Souvenir of Earth
Earth lies ruined. Man has stripped Earth bare. In a moment in time Man’s fate was decided for them by their own ignorance – they had no choice – leave Earth or become extinct, to become a mere blip in the history of the universe, an anomaly in the vastness of time. Man knew little of the immensity of space; they had only just become a space faring species – still very much in its infancy. They had only just created technology advanced enough to detect planets in the ‘sweet spot’ of distant suns. Could they reach a planet that could support human life? Were any of these new worlds inhabited? – The chances were slim, unfeasibly so. But they had to try – their hand had been forced. Governments of the world came together, putting aside their history, with one aim – to create interstellar space craft, capable of not only sending humanity to the stars, but to find a new home – to start over. In the years that followed, Earth fell into a war like no other. Who would go? Who would have to stay to witness Earth’s final demise? Science pulled together to create massive interstellar craft capable of supporting a massive crew for the longest of journeys. The sky of night became alive as the construction of the ships dominated the heavens. Years passed. The Earth suffered more. The resources required of Earth to create these vessels was enormous and the peoples of Earth became impatient. At the end of Man’s time on Earth, a great sadness enveloped the globe – people didn’t think it was possible – that the whole project was just a ruse to give people hope when there was none. Then the people were chosen. A tiny proportion of the populous would travel to the stars – to leave Earth and to never return – to embark on the journey no-one thought was possible. The world’s governments lost control as panic, anger and confusion took over. The last days were the worst the world had ever seen. From above the Earth, the chosen few watched from their ships as the world tore itself apart. The Earth was dying anyway, Man was merely finishing the job.
To the Stars
There wasn’t any time for real tests. Were the ships capable to embark on an interstellar voyage to new worlds amongst the distant stars of the Milky Way? Man had never journeyed beyond Mars, never ventured in to the cold emptiness beyond their solar system. Sol and its planets were still a mystery to Man – now, the stars were their hope. What lay ahead was truly unknown. Science had created what many thought was the impossible – a ship capable of transporting hundreds of thousands of humans across the heavens. The journey would be long. Many generations would pass before their journeys end. Earth would become distant and maybe forgotten – to the new generations the ships would be their world. The journey began. Slowly accelerating their way away from Earth. Twelve craft were created in total, all headed in their own direction in the hope of success – they would never meet again. Humanity was spreading to the stars. Leaving behind their home. Where Man ruined Earth.
Life was a utopia for a while. The hostilities of Earth left behind. The common goal of man created unity – a determination to survive and flourish – to remember Earth, remember what Man did, but mostly, remember why they must succeed. It wasn’t long before the ships were small worlds of their own – dynamically adapting to their inhabitants’ needs – cityscapes where raised, villages blossomed, farms grew – the plan was working. Man was surviving. The mistakes of Man were kept alive and every effort was made not to repeat their distant relatives’ mistakes. Was this Utopia? Or was this a Dystopia? Did Man just exist here? Some began to question.
Is this all there is now?
A tipping point was reached – factions warred. The fate of the mission was in doubt. Over time the people became impatient. The journey had already taken hundreds of years and still no suitable planet had been found. The automated systems that sampled planets as the ships passed through new systems decided upon their suitability. As yet, none matched the unknown criteria laid down by the ships designer’s centuries ago. They kept moving, kept hoping. Some felt that the systems were malfunctioning and that they should force the ships to stop so that they can see for themselves. The time it would take to slow down enough to do a survey would add years to their journey. Deep divides grew as no agreement could be made. Eventually two distinct factions formed, the one’s who trusted the designers systems were operating as originally programmed and those that thought they were now on an endless journey with no end and that intervention was the only option. After many losses on both sides a compromise was reached. The people would consider the next system they passed with a sweet spot planet in it for colonisation and not the ships automated systems. It was agreed that this happen only once due to time it would take to slow the ship down from it’s close to light velocity. If the planet wasn’t suitable then the ship would continue its journey and not slow again until the systems found a planet it deemed suitable as Mans new home.
The World Outside
It didn’t take that long. The systems that were currently passing through were quite densely packed together. Often the ships systems were analysing the suitability of planets on an almost daily basis. The slowing process began. A planet had been found. The ships systems reported a ninety-five percent match. Expectations were high and preparations were made. It would only be a matter of months before the ship arrived at its stop off. A tiny spot was visible. It grew, people watched. Was this new Earth?
