The Second Age of Man

To Save a Planet

Preface

“Tribunes and Senators, as we first reported during our last meeting Eden’s sun is dying. Nothing we can do could prevent it. It has been over twenty-one hundred years since creation and nature waits for no one. We are faced with total and absolute extinction.”

“That is quite fatalistic, Doctor Esther, can you explain the ramifications if we stay on the planet.”

“Tribune, we can’t stay on the planet. In about ten to fifteen years the sun will nova and wipe out all life on the planet. Our second problem is that we do not have the technology to transport the entire population away from the planet.”

“So, God’s creation will end after twenty-one hundred and fifty years?” Voices clamored throughout the senate chamber.

“No, Tribunes, Senators, creation will continue, it is only mankind that will end with this planet’s demise. The universe will continue; Eden will be uninhabitable as its atmosphere is burned out in the ensuing explosion.”

“So, what are we to do, doctors?” The prime tribune paced the area in front of the tables where the doctors sat.

“Do, Tribune? There isn’t much we can do, sir. We don’t have ships large enough to carry the population of the planet away from the disaster. All we can do is wait. Whether we notify the rest of the population is your decision. That is the purpose of this meeting, Sir….”

“Are you telling us God creation will end? There has to be something we can do, doctors. This is unacceptable.”

“Tribune, what is it that you want us to do? Some of the tribes are rather large!”

“We are able to travel though space, doctor. We can travel to nearby planets and harvest minerals and ores for our spaceships.”

“Tribune, there is a huge difference between a handful of people going to Smyrna for bauxite or silicone and transporting a few thousand people out of harm’s way. Think of the food requirements for a mass exodus of this sort on a spaceship; the oxygen and water storage alone would take up a tremendous amount of space. And… where would we go? Smyrna or Macedonia or any of our nearby neighboring planets will suffer similar fates. Space will be disturbed for quite a distance… and for quite sometime.”

“This body does not want to hear excuses, doctors. We have space capabilities and fifteen or so years to transport the entire population away from the planet.”

“We must consider all the possibilities, Tribune ….”

“This is of no concern to the Sanhedron. You stay in the background and think of something besides prayer!”

“Tribunes, Senators, there is no need in insulting each other. Give us thirty days to weigh some options. Our time estimate is exactly that, sir. We may have more time than fifteen years, but we will only be able to know that as we approach the time of the supernova. Nature moves slowly and it is difficult to predict her actions too far in advance.”

“Then… how do you know this is a certainty?”

“The solar wind is becoming stronger and there have been several events that indicate the sun is on its last moments.”

“So… you could be wrong?”

“No, sir, we are not wrong of the event itself. We can’t say with certainty that it will be fifteen years. It may be ten, or eight, or twenty … but there is no doubt, it is going to happen.”

“Then stop wasting time, you have thirty days to come up with a workable plan to evacuate the planet. In the mean time, we will work on our own plan to help you. Only after we come up with some sort of workable solution will we notify the people.”

The group of young scientists left the senate chamber as the senators began discussion on what to do. As with anything mankind has ever done, the Sanhedron and the Senate were always at odds with each other. Ruling councils of both bodies organized separate committees to deal with the problem in their own separate ways.

In the observatory, a dozen or so students monitored the sun’s corona continuously. As the doctors and professors arrived from the senate meeting, the young students gathered around them.

“Have you found anything new?” Esther asked.

“There is increased activity around its equator and its gravity force is increasing. If the sun consumes the first moon, there will be severe changes in the magnetic forces of the system. But it will give us a more accurate timeline once we determine how it affects the entire system.” Aaron replied.

“I don’t need to tell you to back-up all our systems. We cannot afford to lose any information because of a computer glitch.”

“Yes, doctor, we have double redundant systems operating twenty-seven hours a day.” Herman, a computer genius said casually.

“Everyone gather around here, we need to discuss a few things with all of you. No idea will be dismissed without thorough investigation. The Senate has given us thirty days to come up with a plan to evacuate the planet.” Esther said somberly.

“They’re crazy we can’t evacuate the planet! There are almost twenty million people on this planet! We’d have to build a ship as big as the planet to carry everyone out of here! There is no time! We don’t have the technological know how to do that!” Voices shouted around the room.

“I am listening. I don’t want any negative ideas, nor do I want anyone criticizing any idea.” Esther said calmly.

“Do they realize what they’re asking? We can’t build a ship big enough for the population ….” someone bellowed from the back.

“No, but we might be able to build twelve smaller ships ….” a voice stated near the front.

