Friday, July 12, 2013

Generation Ship

Generation Ship

We had to leave our planet, pollution became ubiquitous and air quality was very poor. We had the technology for a housing ship, the size of a small country. These ships couldn’t travel very fast, but that was okay. We started a new civilization on the generation ship. Originally the inhabitants were both men and women but soon space became an issue and the men had to be sent off. Reproduction was performed through artificial insemination. The population slowly grew over time but was highly regulated. The ship could only contain one million individuals.

The first boy opened his eyes. He was in the hospital sector, born only seconds ago. His mother, a servant, breathed hard through a layer of sweat. The nurses and doctors carried the baby away for tests and health screening. The room was very bright to the baby. He could make out the white walls and equipment, even though he didn’t know that what he saw was the color white.

The media was in the hospital too, documenting the birth of the first male. Video cameras filmed the baby with his mother. Wirelessly the information was sent to the populations’ tablets and laptops. Outside the hospital people gathered in the parks and gardens. Roses climbed trellises; thorns were trimmed for the safety of everyone. There was very little crime on the generation ship. Women tended not to resolve their conflicts with violence.

The emperor of the ship was a very old woman who was appointed the position one year ago, while the ship was still grounded. She was tall and charismatic. She marked the day of the boy’s birth as a holiday and the triumph of the generation ship over the rigors of civilization.

The ship was on a slow course to a nearby star where it could gather light to recharge the ship’s batteries through the miles of solar panels covering the ship. The course was previously untraveled which led to several surprises. Soon the ship was in an asteroid field, the large, floating rocks came into view. The ship’s controllers called the emperor and told her the news. They could use the guardian lasers the blast the asteroids, but that would just make smaller asteroids.

After conferring with the emperor, the controllers used the remaining battery power to erect a force field which protected the ship. The lights on the generation ship cut out. People began to panic. Soon the emperor came over the speakers and reassured everyone:

“We have encountered an asteroid field. To protect the ship and all its’ inhabitants we had to create a force field which meant depleting most of the ship’s energy. Based on estimations from the controllers we should be out of the field in two hours. Then it should only be another two hours before we reach the star.”

The boy was awake in the pitch blackness of the hospital room. For a second he thought he was back in the womb, but wasn’t too sure. He didn’t like the darkness. He closed his eyes and pictured the asteroid field. He wished it away. The asteroids disappeared.

“Where did they go?” Asked a controller.

“Very strange, they just disappeared.” Said another controller.

Soon the force field was turned off. The power was back on. The baby opened his eyes as the lights came flickered into life. He liked the bright lights.