A space traveler was looking through his trusty ISPY2020xii telescope at an object in the dark, starry distance: Earth.
He wasn’t too far away: his point-and-shoot focus lens was working impeccably to the point of almost being able to zoom into the features of individual humans walking on the streets. Almost, not quite. But he could see vehicles.
He did a swift sweep of the landscape around the city he had been observing. With all of that greenery, folks down there ought to be living a happy life, he thought. Rich beyond their needs.
Back home, when he’d still had one, greenery had been the currency wealth had been measured by. What more could you have needed? Knowing all that, he was slightly confused by all the traffic he was seeing in the local layers of the planet’s sky. So much flying. So much exhaust.
He knew why he was flying, but why were they?
“Epsylon, come in – you hear me?” Our space traveler’s thoughts were interrupted by the speedolighter, familiarly nicknamed the radio. Retro was all the rage amongst space travelers, such a nostalgic bunch.
“Yes, Delta, I’m here.”
“So tell me, what are you seeing? What’s Tellus a12B looking like?”
“I must say, I’m a bit puzzled. They seem to be progressing at a significantly slower pace than we’d imagined. Their internet phase is lasting much longer than on the sister planet. They seem to have no idea.”
“Well, I don’t think they know there’s a parallel sister planet. They haven’t explored that far yet. They don’t have the tech.”
“That’s not what I meant, Delta. They seem to be enthralled by their own images on social media, they are still in that phase where you build up an image of your personal life and try to make money selling ads. No one seems to actually work real jobs… or follow world events, unless they’re fashion-related.”
“Oh dear. It might take a while then.”
“Yes, it seems like it’ll still take a while to get to the important stuff. On top of that, they’re still spending on war, just like they did a millennium ago! Instead of attempting to improve their well-being, can you believe it? No progress in medical or environmental research. No space expeditions. It’s a bit frustrating to look at, to be honest.”
“Ah, history seems to be taking on a different trajectory than in their parallel world, then. I wonder how that’ll go…”
“Yeah, I know what you mean, Delta. When I looked at Tellus a12A last week, they had already gotten rid of cancer entirely. If planet B continues like this, they won’t have the time.”
“True, so true. A is ahead of B, and that’s why it’s A. But I have a little spoiler if you don’t mind: A will get that Zuckerberg fellow as President in one of their largest countries in 2024 and that’ll be a real setback, though they don’t know it yet.”
“Looks like a12B might be headed in that direction too. Very influential chap, isn’t he.”
“Not much we can do but observe.”
“Oh well, I’m going to take a little coffee break now. I might hop over somewhere else, this is a little too boring to watch. I’ll report to you later in the week. Over and out.”
And off he went, instantly forgetting about all the troubles that weren’t his.