Written by Ben Drake
Edited by Alana Lambert
Everyone has had the same thought: the universe is simply too big to not have other life, intelligent life out there. But who defines intelligent, surely not you simple minded fools who couldn’t even work together? You tell your own young to be understanding, and yet you had wars with each other where it is classed as okay to kill another of your kind. You destroyed your world by polluting it with toxins.
There are many other cultures that were just as advanced as the human race, the only difference is that they managed to clean up their act, or at least change for the better. You’ve had several wars, committed countless atrocities and we had been watching, our patience running thin. We’re voting on your continued existence.
On a fairly busy highway, one warm summer day, lays a dead rabbit that has been there for several days. Maggots cover it, enjoying this meal that was delivered courtesy of some driver in a hurry to get nowhere. As well as this rabbit there is an apple on the side of the very same road, covered with mould. On the dead rabbit, although it would seem that its consumers are working in harmony, they are not! The maggots are simple minded soldiers, out for themselves only, doing what they’re meant to do, what comes naturally, they are consuming. They consume until there is nothing left.
But what happens when their food source is completely finished and they can’t find another? They die. Some even become cannibalistic until there are no more other maggots. This also results in their death. The ones who graduate to become flies go on to search for more food. Many do not reach their goal. When the apple breaks down and the mould no longer has any food the spores will dissipate and die. One of the main constants of all life is that it needs a food source. Food is at the core of the life cycle. But just as importantly there needs to be a way to get rid of the waste.
Human beings were so much more advanced than that, we got rid of our used up waste in landfills, waters and incinerators. This left no trace on the Earth or the environment. If it did, we do not worry, it’s not enough to hurt us. If oil pipe lines break killing our oceans, it’s okay. The ends justify the means, so says the government. The government, who could impose some much stronger penalties on the corporations for polluting, therefore can make these main contributors of extreme waste realise that it’s not okay.
Instead, we are fed things like: ‘if we all chip in together we can save this planet. Just keep on recycling what you can. Do your part.’ The sad truth is that recycling is not cost effective, especially in the current market where not as many things are being bought, so not as much material is needed for things to be built. Even if some of the materials we send to the recycling centre didn’t end up in yet another land fill we are doomed considering the amount of waste that just can’t be broken down. So let us start thinking seriously people, we need to find some other place to dump our trash.
Because of this problem mankind has, there is a one hundred tonne space barge that’s full of the nastiest waste our planet has to offer, and it’s on a course to the sun. It is to travel in the direction of Mars which would give it a sling shot affect in the hopes that the barge will pick up more momentum from Mars’ gravitational pull. This is to ensure that the barge will make it through the very long voyage to the sun.
There is little optimism about this voyage ever reaching its final goal, but we didn’t mind since we’ve finally found a way to get rid of our waste. The barge eventually makes it to one of Mars’ moons. The energy source is still functioning, and the navigation is running smoothly. One thing that our best scientific minds could not predict was that the density of that moon was different in proportion to its mass; it was just one of those anomalies of space.
Because that moon seemed to be made of a substance more similar to steel than rock it had a much stronger gravitational pull on the barge, which pulled it off course. Its new direction was then again changed by the next moon of Mars, putting it on a collision course with Mars itself. Soon after crashing into the planet life began to spread like wild fire on Mars from the existing bacteria in our waste.
A young man woke in a cold sweat from this nightmare; he knows that he must raise these concerns with his colleagues.
John has worked at NASA for forty-five years. He’s the oldest and most respected mind there. One could imagine the thoughts running through his mind at this young idealistic scientist who was waiting at this office door with a face full of horror and dismay, at the man telling him about the nightmares he had been having.
“Normally, Ted,” John said as he strains his eyes to read the man’s name badge. “I’d respond to this with attempts to comfort and reassure you that scientific minds which surpass our own in intelligence are working on this.”
“But we need to raise every possible concern,” Ted said. “There are many factors that can’t be foreseen. Frankly sir, this entire endeavour, although paved with good intentions, is going to have a disastrous effect on us that far outlasts our children’s children.”
“I’m inclined to agree, but this idea has gained so much momentum and public admiration that I don’t think it can be stopped,” John explained.
“Maybe it can’t be stopped. But what if it could be redirected?’ Ted asked in a tone that hinted that he already had a plan.
Taking the hook, John asked, “How does one go about doing that?”
“By putting other, better ideas in front of them,” Ted replied.
“Do you have any better ideas?” asked John.
“No, but you do.”
John’s eyes began to sparkle. “You’ve read my work on the idea of continual propulsion?”
“Read it?” Ted asked. “Sir, I did my thesis on it.”
“Then you should know that it’s only a theory, a daft and barmy idea, a reverie from an overly idealist, young mind. I’m just an old crazy now, kept in this cage of compliance,” said John.
“People don’t make changes until they have to, this has been the case throughout all of history. What we need to do is make the people see that this is a change that we need to make,” Ted persisted.
“You’ve got me sold,” said the old man. “This idea of sending it without enough power to make it past Venus is foolish and far too dangerous.”
“How do we get the public to agree?” asked Ted.
The old man, after some thought, said, “We don’t have to get the public to agree that it’s a reckless plan. All we need to do is convince the right people that its folly, then later on we can show them this more sane way, this less expensive way.” After some more thought he said, “Collect your notes Ted. We’re going to make some noise, and I think I have a pretty good idea where to start.”
Upon collecting his notes, which consisted of only his thoughts, Ted said, “I’m ready.”
