Dark Space – Chapter 1: Top Secret Island
Thirty kilometres due south of Dante City was an island that not many people knew about. It was a nameless island, heavily fortified and the punishment for trespassing was fourteen years in maximum security prison without the possibility of parole. The nameless man-made island was never even discussed in the media or by anyone. The government of Dante City did a very good job of keeping the island top secret for over a decade. People living in high rise buildings in the downtown area could see movements in the island at all times of the day. Flying vehicles of various sizes flew in and out of the forbidden island constantly. Most people were conditioned to not even look at the island. Most citizens of Dante City were too busy anyway to pay any attention.
It was at night that the island was hard to ignore. It was quite a sight. Three thick translucent tethers extended into the sky. They were at least fifty metres in thickness, and they seemed to be some sort of elevator shafts that stretched at least a thousand miles into space. If they were some sort of passages into space, they were busy things. A humming sound that it emitted that the citizens of Dante City have gotten used to accompanied the giant tubes hauling materials up and down non-stop all day and night. Carla have been recording the activities taking place on the nameless island on her high-powered telescope from her balcony ever since she moved in about a year ago. She stayed up late into the night quietly watching. On the ground there seemed to be some sort of launch pads for rockets scattered all through out the island. Every now and then, she saw rockets take off and disappear into the night sky. Most activities occurred at night. Carla pointed her telescope up into the sky where the shafts ended and focused it. She could almost make out the structure that the giant elevator shafts extended to. The moonlight created a silhouette of what ever it was. She kept on recording. If she got caught with all of data on the island that she’s been gathering, she could be locked up for a long time and she knew it. The mystery of it was too enticing to not do anything about it. She stayed up all night on weekends just watching what they could be doing up there.
Dozens of cargo ships scurried in and out of its port at all times of the day. It was approaching midnight and the waterway leading to the island’s port was pitch black, but Carla’s telescope picked up several ships in the black part of the water. All sorts of things went through her mind. The massive structure in orbit resembled some sort of spaceship. She prayed to God that it wasn’t some alien ship stealing Earth’s resources.
She had the TV on in the living room. the news show talked about the same old thing. Paris was about to fall entirely. They should’ve increased the pension by a thousand Euros as the people wanted. The whole of Paris, France and most of Europe was burning down over few measly Euros. Africa and Asia was not far behind. Dante City was known all over the world as the last remaining civilisation. If one made it into the city before the Old World fell, they hit the jackpot. The air was clean, there were abundance of food, consumables, and money. Carla was glad that her parents risked their lives to give birth to her here. She was thankful. She went over to her fridge and grabbed a can of beer and sat back down to watch the mysterious island doing its thing. The activity tonight seemed to be higher than usual. The propaganda on TV was relentless. Every citizen of Dante City knew that the rest of the world was burning down fast. In the distance, out to sea, Carla saw and heard gun fire, the sound of the Dante City Navy shooting down illegal human trafficking boats attempting to sneak into the good city. This city was the last stand for the humanity from extinction. Carla was thankful.
She figured that she’d better go to bed soon as she will wake up groggy and she’s got work tomorrow. She looked down to the street. As usual, it was empty. Ever since the pandemic of 2520, the permanent curfew kept people out of the street after 8pm It was peace tonight. She heard the police sirens in the distance. Carla had enough for the night and saved the footages and ejected the memory stick and placed it carefully in her hiding place. Someday, the recordings will be worth something she told herself. She disassembled the telescope and detached the monitor from the main body of the device. She gently placed the components back in the case and slid it under her bed. She finished her beer and put the can in the bin in the kitchen. The TV was still going on about the several worldwide wars taking place in all continents. She checked her doors and windows and tucked into her bed for the night. Suddenly she realised that she was out of milk. She’ll pick up a carton on her way home from work tomorrow she decided. As she was dozing off to sleep, she could hear the humming of those shafts hovering above the island. It was almost soothing and helped her to fall asleep.
Carla woke up at six thirty without fail. The warm sun came peering through her blinds. She got up and walked over to her living room. The island was still hard at work on what ever it was doing last night. The TV came on automatically with the same old faces discussing the same old thing. Europe was at the verge of total collapse and to add to it, the volcano on the Big Island in Hawaii finally erupted and the subsequent Tsunami wiped out ten million lives within an hour. Carla was deadened to the daily deaths around the world. She was safe here. It appeared that the Old World didn’t have much long to go before completely crumbling.
Carla made herself a coffee and eggs for breakfast. She watched the mysterious island as she at. She then took a quick shower and got dressed for work. She cleaned up her table and got out of her apartment to get to the subway. It was going to be a good day today she thought to herself.