This short piece has been written for the November 2018 Blog Battle. To find out more click the link: https://rachaelritchey.com/2018/11/08/blogbattle-educate/
The word for the month is EDUCATE.
SOL670 Olympus Colony:
“Colony Log Commander James O’Neill: NASA are sending me a priority message on the secure comms channel in about five minutes. I’m not sure what to expect from this, one thing I learned in the air force was to be worried when something unusual and out of character happened, this it right up there with out of character. All I can do is see what they have to say.”
Sat back in his chair in his habitation module waiting, O’Neill’s mind churned. Then the notification lamp lit up on his computer. The lines of the text only message came through line by line.
Message from NASA: 04-10-2056 Authorization code:20350524185245
From Senior administrator RE: Extinction Protocol.
- Asteroid KE567342 on direct collision with Earth, estimated impact 19 days from now somewhere in the vicinity of the African continent.
- Projection of loss of life on Earth: Total.
- Projection of Earth status after impact: uninhabitable by human or any known Earth lifeforms.
- While able Earth will be sending all available resource to Mars to keep human habitation possible. We expect the Martian colonies to be able to be sustainable for three more years when this has been delivered. Some additional personnel will be sent to support Martian colony activities and ensure as much as possible the safe delivery of two population bombs.
Summary of actions to be carried out by NASA controlled Martian colonies:
- Ensure temporary sterilisation of all colonists.
- Educate all colonists on the situation and how Mars could still be sustainable after supplies have expired.
- Recommend restricted and controlled release of this information in order to maintain discipline and morale.
- Further information will be coming soon.
End of message.
Not quite able to take it all in, O’Neill stared in stunned silence at the message. Emotions ran through him for a moment like a fire, he had family, friends places he had seen and wanted to see all of which would be no more. In anger he threw to the computer and everything on the desk across the room. It felt like a million regrets passed though his mind. Finally after what seemed to him like an age reason came back to him. Everyone on Mars was going to outlive the rest of the Human race back home. Did that mean they were in a better place? He wasn’t so sure.
Thinking for a moment he had to deliver this in a way that was going to distract everyone. Pressing a console button cleared his throat. “Initiate emergency colony survival protocol, I repeat initiate the emergency survival protocol.” A voice at the end acknowledged the order, the lights dimmed and a claxon sounded. He knew in moments all personnel would be up and attending stations.
He pressed another button “Dr Cheung, all station inhabitants are to be administered a NRS capsule effective immediately.”
“Understood” a voice replied.
O’Neill listened to the commotion and waited for all to be present in the hub, finally he stood up. Now he had to tell them.
It went well O’Neill thought. About as well as can be expected, while they all waited the good doctor administered the twenty seven colonists at the station their NRS capsules. Embedded in the body these slowly released chemicals that ensured reproduction was impossible and helped to control chemical imbalances leading to hunger and anxieties. They were a bit like the pill, a weight loss tablet and a sedative all rolled into one. They lasted up to twelve weeks. In that time the situation would be better known.
“Do we know exactly what they’re sending?” Emily asked.
O’Neill shook his head. “I hope to learn more in the next few days.” But what I do know is that we are now almost solely responsible for our own survival. We have an estimated three years before all supplies are exhausted, in that time we need have educated ourselves to create food, water and prolong the life of resources and materials. If we do this in time the the solar panels will need to be replaced or equipment maintained.”
O’Neill’s look was grim “We have to be able to create Earth technologies here, somehow. In three days I need to have a list to give to control of any and all information we might need. I don’t know but if we get in early enough we might even be able to ask for materials to be sent. This is possible but considering the time frame doubtful”
“Break into your teams and get thinking. Three days people, we need a short and a long term plan.” With that he turned and walked out of the control hub, a door slid open and inside was humming and droning of machinery.
“James!” a voice shouted from behind him.
O’Neill spun round “Melissa! Dammit don’t do that – you scared the sh-“
“What’s happening with the other stations?” She shouted.
“What do you mean?”
“Have they been told?!?”
“I haven’t but I imagine each base’s commander will have been told. Why?”
Melissa pulled him into a quieter area and shut the door. “Each of the other stations have a lot of resource that everyone is going to need. Utopia station even has a launcher that can get back to Endeavour when is passes by in three months.”
“Getting to Endeavour is no good, the only place it can go to is Earth. What’s your point?”
“My point is that what if the other colonies decide that the others are expendable in light of the fact that Earth will be gone? If they start raiding other bases they could prolong their survival time.”
O’Neill thought for a moment “I see where you’re at. But these are all educated and rational people, we should be able to trust everyone here to work together… Right?”
Melissa looked at him “So why do you suddenly look doubtful?”
O’Neill didn’t answer, thoughts of the colonies turning against each other had been the last thing on his mind, yet now the seed was planted was a real possibility. That’s what worried him most, if this was brought to common attention, could it sow the seed or if others were already thinking about it.
Finally he spoke up “Because now I have them and how we deal with this will decide on whether we all survive or just as much as everything else we have to deal with.”
“What do we do?”
“Tread very, very carefully. Find Ben and bring him to my hab module. But without being weird or suspicious.” Just then his wrist com beeped through a notification.
“More from Earth. Hopefully something more solid about what’s coming this way. Go and get Ben.”
Melissa nodded, just before she opened the door O’Neill stopped her.
“I mean it when I say don’t arouse suspicion, if we start something with this we won’t need any asteroid to kill us. We’ll do it all by ourselves.”
Melissa nodded and disappeared, O’Neill suddenly felt cold, following after Melissa he wasn’t sure if was the fuel cells or where this all might end chilled his bones.
To be continued?
©Simon Farnell 2018
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