••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - MISSION LONGSHOT
The background to an new exciting new cli-fi novel 'Mission Longshot'
AP NEWS 6/16/2032 Atlanta Robbins AFB
‘Last Hope for Humanity,’ says President Navidoo
Space Colony vessel NOVA successfully launched from Robbins Air Force Base (Georgia) - 3000 of the brightest children of America were blasted into space on a seventy-year journey to escape our climate ravaged planet.
US President Navidoo declared. ‘There isn’t a soul on this planet who doesn’t wish they too were on that vessel. We wish them Godspeed. May they cherish what they find and protect it against all odds.’
Decades before success of the enterprise is known.
The emergency action was taken after the melting of both polar ice caps led to devastating flooding of huge swathes of landmass in the world, including much of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
Billions threatened with starvation - The threat to life from massive food shortages, led to the race to find another ‘Earth’.
Scientific Collaboration - Project Nova built at speed between 2029 and 2032 shows what can be done when all the best minds in science are brought together.
Radical fusion reactor engine designed by Dr L. Kandar will travel at 50,000 mph. - The sister ship, Kalahari should be launched within six to eight months as more young people worldwide are being recruited and trained for this critical mission.
We always seem to expect the stars to align one day in our favor, or with good planning everything might fall into place before battle. It’s a positive word - until it isn’t. When suddenly everything aligns against you with such overwhelming force there’s little you can do to prevent disaster. This is that story.
The world woke up to the reality of climate change sometime around 2020 but no one wanted to hear about the solutions. Spring started days earlier each year. Hurricanes seemed to come with much more ferocity. Droughts affected food supplies, just as floods caused devastation and prevented planting and in reaction to this, then we elected politicians who denied it was happening and encourage more coal fired power stations.
There was huge social resistance to Net Zero and the loss of cheap home heating from gas. Not everyone could afford solar or battery back-ups. We wanted a Green world without the pain. It wasn't possible. We looked for ways to cheat. Eventually people grew disillusioned with the liars and charlatans who promised we could keep to our old ways but not before they had created even more damage and burned down the Amazon, the lungs of the whole planet.
Perhaps it was the flooding of the Eastern Seaboard that triggered the real wake up call. The volcanic eruptions in Indonesia that caused millions to starve and blocked the sun for months on end, so the rice crop failed. Whichever catastrophe it was, and there were many, a decision was taken to build two vast spaceships to take the brightest and best young people from America and send them on a 70-year journey to a ‘benign’ planet named Havilah to begin again. They would receive an education by osmosis through a scientifically developed education program, so each individual would be the most well-equipped pioneers that had ever left earth.
The first ship containing 3000 children in hibernation was launched in 2032.
The second was cancelled in the devastating war with the Chinese in 2033.
Dr Kandar, the designer of the first ship, had been on the verge of building the world’s first light-speed vessel in 2031 but as war tensions built, shortages of materials and a will to spend the necessary billions meant that he had to go it alone on the Moonbase where the testing was being done. His own daughter, Celeste, refused to wait for him to perfect light-speed. She elected to go on the first ship to Havilah. It was her duty to continue mankind. There was no future on Earth for her or anyone her age. The scramble for the last resources had begun. Everyone knew, as food supplies diminished, the inevitable population crash could only end in war. Dr Kandar did not stop her. He believed with all his heart that the light-speed engine would be ready soon after Celeste left for Havilah. He would be rescuing her from hibernation within months.
Twenty-three years later, as wars came and went, the planet grew hotter as no despot could resist the use of nuclear weapons – even though through wind and ocean tides the toxic radiation would return to their own people in even greater numbers. No need to tell you how hard life had become, or how the world that had been on the verge of amassing nine billion humans crashed to one, then began falling further as oceans died and crops were poisoned.
Dr Kandar continued his research. His other daughter Charmaine was living on Mars at the research station where her daughter, Stella, was born, the spitting image of Celeste. She volunteered to work with Dr Kandar at the Philolaus Lava icecaves Moonbase at the age of thirteen, having recently gained her space pilot’s license. He was still Earth’s last chance, even though many had given up on him or even forgotten he ever existed. He survived by trading Arnite, the hardest mineral ever discovered on the Moon to fund his research. He was sixty-seven now. Technically too old to travel in space. The years of living with low gravity meant he suffered from bone degeneration and degraded muscle-mass. He had developed a swim-tank at the Philolaus moon-base which he had to use daily to keep his body functioning. The tech team that used to live there had all been drafted to fight the wars and only Dr Kandar, his niece Stella and a small team of ageing robots lived there now.
The X5 ION Thruster spaceship NOVA on its seventy-year journey to the planet of the same name is controlled by an AI Command system designed to function for a hundred years minimum. It takes its power from the fusion reactor designed by Dr Kandar. The X5, built in Atlanta, Georgia was launched from earth and is capable of speeds up to 50,000 mph. In 2032 it was the fastest spacecraft ever built.
It is now 2057. The wars are over. The devastation on earth has left its scars and most of the U.S. East Coast is submerged. It’s the same in Western Europe where Holland, Belgium, half of France and the Eastern England have vanished. Other places such as Bangladesh, the coastal cities of Pakistan, India and the Seychelles are under water. The Arctic and Antarctic have both melted. This; combined with the nuclear devastation from the wars have left huge areas of Earth uninhabitable. China, the most aggressive of warmongers has lost the most. Little is known of what remains of Russia. The satellites in space that knitted the world together for communication and finance are no more. They were the first casualties of war. Space was weaponized as much as the air and the sea.
If you’re thinking that life is returning to normal now that so many people and wildlife have gone forever – you would be a very optimistic soul indeed. Everything is fragmented. Human life is immensely precarious and climate change, which works on a century-to-century cycle, is still making the planet ever more hostile to human or animal life. Radiation fall-out is just one of the complications that make life hazardous. If you believe that mankind escaped to Mars you would be right but in such small numbers, it is statistically insignificant. The cost of maintaining humans outside of Earth is beyond most countries means. The only hope for mankind is spaceship Nova. And Nova is about to hit a lot of trouble.
|MISSION LONGSHOT: How far will you go to save one life?
Hammer & Tong 5.19.21
Cover Image: nick-owuor-astro-nic-visuals--unsplash
Jerked awake after twenty-three years in a life-pod, Celeste discovers she’s the only survivor of an asteroid collision a trillion miles from home. She knows rescue is impossible. She hates what stasis has done to her body and skin. Worse, she has no idea if anyone on earth knows has happened. Her body is ravaged by stasis fatigue , she has to relearn how to talk and walk - her only company is a maintenance bot. She faces the rest of her life alone on a dying spaceship.
Stella is testing the first light-speed ship for Dr Kandar. The only chance they have to save Celeste. On her return, the Moonbase has vanished. Florida is no longer flooded. Cities across the world still shine at night. None of this is possible since climate change and nuclear war. She decides to investigate.
Landing on Earth she is crippled by gravity. Stella is discovered by three space geeks, Gerry, Kali and Jolene, out hunting aliens. It’s New Year’s Eve, 1999. Stella accidentally went back in time 57 years.
Saving Celeste just became the biggest longshot of all.
Extract from Mission Longshot here - Why Did You Wake Me?
Mission Longshot is a terrific story, wonderfully written. The adventures are gripping.
Walli F. Leff - New York - Order here
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