“You’re crazy, how do we build twelve ships in fifteen years?” Someone screamed from the back of the room.

“Wait! Wait! We need to consider just how we’re going to feed the multitude in space. We can’t just pull up to a planet and have a noon picnic.” A tiny voice squeaked as everyone laughed.

“All right! It is obvious we’re going to have some problems. Let’s adjourn for the day and all of you think about the various problems we face. We will create a database and the lot of you may select an area in which you want to work. In two days we should have enough answers, but remember we’re discussing our survival here. The very future of mankind depends on us. Be creative.”

The professors, scientists and students disbanded and returned thirty days later. Esther and her delegation marched somberly to the Senate chambers. To make the problem easier, they had divided themselves into technical groups and attacked each problem individually.

The Senate and Sanhedron had done the same thing, but each had come up with their own plan, which they presented first. As the scientists listened, they saw that the power struggle between them had blinded them to the problem. The Senate wanted a military plan in which the militia would have total control of the twelve tribes. The Sanhedron had a similar plan, but the priests would have total control. The gallery was filled with priests and soldiers, as the scientist walked into the chamber they were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the mass assembled for this secret meeting.

“I gather we are going to advise the population, Tribune?” Esther said.

“All these people have been sworn to secrecy, Doctor.”

Sarcastically, Esther said, “A secret is best kept when only a few people know about it, Tribune. This assembly will have word of our problem to all the tribes about two minutes after leaving this meeting, sir.”

“We all have a stake in this,” Alexander stood and began his diatribe. “If the world is going to end we have a right to know just exactly what we can do about it!”

“Sit down, Sir! If the world is going to end and we had not warned you two months ago, you would be oblivious to the fact. The world would end while you slept with one of your many lovers, without you ever knowing the end was near.”

“Esther! That is no way to talk ….”

“You too, Tribune! I see by this gathering that you already have a plan in the works, a plan that will no doubt reassert your position in the domination of mankind. We will not be party to that.” She stood and turned to walk out of the chambers as her delegation followed suit.

“Esther, please, all we’re trying to do is save our people!”

“No, you’re not! Whatever plan the Sanhedron or the Senate has devised will surely have an unfair advantage over the people we’re trying to save. I would just as soon die on this planet than be controlled by either of your ill conceived plans.”

“Do you have a proposal for us?”

“We have several plans that we were going to present, but your minds are made up already. I can see it in your faces.”

“Please, stay. We will do whatever you suggest; we are trying to save the population, believe us.”

“For twenty-one hundred years you have tried to dominate and rule the people, you have grown rich and fat in that endeavor.

Admiral Jared stood and spoke, “We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to save the people of Eden, as a group, not as individual tribes. How can we prove it to you?”

“Leave this room, let us present our plan to the Senate and Sanhedron, they will inform you of their decision.”

“As you wish.” The admiral began walking out of the chamber and ordered his people to do the same. Priests filed out among soldiers and in a few minutes the gallery was cleared.

Esther presented three plans to the Senate and Sanhedron. Each plan had advantages and disadvantages. Mobilizing an entire planet was an impossible task, but death is a powerful motivator. After nine hours of debate Esther stood and said, “This is fruitless, we have given you three alternatives and I will not sit here any longer and watch you create your own power devices to improve your position in this exodus. You have three days. We have work to do. Talk it over amongst yourselves and let us know your decision.”

She walked out followed by her staff. The gathering of scientists began working on their plan; an incredible device that expedited the construction and launching of massive ships. The population would be kept in suspended animation while they searched the galaxy for a suitable replacement planet. Although the Senate and Sanhedron had objections, it was the most sensible plan to save a sampling of the population. The power struggles would remain in the background.

Over the course of the next fifteen years, the twelve tribes of Eden created a flotilla of spaceships in which they transported one hundred and twenty thousand people in suspended animation pods away from the collapsing planetary system. An army of scientists and soldiers remained outside the suspended animation containers. Their only duty was to search the galaxy for a planet suitable to deposit the twelve tribes of Eden and continue life in a new planet. At which point they would revive the multitude from suspended animation and dismantle the ships to use the various modules as prefabricated residences until such time as they could build new cities according to the compact they all signed before taking the Exodus flight.

In order for them to continue the culture, ten thousand people from each of the twelve tribes were selected; the Best and the Brightest of each tribe, according to a study of their DNA profiles. The tribes of Eden now sleep in the ships as their best space explorers desperately search the galaxy for a new planet to start life over. This is the beginning of their story.