Crisis arose when civil war broke out on the Antarctic Peninsula. Humanitarian efforts are underway to transport the civilian population of two million to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost island in South America.
One boat, the Hope, carries over a thousand refugees, making a round trip every day. Today, one of the refugees riding the Hope is a man named Samar Chabra. He is 20 years old, a child abandoned by his parents and raised in an orphanage until age 16, when he took a job landscaping for the city of Geshnoll, 40 kilometers from his home town.
Geshnoll became a rebel stronghold and saw daily bombings for a whole year as the Central Military attempted to retake the Antarctic Peninsula’s eastern coastline. Samar lost his job, his livelihood and his flat to the attacks. For a year now his life has focused on staying alive – finding food and hiding out during raids.
Samar wonders if his new life in Tierra del Fuego will have meaning, purpose and joy. He has seen the darkest side of humanity, but wants to believe there is a better side.
Samar is disappointed as the locals greet him with suspicion. Refugees in Tierra del Fuego have a reputation of being untrustworthy criminals. Samar is placed on welfare and given a studio apartment in hastily-constructed refugee housing. Industries are in the process of relocating to refugee villages to take advantage of the workforce, but it could be weeks or months before Samar has one of these jobs.
He wanders the streets, sharing stories with other refugees and making futile attempts to befriend the locals. It is unfair to him that Tierrans resent his presence. He is here as a result of the war; he had no control over it. A local Tierran gives Samar a dirty look as they walk past each other on the street.
“What?” Samar asks.
“Go back where you came from,” the man mumbled.
“How can I go back when my home and city were destroyed?”
The man responded, “You destroyed Antarctica. Now you want to ruin Tierra too?”
Samar hung his head. “My people did this. You’re right. But we’re not all like that.”
After three weeks, news came that Samar has a job placement. He will be working in a textile factory. Most clothing factories throughout the world are completely automated. Robots even repair themselves, making factory workers obsolete. However, there is a market for “vintage” items. The small imperfections in clothing made by humans are a status symbol.
Samar’s job takes him off the streets, away from listening to horror stories from his own people and hateful remarks from the local people. It is hard work, boring but welcome. It is the first time he feels a sense of normalcy in his life since war broke out.
There is no money in the 27th century. Samar’s employment allows him to move from refugee status to manual labor status. This opens to him public transportation, larger housing options, and more food. If he masters his trade, Samar can earn skilled labor status, which entitles him to his own vehicle and the freedom to take a similar job in a new city.