Asylum Seekers by Martin McVay 2004 Edition
by Martin McVay
At the dawn of the Twenty-first Century, the dominant dry-land species on planet Earth, humankind, continued blissfully on its path to global ruin: chopping down forests to replace them with cities and deserts; pumping poisonous and climate-changing pollutants into the atmosphere and oceans; fighting numerous never-ending wars with itself; maintaining course towards doubling its population from six billion to twelve before even thinking about stabilising, and both directly and indirectly driving to extinction countless other plant and animal species that were simply trying to mind their own businesses.
Little, then, did the humans suspect that they were about to be cheated out of the privilege of destroying their own world, when somebody else carelessly went and did it for them. Bongar the Prevalent, noted speed scientist and daredevil, famous throughout the Orion arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, had a slight accident when he crashed his newest experimental spaceship slap-bang into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
In the immediate aftermath of this catastrophe, two things would happen: first of all, Bongar the Prevalent would have his driving licence revoked by the Orion Senate, and secondly, thousands of space vessels would descend on the doomed Earth to save what they could of its inhabitants.
The many and varied space-faring civilisations offering to lend a hand would generously allocate suitable Earth-like planets to receive refugees. Off-world ecosystems would be set up to accommodate giraffes, bluebottles, foxes, snakes, snails, llamas, squirrels, lions, sharks, eagles, squid, sparrows, termites, kangaroos, salmon, mice, monkeys, hyenas and penguins. Woodlands and coral reefs would be transplanted whole from one world to another. As the Earth fell apart, marine, forest, freshwater, mountain, desert, jungle and snowbound environments would be recreated in neighbouring star systems to take its place, with every detail correct right down to seasons and natural disasters such as the occasional drought and hurricane.
But in every otherwise flawless operation there is one nagging complication.
In this case, it would be us.
All artwork by Martin McVay