Dreamed 1998/10/12 by Chris Wayan
The future. Mars is terraformed and settled. I compare photos of Earth deserts with Martian ones. Both now have trees wherever rocks create shelter and water-pockets, but much more scrub and grass on Earth, more sand on Mars. Plants haven't had time to adapt yet to such a difficult niche--sand always moving... They're working on it.
I live on Mars, in the fertile equatorial belt near a newly-built canal. Farm land, mostly.
A new disease is found in one person. It's serious and contagious, but they contain it within the med complex. Then a second outbreak, halfway round Mars! And a third. Even as doctors announce a treatment for it, I'm skeptical and think of earlier times when the population boomed and people were forced into new habitats--like Europe in the 14th century. Plague is the natural consequence. I fear a die-back is in order and all our technology won't stop it.
The treatment only slows the illness down. It mutates and the new form is untreatable and fatal. A crash effort finds a cure within a month. But again, the plague mutates to an immune, lethal form.
And that one spreads to Earth. The die-back begins. In the end, over 90% of Earth's population, possibly as high as 95%, die off, and at least 70% on Mars. Humanity is in no danger of extinction--hundreds of millions survive and are immune now, and the depopulation isn't so extreme that civilization can't maintain itself, though many cities are emptied.
But it was indeed inevitable, and I learned my lesson--don't believe experts who say they've got it fixed.
For history, as well as instincts, say it isn't fixed. Not history, not life, not death. Not fixed at all.
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