Gather

Reads: 64  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Wildering Haven

Then came the Declaration of Doomsday, or rather, what is said to be the confirmation of the end. The Earth is starting to get very uncomfortable. Going outdoors is hazardous and the food tastes funny now. There is no more fresh water and the air is going bad. The first space station was a place of incredible freedom and enthusiasm, all kinds of small parts and huge systems for the marketplace of getting us on our way.

"Around the campfire" is a concept we heard from stories about our grandfathers. Nobody here has ever seen an open fire, much less a conflagration at an encampment. We do have simulated woodlands on the ship. There are places where simulated nights can be experienced here too. When this voyage embarked, the ones who boarded had only the knowledge of how to live on the Earth, with natural gravity. Now we are perhaps midway into our journey, and the ones who knew the details of campfires and Earth have long passed on. They gave the children an early balance on good and social qualities, with the intention of forming the youthful personalities into a moral future.

When our voyage started, only two things appeared certain, but there has always been doubt too. The first certainty is that the Earth was not as reliable as it once was, and the second certainty, our grandfather’s remote sensing equipment had uncovered some new information about some locations that appear to be like earth. The silver seeds we now occupy are the best hope we have for the survival of you and me, and our millions of friends. Billions, including people we don’t know. None of them have been born yet. We are relying on the programmed travel instructions that are in the forbidden zone on the vessel. To live and bring our children, this is enough to have in common with our group. 

Nobody here alive now has ever met any of the grandfathers, we learned of them through juvenile storytelling. I was, to a great degree, self- taught with regard to my favorite studies. Nor were these my only visions. The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors. They said "It is time to step into the universe of unlimited possibilities and create the most wondrous future imaginable."

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, the once familiar old renowned British theoretical physicist, said that "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars." 

This proposed campfire is obviously forbidden, but even in this place, we might get away with it one time. It feels good to think about what it means, and it summons old spirits as common once as night and wilderness. The secret gathering of the rebels will take place in the back of the Oldest English Garden on F Deck.

Grandfather made a choice. Now we are making the best of it. There is nothing we can do about it, here we are. We have no choice. Grandfather made a choice. We do endeavor to make our lives better as we live, sometimes new inventions change everything. But we have no choice, we are on this voyage that was designed long before our birth, a voyage we had no say in accepting.

Our grandfather’s people were a small group of explorers and inventors of new tools, and what they found had profound philosophical implications. They would become folk heroes for generations of kids in the future. This all started off as vaguely matching or corresponding interests in scientific hobbies.

These few people communicated with each other and opened up whole new ways of solving problems. They had faith that their discoveries have much value to be realized. They set out to build a path to the promised land, at the very extremes of science. We can travel and we want a place to raise our kids, and to claim the land of safety for our children, no matter how far we have to go.

So much has happened to get to this place. It started in secrecy, much like the forbidden campfire we are planning. The Earth is our Mother. We are far from home now. Cataclysm is derived from the Greek katá, 'down, against', and klyz, 'wash over, surge.'

“Have you ever seen the Earth?” asked a professor, ironically, of one of his pupils.

“No, sir!” replied the pupil, still more ironically, “but I must say I have heard it spoken of.”

The forbidden belief of the spiritual presence of Elysia is still keeping us strong. Congregants often formed a société soutien (support society), each orixá is associated with specific colors, foods, animals, and minerals, and was practiced under a large cover of secrecy. We are giving honor to the spiritualism and the activism that our ancestors did and relied upon. The songs are used to open the gate between the deities and the human world and invite the spirits to possess someone.

Mother Elysia's nocturnal gatherings are often referred to as the dans ("dance"), reflecting the prominent role that dancing has in such ceremonies. The dancing takes place counterclockwise around the poto mitan. The trance of possession is known as the crise de lwa. It represented a reality which connected one to the ancestors and reconfirmed a continuity through both time and space, "the spiritual force of the universe."

Elysia incorporates a belief in destiny, although this is not regarded as totally predetermined, with individuals having some freedom of choice. There is no central authority in control of the spirit of Elysia, which is organised through autonomous groups. They once lived on the border of the terrestrial desert, where they were known as the keepers of the eastern and western horizon or guardians of the eastern and western descent to the underworld. It was a strong effort of the spirit of good, but it was ineffectual. Destiny was too potent, and destiny's immutable laws had decreed Fair Earth's utter and terrible destruction.

