“Are You Ready for Orbital Living? Take our assessment to find out!”
c. The Numerical Years
By Iya Sun
Chances are, you are not ready to live on an Orbital. A few, perhaps, have been living in such a way as to make them good candidates for Orbital Living, but the rest remain largely unable. Nevertheless, if you do believe yourself to be the type of person who would not only survive but also, thrive under the conditions set forth by the Bromides of the Orbital Naturalization Governance, take a quick peek at our Four Points of Assessment to find out whether or not you qualify for further consideration. First, though, find out what Orbital Living means, not only to you but also, in reality! Argus Pntch, a long-time journalist of Orbital Living has returned from a special adventure and has shared it with us all in his new audio piece, “Life on the Orbital,” and we’ve published it here, first!
— the voice of Iya Sun in the Preface of “Life on the Orbital” with Argus Pntch
Of course, I’ve never spent any time, personally, on any Orbital, much less The Orbital before this assignment. Nevertheless, this special opportunity has afforded me an interview with a number of Orbital Inhabitants, and the stories that they’ve told me is enough to make me tell you that there’s no way in godforsaken hell that I would ever, EVER want to live on an Orbital. Despite my personal feelings, and they are many, I’ve also come to the conclusion that Orbital Living may just be inevitable. Perhaps some will escape unscathed by the dread of containment, but that just leaves these types to essentially starve to death or survive by a modicum of sustenance and hope. The reality, ladies and gentlemen, is simple, you are going to die! Planetary life is no good for anyone. At some point, in some faraway future, a planet’s resources, along with all of its inhabitants, will be depleted, in that beautiful cycle those Earthlings call … LIFE.
Orbital Living, on the one hand, means that everything is always perfect for human life. Orbital Living, on the other, means that you subject yourself to the powers that be, the Bromides, specifically, the Bromides of the Orbital Naturalization Governance. There are few … less than whatever few equals … who have had the honor of meeting these Bromides, but none come away from an encounter unchanged. I, fortunately, do not know the specifics of these encounters, but I have heard a tale or two from humans of various planets who have all either seen with their own eyes or heard with their own ears some horrific story about something that they simply cannot remember. There’s something there, however, and so, I went digging, to see if I could unearth, as they are, a Bromide of my own. And luckily for you, I have.
These are creatures of real magic, folks; people who can do extraordinary things; people who exist apart … from … time. They’re living among us. Well, sort of. It’s more like they’re living above and around us … making decisions that affect all of us but on a scale that we cannot comprehend. For some of you, your sole existence only conjures itself into the physical world of the real when one of these types is walking around Earth (or whatever planet, apologies for my playing favorites) around the same time and place that you’re existing within. And Orbital Living is just a magnified version of this. The bottom line, I suppose, is that you don’t really matter. Most of us only exist because they exist … figments of the imagination … conjured … to fulfill the reality around those who truly matter … the Bromides. For it is within their world that all of us exist … LIVE.
So, about the Bromide I was fortunate enough to get a mere glimpse of. He is actually not a Bromide at all. He, instead, is the Listmaker. Of course, I did not meet the Listmaker myself. And good for me, after what I did get to experience. Let’s just say that — unlike the Bromides who simply make you psychologically not really you anymore, or arguably, the you you really are — you die when you encounter the Listmaker. Like dead, die. Anyway, the Listmaker is said to be a real badass, sort of on the same field as the Bromides, but like also embodying all of the rules or something. The Listmaker lives on The Listmaker’s Ranch, and I never got a clear answer about whether or not there’s more than one Listmaker. Everyone refers to the Listmaker’s Ranch and the Listmaker, as opposed to “his ranch.” And to state the obvious, he makes lists. He writes lists. I don’t know what the lists are for, and no one told me, and I guess I didn’t really ask. In hindsight, this feels like a stupid mistake, but when I think about what I was thinking in those moments, the thought just never crossed my mind. Well, never mind for now. I suppose another trip is in the making.
As far as the character of the Listmaker is concerned, everyone seems to be in agreement that he is rather powerful, someone who ought not be disturbed. He is also someone who can fix things, apparently. Again, I have absolutely no details about this. You would understand if you had to face these people yourselves. They’re relentlessly loyal to these beings, and any perceived threat against them (the beings) is basically dismissed. I’ve hit the pavement outside a number of homes quite hard in the past few weeks. I digress. As the story goes, there’s another being called So Jeong. She is, how do I explain this? She is, um, pure luck combined with pure aspiration? In short, if you have a goal, one strand of her hair will make all of your goals come true. But you hear that? GOALS. Not dreams, not hopes, not the acquisition of stuff. If you have something — defined as self-created work in an artistic or creative capacity — toward which you are working very hard, one strand of So Jeong’s Locked Luck will inevitably make a success out of you. And she lives at the top of the middle-most peak where the three peaks meet, so there’s that. Oh, right, you have to climb the middle-most peak where the three peaks meet and pluck a strand of hair off her head, yourself.
Of course, everyone who could, would do this, right? But do you know where the middle-most peak where the three peaks meet is? Yea, exactly. I don’t either. But apparently, some people do, well a lot of people do, and before So Jeong’s sixth birthday, she nearly died from her generosity. With only a few strands of hair left on her head, she grew weak. A Bromide heard So Jeong’s cries from atop her glassen castle in the middle of the purple moat and sent a message to the Listmaker via Ladybug and the Singing Leaves. Ladybug, being the ever reliable messenger, delivered the message to the Listmaker before the click of High Noon on the Listmaker’s Ranch, and by the light of the Moon Click, the Listmaker had written a new list for So Jeong, and she’s survived through eternity. That’s it. That’s the story I know. I know.
By the time I had finished interviewing everyone who wanted to talk to me and report about Life on the Orbital, I realized that I had drawn the attention of a number of Bromides, most notably, someone referred to solely as the Older Woman, which sort of indicates that there’s an old woman? My point here is that I did not intend to leave The Orbital when I did. I was returned to Earth. Upon my return I lost myself. Of course, no one here on Earth knows whether or not this lapse in memory is intentional or not, but luckily, with a few bouts of hypnotism, I returned to myself … although … not fully … just changed. There is still much I cannot remember. And so, with that, I will simply end with this. Orbital Living comes at a price, but so does planetary living. I suppose the only question is whether or not the price of one’s own mind — the inordinately high cost of Orbital Living — is worth the low cost of daily life and living, or if the high cost of planetary living — starvation — is worth your psychological freedom.
What do you think? Do you think you have what it takes to enjoy Orbital Living? Take our assessment to find out! But before you do, don’t forget to read all 150,000 words of Pntch’s experience, and be sure to recognize that the manuscript in its entirety serves as an outline for a forthcoming series!