The Astral Exodus

The Astral Exodus

Those who agreed to leave would form a convoy that would travel to Gliese 667 C, a star 23.62 light years away. This convoy would be composed of approximately 89,000, as some survivors chose neither option — choosing to set their arrival coordinates to disparate star systems both near and far.

Recent but relatively unproven technology has created propulsion systems that can propel craft at 80% the speed of light. With the time needed to speed up and slow down the craft, this placed the arrival date about 30 years from departure. While many craft had suspended animation pods designed for longer trips, the longest someone had safely stayed in suspended animation was 5 years.

The recommended plan was for craft inhabitants to separate into three cohorts and do 5-year shifts of suspended animation: 5 years sleeping, 10 years awake, repeat, arrival. Older escapees chose to risk a 30-year sleep, not wishing to age and die while in transit in the black void between star systems. Some of the younger escapees chose to stay out of suspended animation and remain awake throughout.

Then, plans were set in motion: life-support modules were optimized and destination coordinates were set in place. Some of the older and smaller crafts were docked within the long-carry crafts for their specialized cargo loads — and to function as exploratory crafts, sentinels, and scouts. The departure date is three days from now, January 1st, 2077.

Things went better than expected during this journey. Life-support systems stayed in spec and kept the temperature, air, sustenance, and other systems functioning smoothly. Shifts in suspended animation became routine, and those who chose to remain in suspended animation continued to show strong vitals and brain activity. And those who forwent 5-year pod sleep rotations aged and gradually grew accustomed to craft life — some of the younger ones didn’t even remember life outside their craft.

While messages to those who stayed behind continued, things didn’t go nearly as well. While they continued to go on “living,” they simply didn’t have the tools, energy, or equipment to expand much outside their originally expanded encampments and bases. They simply couldn’t create the requisite spacecraft and fuel needed to leave. By the time they could send exploratory craft to Earth nearly five years after the conflict, the planet was encased in glacial deposits — with no signs of survivors. The “Remainers,” as those who left chose to designate them (referring to themselves as the “Travelers”), sent messages to those now light years away, hoping for an envoy to one day come back and rescue them.

As the trip progressed, the times between replies grew and grew. At one light year away, a message sent back would take two years to reach the message origin point. Yet, during these two years, the craft had already traveled another 1.6 light years further at 80% the speed of light. The message is chasing the craft with the Remainers’ hopes, despair, and dreams. The third year sees the message 1.4 light years away; the fifth year since message transmission leaves the gap at 1 light year away. It takes 10 years for a return message to reach the craft. It won’t take long until the messages they send won’t receive responses until decades later — when they come to a stop, reaching Gliese 667 C.

Looking for a new home…

Years pass, light years of distance have been traveled, and the thoughts of their forsaken homeland fade from even the most nostalgic of the passengers. They have traveled for 29 years. In one more year of travel, they will reach the Gliese 667 C star system. Upon arrival, they send scout ships to Gliese 667 Cc, an exoplanet that seems comparable to the habitable zone of Earth, the place they used to call home. Will this be their new home?

“They longingly gaze at the orange sphere they hope will be their new home.”

Want to know why humanity fled the planet? “Part 1: Leaving Earth” drops here on 10/26 at 7p.m.