One thousand ships with one thousand people on board each vessel. Soaring through space to one thousand different destinations. The human races last chance of survival since scientists had recently declared that previous calculations for the life of our sun had been very badly miscalculated. Instead of expiring in a few million years it now seemed likely our sun would expire within a few thousand. The earth without its life-giving golden orb would wither and die along with its entire population.
The twenty-third century had seen great advances in technology and most of the planets in the solar system were now inhabited to some extent. This of course wouldn’t help as they would go the same way as the earth once the sun stopped burning.
The Salvation Fleet as it had been named was launched made up of volunteers and their families, the aim of the mission was simple. To travel to the nearest one thousand stars with earth like planets around them and where possible to settle and survive. It was a risk as many would perish on the journey or when they reached their destination but it seemed the only option. It might be possible before the sun expired for those who were successful to get news back to Earth about the planets salvation.
Ship number three was en route to Gliese 667 a planet orbiting a red dwarf star. In a triple star system twenty-three years light years from Earth. Unfortunately, the technology to travel at light speed was still evading humankind. The best ships available had rocket power and solar sails that would get the ship to its destination in around two hundred years.
George Swieteck had boarded the ship when he was only fourteen years old and in the company of his parents. There was no shortage of volunteers for the mission. The earth would be destroyed in less than two thousand years. People were more than happy to step forward and do their bit to save humanity. The latest technology in cryogenic freezing was being utilised and George and his nine hundred and ninety-nine companions would wake once the ship had landed on Gliesse 667.
The passengers had all they needed with them to survive for a year but they needed to start quickly using the natural resources of the planet. Traveller’s had learnt from the early settlers of North America who had died in large numbers during their first winter. They had been surrounded by all they needed to survive. These modern-day settlers had all the skills, tools and weapons ready to reap the bounty of their new planet. A small drone ship loaded inside their massive Boing space cruiser could make the two-hundred year journey back to earth should their first year on the planet be successful, to pass on the good news. The United Council of Earth States considered this to be a great plan. It should work, it must work. One thousand ships travelling to one thousand planets. One million people spreading out into space, the future of humanity depended upon it.
George sat on his makeshift bed in the computerised control room of the giant ship. Tons of food and nine hundred and ninety-nine sleeping shipmates all around him including his parents. Ever since he first discovered it he had always thought the control room a bit weird. Designed for computers yet still with windows.
He sat staring into space, today was his fifty fourth birthday. The fortieth he had spent on the ship since his cryogenic chamber had malfunctioned, just after take-off. He had found himself alone and awake on a ship plunging deeper into space with each passing day. George had long ago resigned himself to his fate and nowadays was just enjoying the ride. No shortage of food, even though the choice was limited. He was getting a little tired of crackers, cheese spread and chicken soup.
“Happy birthday George” he said to himself reaching for his favourite tipple for an occasion such as this. A bottle of sparkling water, “you’re another day closer to Gliesse 667Ce”.