Ten Thousand Worlds

E3

Space Station Hope

In a near-future that may be too close for comfort, a weapon of mass destruction was unleashed in one of humanity’s interminable quarrels, and did its job too well. It became the watershed event that caused an already overburdened biosphere to collapse in a series of cascading ecological catastrophes, each more devastating than the next. Before their birth-world became completely uninhabitable, a fraction of the human race was able to escape to space by cannibalizing nearly every remaining resource available.

A fraction of that fraction survived those first few months, when many of the hastily assembled habitats broke down or simply couldn’t support their crews in an environment that was so hostile to humans. One of the more successful came from the merging of a Brazilian AEB spaceship, a Spanish-built ESA space laboratory, and a US NASA orbital vehicle. Alternately called Estação de Espaço Esperança, Estación Espacial Esperanza, and Space Station Hope, the space habitat is now known simply as E3.

While most of humanity struggled (and struggles still) to survive on comet ice, asteroid minerals, captured sunlight, and fragile artificial biospheres, E3 had time to develop modern space-faring technologies, and ponder questions beyond day-to-day survival. One of the biggest questions was how to gather together all the tiny remaining pieces of recorded human culture that were spread out among humanity’s space habitats, functioning or otherwise. The hardest part of this problem is not technical. Each habitat is an experiment in a different vision of Utopia, with every conceivable form of society being tried out, and each also has a different version of the story of Earth’s demise, with one part in common: It was the other guy’s fault. The E3 crew gave away their space-faring technologies to the other habitats as a goodwill gesture, and while that garnered some trust and an exchange of knowledge from many of them, far too many just used the new technologies to leave in search of homes outside the solar system, without so much as a “thank you”.

Now, with advent of the first space-born humans, the E3 crew are on a three —er, four— part mission:

  1. Find the failed habitats to collect the lost fragments of human culture.
  2. Get the surviving habitats to exchange information with them, and with each other.
  3. Get enough of people working together so that together, humanity can make a new home for itself, and transition from merely surviving to growing and thriving.
  4. The Secret Mission: Prepare humanity for a possible encounter with a sentient alien space-faring species. When an E3 expedition went calling on one of the habitats that had accepted new technology and left for the Gliese 581 system, they found it torn apart by artificial means. Only a handful of the E3 crew know of this, and the E3 governing council has decided, for their own mysterious reasons, to not share this information with other habitats just yet.

Titles for stories set in E3 include the ships and gear of humanity’s new frontier:

Fly Me to the Moon

Version 1.0, January 2011

Excerpt:

Proposed as long ago as 1994 CE by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, this faster-than-light space drive did not become a reality until one was finally forged from dark matter itself … When activated, it wraps the ship in a bubble of space-time that experiences no acceleration, while outside the bubble it warps space in a wave, contracting it ahead of the ship while expanding the space behind it…

 

<< Try Other Worlds