Authors: Christopher Costanza
Copyright © 2015 Christopher Costanza
All rights reserved.
Heading for the Stars
ver since I can remember, my nights were spent watching the transport ships go to and from the Aurora Station. Lying in the cool grass as the night breeze swept over my body was so soothing after bearing the intense heat of the days. When they began to break out of the atmosphere I could hear the low rumble in the distance and clearly see the brilliant, blue glowing trails they left behind.
Even after all these years I can’t help but become mesmerized by it and the idea of heading out into the stars. There’s still so much we don’t understand... And no matter how powerful the human imagination may be, it will most likely pale in comparison to what’s waiting to be discovered.
The small corner of the universe we know is almost completely lifeless, an example of chaos and deadly conditions cleverly disguised with unimaginable beauty. And even though it’s most prolific offerings are unending darkness and the threat of death, so many of us can’t help but wish to venture out and explore it.
For some, obsessive curiosity, and risking everything to obtain the answers to life’s most important questions are just part of being human... And many would argue that these qualities are exactly what
make us so special…
Long before I was born, our space program - The Aeris Coalition of Intelligence, sponsored the first long distance mission in search for life, new elements, and minerals.
At first, the idea was met with great protest from the general public and powerful figures within the government.
The main reasons being the cost, high level of risk, and the widespread belief that Aeris was the only planet in the universe able to house complex life. It was also during a time where superstition outweighed science in the minds of the majority. And the ACI had long been exploring nearby planets but found no signs of life whatsoever; which only fueled the opposing arguments.
They were forced into constant political battles and always struggled to acquire funding. The only reason they were able to exist at all, was due to the amazing technology they invented and released to our government and the public.
In the midst of this nationwide controversy, three of the wealthiest men on Aeris offered to take on %80 of the expenses. They were already investors with the ACI and personally believed in their ideals.
One of them was even quoted as saying “The exploration and understanding of our universe is inarguably the most important endeavor of man.”
This helped quell the public outcry and allowed the government to take on the other %20 of the cost.
It enabled the ACI to begin the long planned construction of the largest ship the world had ever seen. They called it - The Sirius. Simply due to the fact that its planned course was the recently discovered “Sirius” galaxy.
Two years earlier the ACI sent an unmanned exploratory vessel into deep space. The data it sent back led them to believe one of the newly discovered galaxies was home to a planet with developed continents, vast oceans and traces of oxygen. The planet dubbed D-217 was a perfect example of a planet that could house some type of evolved living organisms and new minerals that could help our society progress.
Once The Sirius was completed, it was so massive, the history books claim it literally blocked out the light from our star when it launched from Aeris for the first time. It’s still talked about today as one of the most incredible events in the history of our world. The event captured the imaginations of people everywhere and inspired them to join the ACI.
The new ship was specifically designed for missions that would last years, or even decades. The majority of the space onboard was utilized for creating oxygen, hydro farming, food storage, and water conversion/storage facilities.
The crew could only consist of 2,500 because the journey to planet D-217 in the Sirius Galaxy would take approximately four years. The ship was so complex it took well over a thousand people just to operate it and manage all the systems. Along with hundreds of maintenance experts and engineers to prevent malfunctions and perform any necessary repairs.
Scientists at the ACI invented something they refer to as suspended animation or stasis years earlier, but the time was limited. The earliest subjects began to show signs of brain damage if the time spent in stasis was longer than two years.
This meant The Sirius would have to support 2,500 men and women for four out of the eight years of travel, and the time spent studying D-217. It was a massive undertaking, requiring methodical planning and vast amounts of wealth.
The majority of the people still believed it would be a complete failure and that the participants would most likely never return. Even though the ACI had proven itself and acquired a mass of private funding and evidence to support their cause; the public still repeatedly tried to put a stop to the mission.
Despite all the obstruction and doubt, the Sirius returned and the mission was a complete success. The exploration team had discovered microbial life in every water source on D-217. Astonishingly, it was
very similar to the type of life that eventually led to the evolution of all species here on Aeris. It proved beyond any doubt that other planets in the universe could produce life.
It was the most important day for science in our history. And it directly led to the ACI receiving unlimited funding from the government and a mass of new private investors.
Due to their newly acquired wealth, the ACI strategically crashed the existing space station into the ocean and began to construct a new one. After 18 long years, what they called the Aurora Station was completed. It was large enough to permanently house and support over 30,000 people.
The close proximity to our star made energy production and things like farming extremely simple and effective. It was a self-sustaining wonder of technological achievement and was yet again met with great public disapproval due to the cost.
A sizeable majority felt that kind of funding and effort should be spent on healing the dwindling atmosphere on Aeris, instead of an “unnecessarily large and advanced” new space station.
The ACI argued that the advancement gained from space travel and the possible discovery of new technology or elements could lead to a breakthrough. Otherwise, at the moment, repairing the atmosphere was an impossible task.
At that point, the ACI was far beyond the effects of public opinion so they swiftly moved forward with their plans. Soon after the Aurora Station was completed they began building more exploration ships. They weren’t quite as large as the original Sirius but were far more advanced and could now support a crew of at least 3,500 indefinitely.
The ACI had two new goals. To search for elements that could aid in repairing the atmosphere and to make contact with advanced civilizations that may be willing to share technology.
The original Sirius mission showed everyone that within our first few steps out into a universe so vast it’s incomprehensible; we were able to find the early stages of intelligent life.
These events led to what are now referred to as “The Sirius Missions.”
Over the next 30 years, the ACI completed 17 long distance journeys to other plants with little success. Useful and interesting minerals, plant life, and more oceans had been discovered, but the true dreams of the ACI seemed to stay out of reach.
Just when the public and their investors were reverting back to their old ways of thinking concerning the ACI, The Sirius 4 returned with a groundbreaking discovery.
On its mission to a planet designated R-58, their scientists discovered a mineral that could produce
more energy than our current technology was able to register. This new mineral turned what was once thought of as pure fantasy, into reality.
After three years of study the ACI was able to use the mineral to produce a protective field around the capital in order to shield everyone from the radiation coming from our star. The problem was that the mineral found was so rare, they only had enough to power a protective field over The Capital for around forty years. But it did prove the ACI had been right all along…
For a long time our civilization used harmful substances and chemicals to power society and advance. By the time our scientists had developed a way of harnessing our star’s unlimited energy, and converted our society, it was far too late. The atmosphere on our planet had deteriorated to less than %60. By the time the ACI produced the protective field over the capital, it had dropped below %50.
The entire planet was beginning to suffer. Several different diseases were widespread throughout Aeris, the temperatures were rising, and the weather was getting more intense and unpredictable as the years went by. By the time I was born, most of Aeris had blistering desert like conditions and it was estimated that close to %20 of the planet was unfit for human habitation.
Once the rest of the cities heard about the Capitals protective field, it caused major political issues. They felt that the government and the ACI were being dishonest and only cared about themselves…
The idea that the ACI never planned on helping the outside peoples spread like wildfire. Mainly due to the fact that all members of our government, along with the wealthiest and most influential people on Aeris reside in the Capital.
In reality, it had nothing to do with our government. It was simply technology that a private organization was using to protect its own interests, operations, and members. They couldn’t share it with the rest of Aeris, whether they wanted to or not. The Capital just so happened to benefit because it’s where the ACI had all of their facilities.