Like a cannon…

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Like a cannon I shoot out into the clouds, through the thinning atmosphere and into the cold dark void, my tiny craft glowing from the inside as the light of the earth leaves me from behind. I’m travelling at a tremendous rate and am picking up speed as I hear the propulsion rockets focus their narrowing jets to increase thrust and spit me further out into the blackness. Soon I can see nothing around me except pinpoints of stars and distant planets, Earth being an undefined spec amongst the millions. The cabin dims and as my heart monitor in my bio-suit beeps quietly I begin to notice its rate slow as my automated cabin slowly reclines me into a horizontal position, preparing me for stasis. Soon my craft will put me into hibernation along with itself as it switches from the rocket propulsion to an efficient and quiet, yet highly powerful gravity fusion drive that will launch me into a near-light speed for ten and a half years. As my mind begins to slow and my senses begin to dim I think about my home back on earth and the truly immense distance now between here and there. I sadden momentarily but again lighten at the thought of my new home that awaits me. A not too distant star is home to more than a dozen life sustaining hydro-planets that orbit around its warm red light. The star is called Epsilon Eridani and is at a distance of around 3.2 parsecs from our sun. But those ten plus years will feel like no more than a good long nights sleep to me. Stasis is necessary for near-light speed travel to keep my body from aging at a faster-than-normal rate and the obvious need for ten years of sustainability such as food and water. It is things like this that man and his technology have accomplished and it is this drive that brings me on this mission. A mission that is unimaginably long and slow but a mission with a purpose: to escape. My home planet is in a state of panic and chaos. It is on the brink of destruction and there is no turning back. Countless wars and atomic genocides have torn it apart and brought the once beautifully blue and green Earth to its unnatural knees. The oceans have been soured by the pollution and sewage drain-off and all of the forests and rainforest have been disintegrated from countless nuclear explosions. All that is left is a large, hot and barren wasteland that is almost uninhabitable now. No vegetation or clean water. Just hot and windy flatlands constantly bombarded by dust storms and highly acidic rain that happens about once every 6 months. In these thoughts I find not only fear and sadness but also drive and courage. I am one of the lucky few. One of only 50,000 out the the 2 billion left alive to get a seat on a transit pod. It wasn’t too long ago that our planet reached a breaking point holding over 12 billion people with no hope for sustainability. And then the wars began. Religion and power, as if they were any different, waged war on each other and those around them. Billions died and billions more suffered fates worse than death as over a dozen nations released their war cries, sending out their nuclear attack dogs while the upper eschelon hid in their cozy bunkers. And I, a valuable asset to my country was kept protected. For without me these transit pods would have never been a reality. No long term stasis computer algorithms, no light-speed drives and no lives saved. I am one of only a handful of engineers valuable enough to keep alive and my reward is a new life, a life farther from my sun than I can even imagine. But as I lay back and feel the blackness wash over me I try to imagine. I picture my body lying there for years, motionless and cold. Waiting for something. Waiting for my machine to wake me up…

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