The Consequences of the Final Elentaran War
When Sihi left Elentar, it left behind a vast population in its wake, to starve and die. Their fates, settled by the harsh blow of a lottery system, condemned nearly a billion to death on a planet that could no longer produce food or greenery, whose air was dying over time, whose livable land was poisoned with the radiation of a devastating war.
What was left to the survivors, however, was the shell of infrastructure and innovation. There were brave individuals who refused to give up hope, even as the casualties callously grew.
A Light in the Dark
Abandoned individuals salvaged research from the Sihi project and its subdivisions to slow the progression of the most devastating radiation, allowing for a brief dozen more years of life on Elentar. A populous world of 950 million individuals winnowed down, as desperation drove those in charge to resort to desperate means to complete the project. The late Wyndel Merlin, champion of the rights of the common people, had compiled everything that went into Sihi into compact files in multiple different locations, ensuring that they were able to be found and distributed. In secret, he sent to the loudest advocate the schematics for his new technology for cryo pods, in a missive scheduled to be sent should he die before canceling it. He had only, late into the production of Sihi, perfected the experimental technology. Many believe that, had he lived, he would have stayed behind with the abandoned to try to continue to salvage as many lives as possible.
Concerns and Issues
Despite the revolutionary technology, the specifics of the technology were kept secret from the public, for fear they’d attempt to simply sleep through the death of Elentar, then wake when the radiation had passed -a foolish endeavor, as they would still wake to a world unpopulated by plants or animals. Cryo technology had been incorporated into the foundations of the Hope project, and only unity would save as many as possible.
It was advertised that, aboard the Hope -also called the Dying Breath by the populace- anyone and everyone would fit, but as progress continued, the population consistently dropped. People starved, fought, and killed for food, with every crop yielding fewer and fewer edible results. Even as they completed the Hope as a fleet at around year eight, dismantling every city, resource, and infrastructure, it could house only three hundred million souls.
A Plan in Progress
It was determined that the project should be tackled by two initiatives; one team would construct cryo facilities in order to conserve resources. The other team would begin work on the ships themselves, creating what amounted to enormous cargo freighters to be packed with frozen people. At first, the teams were optimistic; every person frozen bought more time to freeze another, and projections indicated that a fleet capable of housing the remaining population could be completed within ten years.
As cryo pods were created and assembled to the framework of the ships, there was controversy over whom would be interred in the safety of the ship right off the bat. Children were the first to be interred, which mollified much of the unrest and unified most of the adult population, who could agree upon an attempt to save their loved ones, regardless of their current role in society. Children were initially randomly chosen from volunteered youth. The lottery system, used a second time, was frowned upon, but there was nothing to be done for it. About 30% of those aboard the Hope Fleet are children. 50% are from the age of 20-40 years of age. The remaining 20% are essential personnel and some few fortunate elderly people who contributed significantly to the project.
An Impossible Situation
Unfortunately, development was outpaced by the death of the planet. Hundreds of millions died over the course of development, and an early launch was necessary to preserve as many as possible before the death of the world. Toward the end, with people clamoring for spaces on a ship they guessed could not host all of them, desperate to be reunited with their children, confusion, chaos, and violence ensued.
Debates over whom to freeze or whom would be loaded onto a ship first turned into violent riots. A faction wanting to abandon the construction of ships in favor of waiting out the apocalypse on Elentar attempted to bomb the orbital shipyards. An armed group attempted to hijack one of the completed ships and abandon the planet immediately, without every pod utilized. Things came to a head when another private exodus project was discovered and their assets were seized to support the Hope Project. Those competitors had many of their personnel killed in the skirmish.
Public opinion tottered, and the entire project was threatened. Despite only being a third of the way complete, it was decided to load and launch the existing ships with whomever they could get on board, so at least some people could survive.
The Plan in Action
Out of an initial 950 million, 500 million remained in the desolation of the planet at the time of launch. The Hope project was only capable of rescuing slightly over 200 million of those individuals over three completed ships.
Those who were fortunate enough to find space would sleep through a journey set to the same coordinates as the Sihian project, all without aging or encountering any negative consequences. At the end of their journey, their Sihian brothers and sisters would wake them, and they, as a whole, would settle into a new planet. Strategically speaking, it was a desperate, brilliant plan. There was no knowing what emergencies might assault the Hope, whether their systems would lose power, whether, once asleep, any would ever wake again. And yet, it was the only hope anyone had.
The ships, built outside the atmosphere for their immense size, were shuttled and fueled, and as many individuals as could be reasonably loaded were loaded into the ships. Only when no further pods were available did the essential staff finalize the coordinates, step into their own cryo pods, and allow chance to govern their fate, departing on Elentar’s Dying Breath, their final Hope, leaving Elentar on the wind of the screams of those left behind, separated from their children or families, doomed to die a second time, stripped of every hope..
The plans for the journey did not account for the Hope arriving before the Sihian Convoy, as no one could have anticipated The Day of the Dead Sun, an event that destroyed much of the Sihian coordinating computers’ histories and coordinates, erasing precious data from their records, and rendering them lost in space. The sleeping ships passed unperturbed, undisturbed, to its location hundreds of years before the Sihian Convoy finally found their path again.
Currently, there are 203,455,672 active cryo pods aboard the Hope, a group of three ships in the same solar system as the Grail World. Without its staff awake to activate its measures, it was pulled into the orbit of a larger gaseous planet, and has been inert for hundreds of years, waiting to be awoken.
The Hope Fleet is comprised of the following ships: Hope: Cradle Hope: Breath Hope: Requiem