Scientists watched in disbelief that as the evidence for global warming became ever more solid, the deniers have always been increasingly successful in the public and political arena. Furthermore, the accusation against the industrial companies, that they are the main culprits of emissions, suits well with the feminist's attack against the white men and the socialist concept of the evil capitalists.

Forbidden imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life became criminal. So-called "Science Fiction" has been called the "forbidden literature of ideas", because it often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations, and imagined an advanced civilization after humans and pondered whether it would "be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record."

The notion of dying and sending our collective grandchildren off the earth was ridiculed and made illegal and the prisons swell. The thought police gave loyalty tests, only the pure may thrive in the homeland. "There must be no more nonsense about leaving the earth." This becomes unpopular as more people you know are confined for subjective crimes. Change must come. Hope grows and new technologies are privately developed. New ways of detecting Elysia support are discussed but nothing really happens. Except the prison industry thrives.

Then there is an election bringing a New Administration, showing the first official support of the survival project. "The tragedies of the past three years will be hard to overcome, but we yearn for new hope, there is growing popularity of the Survival Mission." The surface conditions on earth become excessively harsh. The people all support finding a new hope for the unborn grandchildren. Now the stories of the heros can be told, struggling during the dark years against the odds, surviving through history to become models for the new movement to find a better world for the kids of the future. This is what to teach them in their schools, out there in the future. A sense of history and moral purpose. Suddenly, science teachers are heroes and hard to find. The market is ready to jump in. There is a new science reawakening!

The first space station was a place of incredible freedom and enthusiasm, all kinds of small parts and huge systems for the marketplace of getting us on our way. Everyone is building a little ship in their garages. Garages get bigger. All this is fine and dandy, but here is the real zinger that troubles this whole enterprise or cult or whatever you want to call it. Nobody alive here today is going to be walking on that new land.

Why would we leave on this dangerous journey? Examples of technology risks are hostile artificial intelligence and destructive biotechnology or nanotechnology. Insufficient or malign global governance creates risks in the social and political domain, such as a global war, including nuclear holocaust, bioterrorism using genetically modified organisms, cyberterrorism destroying critical infrastructure like the electrical grid; or the failure to manage a natural pandemic. Problems and risks in the domain of earth system governance include global warming, environmental degradation, including extinction of species, famine as a result of non-equitable resource distribution, human overpopulation, crop failures and non-sustainable agriculture. Take your pick.

But people saw such catastrophes as just part of the normal situation, transient excursions within an overall state that looked permanent on the timescale of human society. Here the particles remained for several years blocking the sun's rays thereby producing many years of "nuclear winter." Parallels are often drawn between the flood waters of these years and the primaeval waters which appear in certain creation myths, as the flood waters are described as a measure for the cleansing of humanity, in preparation for rebirth.

“The ancient teachers of this science,” once said my mentor, “promised impossibilities and performed nothing. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places."

I once had a dream. The landscape was misty and vague. I was still on the hillside upon which an old house once stood, and the old chimney rose above me grey and dim. I saw trees growing and changing like puffs of vapour, now brown, now green; they grew, spread, shivered, and passed away. I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams. The whole surface of the earth seemed changed—melting and flowing under my eyes. Presently I noted that the sun belt swayed up and down, from solstice to solstice, in a minute or less, and that consequently my pace was over a year a minute; and minute by minute the white snow flashed across the world, and vanished, and was followed by the bright, brief green of spring. The night passed without incident. The word “night,” however, is scarcely applicable.

Crowded tabletops with tiny flickering lamps; stones sitting in oil baths; a crucifix; murky bottles of roots and herbs steeped in alcohol; shiny new bottles of rum, scotch, gin, perfume, and almond-sugar syrup, these are regarded as a home for the Elysian spirits. Though there is a distinction between skepticism which indicates doubting the truth of an assertion and outright denial of the truth of an assertion, in the public debate phrases such as "climate skepticism" have frequently been used with the same meaning as climate denialism or contrarianism. The religion of Elysia holds that Mother Earth is sacred. Altars or shrines range from shacks, to compounds, or even dedicated temples. 

Research advanced rapidly after 1940; from 1957, Roger Revelle alerted the public to risks that fossil fuel burning was "a grandiose scientific experiment" on climate. The press worked to discredit the scientists involved, to dispute their findings, and to create and maintain an apparent controversy by promoting claims that contradicted scientific research. Extinction occurs at an uneven rate. 

