That made Victor laugh out loud. “You’re right,” he said while he worked in the Dragons’ lair. “It’s too bad we didn’t pave over this part of the solar system. Wouldn’t it be great if we already had electricity and air? I could take you out to eat at the Burger King down the Berg. Ooh, or maybe Bembos could open a branch on Titan. You’ve ever heard of Bembos?”
She sighed. “My point is that if we did live here, if we moved out of the artificial and unsustainable technological shells we’ve built around ourselves, we’d have more respect for the natural environment.”
He scrolled through options in his eye-tracking menu. “You think it would be better if we all lived in villages in the jungle?”
Doctor, I know people who used to live in the jungle, and they thought the slums around Lima were a big improvement.”
“So the slums keep growing. More and more people piled on top of each other until the whole global environment collapses underneath us.”
Victor snorted. “Nothing collapsed under me. I learned how to code and moved my family out.” He hoped the automatic bank transfers he’d set up were still beaming money back to his friends and family. He hoped the investment funded by space industry kept flowing, and Lima kept blooming. That way even if he died here in this den of monsters, his nephews and nieces might grow up in a better, more prosperous world.
“And once this job is over, you plan to move up again, do you?” She asked. “Dubai, maybe, or London? Along with every other upwardly-mobile young professional on Earth.”
“No, I’m going to stay in Lima, because it is a lovely city,” said Victor. “But if everyone else wanted to move in with me…why not? If the whole human race lived in my city, the rest of the planet would be free, hey?”
“A city of eight billion people? Are you joking? How could we possibly feed that many people? Can you imagine the amount of garbage they would produce?”
“We’re feeding and dealing with the garbage of the human race right now,” said Victor. “Packing those people together would make everything more efficient.”
She laughed for some reason. “Save us from social engineering by real engineers.”
That stung. But it was good to hear her laugh.