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Heliosia Lost
(fiction)

Yeah, I'm small, what's it to you? I've still got mass, and don't you forget it. They can't take my individuality, I'm my own particle! They'll never get me to interact with other molecules, not without intense pressure or cold, anyway. Myself, I'm the best Helium I can be, but not by choice of course. I guess I'm proud to have the same average kinetic energy as bigger gases for given temperatures.

You could call me an individualist. I don't just bond with any Helium that I happen upon the way Hydrogen does with its buddies. I do my own thing, you know, moving around, all my collisions are elastic. Sure, I'll bump into somebody every now and again, but I do try to keep large amounts of empty space between them and me, if you know what I mean.

So you can understand how I felt when I woke up one day to find myself and 5 moles of other Helium atoms in a two-liter container! The pressure was unbearable, must have been something like 56 atmospheres! I remember thinking to myself that it must be quite an impressive container, but only for a moment. Consultation with a friendly comrade near me revealed that we had been recruited by the U.S. Air Force.

Happy, I was not. I didn't want to work for anyone, I just mind my own business, for Pete's sake. I quickly tried to organize an escape, but the walls of the canister were too dense and thick to escape out of. I attempted the beginnings of a team effort to break the tank before I remembered that we couldn't exert any force on one another. Our outward pressure was equally distributed, and there was nothing we could do about it.

Rumors were already starting to circulate around the vessel. One that seemed likely was that we were taking over for a bunch of Hydrogen. Seemed plausible to me, those incompetents are always overreacting to everything. They'd never keep their heads in the heat of a battle. While some around me had already resigned themselves to their new position in life, the report brought me no pride as it did to them.

After what seemed like weeks in the grueling conditions of our prison, we were finally released into the area where I now find myself. Some rejoiced, but I remained levelheaded. Examination revealed that this environment too was enclosed. Escape seemed possible now, but not likely. Several have made it out, but no one has ever heard from them again. The majority of my comrades have surrendered to their apparent fate. I try to stay optimistic.

I have no control over my life. Some days it is cold, and the environment seems smaller. Some days it is warm, and everyone has more room to move around. Sometimes more Helium joins us. They're a real treat, cheerful and looking for a way out. We tell them our story, but still they think they can escape. It's enough to make me want to cry.

How do I know if the outside world even exists any more? It seems like Graham's law just doesn't hold true now, but we're all Helium in here, so there's no comparison. Maybe nothing gets by the curved walls that hold me in.

At least I'm doing something productive for my country. I never even see any guns. I just hang here, eternally occupied since I'm lighter than air. It's not a bad life, I guess. Never want for anything. Lots of companionship, everyone is just like me. Couldn't really do much on my own, could I? I'm just one atom in a big world. What is freedom anyway? Just another word.

I... I love Big Brother.

homework I have done