Although I started this journey a little late in life (54) I suppose it was inevitable that I take this road since I’ve always had a very active imagination. While writing my first book, “An Unlikely Source”, I constantly was planning things that would be put into the second and third books. I’m currently working on my third work and there are approximately half a dozen ideas that I have lined up for others. I never dreamed it would be this exciting.
My friends at work and church know me as comical, childish and fun loving. I am the eternal optimist and that is how I am able to bring these ideas out of my mind for the rest of the world to read. Ultimately I must thank God for his kindness and for giving me the idea for my first book. Those who have read my books have given them very good reviews. Thanks to those of you who have found your way to this page; and if you read my books you will find them free of profanities or questionable content.
The world known as earth was three hundred years in their past – on the brink of destruction due to over population, greed, moral decay and complete social unrest. The world they now know has been home to them and their progenitors for almost three hundred years. The Cicala had served them well for many generations and has carried them to what they hope will be their new home – a world of strange beauty and a world which does not resemble what their earthly ancestors knew.
When the first crew members were assembled for the mission those who funded it knew that greed and vanity were at the root of all earth’s unraveling. What they considered to be the cradle of humanity could not be sent off into the depths of space only to let a chain of dictators put the rest of the people under subjection. Unless they could instill in it’s passengers the importance of mutual respect, cooperation, concern and loyalty it would all be in vain. They drafted and introduced the crew to a document that they would sign and adhere to. They were, after all, relinquishing their citizenship to their various earthly homes and would now be citizens of the Cicala – or as the document begins: WE THE CITIZENS OF THE CICALA . . . .
With what they hope will be their new home now only two weeks ahead of them the crew of the Cicala have become unable to contain their excitement. Months, years, decades and centuries had passed with them and their families only seeing stars and constellations through the small portals. Now within the solar system of their planetary destination they have viewed sights that leave some speechless at the same time others leap with joy.
“Will there be trees when we get there?” Susie asks brimming with curiosity. She and the rest of her peers are part of the primary students in Ms Gladstone’s class – or ‘learning session’ as it has come to be known as. Any time someone mentions a tree or a dog or a cloud the children always perk up and get wide eyed.
Ms Gladstone, unsure of how to answer simply responds with, “I certainly hope so. I would like to see that myself. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have our learning session next to a tree?”
The children loudly answer in unison with, “YYEEAAHH!!”
Excited over the subject Susie continues, “And we won’t have to wait much longer to find out, will we Ms Gladstone?”
“No, not long at all compared to the time we’ve already waited,” answers the caring instructor. The children are understandably excited. Having never seen any of those things, except in the ship’s video archive, their enthusiasm is nearly uncontrollable.
Certain facts are taught to children as they mature. Children of a tender age may not need to know some of the more disturbing aspects of life (or in this case, history). In another area of the ship some of the teens are learning about and discussing earth’s social destabilization which led to the fact that they are now on the ship.
“Are there any questions?” asks Mr Tordin, allowing time for his pupils to process what is being taught.
“I have one,” announces Xamous, one of the more promising learners, “At what point do you feel that it was too late for them to correct the problems on earth?”
“I’m afraid that none of us can really know that Xamous,” answers Mr Tordin apologetically, “that’s why we emphasize ethics here. If we know better how to treat people and we keep that foremost and preserve it then we can make sure that we do not suffer the same fate.”
They are, of course, discussing the supposed demise of earth. Supposed, because so much time has elapsed since their ship left earth that there had been no communication – except for the first two years.
By the year 2400 earth’s population had grown to nearly fifty billion. Chaos reigned. That many people cannot be monitored or held in place by law. Attempts to enforce law became increasingly difficult until it was no longer attempted. The wealthiest of people retreated to strategic locations (usually cities) where they could employ defenses for those cities. They were able to maintain those strongholds. Since they needed certain commodities that could only come from the outside they had representatives who were able to establish contacts on the outside with cartels. Those cartels in turn controlled the masses well enough to prevent invasion.
Life on the outside consisted of doing whatever was necessary to survive – no matter how questionable. To kill or to rob was as commonplace as walking down the street. Anything that could be sold was. It didn’t matter. Drugs, resources and even human lives were fair trade.
Those within the confines of the cities knew that it was only a matter of time before the heads of the cartels would become more ambitious and attempt to take the cities for themselves. The wealthiest ones knew that social decay would eventually result in the total collapse of humanity – turning people into animalistic creatures. Kill-or-be-killed would eventually become everyday life – if it could be called ‘life’.
Knowing that this was inevitable, those same billionaires, in order to preserve mankind, launched the most ambitious of all space programs. It was one that would carry a crew of five hundred people to a planet that would hopefully support human life. Such a planet had been discovered but the trip would take nearly three hundred years.
All of those who had ever dreamed of space travel imagined zipping from planet to planet at the speed of light and beyond. Even though earth’s scientists had made advances in propulsion that just wasn’t feasible and, besides, earth’s time was running out.