John said, “I’ve made a lot of friends over the years and I think it’s about time I called in a few favours. Now, let’s see. Who do I know that could make this a matter of national interest?” Then, with a huge smile full of knowledge, John said, “I know exactly who could help us.” As John says this he picked up the phone and asks his secretary, “Betty, will you get my old friend William on the line? Thank you dear.”
John looked at Ted, and Ted looked back at him with corresponding concern in his eyes. They had both realised the seriousness of what they were about to do. John says to Ted, “This old dinosaur still has some tricks up his sleeve. All we need to do is raise our concern to this guy and it won’t happen.”
John told Will everything over the phone. After some checks it was decided that Ted was right. There are numerous advances and calculations done by Ted and John working on John’s idea of continual propulsion non-stop for a series of weeks. Two minds were better than one, and that fact that the two minds that were working on this particular endeavour were both geniuses played a huge part.
John and Ted presented their proposal, for it was their proposal now because Ted had added so many ideas to the original idea, so much so that John hardly recognised it when they showed it to their superiors.
NASA quickly gobbled the idea up in the hopes that the space program didn’t have to suffer further cuts in their budget. This was occurring because they were becoming more and more unnecessary in the eyes of the public and the government. Shortly after that NASA released their new ‘Save the Planet’ campaign to the media. The public fell in love with the plan as soon as they heard it.
The plan was pretty simple. Instead of using rocket power to propel our waste into the sun we were to use solar power. There wasn’t a way to store enough fuel on the vessel since over the amount of time that it would take for the rocket to reach its destination the fuel cells would deteriorate. Given the fact that the journey would take so long we couldn’t accurately aim the rocket for that amount of time, without taking the chance of it running into something.
There were a few people who didn’t really seem to care if there was a huge radioactive cloud of waste floating around out there, but after explaining that this could have a dangerous effect on the development of our solar system, they seemed to realise that it would be a bad idea, since it would be our children who would be left to clean up yet another monumentally large disaster. Because there was a lot of solar power available in space that was the idea we went with.
A test missile was soon launched with one of the continual propulsion thrusters as its fuel source. What wasn’t thought about in the rush was that this special rocket picked up speed a lot faster than they expected. It became a satellite of Mars before it finally came to rest a few weeks later, when the trip was supposed to last around two hundred days. The auto destruct sequence was then engaged, which wasn’t needed until it finally came to rest.
Tracking it and making sure that it didn’t collide into anything was a bit of worry as it was going so fast. The government and a few higher members of NASA were secretly going to use auto destruct in the original plan with the waste barges, which didn’t show their concern about our children at all. That may have been another reason why the first rocket power plan was shot down so quickly.
Our planet was free of toxic waste soon afterward.
With all the excitement from the public and the very large increase in funding that NASA received they soon had more ideas and concepts to add. Three massive inter closable multi micro solar propelled thrusters were put on the front and on the back of the rocket, facing opposite directions, which fuelled the vessel. It was a much more efficient way of absorbing solar energy; given the fact that now there were so many solar thrusters in one.
It still wasn’t anything like the space ships in movies but it was good in the simplicity of its design. The length and speed of the journey were controlled by how much, how long and how many of the multi M.S.P.T were opened.
With this brand new leap for mankind the world was united like it had never been before. John and Ted were exulted as heroes, or gods, in this wonderful discovery. In the new construction that John and Ted both got to be a part of, pride didn’t come near to describing the feelings that they had.
In just a few short years astronauts were able to be on a space craft and to see Mars first hand. The only thing that separated them was a quarter of a million miles, roughly the distance from Earth to the moon, and several layers of space glass. Meanwhile, our communications ability struggled to keep up because it all seemed to happen so quickly.
Once the world was united in the one goal there seemed to be little that could stop mankind. But what the world longed for more than anything was to be able to share in this voyage and for one day anyone who wanted to travel the stars could be able to.
Storing the energy was still difficult, but theoretically by using the particular star of which every system seemed to have we had enough power to make it to the next system. This system, and the neighbouring ones, soon belonged to us.
John died a while ago, but Ted got to see a bit of what was becoming of his and John’s toil. He committed suicide shortly after.
With all the new funding and support that NASA received they were able to make significant advances in every department. Interstellar communications were no longer a problem, NASA could zoom in on many far away planets with the extreme magnifying telescopes that were able to be built, unlike anything we had ever seen or imagined. The new discoveries that were made, that only a decade ago were so far out of reach, were absolutely phenomenal. Now we could get a much clearer picture of the galaxy.
Roughly fifty thousand systems away mankind found a planet that looked to be another earth like planet. The excitement of travelling to this new world was very immense, by the few pioneers who got to make this leap from Earth. More and more settlers starting populating this planet, but slowly, so its ecosystem was not upset with pollution and toxins that it wasn’t ready for.
Was it possible that mankind had become more humane? It seemed to be an earth of one thousand years ago, so beautiful, so new with breathtaking waterfalls and forest. The purity of the air was of a standard hard to define. Soon after populating the northern hemisphere of the planet humans discovered that they weren’t the only being on this new earth.
With the wisdom of evolution, those creatures had evolved to this planet that was very similar to earth, and looked very much like humans. Mankind was not greeted with a very warm welcome. Their weapons were much more advanced than the natives. It was a fight very similar to the taking of America, like the fox versus the chicken, like the snake versus the mouse. Taking care of the primitives was easy. Mankind wasn’t about to give up the spectacular planet that they had just found. Not after everything that they had gone through to get there.
We had deliberated on the matter. Was it possible that humans had become more humane? The verdict was no. The penalty was…