We never saw it coming. Or maybe we didn’t want to. Climate science had been gagged and bound for too long but suddenly something changed. The scientists got violent, and in 2017 they stormed into the UN meeting and laid their numbers on the table for the world to see.
“We are all going to drown!”
Everything happened so fast then. It was too late. Some countries buried their heads in the sand, others panicked. War erupted over the higher ground in less politically stable regions of the world. What did we do? Well. America kept digging up oil – something I will always be ashamed of taking part in. The thing is, they wanted to cling on as long as possible, it would give them time and funds to do something greater if we continued as we are. No point wasting money on these new fangled technologies. Maybe we were just scared.
In 2024, the Arctic vanished. Greenland and Antarctica were melting at a ferocious rate, faster than anyone ever could have imagined. That’s when I was invited to the New Houston project.
As the sea level rise hit twenty meters above, rich people began to build floating cities. I’m a Texan born and raised, so I was delighted to see the city being reborn as a floating citadel. And so those who were able abandoned the land, and great cities roamed the oceans. New Houston, New Miami, New San Diego, New London, New Rotterdam, New Hamburg, New Shanghai, New Hong Kong and so many more. Although many cities had sunk, or had the waves lapping at their feet, even those that were so far from the sea were suffering. It was becoming so dreadfully hot, and the air was so thick. Storms raged, floods and droughts of biblical proportions ravaged the lands. Millions died.
All I could think was – someone stop the Earth, I want to get off. And that’s when Project Noah was born.
The seed of an idea had been laying dormant in my mind for some time now, about the time I had started my new life on New Houston. It wasn’t until I married my wife that the seed began to germinate, however. This Earth that we lived on was not the place I wanted our children to grow up in, so I made some calls, and got in touch with an anthropologist.
“Well if you don’t mind an inbreeding rate of 1% per generation then fifty’s your number. You can sustain about 70 generations on one fifty… But my ideal is five hundred.”
“Five hundred it is then.”
“Sir, you must have mighty deep pockets.”
“No, but others do.”
And I found those others, my plan slowly falling together. I contacted the very brightest scientists I could get my hands on – astrophysicists, aerospace engineers, doctors, psychologists, mathematicians. Together, we designed the blueprint for the impossible – an ark to carry our children to the stars. We built the warp drive in desperation, a mathematically simple device but devilishly difficult to build.
It took ten years to build the ark. In that time we scoured the globe to produce a crew of five hundred young people from all corners of the globe, with all kinds of skills. We compiled huge archives of data about our planet from its geology to pop music. I was not one of the lucky ones to make the crew, but my wife was a doctor and she was set to board the ship. That is until she became pregnant.
As the launch approached I tried to spend as much time with my son between loading animal zygotes, seed banks and high tech navigation equipment. But there was not enough time. I didn’t even get to kiss them goodbye, I could only put my hand against the glass as I visited them in the quarantine center before they departed. I watched the launch the next day and I felt numb. Nothing was left for me to do on this planet. Food was
becoming scarce, the economy had finally collapsed. I wished I could get off this planet too.
Running was such a fun thing to do. Little legs pounding hard on metal floors, clanging echoes down the endless hallways mixed with whirs and bangs of the living-breathing world, the only one he’d ever known. Skidding around this corner, diving through that corridor – he knew the ship as well as any kid. Better, perhaps. He knew it best. Unfortunately he couldn’t tell when someone would appear in front of him, and the small boy collided with a person’s legs.
“Hey little fella, watch where you’re running! You better get back to your cabin.”
“Why’s that mister?”
“It’s a big day tomorrow, captain wants everyone well rested.”
So the little boy turned and charged headlong back to the cabin he shared with his family, darting into the door and bouncing on his small bunk. It took a long time for us to settle him, but eventually he was snug in his bed in time for lights out. No one really got a good rest that night.
The next morning came, and no one felt like touching their breakfast. But we ate it anyway, because there was no wasting anything on the ship. For the last few weeks everyone had been working extra hard moving supplies – all our possessions in the universe – into the shuttles. Today was the day we touched down on our new home. The anxiety was palpable. I looked at my son, at all the other children who had been born on the ship who had never even seen a sky above their head. We'd been on the ship for fifteen years, and suddenly this chapter of our lives was over.
Riding the cramped shuttles down to the surface was terrifying, and when we landed everyone was in shock. The sky really was vast, and so were the rolling plains we had landed on. It was hard at first, but we ploughed the land, raised livestock and slowly built ourselves a new world – our world. Vita.
For seven years we lived in peace, we were happy. But then little Jack went missing. When the aliens came, some were certain the strange, pale, blind creatures had carried off or even killed the poor boy. Being so few, we're protective of one another, and some of the colonists were put into a blind rage and set upon the aliens with tools. They killed them, certain they were exacting revenge. But others were not so sure. This fight is tearing the colony apart and soon, it will be decision time.