Evidence for widespread ocean anoxia (severe deficiency of oxygen) and euxinia (presence of hydrogen sulfide) is found. Because most diversity and biomass on Earth is microbial, and thus difficult to measure, recorded extinction events affect the easily observed, biologically complex component of the biosphere rather than the total diversity and abundance of life.

Mass extinctions have sometimes accelerated the evolution of life on Earth. When dominance of particular ecological niches passes from one group of organisms to another, it is rarely because the newly dominant group is "superior" to the old but usually because an extinction event eliminates the old, dominant group and makes way for the new one, a process known as adaptive radiation. All of Earth's dinosaur species became extinct at the same time 65 million years ago. 

The flood-myth motif occurs in many cultures as seen in the Mesopotamian flood stories, manvantara- sandhya in Hinduism, the Gun-Yu in Chinese mythology, Deucalion and Pyrrha in Greek mythology, the Genesis flood narrative, Bergelmir in Norse mythology, flood during the time of Nuh (Noah) of Qur'an, the arrival of the first inhabitants of Ireland with Cessair in Irish mythology, in parts of Polynesia such as Hawaii, the lore of the K'iche' and Maya peoples in Mesoamerica, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa tribe of Native Americans in North America, the Muisca and Cañari Confederation in South America, Africa, and some Aboriginal tribes in Australia.

Atlantis (Ancient Greek, Atlantis nesos, "island of Atlas") is a terrestrial island mentioned in an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato's works Timaeus and Critias, wherein it represents the antagonist naval power that besieges "Ancient Athens," the pseudo-historic embodiment of Plato's ideal state in The Republic. In the story, Athens repels the Atlantean attack unlike any other nation of the known world, supposedly bearing witness to the superiority of Plato's concept of a state. The story concludes with Atlantis falling out of favor with the deities and submerging into the Atlantic Ocean.

Prior civilizations could have gone to space and left artifacts on other celestial bodies, such as the Moon and Mars. Evidence for artifacts on these two worlds would be easier to find than on Earth, where erosion and tectonic activity would erase much of it. Unidentified lights and flying objects have been reported in the skies for much of human history. Skeptics, including various scientists, and organizations such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, state that the entire topic can be explained as conventional objects or phenomena, while UF-ologists suggest various unproven theories. Public polling indicates a considerable portion of the U.S. population feels that their government is withholding information on the subject. The 1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg was printed in an illustrated news notice. UFO enthusiasts have described the phenomenon as an aerial battle of extraterrestrial origin.

The study of UFOs has received little support in mainstream scientific literature. Among the best known government studies are the ghost rockets investigation by the Swedish military (1946–1947), Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the USAF from 1947 until 1969, the secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951), the secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14[100] by the Battelle Memorial Institute, and the Brazilian Air Force's 1977 Operação Prato (Operation Saucer).

Fata Morgana, a type of mirage in which objects located below the astronomical horizon appear to be hovering in the sky just above the horizon, may be responsible for some UFO sightings. Now we know, we are the UFOs.

The voices we sometimes hear explain the moving ship without waves and wind. There is a supernatural force at work. Because the action of the primeval story is not represented as taking place on the plane of ordinary human history and has so many affinities with ancient mythology, it is very far-fetched to speak of its narratives as historical at all.

The paintings in the Font de Gaume cave in France are painted about 27,000 years ago. They are known for being the first examples of polychrome paintings. On the other hand, intangible cultural heritage consists of non-physical aspects of a particular culture, more often maintained by social customs during a specific period in history. The concept includes the ways and means of behavior in a society, and the often formal rules for operating in a particular cultural climate. These include social values and traditions, customs and practices, aesthetic and spiritual beliefs, artistic expression, language and other aspects of human activity. The significance of physical artifacts can be interpreted as an act against the backdrop of socioeconomic, political, ethnic, religious and philosophical values of a particular group of people. Naturally, intangible cultural heritage is more difficult to preserve than physical objects. 

The first discovered Cambrian fossils were trilobites, described by Edward Lhuyd, the curator of Oxford Museum, in 1698. The earliest claim is that the history of life on earth goes back 3,850 million years. Rocks of that age at Warrawoona, Australia, were claimed to contain fossil stromatolites, stubby pillars formed by colonies of microorganisms.

