Hi Folks, thanks to everyone who read last week's story. Thanks even more to those of you who commented on it whether positive or negative. Everyone has their own opinion and there's nothing that anyone can write that every single person will like. This story continues the weirdness I've been exploring of late so some of you purists who've been writing me letters telling me that some of the stories aren't LW probably won't think this one is either. The story does involve a wife having sex with someon other than her husband, so that makes it LW in my book. Thanks to the incredinle Mikothebaby for editing this story even as she struggles to come to grips with the deadly and dangerous windows 8. And a special thanks to those of you who continue to come here every week and suffer through me stretching out my story-telling muscles.
I checked the coupling from the large cable and nodded my head. I smiled just a bit as I tightened the link that connected this cable to the grid of them below the metal surface of the floor. I skipped back across the metal floor and checked my instrument panel again. Everything was green.
"Okay guys, let's fire this bitch up," I yelled.
"Are we going to run it from the generator or the solar panels?" asked Dr. Ivan Deevy. Ivan used to be the head of theoretical science at MIT five years ago. Now he's one of my flunkies. A lot of things change when the fate of humanity is at stake.
My name is Dr. Denton Woods and I'm one of the smartest men on the planet. I can say that without sounding vain because it's true. The year is 2048 and the world has changed the way we look at everything. We have come together as a society and as a planet. There will probably be wars in a few years, but they won't be fought over land or religion or any of those stupid things that no longer matter.
The differences between us now are all far more serious. You see roughly ten years ago scientists discovered a previously unknown asteroid. An asteroid just like it stuck earth a little over a hundred thousand years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs. This one is bigger and will probably destroy the planet. It's too big and moving too fast for us to send Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and the rest of those guys up there to drill a hole in it and save us. It has also been proven that we simply don't have any type of weapons, nuclear or other, that can destroy the massive planetoid. It's simply game over for the third rock from the sun.
The asteroid, known as Shiva 2100, will hit Earth sometime in early January, 2100 or late December of the year 2099. That gives us roughly 51 years to get the hell out of dodge. We want to leave at least a year early to assure that we're clear of the solar system before the cataclysmic event takes place. We have no idea of what will happen afterwards. Some have predicted that Shiva could hit the sun and severely damage it as well. If that happens, our entire solar system would be compromised, so the idea of trying to set up on a planet in our solar system wouldn't make much sense.
Early in our plans, we'd located several Earth-like planets. These planets were very close to Earth in terms of atmosphere, gravity and climate. One or several of them would be humanity's greatest and best chance to live on. The problems were immense, both in terms of capital, resources, technologies and brain power. We had to invent new science and new fields of study as we planned it. That was, of course, where I came in.
Several different ships and groups were planned. Each gigantic star faring ark would hopefully carry thousands of people. Another problem was that the time it would take us to reach the Earth-like planets would be measured in decades. That meant that most of the people who embarked on the journey would be very old or dead when we arrived.
My best estimate depending on the mode of propulsion used was that it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of fort seven to fifty years to arrive at our destination. I seriously doubted that I'd even be alive to see the ship depart. I'm thirty five now, fifty one years from now I'll be eighty six years old. Even If I did start the trip, I'd be long dead when we got to our destination.
The people who land the ship and organize and manage our society's transition to the new world will have been born in space.
The fact that the planet is going to be destroyed has brought about a totally new pecking order in terms of who can go. Money no longer means anything. With so little space on the ships there will be a lot of people left on earth to perish.
We've had to be extremely selective in deciding who can go and who can't. There are certain skill sets and occupations that are extremely valuable. We also want to insure as broad a range of genetic material as possible. We want every race and culture represented but we still only have room for so many people. With that in mind, there are a lot of people who will not be making the trip.
To be specific, we need teachers. They will have the awesome responsibility of training the next generation that will probably be born in space and take over the leadership of the mission while in transit. We don't however, need basketball players. An extra tall, extra heavy person, who requires more resources in terms of food, water and even oxygen, whose only skill is the ability to jump up and drop a ball through a hoop is something we simply don't have room for.
We don't need football players, golfers, hockey players, rappers, singers, baseball players, models, games show hosts, magicians, mimes or Kardashians either. No matter how much money they have or how great their skills are, they need not apply. What the hell does a Kardashian actually do anyway?
Almost overnight, society has changed. Last year there weren't any colleges in the US that had enough players to field a football team. There are math and science clubs popping up all over the planet. Every hot chick in the world suddenly wants a nerd on her arm, which again is where I come in.
In the old days, you had guys that were called theoretical physicists. They were the rock stars of science. They sat around all day and spun theories about what might be the cause of this or that. They could work for years on some hair brained hypothesis, while being funded by a large company or university. Those gentlemen often spent their entire lives just spinning interesting yet ultimately useless theories.
In our time, the top man on the totem pole is the practical physicist. He is the person who can take those theories from pure math and calculation to fruition. That, once again, is where I come in. Our group the AAAAE, the All American Alliance Against Extinction, usually known as the A4E, combines all of the resources of the entire American continent. It includes Canada, America and South America. We plan to build a fleet of four or five huge ships. Each ship will have the capacity to house over twenty thousand people. I know it sounds like a lot but when you consider that the population of our planet is over 7 billion people, that number is far less than a drop in the bucket.
We started the selection process of people who will even be allowed to work on the project five years ago. If you're not working on the projects, you probably won't be going. We've built our own city, Star city, in Texas where we're doing the research and development necessary to assemble the ships.
We get thousands of applications each week for individuals and families that want to come to Star city. Ninety nine point nine percent of them are turned away. A huge wall surrounds the city to prevent outsiders from getting in. It only goes to show you how desperate people are for their genes to survive. The ships won't be leaving for a little over fifty years, but people are dying to get in so their children have a chance to get on a ship.
"Run it from the generator Ivan," I reply. "The first thing we have to do is to prove that the theory works. Then we can make it more efficient."
Our main craft will each have multiple propulsion systems. We'll have a main chemical or solid fueled booster engine for quick maneuvers, but most of our travel will make use of a solar sail array. The ships will be built in space which will eliminate the need for huge booster rockets. My current project involves the shuttles. To conserve resources and so that we can collaborate while in space we needed to have some sort of transport vehicle that is capable of taking short hops either from ship to ship while in space or from a ship to a planet.
We have most of the problems with those worked out. One of the main issues we had was in landing the shuttles on a ship. For anyone who's seen Battlestar Galactica, the danger of landing on a ship is great. The engineer's designs for a landing platform required tons of concrete and steel. The weight of those landing platforms alone was almost twenty percent of the weight of the ships.
I came up with what I think will save us weight, structural stability and space. It will also lessen the amount of fuel we need and make our solar sails more efficient through the reduction in mass.
My idea was to give the shuttles a landing system that was separate from their main engines. We'd use magnetic repulsion to do it. The shuttles would have magnetic emitters on them. The floor of the landing bay would be a metal surface with a grid of charged cables under it that turned the entire floor into a huge electromagnet. The computer could make sure that the polarity of the magnetic floor was the opposite charge of the emitters. That way the shuttle and the deck would repel each other.
.... There is more of this story ...