Beyond the Rainbow
In 2212, the Somali Highlord determined that the future of the world was extremely bleak, and that the only hope for the future of mankind was to colonize another world. Preferably one outside of the Sol system. With only sublight speeds available, a generation ship was the only solution. This would take a major portion of the gross continental product of the African Union for many years to come in order to accomplish. The Highlord made arrangements with leaders of several large corporations, nations, and tribal groups. In exchange for mineral and grazing rights across large tracts of Africa, the various partners agreed to provide technology and personnel.
The crash of the Rhodens Voraris changed everything. It was very rapidly realized by Earth scientists that there was the real possibility of achieving Faster Than Light Travel. Rather than creating large generation ships, the focus came to creating a smaller, but more efficient, solution to the problem. It was decided to generate a database of historical and technical information that could prove useful in the endeavour. Additionally, it was deemed far more efficient to transport large numbers of memory engrams and DNA and rebirth the people when a suitable colony world was found. With data storage techniques, it was considered technically feasible to transport billions of people in a “virtual” fashion.
The participants in the project changed the focus of much of their work. Corporations offered their employees major perks and salary increases, if they agreed to have their DNA and memory engrams taken on a regular basis, so that they would be “backed up” for when they passed away. Some nations offered their citizens similar pensions and lifestyle increases. Participant tribes viewed those who they called “Travellers” as true heroes and worthy of much praise. In some instances prisoners were given the opportunity to redeem themselves by joining the ranks of the “Travellers.” In much of North America and Europe it became fashionable among middle and upper class families to actually pay to have their DNA recorded as a means to cheat death.
After over 40 years of accumulating DNA and engrams, the “Ark Project” accumulated nearly 700 million sets from a wide variety of people. Athletes, artisans, scientists, diplomats, technologists, teachers, sailors, laborers, hunters, fisherman, children, and virtually every possible trade were represented in the cache. Each pair was stored with details of the person’s expertise and knowledge, so that when a colony was established, the right people needed for the right jobs could be rebirthed to fulfill whatever needs the colony might require.
In order to ensure the colonists would have the technical capabilities necessary to survive on their new world, the Project established plans to create a sort of “swiss army knife” in a space capsule. This capsule was to contain medical facilities necessary to perform rebirth, fabrication facilities necessary to create any known technology up to PL6 and with many PL7 items as well, and excess energy necessary to power future technology until such time as more power generators could be created, and finally two small mining ships were added to the capsule’s package to procure the raw materials necessary to create technological items on the new world.
Finally, in order to increase the probability of success, the Project decided to send several probes out to likely candidate starclusters. After all, Earth scientists for 300 hundred years had been searching the stars looking for systems with earthlike planets. Probes sent out returned from 37 starclusters, with 8 of them showing excellent candidate systems. With several “Traveller” ships having been created, the Earth was no longer keeping all of its eggs in one basket.