By Eric “Doc” Honour
“We’ve been accepted!” Fred shouted as he bumped into the automatic door coming into the apartment. Doors sometimes just didn’t open fast enough.
“Accepted?” Dana said, her eyes wide. “We’re actually going to Teegarden?”
“I got the official letter in my infotext on the way home.” He waved his handchip at her, a holographic projection wobbling in the air as he did. “We’re supposed to pack up and join the colony team in Florida. They’ll shuttle us up to the starship Venture in two months.”
“Wow,” she breathed. “We applied. We wanted it. But now, it’s real. We’re going to leave everything. Friends, family, belongings.” She paused and stared at him, her eyes glistening with excitement. “We’re going to another star.”
It was the year 2122. The two were in their early twenties and married for only a year and a half. They would spend their entire lives on board the colony ship and might not even live to see the arrival. Children would be born and grow up on the ship, and they’d be the ones to face the challenge of colonizing a new planet.
What Dana and Fred were joining had started fifty years before they were born with the 2049 discovery of the repellor beam. It revolutionized civilization. Drawing its energy from gravitic forces, the beam could push on anything with only a modest application of electricity. Repellors had quickly found use everywhere. They replaced the drive train in vehicles, eliminating the lingering problems of fossil fuels. Tiny repellors created frictionless bearings for machines. Factories used them to move equipment and product. And they made space travel real. Humans reached most of the solar system with constant acceleration at a reasonable cost. Interplanetary craft routinely reached speeds in excess of 20% of the speed of light, transiting from Earth to Mars in a few hours.
The second breakthrough came in 2062 when a physicist named Radrashan measured subtle effects at those speeds that transcended the equations of relativity. Radrashan’s theory displaced relativity in the same way Einstein had displaced Newton. The speed of light was no longer a limit. Constant acceleration would easily push humanity to trans-light speeds. People could reach for the stars.
“What shall we take with us?” Dana asked.
“We’re limited to one hundred pounds each. That includes what we wear, although they tell us the ship will have clothes on board. We certainly won’t need winter wear. All our pictures and memories can fit into our handchips. We won’t need anything else other than things special to us. The ship is supposed to provide everything.”
Dana nodded. She could hardly stand still; she was so excited. “I wonder which planet we’ll colonize. Teegarden star has two in the habitable zone; they chose it to give us two chances.”
“That will be a decision for fifty years from now when the Venture arrives.”
Two months passed in a whirlwind of old friends, new friends, training, and learning. Before they knew it, Dana and Fred left Earth behind. The repellor shuttle ride from Kennedy Space Center to the colony ship was gentle, nothing like the old rockets of a hundred years ago. On arrival, their company of a hundred colonists gathered in the cavernous atrium of the starship.
“Look at this, Fred. It’s like a tropical jungle!”
He was already looking, his eyes wide. “I know they’ve been building the Venture for five years, but I never expected this. I’d pictured steel walls and rivets.”
A large-screen display on one wall showed the image of Earth from orbit, the familiar blue-and-white globe to which they’d never return. Dana found her eyes tearing up.
It would be a long trip, but Dana couldn’t wait to find out what adventures were in store for them.
Iconoclast, polymath, and author, Doc Honour has been a US Navy pilot, an international leader in systems engineering, and a successful entrepreneur. He holds a PhD from the University of South Australia in systems engineering. Doc has led teams of up to 50 people to build complex systems; the system integration problem sequences in this book reflect his real-life experience. He has taught nearly 500 short courses to help others learn to do what he has done. Doc Honour’s short story Fishing Hands won a top (Gold) award in the 2022 Royal Palm Literary Awards of the Florida Writers Association. Born on Guam, he’s lived in 34 different places. These days, he lives in Florida with his wife and a rather willful Australian Shepherd named Chip.
Doc Honour’s first novel Not Like Us and his anthology Tales of Verdant are both available on Amazon. Find out more at DocHonourBooks.com.
3 thoughts on “Colony Time”
Nice story, Eric. You tapped into how everyone feels when they move to a place far, far away–like The Villages. (Except for the packing restrictions.) Is there more to Fred and Dana’s story?
Yes, there is. A longer version of “Colony Time” is the prolog story to my anthology “Tales of Verdant,” available on Amazon. Of course, there are differences in the longer version: instead of leaving Earth, Fred and Dana are leaving the planet New Hope for the new colony on Verdant. And the ending becomes a bit darker, because it sets up the problems that will eventually come to crisis on Verdant.
Thanks for asking.
How exciting that we’ve discovered the next Isaac Asimov right here in The Villages!! The opening line piques curiosity . . . what are Fred and Dana excited about exactly? I love the handchip showing a holographic projection. This story causes one to wonder if leaving everything and everyone behind would be enticing. And if a new planet was colonized by Earthlings, would that planet have the same fates as Earth because of what those Earthlings do? It is a romantic notion to imagine reaching effortlessly for the stars. Bravo, Eric!