Sheldon was getting excited as he continued to travel back home. He had set out with a mission and now was coming to the end of it. When he left home, the Earth was in crisis, the citizens of his beloved planet where on the verge of extinction and they needed a new home. The world had come together, forgetting their nations and focusing on the continuation of humanity. They had let the best scientists to work hard at finding a way to develop some sort of travel to find them a new planet. And they did discover the way to travel at incredible speeds, speeds thought to be impossible, in order to explore alternative living conditions.
Sheldon was an astronaut from NASA at the time they discovered this new technology. They made a decision to build two small ships and send them out to find a new planet. The ships would be simple, a bed, a cockpit, a small stationary bike and shelves upon shelves upon shelves of rations for food. A good amount of water but the true trick was the water recapture system that used everything from the air to Sheldon’s waste to recapture water and make it drinkable again. He set out only a short 8 years prior to find a planet. The initial estimate had been 5 years but their first 2 targets had been busts. He left behind his wonderful girlfriend and told her not to wait for him. After all she should live because if he found nothing, at the rate the Earth’s core was warming, the planet would melt in 15 years.
As Sheldon travelled, Earth would build a number of large ships that would transport the human race to the new planet they would call home. Obviously many would not be so lucky but they were doing their best to get everyone. It was a long shot regardless.
It had taken over 3 months to accelerate the ship sheldon was in to the speed, many times that of light, that would allow him to travel to new planets, to explore the galaxy. They had built a large reverse gravitational protection dish on the ship to ensure not even the tiniest piece of space debris would touch the vehicle. At the speeds he would be travelling a grain of sand meant total destruction. So sheldon had brought a lot of reading materials for this trip, it would be lonely.
He arrived at the first planet and sent out a probe to explore it. The probe reported back immediately, the air would be toxic to humans. Tough break. The second planet had breathable air for humans and looked good, until the pictures came back from the probe. The planet was covered in ice, entirely. The water wouldn’t be easy to get to and the ground temperature, might be survivable but unlikely. It would be a back up if nothing else panned out but far from good for human inhabitation. The final planet he visited was just right. The temperature zones were similar to earths. The land mass wrapped around the globe as one large continent all the way around. Two large oceans stretched from the Northern most land to the poles and similarly from the south. The land mass had beautiful lakes and rivers. There seemed to be a diverse number of plants, and animals, similar to what people were used to on earth. The Sun burned brightly and was younger than the Earth’s sun by maybe 1000 years. It was perfect.
So Sheldon turned his ship back and again started the lengthy acceleration back to earth, it would take years but he was ok with that. Now he was starting the deceleration of the ship as he neared Earth. He knew his girlfriend would have moved on but he was going to be a hero maybe she would come back to him. If not he would have his pick. His family would get tickets on the first transport to Earth 2. And he would be with them as they settled on the new planet. He already had picked out a spot. He looked back at his rations, that were starting to run low, he had gone a little further on this trip than expected.
Sheldon went to the bathroom and looked into the mirror, he was frail and it would take months to build up the muscle mass to walk properly again. Despite the exercise bike that was supposed to help with physical degradation, he was weak and not used to regular gravity. He looked at the long beard on his face and decided to shave it off, what hero comes off his journey looking like a hobo?
As he got closer to Earth his excitement grew, he couldn’t wait to see the planet he had left. They hadn’t heard from him in years and would assume there was nowhere safe until he returned with information and coordinates for their new home. But as he approached he noticed something, there was number of large ships built on the far earth space docks, the large transport vehicles for the voyage. But the docks were noticeably dark, absolutely no movement around them. In fact most of the ships had long decayed it appeared. It wasn’t possible? Or was it.
As he approached the Earth he realized the crisis had come, the earth wasn’t the normal green and blue of what he was used to, it appeared to be covered in cloud. He sent a probe to the earth to investigate. The probe returned readings of unbreathable air, and hot temperatures. Then the pictures came back, the Earth was filled with volcanic activity, all over the place, the large dormant super volcano under North America far from dormant. As the pictures came back he saw nothing but a destroyed planet void of life. It would take centuries of activity for the planet to have become this. Sheldon started to cry, as he realized all the calculations and technological protections against time dilation had not worked. Apparently Star Trek’s sub-space bubble theory had been proven wrong.
Now Sheldon was faced with a crisis of his own. Should let life go quickly, as there was no reason to continue? No human nature wouldn’t let him, he pointed himself at one of the transports, the rations in theory should hold up for centuries. He would load up and head back to Earth 2, at least one human would finish their life in this new paradise.