Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
“Okay, they’re coming! They’re coming! Quick hide! Oh man this is going to be great!”
All the people scattered snickering behind bushes, trees and rocks all around the clearing as the cryopositor’s trunk arm extended down from the obscenely huge colony craft. The ship’s back end protruded out of the atmosphere. It hung in space, gravity repulsors awake and maxed. It had Ark of Terra barely legibly written on the side. It had been in space for six hundred and thirty-eight years.
The long tube dangled down from it until it first found and then stanchioned itself to the ground. All of the millions of people in the ship were still frozen. Only the most important and competent were awoken first as an advance welcome party. They were in the cryopositor now, awaiting to take their first breath of a completely unexplored and possibly hostile frontier world.
Little did they know situations like this happened now and again. The Exodus from Earth had entailed fifty-eight ships over the course of ten years. Nearly a billion people had managed to flee the crowded culling pit that our home had become in those ancient times.
Then we had discovered FTL. After that, we’d been included in an interstellar family of extra-terrestrial beings with thousands of different races. Their tech was our tech. Human lifespans were no longer finite. The far reaches of spaces were more accessible. It was a glorious time.
This had all happened while the Arks floated silently towards their impossibly far-off planets. Millions of hopeful humans asleep in a dreamless night, automated systems keeping them on course. So far seventeen of them had touched down over the last two hundred years on different planets. At first, we’d let them think they were alone for a year or two, letting them get set up before revealing how the course of history had gone. They resented us for that and in retrospect, it was condescending of us.
Now, here, the 18th Earth Ark was touching down on Melandra, or as their star charts knew it, H-L571.
The door to the cryopositor opened. Three people in spacesuits came out. The lead one boldly took his helmet off. His eyes were wide open as he took a first breath of alien air. He smiled as motioned to his two compatriots. They, too, breathed their first. The one on the left unfolded a flag to plant.
We chose that moment, all three hundred of us, to jump out from our hiding places.
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