To the people looking at it from New Earth orbit, it didn’t look that different from Sol. They had never seen a star at such close quarters; they had just acknowledged them as mere possibilities of a new home as their journey continued across the heavens. Small pinpricks of light, perhaps varying in colour slightly, but no more than that – a mysterious object that would perhaps offer them warmth and the chance of a new life. This Sun could be the one. New Earth however, looked very different from the images of Earth preserved on board the ship, taught in classes to the young ones, ensuring the memory of their origin was never forgotten. It had water, it had land, it had vegetation and it had basic life – this was a new planet. Months passed as the systems’ dynamics were recorded. The inner planet of the system was much larger than those of Sol and much closer to their gravitational master – it glowed hot and spun around the Sun at great speed, its year only lasting days – the day of New Earth – it rose like a second Sun – red in colour, visible during the bright midday sun, and casting a red, magenta cast over the land during the night. The New Earth then, had two Suns in its sky.
The day on New Earth was long, so long that surface temperatures dropped massively at night. Storms often raged on this new planet, as if still struggling to find its equilibrium. Fierce rain fell as ice during the night. Lives were lost, crops ruined, towns raised to the ground, so severe were the downfalls. It was as if the planet itself had found an infection and was sending antibodies to rid it of the invaders. Could they survive here? Had they made a mistake? Were the ships systems right after all? It was too late; the ship had left and continued on its journey – they were alone.
Beneath the Surface
Centuries passed and mans hand had once again been forced. The surface of New Earth wasn’t ready to be inhabited – despite their best efforts each generation saw numbers reduced – the severe weather, the ice storms, the lava flows, the quakes – they were not flourishing here. Efforts were made to move underground. Huge subterranean caves were dug out of the soft limestone, immense underground cities were created – a safe haven for man to continue to survive on this often-hostile planet. Soon the outside world became a distant memory and life underground became normal for the new generations. But numbers grew, over a few generations man had not only adapted to life underground, but had managed to repopulate and replace its losses. They were running out of room.
Cities in the Sky
If the surface was too hostile and underground space was low, the sky would be the next place that man would have to conquer. Mans intelligence had continued to evolve in new directions since their arrival on New Earth – science was the new religion – mathematics the new language. New technologies enabled man to build on a grand scale, defy gravity and harness the power of the Sun, to reach deep below the crust of New Earth for near limitless amounts of energy. Soon man left the caves, left the surface and lived above the clouds in the thin atmosphere of New Earth. High above the storm systems they were no longer affected by the angry planet below. With time perhaps, they may return, but for now and for a long time to follow, their new homes would be as observers from high above.
The ships of Earth continued onwards. Thousands of years passed. Life continued. Man was conquering the stars, spreading out in all directions, but yet, no new homes were being found for them. Earth then, as suspected by many, was truly a special event; an event repeated so rarely that people worried that humanity would never find a suitable planet to call their home. The ships sped on at near light speed, still increasing their velocity as their voyage continued. Had they been an oddity that passed through some alien beings systems, peered at momentarily by telescopes and analysed by quizzical minds? They would never know – the ships systems remained silent. Soon the people forgot about their journey – they were lost to the stars. Was the small collection of humanity stored inside tiny metallic objects destined to a life of solitude amongst the vastness of space?
They were curious where the visitors had come from. They too thought they were alone in the universe. Communication had been impossible, although they did try. They did however receive a data stream from the passing object – this was alien to them and took them many years to decode and translate in to a form they could understand. They were saddened by their discovery. Images of the visitors home planet, somewhere they referred to as “Earth” showed a dying planet, around a bloated star they called “Sol”. They were in search of a new home and their journey had been long, too long. They had lost hope. Their message was a cry for help. The aliens could help and they would. The aliens were builders and could provide a new home for the lost people of Earth. They would do this without making themselves known to Man – it was not their intention to alter the evolution of Man – merely to help continue the existence of the species. A suitable world was found and work began. Vast, unimaginable feats of engineering took place to move the planet to an orbit suitable for human inhabitation, to make it able to support human life, to make a New Earth. The Humans weren’t aware of the incredible efforts being made outside, their ship had been stopped, the systems halted – no-one would know that an intelligence so great had not only saved them, but created New Earth, so earth like in fact that when the ships systems were resumed, it would be a perfect match.
Sea of Flames
Mans most powerful deep space telescopes trained their sights on Earth. Hundreds of thousands of years had passed since their journey began. Man had found New Earth and was flourishing. Unaware that their saviours were watching, unaware that they even existed. Eventually images of Earth were returned – Earth was dead – a hot ball of rock orbiting an angry Sol on the verge of engulfing in the inner planets. Earth then, would die as it was born - in the ravages of heat, radiation and extreme gravitational forces that would eventually rip the planet apart. Man had survived. But now, they had overseers and they were not alone. Would the aliens contact Man? Maybe one day, but for now Man was merely a child in the vastness of space….
Written by Dave Yeaman,
Future Worlds by The Light Dreams is out now on Amazon, iTunes and Bandcamp