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The Unity

Tim Yu's last name sounds exactly like "fish" in Chinese, which is great since he is a huge fan of oceans and marine life. And space. Space is kind of an ocean too. He lives in Vancouver, Canada with his fiancee and their plant babies.

July 17th, 2059:
Aliens are coming. Something about a NASA probe getting evaporated by giant circular disks somewhere near Alpha Centauri. Governments around the globe have gotten together and announced a permanent truce. In the face of this existential crisis, it was heartwarming to see that we were finally putting aside our petty differences to form a truly unified humanity. The aliens won't be the end of us!
I was a little concerned at first, but the nations seem to be working together rather smoothly so far. Perhaps the threat of an alien invasion has finally set our priorities straight. I'm writing the new standardized dates here for practice: Unity year one, month one, day twenty-five. Just for my own record, I'll also write down the old date: February 25th, 2060.
The aliens are more than four years away.
Tqaue. It's "hello" in Unitarian, the new language of the Unity. The aliens are less than three years away, and we have begun to eliminate all potential for linguistic misunderstandings amongst the citizens of earth. It does seem a little strict, though. My grandma is seventy-six, and she can't even get groceries anymore without speaking the new language. I go to the store for her now, and my Unitarian is far from fluent.
Three years until the aliens. I hope they sort things out soon.
I got a call saying grandma has been moved to a home. I went to visit but was denied entry. A guard in military fatigues told me that visitation periods are strictly limited and that I've missed my chance. However, he promised that my grandma would be well taken care of. On the news, the leaders of the Unity urged us to embrace the future and leave the past behind.
Two and a half years left.
I brought grandma some expensive grapes but was told that visitations were no longer permitted. A guard told me to leave the grapes to be delivered to her, but I took them home.
The generalized IQ exams are over, and I barely passed. We, the lucky ones, sat in silence as they dragged those who failed away. Mom called and told me in tears that dad failed the test.
A little over a year left until the aliens. But I don't really see the point of keeping track anymore.
We attacked a Unity headquarters and managed to liberate some of the "failures" from the generalized physical exams. I fought a young soldier hand-to-hand and stabbed him through the neck. I've never killed anyone before.
I'm in an underground shelter with another resistance member, LeiMing. The Unity were finally fed up with us and dropped the bombs, which were ironically designed for the alien spaceships. The rumbling never ceases overhead, and the blasts shake loose layers of concrete dust that now blanket the both of us.
He told me stories about his arrival from what used to be China. He said he was taking the opportunity provided by the drastic opening of national borders to travel around the world. We laughed over his adventures.
Date Unknown:
The last of our food and water ran out yesterday, and the rumbling still hasn't stopped. At this point, I don't know if it's the bombs or the aliens.
Last Entry:
LeiMing stopped moving a few hours ago, eyes open to what I can only hope is something beautiful. I've squeezed the last bits of supplies into a backpack and will be heading above soon. I'll remember to cover his face with the blanket we shared before I go.
It's a weird thought, but I was somehow right from the very beginning.
The aliens weren't the end of us.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Author Comments

Independence Day is one of my favorite movies. However, whenever the fighter pilot/president gave that speech about how humanity needed to put away their petty differences and become one single unit, I'd think about how that would be facilitated. If we really faced an existential threat and had to unify, what would be the new benchmark normal to unify into? How would we funnel all of human diversity into that normal? I felt sad that the story turned out sad in the end, because I really didn't think there was a way to do it without destroying ourselves.

- Tim Yu
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