A creation myth (or creation story) is a cultural, religious or traditional myth which describes the earliest beginnings of the present world. Creation myths are the most common form of myth, usually developing first in oral traditions, and are found throughout human culture. A creation myth is usually regarded by those who subscribe to it as conveying profound truths, though not necessarily in a historical or literal sense. They are commonly, though not always, considered cosmogonical myths, that is, they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness, a campfire story is a form of oral storytelling performed around an open fire at night, typically in the wilderness, largely connected with the telling of stories having supernatural motifs or elements of hopeful legends. 

The first account (Genesis 1:1–2:3) employs a repetitious structure of divine fiat and fulfillment, then the statement "And there was evening and there was morning, the [xth] day," for each of the six days of creation. In each of the first three days there is an act of division: day one divides the darkness from light, day two the "waters above" from the "waters below", and day three the sea from the land. In each of the next three days these divisions are populated: day four populates the darkness and light with Sun, Moon and stars; day five populates seas and skies with fish and fowl; and finally land-based creatures and mankind populate the land.

Sometime about 400,000 years ago, humans learned to fully control fire. Space exploration, like its classical form astronomy, is one of the main sources for space science and began with tales around those fires. The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth's atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. Until the advent of space travel, objects in the asteroid belt were merely pinpricks of light in even the largest telescopes, their shapes and terrain remaining a mystery. Space travel is the reaching of the universe beyond the atmosphere of the earth. Deep space exploration is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology. The term "Xenobiology" has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means "biology of the foreigners."

Our grandfather’s people were a small diverse group of explorers and inventors of new tools, and what they found had profound philosophical implications. They would become the folk heroes for generations of those who are surely coming in the future. This all started off as one- in -a -million matching or corresponding interests in scientific hobbies. These few people communicated with each other and opened up whole new ways of solving problems. They have faith that their discoveries have much value to be realized. They set out to build a path to the promised land, at the very extremes of science. We can travel and we want a place to raise our kids, the land of safety for our children, no matter how far we have to go.

So what will arrive several generations out, when the silver seeds of the spaceships come to the distant shores, when they arrive at their intended destination? What kind of being will emerge from the journey? Born of gravity, and then living with no gravity for generations. Eating limited types of food.

When the spaceship lands, does it strut out of the tin can, or does it cautiously gather more information before emerging, or does it come out singing and dancing? It might think that it needs to come out shooting. Perhaps certain cinematic classics should be omitted from the vessel's cultural recreation facilities.

Grandfather made a choice. Now we are making the best of it. There is nothing we can do about it, here we are. We have no choice. Grandfather made our choice. Try to finish this or cease to exist. Is that a choice? It was a decision that was made on our behalf, gratitude sometimes flows backwards.

As the project continues the data proving the existence of the promised place becomes increasingly conclusive. Political opposition and resistance to this movement has always been considerable and the friction makes for much prized broadband juice. Everyone can participate, it is not like there are only a few jobs in a factory. The new life of science will require much training. How quickly can you learn to figure out what you need to know?

We must stop training people to be apprentices and increase our supply of innovative managers. We must command new sciences and discoveries and inventions. Some provide information to build upon, some are total wastes, some are profitable for a few businesses, while whole new industries based on training these new technology workers pop up overnight. The coming generations will have a lot to learn, and a long way to go.

The first space ships were fantastic vehicles of wonder, each one of a kind constructions that would enable a crew of entrepreneurial adventurers to get started right away. Getting to and from the space station eventually became a basic commuter nightmare, with traffic jams and patterns you can fit into.

Go to work, go home, repeat daily. We are doing this for our kids, so they can find their way to a cleaner new world. Nobody seems to ask about the expected situation when they arrive. Are we swimming to a new America, with a few troublesome indigenous inhabitants to consider? We are obliged to make the world safe for our children, and that requires some effort. What about the children already living there?

Soon new methods emerged, instead of odd one-of-a-kind contraptions, resources were pooled, creating gigantic new industries and scales of production. With political and major industrial support soon there were new fleets of identical ships designed to hold hundreds of people, with an eye to increasing to over a thousand souls in a single vessel. There was prosperity in the face of social changes, from discovery to application, to resistance and oppression, and then a new era began. That has always been the plan.

Military supply conglomerates began supporting new businesses and the study of science became a very lucrative specialization, a new social trend and way of life. This is a classic Boom cycle, anything could happen and there are no guarantees for universal prosperity, but lots of boats are being lifted together. This was a great time to be a science librarian.

The first prison ship was launched. The program expands slowly as the public enjoys the benefits of a new "crime -free society." Now the loyal opposition to the current government became involved in a ritual deportation. Political rivals were loaded up on the rockets and never seen again. Prisons were soon depopulated and then  abandoned forever, and the cities were clean and orderly. 