Many other advances had been made as well; including advances in medicine (although it was not availed to those on the outside), genetics and nutrition (which is a large part of what has made this trip possible). How ironic it was that a society which had made such astounding advances would succumb to barbarism.
Nearly twenty years would transpire before the ship could actually begin the journey. The mission was so complex; after all, this was a one shot deal. Everything was riding on this and it had to be right. It took nearly that long just for the building of the ship which was done in earth’s orbit to avoid decay from the elements. One of the biggest challenges was coming up with a means of making artificial gravity but they were able to do so. While that was going on plans proceeded below at the surface.
So the leading geneticists were called upon to make certain that no one on the mission would have any predisposition for cancer or other diseases. They had to pass stringent examinations to rule out psychotic behavior. All of earth’s races were included so that some day, somewhere, a complete cross section of mankind would be perpetuated.
Once these suitable candidates were selected they underwent training to insure that they would be able to cope with such a drastic change. That had to be determined before the mission could begin. They also were held to an agreement that they would contribute to bearing offspring to perpetuate the species. Considering the fact that several generations would pass in nearly three hundred years, it was important that this be ingrained not only in the first passengers, but also in the generations that would be born there.
Finally the crew would be confirmed and placed in isolation where they would undergo lengthy procedures to assure that no pathogens would be taken aboard the ship. They couldn’t risk compromising the ship’s sterile environment. With those criteria satisfied the mission eventually got under way.
The Cicala began its journey with a crew of five hundred men and women ranging from twenty years of age to forty. This range would insure that an entire generation would not die off at once. Because the ship and the mission was designed for a crew of five hundred it was imperative that the key number not be exceeded. When a death occurred one of the couples would have their turn to begin a pregnancy. Except for the occasional set of twins no couple could ever be allowed to have a second child. By strictly adhering to these guidelines all couples would have an opportunity to have a child.
For almost three hundred years The Cicala had carried its occupants toward their destination and now they are within 30 days of what they hope will be their new home. If it truly is their new home what meaning will the term ‘day’ take on? They still observe minutes and hours and days as measures of time. But depending on the planet’s orbit, rotation, etc what would a day or a year be?
The ship was named Cicala after a family of insects on earth that had a very long cycle before it reached maturity. It seemed like an appropriate name considering the length of time that would pass. Another similarity with its namesake is the design of the ship and how six protrusions were on its two sides like insect legs. Although they aren’t long pronounced legs they are representations of legs – short and blockish. Their purposes vary due to the need for many different areas and functions that are going on aboard the ship – after all, it is home at the same time it is school, work, transport, cargo carrier and every other imaginable description. It takes care of every phase of the lives of its crew from birth to death.
A masterpiece of engineering, it remains a testament to its thoughtful designers. One wouldn’t usually use such words to describe a three hundred year old ship but in the perfect vacuum of space it had not aged. The interior was not made with finishes because the atmosphere within the ship would, over time, break down those finishes. Instead it is merely smooth clean metal which has, over the centuries, developed a gray patina.
Decade after decade after century the crew members have spent their lives peering out the small portals at stars and constellations. In the vastness of space those stars give the impression that one is not moving even though he might be traveling thousands of miles per second. Even though it seemed that they were in a fixed position the stars’ positions do change over time. That had been the case for Cicala’s stargazers. All of the stars eventually changed position – except for one. From the time that the mission began the log entries recorded the presence of ‘The Guardian’. It wasn’t on any star chart; it just was there one day where it hadn’t been before. Everyone was taught to recognize it from their youth and they watched it as they grew and introduced their own children to it later; and it was still there – the brightest star in the heavens. It was as though it had made the entire journey along with them for their protection and amusement. Those of the religious persuasion accredited its presence to Divinity. Others suggested that an alien race might possibly have an interest in this fledgeling species as they begin to traverse space. But it doesn’t seem likely that an alien intelligence would dispatch a craft to watch someone else for three hundred years.
Through all those generations ‘The Guardian’ would be the focus of everyone’s attention as they gaze outwardly. But now, within a month of their destination, there is much more to be amazed at. When Cicala left earth its propulsion took it out of earth’s solar system. Once free of any space that included planets, asteroids and other bodies the propulsion could be set at maximum. Having reached top speed the propulsion system was shut down. That speed would be maintained until interrupted or acted upon. It isn’t feasible to store enough fuel to propel a craft for three hundred years. Neither was it necessary since the vacuum of space would allow them to continue at that speed.
But once the destination is neared it is needful to slow that speed as one re-enters another star system. That slowing is done by activating forward thrusters little by little. The fuel capacity was such that the initial launch could take place and there was enough extra fuel in case the mission was ever interrupted and needed to be restarted. The latter had not occurred and there was also an allotment to be used at the destination – finding and establishing the proper orbit.
It was not done in vain. The culmination of the mission is about to take place. Whether or not Susie gets to see her trees, time would tell. There is much to be done before that can become a reality.