Graphic Design, Computer Illustration, and Production Art
Richard C. James Design

Short story 5

The Collision of Worlds.

In 1951 a movie by George Pal was released. It was entitled the same name as the novel that it was based on, "When World's Collide". The premise of the movie was that a small group of people fly off in a rocket ship to a new planet to avoid Earth's devasating collision with a star.

As a youngster who loved Science fiction movies I noticed that all the of the escapees were white. There were no blacks on the rocket ship. Currently a new version of the movie is in production and scheduled for release in 2008.

This is my version of the story with a little twist.

The Collision of Worlds.

The President of New Phoenix, the underground city of Earth’s survivors, relaxed in his comfortable overstuffed chair. His sigh of frustration was barely audible. He was alone in his office. He walked to the balcony and looked over the city housed in the massive main cavern.

There were many problems yet to be solved. The recycled air plant number four was breaking down. The water supply had an unexpected spike in salinity. Energy consumption was up another 3% despite conservation efforts.

Yes, there were many problems but the people still believed in him. But that was going to change. He feared that the people would lose faith in his leadership once the news got out. And he knew that the story would surface. He could not hide it. A leak was inevitable.

The underground city of New Phoenix was a bold attempt to save Humanity from the collision with Apophis, a 200 million ton asteroid. Everyone in New Phoenix was a descendant of the very rich oligarchy of Old America. All were white. The scientific selection process had weeded out Blacks, Latinos, Asians, gays, communists, Jews, Muslims, and other misfits.

New Phoenix was designed to be pure. It’s population handpicked to give Humanity a second chance at life on the planet.

When Apophis hit back in 2036 the underground colony was nearly complete. Those were hard times back then. The first citizens of New Phoenix had voluntarily and secretly separated from their families, leaving them to die on the surface. The blast doors were sealed shut and six billion died when the asteroid slammed into the Pacific.

But in that crucible of tremendous emotional anguish a utopia was born. In the president’s underground world there was no crime, no disease and no dissent. New Phoenix, the last known survivors of the calamity numbered nearly 100,000 strong. All was well in New Phoenix.

Critics said that the project was a re-establishment of Hitler’s dream, an Aryan race. They were immediately silenced. The founders would not let detractors derail their plans for a perfect civilization.

Now the news from the President’s personal physician could disrupt the entire society. The President decided that he would initiate a pre-emptive strike to minimize the damage. He reckoned that it would be better to hear it from him than let wild rumors fly.

He readied himself, stepped in front of the cameras, and signaled the technician to activate the video-link system.

Suddenly his face appeared in every video board in the colony.

“My dear friends I have wonderful news. At 1400 hours, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl! She weighs 5 pounds and 4 ounces. Both baby and mother are doing fine.”

The underground chambers echoed the hoots and hollers of a jubilant city.

The president waited for the crowds to settle down before he continued.

“As you know life has not been easy for us. The original founders of New Phoenix did not anticipate all the hardships that we had to endure for the 98 years of living underground. But we have managed to survive.

While this is a joyous day for my family, I come to you with a heavy heart. I must accept responsibility for outrageous acts of violence by your government, against you, the good citizens of New Phoenix!

From the very beginning of our city’s history all new births were monitored. Occasionally, there would be a mutant gene that exhibited undesirable traits in the newborns. To eliminate genetic diseases the child would be euthanized for sake of our society. Over the years the definition of undesirable traits has expanded.

Today, according to the guidelines established by the Ministry of Health, my new daughter is an undesirable.”

He paused and took a deep breath.

“My beloved first born is… black. Otherwise she is completely healthy.”

The city became eerily silent.

The President explained, “It seems that my great-grandfather and my wife’s great-grandmother were both African-Americans. This has resulted in my daughter having dark skin tones.”

The President stared blankly at the camera momentarily, then announced, “That is why I am calling for an emergency meeting of the council to abolish the guidelines of undesirability. I want my child to live!

Should the legislation fail to pass I will resign as your President and voluntarily exile myself and my family to the surface.

Thank you. May God grant us wisdom.”

The video boards switched back to a stunned newscaster who tried to provide commentary on the President’s revelations.

And the debate on human-ness began.

The end.

©2007 Richard C. James


© 2003 Richard C. James