This is the 95th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
Sol’s Children, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 6th March 2013
Word count: 992
“Its true then?” the Emperor asked.
“I’m afraid so sire,” the lead solar scientist, Royston Miller, said bowing low. “Its the sun’s natural evolution, no one I’ve spoken to knows any way to affect something like this. In five to six years the sun will rapidly expand, and all signs indicate the Earth will be swallowed with a couple of decades at the most.”
“And that’s certain?” the Supre Marsborn, the Emperor’s Scientific Adviser asked.
“No, it may not expand as much as we fear, but even the minimum expected expansions would increase the temperature’s on earth, most of the outer layer of rock would become molton, rivers and oceans would dry up,” Royston said hesitantingly.
‘How many people could we evacuate to the colonies, Admiral?” the Emperor asked.
A gruff old man cleared his throat buying himself time to consider carefully, “Not as many as I’d like Sire. In four years we might make it to a billion, maybe a few more if we kept up ship building. But in reality it would be at most a few millions, the outer colonies couldn’t cope with more. There’s also the problem of the several separatist movements, this could push them over the edge which would make things harder.”
The Emperor nodded his thanks to the Admiral for his comprehensive, albeit depressing, report. “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, gather the best, the smartest. We need a plan to save Earth, or everyone on it. We can not let the future of humanity die with a dying star. We must survive.”
Supre Marsborn bowed, “I will see to it your highness.”
The room was cleared, leaving his divine Emperor July Windsor to slump back into his ancient throne.
Four months later Supre Marsborn pulled together the eighteenth conference. So far they had come away with no single plan. Supre could not rely on the Emperor’s patience lasting until the end of the world, so he proactively sought the Emperor’s council and help. The result was a new, and extremely controversial law, or it would be for the people in this conference.
Supre stood up to address the conference, “The Emperor has asked me to convey how dissatisfied he is with us. The full resources of this planet are at our disposal, all we have to do is have a plan to save eight billion people. He’s so disappointed that as we speak he’s signing in a new law. It states, no member of this group will leave this planet until the population is saved.”
The room broke into an uproar, most, if not all, of these noted scientists, engineers, politicians, and business men probably thought they were safe, at Supre’s urging the Emperor had removed that protection.
“Quiet please,” Supre shouted. No one was listening, so he pressed a button on his digipad, all of the exits started pouring forth the Emperor’s own guard, who then lined every wall, fully armed and ready for action.
The presence of the formidable guests was enough to quiet the audience.
“The Emperor does not take this action lightly, and the consequences for failure are death. The law also makes the Emperor the last human to step off the planet. He will die here on this planet with us, if we fail.
“For obvious reasons his heirs aren’t part of this, the royal family must continue,” the room was now silent. The Emperor’s sacrifice committed them all, they had no choice.
The mood was much more cooperative, and pragmatic as ideas were purposed and then whittled down.
Supre made the presentation to the Emperor along with several prominent scientists with relevant specialisations relating to the plan.
“This is ambitious, possibly the most ambitious project that humankind has or ever will take. If you believe this is the only way, the full resources of our planet are at your disposal,” the Emperor said giving consent.
Three years later the most ambitious undertaking of human history was taking shape.
“Are we ready?” the Emperor asked the now Lord Admiral Supre Marsborn, for what felt like the one hundredth time.
“We are, your highness,” Supre said, “All power systems are online, the Lithium gorges are at tip top capacity, the fusion reactors are now at one hundred percent ouput.”
“You’re all sure we’re actually going to go forward?” the Emperor asked. It was a nerve racking time, though the sun wasn’t scheduled to explode for another year and a half, it would take that long to go get to the safe zone.
“Best scientists, and best engineers, we’ve used the best materials available to us, the space pyloans are possibly the longest and strongest thing ever built. We feel confident, sire,” Supre said bowing.
The Emperor appraoched the flight desk console, “And you want me to push this lever?”
“Yes sire, push the lever and the engines will be operating at max,” Supre said.
The Emperor said a few words for the assembled media, sombre words marking the occaision and the exodus. Then he pushed the throttle control fully forward.
A million miles above the surface of Earth, navy ships watched as several million pin pricks of light flare up above the atmosphere of Earth. The pin pricks became bright, pushing hard against the millions of white towers connecting the fusion engines to the surface. Slowly but surely, the planet Earth moved, it’s orbit around the rapidly deadly sun was shifting.
One four months they would sling shot around, and use the momentum to move the Earth beyond the sun’s grip and out into space in search of a new home.
The Emperor would keep his word, he would not step off Earth before the other nine billion people who lived there.
Massive engineering and angricultural programs were growing sustenance to feed a sun starved planet, conservationists were cataloguing and archiving the bio-diversity for the day in four centuries time when Earth would once again sit with a Yellow Dwarf at the heart of the Greater Human Empire.