The remaining earth-based humans are eventually faced with a gigantic labor shortage, on an increasingly hostile Earth. The land is barren and too cold and too hot. There is no permanent drought but there is increasingly toxic water. The air is changing too. Industrial farming is now all about the highest grade mono crop that can be supplied that is nourishing, and taste matters too. Small personal gardening or micro farming is pretty much universal, everyone likes a good fresh salad. Everyone has a humble window-box or a series of things growing all around the house. This is much celebrated, like good cooking.

Then came the Declaration of the Discovery of Doomsday, or rather, what is said to be the confirmation of the end. The Earth is starting to get very uncomfortable. Going outdoors is hazardous and the food tastes funny now. There is no more fresh water and the air is going bad. Respiratory diseases are increasingly fatal. The common opinion is that to stay on Earth is fatal. It is too hot, or too cold, too dry, too wet, it is already dead, earthquakes increase, new minerals are exposed and processed.

Going outside is unthinkable most of the time, walking in some common areas that are indoors requires protection, and water from the old aquifer system is no longer safe. Food and mercantile needs are the best businesses to be in.

Until the moment someone actually gets there, nobody really knows what is going to be found there. It is sort of like death, nobody has come back to say definitively, but one day our grandchildren are going to find out for sure. It is nothing like death, as natural as finding air to breathe. Grandfather said “We seek a new World.”

Now grandfather is long dead and I am stuck on this old spaceship, being guided by a robot captain and we sure do hope it knows what it is doing. That is going to be a big moment. Won't they be grateful! Won't they? 

Walking off the ship on a new land. Live or die in a second. This moment is where opinions collide. Stepping off the boat. What is it like from the point of view up there at the New World? We are the new refugees. Do they look like us or are we different? 

Imagine the point of view from the ground there, imagine minding your own business, tending to your own daily disasters and life’s work, and suddenly from the sky there are these unmanned pods filled with various wonderful things, strange old food and things that you have never seen before. New technologies.

First a few pods, then a few more, then it rains pods. Then the first pioneers land, the grandchildren of the first inventors of the journey. This is the singular most significant moment, the arrival of the philosophical originals. The moment they step off of the ship, they would be singing many psalms that probably would have been written on the long voyage, through the long dark nights of the journey to the promised land.

After the first friendly helpless ones, so grateful for charity, come the more angry ones, in larger quantities. They do not negotiate, they just take what they need. As these ships begin to rain down, there will now be a flood of the descendants of those large human prison transportation units. These are aggressive people sent because of their crimes or because they were unlucky enough to represent any form of opposition to the political party in power. Only the strongest will have survived. Thousands of space ships were launched with the capacity of over five thousand human souls each.

The provisions supporting this population will be insufficient. Only a few will survive, but those few will be a powerful force. They will be clever enough to adapt to the changing circumstances. When we land, what if the indigenous inhabitants are not happy to see these new creatures from far away? We expected unforeseen incidents, and new phenomena; and nothing would have astonished us in the frame of  mind we could be in. Our overexcited imagination has gone faster than our projectile. But we have fancied that if we stretched out our hands we could seize it.

I tremble and my heart fails within me, when, on looking up, I saw by the light of the signal tower the old familiar ghost or dæmon at the bulwark. A ghastly grin wrinkles his lips as he gazes on me, where I tremble. Yes, he has followed me in my travels; he has loitered below decks, hidden himself in artificial caves, or taken refuge in wide and deserted storage chambers; and he now comes to mark my progress and claim the fulfilment of my grandfather's promise. The brain is seen to wander from one point to another as the pilgrim experiences visions relating to the past events. This means that the brain is unstable and could change from one thought to another in cases where the pilgrim has many things to think about. An unstable mind brought about by the condition could help the pilgrim to stick to the initial memory hence making it difficult for further survival developments.

It would be a long way to go back home.


Submitted: June 21, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Robin James. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Rob73

A wonderfully written Science Fiction short story.

Mon, June 21st, 2021 9:49pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Rob73! I appreciate your comments. I am finding my inner author, it has been a struggle for many years. Now I have a new perspective and things appear to be flowing, however I tend to loose perspective so hearing from you really means a lot. Now to check out your work!

Tue, June 22nd, 2021 8:33am

Facebook Comments

More Science Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by Robin James

Short Story / Other

Short Story / Horror

Short Story / Horror