The charter was signed on what the Union officials called August 24th, 2932. Their system of dates made little sense to those of us raised to remember Kingston's legacy, counting the days and tens of days and hundreds of days since Kingston established the colony. The Union system was a throwback to the days of old Earth, a resilient link to a past never forgotten in an environment where it made little practical sense. Earth still existed of course, a minor Union world much changed from the one that gave rise to Johann Kingston. Many Weeping Cross citizens had now taken the chance to visit it and explore more the history behind the seven hundred years of suffering that had defined their world. Many others preferred to leave the past behind and travel to modern, thriving hubs of Union activity. Holidays on Gloria were all the buzz now, or even Altair V for those with a little more tolerance for infraspace flight. Money, status and 'respectability' meant nothing now. Those who succeeded did so because they wanted to.
Centauri Nuova was a fascinating world. Now a major heart of the Union, it was where much of humanity had escaped to when the situation on Earth reached its worst during the time of the three powers. Here, both suns would set for part of the year, whilst half a year later, the two would chase each other across the sky, providing eternal daylight. The sky was red with suspended iron oxide in the argon-rich atmosphere. The months of night were even more stunning as the rings and moons came into full view. Oceans brimmed with strange sea life as well as imported Earth fauna saved from a less stable time.
I walked across the plaza under the flags of all seventy nine Union worlds. This was my first trip off the Cross on official Union business as a delegate. I would represent the people of my world at the highest possible level. But first I had to get over of a culture shock of how different things were in the heart of modern humanity.
As I walked across the square under the bright red sky, I became aware of somebody following me closely. Turning around, I jumped back as I saw a seven foot tall globe of cloudy glass gliding across the pavement towards me. It came to a stop before me, lowering to the ground and somehow managing not to roll over. A voice came from the surface of the sphere by no obvious means.
"Mister Rowley. On behalf of the people of Mintaka IV, and of all non-human member worlds of the Planetary Union, we welcome you and your people to our interstellar community. You have shown us how hope can survive even the most desperate situations. Your story is one that we will tell for millennia to come."
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