Inspired by "Into the Unknown" by Geoffrey Vernon
Composers for Relief is a collaborative effort, first by over 30 composers from multiple countries, and then by writers, asked to write pieces full of hope inspired by the gorgeous musical pieces put together by the composers. All proceeds from sales of the album, Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines, and of the upcoming e-book anthology featuring the written pieces (due out in January 2014), will go to Gawad Kalinga (Give Care), a charity supporting the people of the Philippines with food, assistance in rebuilding, and much more. Please follow the Composers For Relief hyperlink above to the website of Samantha Redstreake Geary and go to the right sidebar links to listen to the music as you read. I am deeply honored and proud to have been part of this wondrous project.
If Christian dogma is to be given credence, the Earth and all its wonders were created in the span of seven of the Almighty’s days. In light of that, it is all the more daunting the forces of Nature aspired to undo all that in a mere three days. That handful of days came to be known as the Troika of Desolation and served as notice of the end to all Humanity had accomplished.
The storms sprang into existence with a watery, windswept virulence unprecedented in the history of meteorological science. Coastal cities on six continents vanished beneath the relentless onslaught of tidal waves so monumental as to beggar belief. Entire island chains, archipelagos and peninsulas were swept away with not so much as a trace they had ever been. Watercrafts of all type, from the most vulgar fishing vessel to behemoth super tankers were obliterated in the blink of an eye. As the merciless voice of primordial nature howled out its rage, the light of a billion souls was snuffed out without regard to race, creed or station. They were simply…gone.
Despair enveloped humanity like a shroud with only the solace of oblivion as a conceivable panacea. What purpose in struggling back from a violation of this magnitude? Fortunately, for the masses, there have always been those who chose to struggle upright and shout defiance in the face of certain defeat. In any species there have always been those crafty and resilient specimens who had ensured the survival of their kind by whatever means available. Little surprise then that such came to the forefront in the wake of this outrage.
On the first day following the Troika, when it appeared the worst had already come to pass, the leaders of every surviving nation addressed their beleaguered citizenry from the same prepared text. It was a tribute to the architects of that speech that, in light of all that it portended, it was met not with outrage and disapprobation but, merely, with wearied acceptance.
With no regard to the arbitrary restrictions imposed by nationalities or ideologies, setting aside their incompatible affiliations or associations, the finest minds of the age had met to find answers. The conclusion they had arrived at was quite incontrovertible. The storms had not been some sort of atmospheric aberration but were, instead, the very palpable harbingers of impending doom. Whether as a result of rampant industrialization, overly aggressive exploitation of natural resources or some nebulous factor indeterminable, the result was the same. The biosphere had been irreparably damaged and though no consensus as to a definitive timeframe had been reached, all of the academics concurred within a decade the atmosphere would no longer be capable of sustaining life of any kind. While there would be periods of respite, the storms and other associated phenomena would increase in both intensity and regularity. There would be no bastion secure enough to withstand the inevitable.
Against the possibility of such an extinction-level event, the major global powers had been planning for nearly a generation. In simplest terms: if Mankind’s sphere of origin was no longer viable then the occupation of a new home was indicated. To that end an enterprise known as Spero Hominis – Mankind’s Hope had been created. The specifics of the project imparted to the people were notably vague. For considerations of safety, security and with the understanding the scientific minutiae were beyond the ability of most to understand anyway only the basics were revealed.
While at a considerable distance from Earth in astronomical terms, a suitable planet had been located. It was to be christened Terra Secundus. Forging onward, the next topic was the means by which the exodus would occur. It was only then the rank and file learned a fleet of colony ships had been and were still being constructed at a myriad of clandestine sites around the globe. Each had the capacity to transport 25,000 subjects, specimens of plant and animal life and a cargo of materials deemed necessary to establish a sustainable beachhead.
At present 200 craft existed with their complement having been chosen with particular regard to the skills necessary for survival and propagation. The limitations of man’s technology meant the journey would require three years with the colonists in suspended sleep while only a skeleton crew operated the fleet. Any sort of communication would be impossible but the necessity for additional ships to follow in their footsteps was unavoidable. To that end, twenty ships per month would be completed and launched with their passengers to be determined by the most complex lottery every conceived. The addresses concluded with the premise that every industry, every manufacturing process, every human endeavor worldwide would need to be converted to fleet construction.
Six months, to the day, later the Spero Hominis fleet slipped the surly bonds of Earth and thundered into the unknown. There was of necessity so much that still remained unknown to the billions who turned their faces heavenward with hope swelling in their hearts. There would be no place for the very young, the very old, the physically or mentally challenged, and for so very many others amidst the stars. No mention was made that an estimated 7% of those in their sleep cubicles aboard the ships would never revive. That it was most unlikely the raw materials or time remained to convey all of the worthy off-planet before the end was not spoken of.
In tribute to Humanity’s worthiness to survive, had all of this been known it would have changed very little. The future had been, and always would be, an enigma. The inconceivable, the unthinkable, the unimaginable were a given. Had fear of the unknown fettered the human spirit so easily then so much would never have been achieved. Thus, every night dreams of faith still filled the minds of those left behind. And for as long as dreams were still possible, they would continue, for this had been and always would be the greatest strength of Man.