet.
“Mr. Veron, I understand this is a big decision to make, and we expect you might have many questions. So, you can get your answers from our virtual assistant, which I’ve just forwarded its link to your mailbox. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further inquiries.”
“Virtual assistant...! Sure, I will.”
“The last thing I should mention is that there is a requirement to board the ship departing for Vega Grandis. And it is to have all the recommended VG immunization.”
“VG stands for Vega Grandis. To boost your body’s immune system against bugs living on the planet. The alien bugs that are unfamiliar to our immune system.”
“Is any other question?”
As he couldn’t think straight at that moment, Karo responded. “No, thank you.”
Karo laid on his back and thought about the call he had just received. His application was approved much earlier than he expected. But he wasn’t ready for the travel. It was a big move to be among the first group of settlers. It meant to walk on a virgin world with no infrastructure. He should forget the luxury of having services provided by technology for a long time. It meant he should go back to the basics and live like the settlers who moved to the newly found continents in preindustrial time on Earth and prepare himself for manual hard work. Karo hadn’t even told his parents about his intention and his immigration application. But Polaris, his home planet, was overcrowded by its ten billion population. Like Earth, a minority rich controlled the planet’s resources on Polaris, and the rest were deprived of their shares and rights. So the future was bleak for Karo and people like him.
With robots and androids everywhere, the need for human workers was almost nonexistent. And likely, he was ending unemployed. Thus, Vega Grandis was a place for a young individual like him to start a new life, a life with hope, before history repeats itself and corporations find their way there and ruin everything for everyone, in favor of a minority of elites.
“What should I do?” Karo asked Sida-the AI that came with his Neuralink.
“In my opinion, we should go to Vega Grandis.”
“But it is a primitive planet with no technology and entertainment.”
“Yes, it is true. But look at it as an adventure. You will see exotic animals and plants. You will have your land and business.”
“But it requires hard work!”
“Yes, it is true. But what are your chances on Polaris?”
After musing for a long moment, Karo responded, “I have no chances here on Polaris.”
“So let’s go. We together can make it.”
Like many young individuals, Karo had built a relationship with his Neuralink AI since he received his augmentation. Karo selected the AI to impersonate a female individual and name her Sida after a girl he loved at school. Instead of going out with the opposite sex, Karo spent long hours with Sida. She was both his friend and lover, and she never betrayed him. Therefore, Sida’s opinion was important enough to convince him to immigrate to the new planet.
Vega Grandis was a distant planet about 500 light-years away from Earth and 450 light-years from Polaris. The planet was found about a century ago and just recently approved for colonization by Planetary Union. And similar to Vega, another colonized Earth-like planet, just a hundred and twenty light-years from Earth, it was orbiting a binary star system, but it was twice larger than Vega, so it was named Vega Grandis.
Vega Grandis was at the far end of the space controlled by the Planetary Union. Because of its distance from Earth and the rest of colonized planets, settlers would likely rely on themselves rather than the Planetary Union’s help for a long time.
Karo’s mother cried when she heard about his son’s decision. Though his father got sad about his plan, as for most men, he shows his sadness by arguing with him. Karo was their only child, and it was hard not to have him around.
“We will be in contact. I promise.” Karo said.
“Don’t say nonsense. You are moving to another planet, not another city.” His father argued.
“I can come back every few years for a visit,” Karo said.
“Look, my siblings are living on Earth just fifty light-years away from Polaris, and not for once since I’ve moved here, I traveled back to visit them, and similarly, they never traveled here. And you are heading to a planet far, far away.”
“But I will come back for you.”
“You won’t. I know it,” his father said.
His mother sobbed without saying a word.
Finally, his father grabbed Karo’s hand, and with a sad voice, while his eyes were brimmed with excessive tears, said, “Son, I know Polaris doesn’t have anything to offer a young person like you. But, if you are serious about moving to Vega Grandis, I will respect your decision and won’t stop you. My and your mother’s prayers are always with you.”
His father’s comment made his mother cry harder.
It was an awkward situation. It was sad for Karo to leave his parents behind. Karo’s eyes were also full of tears, and he tried hard to stop his tears from running down.
“If everything goes well, I will ask you two to join me on Vega Grandis.”
“Sure, son. Go there and build a life for yourself,” his father said with a quivering voice.