The Kangaroo Court Ship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A brief insight into life aboard a prison ship, post apocalyptic Earth

My name is 28963352. I am anonymous; you don’t know me.


I used to be known as J-P: Jean-Pierre. Now they just shout my number when I need to wake up, piss, shit, eat, fuck, move, breathe and sleep.


I don’t sleep much as I like to read. Reading is banned here. But I downloaded some reading before we left and without anyone noticing: I stole knowledge and I learn while I’m supposed to be sleeping. They don’t like us to read here as reading breeds individuality and in turn, non-conformity. Even though those are the very qualities we encouraged in our children back on Earth. Effectively, knowledge is prohibited. We’re allowed to write as pouring out our thoughts gives them insights. It gains them the knowledge which they would deny us. But we mustn’t be individuals. All of my letters are read and reducted before leaving here and they must be signed: 28963352. Letters signed “J-P” wouldn’t make it out.


So here I am in my bed, writing this and thinking (something else which is discouraged here); thinking about when it all went wrong. Where it went wrong for Earth was the Great Melt: pretty much a weaponless World War 4. East Vs. West. Cyber terrorism wiped out the world’s communications and everything else followed. With a society so reliant on technology, it was bound to happen. Mankind engineered its own extinction; on Earth at least.


The day of Revelations – the final chapter – came on 6th June 2106. The New World Disorder had collectively decided to prepare for it and this was the day we left. We left a planet which had no communications or transport infrastructure; no rulers nor governments. It was anarchy; people power. And it worked. Pooling resources and skills, we created the means which we needed to escape that dead planet. But in an anarchic society; a society which isn’t governed and has no leaders nor social classes, there will be those who choose to impose rule. So does anarchy really work? I lie and I wonder. The women and children went first, aboard a ship called Cade; or so we're told.


Welcome to my world. A world in transit. And welcome to the good ship Ziqq, otherwise known as The Kangaroo Court Ship. “Ziqq” is a letter in the Phoenician alphabet which roughly translates as “Manacle”: Ziqq is a prison ship. It’s also judge, jury and sometimes executioner. I fear my own execution is imminent. But for one thing: I carry with me the last remaining copy of the Memory of the World Programme: things which humanity needs to know, if humanity continues to exist. If the internet still existed, you’d be able to look it up. If myself and others escape, then so will this information. You’ll just need to find us and speak to us. As it is, we’re just numbers in a system. We long to return to the names by which we were once known. Anarchy rules aboard Ziqq as it did on the old home planet and it worked there until the dictators sought to impose rules.


UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of these items. Us travellers possess the key to this knowledge.


So why might I be killed? In short, knowledge crime. It’s a paradox that if this makes it out, I wasn’t killed and I’ll be able to become a name again, rather than a number; and if it doesn’t, you’ll never know. And you’ll never know if we found a new home. And in much the same way that we seek a new home – with what remains of humanity – and that humanity couldn’t make first contact with other beings, by the time you read this, we may be extinct. It takes a finite amount of time for a civilisation to develop the means to communicate. In the time that it takes that communication to reach an intelligent recipient, the originator could have become extinct. Maybe we’ll find a way. We just need to let people – hopefully intelligent life – know who we are.


We’re aboard Ziqq because we were judged and sentenced to travel on this ship and not the others which left Earth. The other ships were Giml, the camel ship: it carries food and water; Amek, the support ship; and Cade. Cade launched before the other three ships and is home to those who chose to govern and police an otherwise self-governing and policing society. It’s also the ship which we’re told carries the women and children. The occupants of Cade are the ones who placed us aboard Ziqq. We’re denied access to Giml and Amek. But we’re resourceful and we’re ahead. We run from them. And we have the knowledge they all seek. If they can find us.


If you’re reading this, something will have gone right and a message is getting through. All we need to do now is keep talking.


I’m glad we’ve started.


Once again, I am J-P.

Submitted: November 08, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Stevelaker. All rights reserved.

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