“I’m telling you Sir. They won’t go. We have evacuated the rest but this group on the island of Stuke are determined to stay until the end. We’ve tried everything to convince them, but they will not budge,” explained Commander Justin Spencer of the Earth1 evacuation team.
His job was to supervise the evacuation of all remaining humans on Earth1. The overall evacuation program had been running for nearly two hundred years, since 2836. The atmosphere had spiralled out of control during the first century of the millennium. Those crazy people, if only they had stayed with their nuclear energy programs instead of reverting back to fossil fuel, and being so naïve as to imagine that they could control the atmosphere with that backward technology. Well, mankind has certainly paid a high price.
After the 21st century ended things began to move quickly. The atmosphere was so polluted that we were driven underground. Population reduced by ninety-eight per cent to just fewer than 100 million; Most animal species died out; Water rationing; Food in tablet form; Babies manufactured in the lab.
But mankind survived by adaptation just as in the past. We evolved to the new life. Now we were being hit again by the power of nature. The Earth was heating up, not the three or four degrees which caused panic back then but eighteen degrees centigrade per year. The cooling systems were breaking down now on a regular basis. This year of 3029 would be the last on Earth. As soon as we turn off the lights and the cooling systems go down, the shock to the crust will be so immense that it will erupt within days. That will be the end.
Jork Tipper is the supreme commander leading the last fleet out to our new home, in the solar system HD10180. Earth2 was discovered over nine hundred years ago but at a distance of over a hundred light years was until recently too far away to colonise. As usual mankind found a solution and managed to harness the hyper drive warp technique just in time. By warping through the worm hole G64 we could be there in a month.
“Commander, we have two days left. How many entities are there remaining on the island?”
“Two hundred and fifty-six humans and eighteen thousand animals, if we include the rats, Sir.”
“Ok then. I want you to patch me in with their leader at two o’clock. Come to join me for lunch so that we can discuss the options.”
Commander Spencer had been trying for months to persuade the Stuke people to join the fleet, but they were the last remaining religious group and also believed in the final salvation here on Earth1. He was convinced that they would not be prepared to go.
“If we leave our homeland, we go against everything we have lived for,” shrieked Tulcar. “We have lived according to the holy scriptures of our Lord Meninsulah for nearly a thousand years. Our parents have taught us as their parents taught them. Was it all in vain? I say we stay here on Stuke Island and take our chances. God will protect us.”
I heaved a sigh. The decision was mine alone. Only one was trusted with the divine right and since reaching manhood this was conferred on me. My name is Jesuah Markon; I am the leader of the Meninsulites here on Stuke Island. The burden is heavy. I have listened to the arguments for over a hundred years and have been swayed by each debate.
“I am meeting with Commanders Tipper and Spencer this afternoon where I will make my final decision. I will retire to my sanctuary until then. Please God help us to find the right way.” At that I waited for the murmur of acceptance, studying the eyes of each of my congregation. They all show such open trust and faith, not only in our God, Meninsulah, but also in me. This faith sits with ever-increasing weight on my tired shoulders.
I turned slowly and left to the fading whispers of “God be with you Lord Jesuah. Please save us.”
Alone in my sanctuary I pondered the same questions that had been haunting me since childhood. “If we leave for Earth2 the most sacred of our beliefs is lost forever. We live on the Island of Stuke, because this land was blessed by Meninsulah Himself. Our forefathers accepted the home with the promise that we would always remain and look after this holy land. If we leave, where do we go? What is our destiny? We could no longer exist as Meninsulites.”
I closed my eyes, so heavy with sorrows. “How could I find the strength to help my people? God please help me! Show me the way,” I called, staring down into the bowels of the earth towards heaven and the home of our Lord.
As I concentrated, trying to clear my head to think, a voice suddenly entered my mind. I had heard from my father, and he from his, that during the Great War of the planets, when it seemed as though all was lost, my distant predecessor Lord Mastow had heard the same voice. Somehow I knew this was the time. I heard the voice, but there were no words, no sound, and no command. It was as if the voice was just there, in my head; Thoughts, but not my own.
I immediately knew the answer that I had been searching.
I called to the vidcom to connect and instantly the stern countenances of two grim senior commanders came onto the screen.
“My dear Lord Jesuah, it has been a long time since we met. I hope that you and your people are well and still managing to cope with the temperature fluctuations. We are doing our best to stabilise, but you know how it is I think. We are at our maximum limits. Within days the systems will break down.” Tipper was straight to the point. This would be a short conversation.
He went on,” We will need at least twenty-four hours to load the entities…. er people and animals onto the ships. We must have a decision from you this afternoon. You must choose between a life on Earth2 and a certain death here on Earth1. How do you respond?”
I smiled. The life on Earth2 would be no life for the Meninsulites. I calmly looked them both in the eye and said with a confidence that surprised even myself, “My dear gentlemen, as you know we have habited this island for nearly a thousand years. We have survived ridicule from the other clans. We have survived disease and famine, and are now threatened by a new danger. We are more afraid of your Earth2 than remaining here to face our fate. We will stay and share the future which is written in the stars.”
The frustration showed on their faces. I suspected that the next promotion, especially that of Spencer would depend on his success at complete evacuation. He broke in, “But this is crazy. No-one believes in this rubbish any more. Get real man….”
At this Commander Tipper showed anger and quickly touched the arm of Spencer to stop him.
“Commander Spencer, you know the law. We cannot legally force the Meninsulites to leave Earth1. The choice must be theirs and theirs alone.” Turning to me he said “Lord Jesuah, your decision is noted. We will leave you as much protection and supplies as possible, but the fleet will leave tomorrow morning. There will be no return.”
“I thank you and wish you well on your long voyage Commander. God bless you.”
We had much to do but somehow I felt lighter. The decision was made. There would be no going back.
The following morning we all came to the domed hall to watch the spectacle. The final evacuation fleet of hyperdrives was forming in the sky. The sight was awesome. The sky was filled with a cloud of dots, each one holding a small village of people, animals, and plants. In a flash they all moved as one. A second later the sky was clear; they were gone.
I turned to my people. “We must move quickly. We have little time.”
We spent the next day and night herding every living creature on the island down into the deepest caverns. The supplies left by Tipper followed. We had enough to last quite a while.
The Earth shook for months. We spent the days praying, sleeping, and tending our duties. Meninsulah would protect us, I was sure. I had followed exactly the commands of the voice.
Slowly the tremors subsided; the worst seemed to be over. We remained down in the cavern for another twelve years, fearing the intense radiation and heat of the surface. On the foretold day I asked my son, Jesuih to go to the upper level and bring news of the surface conditions. The journey would take some weeks as all transport means had ceased to function during the time underground. We waited and prayed those long empty days.
After his return with the news that we could surface, it was a time of great celebration. We made music, danced and sang, just like in the old times. After a week of celebrations we began to gather what few belongings we had and move back up towards the surface.
That day alone in the sanctuary I had been told that in order for Earth to survive we must rid ourselves of the main cause of its destruction. Mankind had almost succeeded in wiping out the Earth and all its’ creatures, but with them gone one small group of Believers, the Meninsulites, would begin all over again to establish a new order.
I looked at the stars with awe and wonder. “Good luck Commander,” I murmured. “I hope you all do better the next time.”