How to make a Mix-It-Up Day more important? Make it the grand finale of something!
Tonight is the final post of ‘On Venusian Cloud Colony Number Nine’. A project started exactly six months ago has finally reached its conclusion.
I hope it is an enjoyable read, and I shall post some thoughts and background of the story at a later date.
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Both dressed in formal attire befitting the occasion, Barney and Léana approached the podium hand in hand. She wore an emerald green shirt, while Barney wore a tie of red, black and yellow, representing the colours of the Australian Aboriginal flag. Barney gave her a quick kiss, before winking and nodding towards the microphone awaiting her.
“Go get ‘em.”
She nodded, the nerves evident in her eyes and subdued smile. Stepping up to the podium, she removed some pieces of paper from her jacket pocket. Trying to memorise her speech notes, she raised her eyes to the packed hall. Paying guests sat at their tables, having just completed their lunches, while across the back of the room the glowing red eyes of television cameras were in abundance.
“Good evening everyone. My name is Léana Puyngu, the grand-daughter of Sheamus Stirling. I am immensely grateful to the organisers of the Internation Conservation Convention for allowing me to speak on behalf of the Indigenous Cultures and Scientists Alliance.”
A murmur went through the crowd, as had been expected. Of all the speakers appearing at the convention, she had been one of the most anticipated. The story of the Irish lady whose skin had inexplicably become as black as any native African had become a worldwide sensation, added to by her reluctance to indulge the media’s persistent calls for her story. That she would be revealing some of her story today had brought them here.
“If you would indulge me, I would like to speak of my earlier years of my life. Growing up, my grandfather had always been a mentor to me. Science, and more specifically astronomy, was my favourite subject. The classic science fiction stories of intrepid space travellers visiting new planets, and discovering previously unknown forms of life, instilled in me the romance of space travel.
“Whenever Grandpa came over for family dinners in Athlone, he and I would spend hours discussing what we thought would be found on our neighbouring planets, once we found a way to explore them. He always believed that the pictures and video footage from the robots could not possibly do justice to them.
“His biggest interest had always been Venus, due to the mystery of what lay beneath its clouds. It was what drove him to create the Atmospheric Mitigation and Regulation Device, initially as a way for the robots landing on the Venusian surface to survive in its corrosive atmosphere for a longer period. I convinced him that calling it an ‘armoured’ suit, due to its initials AMRD, made it sound cooler. When it was found that humans could use them to visit the surface, it was one of the happiest days of our lives.
“Once later probes revealed the abundance of diamond on Venus, the interest of the corporations specialising in the mineral were piqued. The money was spent to establish an orbital station above the planet, and once the profitability of the venture was confirmed, the ten Cloud Colonies were established in the ‘habitable zone’ of its atmosphere.
“When Grandpa died, I promised him that I get involved in the exploration of Venus. He said he could die happy knowing that one of his family members was playing a part in the dream he had held throughout much of his life.
“I was recruited and assigned to Cloud Colony One. The colony’s areas of responsibility included portions of both Ishtar Terra and Aphrodite Terra, the Venusian ‘continents’. As the only colony allowing this, it was an amazing opportunity.
“On my fourth and last shift on Venus, the event that led to my change occurred. One of the volcanoes in our designated area, Kali Mons, erupted without warning. One of the surface worker’s armoured suits had diamond portions lodged in them, with later analysis proving the fragments to be black diamond. The Venusian equivalent has been proven to be more than just a precious mineral.
“My arrival on Earth caused my skin to change to what you see now. Within the sample from Venus, a form of symbiotic life survived. Furthermore, we believe that it bonded with the human race to survive drastic climate change around two hundred thousand years ago. The deposits of black diamond on Earth were believed to be extra-terrestrial, and I believe that they reached Earth from Venus.”
The audience listened in awe-struck silence. Léana stepped back, allowing Barney to step forward.
“Two years ago, we both ceased our employment with the Venusian Mining Company. When we had thought that no life existed on Venus, we were content to mine the planet. There was no indigenous life to displace or destroy, so there was nothing to weigh on our conscience for doing so. However, due to the events of a couple of years ago, that all changed.
“I am a member of the Yolngu tribe, the original inhabitants of an area of the Northern Territory in Australia. Many years ago, members of my tribe took it upon themselves to lobby the government for recognition of every indigenous tribe in Australia and their right to their ancestral homes. The chance for me to follow in their honourable footsteps is now.
“In the past two years, my wife and I have lobbied to draw attention to this unique situation. The mining companies have been trying to downplay the issue, with the aim of relentlessly mining the land to increase their own profits. This has happened to my tribe’s own lands in the past, and I will not stand idly by to let it happen to not just my ancestors, but yours and mine.
“The issue is of greater importance than just money and how many precious jewels we can retrieve from Venus. A key component to the origins of us lies under the surface of the planet, and every step we can possibly take to preserve it must be taken. We have lobbied as many indigenous tribes as possible from around the world, especially those who have lost or been displaced from what were their people’s homelands for many thousands of years.
“The branches of science involved with human history have also joined our cause, helping show that the situation on Venus is not a concocted claim by bitter people seeking retribution for past wrongs. We seek only to avert a great injustice, and one that could haunt humanity for many years to come.
“We implore you to aid us in making the Venusian Mining Company acknowledge the greater issue that they are trying to ignore. Every effort must be made to preserve any resting place of our ancestors found on Venus, and not allow petty greed to destroy an irreplaceable part of our history. We must not allow the worst errors of our past to be repeated.”
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