It’s been three decades since the earth was destroyed by the super solar flare leaving the planet completely uninhabitable. Mankind was fortunate enough to foresee the event 5 years in advance and build The Ark, a large spaceship capable of sustaining a population of 1 million people. Of course the population must be controlled, which led to many people being forcefully sterilized. But it seems this method was not enough as the population has exceeded the ships limitations and now the food supply is starting to run low.
The Ark is currently drifting on the outer rim of the asteroid belt in the solar system. The asteroids have been providing the ship with many resources for several years, but food is a resource that the asteroids are unable to provide. Now that it has become exceedingly apparent that the food supply will run out in approximately one year, hard decisions lie ahead. A council of 9 elders will ultimately decide the ship’s fate.
The Commander of the ship, Paul Jackson, is heading to a meeting with the Elder Council to discuss solutions to the population problem.
“Commander! Here is the file you requested. It contains all the details of our food shortage along with statistics of our current rations program.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant.”, says Jackson. “Wish me luck. I’m hoping the decisions made at this meeting will not be as drastic as I’m foreseeing it to be.”
“You’re a smart man, Commander. If the Elders are to be convinced by anyone, it’s you. Good luck.”
Jackson approaches the entry way that leads to the large dome room on the upper deck of the ship. He takes a deep breath and enters.
“Commander Jackson. Welcome.”, declares Elder Julia. She’s a sweet old lady in her 70’s. Here pure white curly hair reminds Jackson of his own grandmother when he was 8 years old still living on Earth.
“Surely you’ve been briefed in detail about our grave situation?” Asks Elder Reyes.
“Yes, sir. And I believe the solution will be…” “We will decide what the solution is, Commander. You are here as a messenger to give us the current status of the situation.”
“Yes, sir.” replies Jackson.
“Reyes, Commander Jackson is here to tell us the details, but I believe it would be wise for us to consider any advise he can give us.” states Julia.
Reyes, with an irritated look, concedes the point. He has never been one to trust the judgement of others over his own, but he admires Julia. After all she is his wife.
“Well Commander, what is your recommendation?” asks Reyes.
“Right now our population has exceeded it’s limits by 49,731. At our current rate of food rations distribution we are expected to run out in about 1 year. I believe the best solution would be to put a complete ban on repopulating and reducing the current rations to just 1 serving a day. This, by all means, should keep everyone alive and functional at required levels until the population reduces naturally to the ships limitations.”
“And how long will this process take before the population is brought back down?” Asks Julia.
“My advisers and I have concluded the population should be back within the ships limitations within 7 years.”
“7 years!?! And that’s if everything succeeds in the way you proposed it. What happens if our farms don’t produce as much as usual in one of those years? It has happened before.” snaps Reyes.
“Yes, sir. And that was 10 years ago, but we survived. It is a risky plan. But any course of action at this point will have risks. I believe this course to be the most humanly decent course of action.”
“Don’t start talking about morals Commander! This is about the survival of the human race!”
“Enough!” shouts Julia. “Whatever the solution is, we will not be able to reach it if we lose our temper.”
“Thank you, Commander. The Elders will now counsel with each other and send for you once we have reached a decision. You are dismissed.”
Commander Jackson nods and walks out. He is apparently worried about the Council’s decision. Especially the influence Elder Reyes has over the others. There is nothing left to do now except wait.
To be continued….