"Come on Russ, are you really sure you want to do this?" Jakobs nudged me, handing me a water container that I slide into my bag. Throughout the past month I had heard that question more times than I can remember.
"I don't really have a choice. The IGASF gave me the orders."
I looked out the window and set my eyes on Kepler-62f. I had been circling this planet for the past three years, and I had even been on it a few times, but in a few days I would be leaving it.
In only two days my journey will have begun. I'll be on a ship heading towards a planet that has been uninhabited for over two thousand years. Earth. After the great war the planet had been left in ruins, and solar rays and constant meteor showers meant that little, if any, life could survive.
Four other men and myself will be the first humans on the planet since the last ships left. Our mission was simple - survive. For the next year we will go without little contact from the outside world.
"Just be careful, okay? If you die out there then I'll have no one to compete with." He smiled and laughed uncomfortably. He wasn't a fan of the mission, and had rejected one of the seats on the ship when he was asked.
"I will. I always am."
"John Russel, please report to the navigation bay." A booming voice came over the intercom system. I gave a sigh and zipped up my bag.
"I'll see you later, okay?" I put my hand on Jakobs shoulder and tried to smile. I threw my bag over my shoulder and walked into the hallway.
"Excuse me!" A young message runner ran pass me. Another two went the opposite way, and dozens of crew workers were milling around the long widning tunnels we considered halls. It was busier than normal, but I didn't take any notice.
After a minute or two of trying not to get run over, I was standing at a giant metal door. I leaned down slightly, placing my eye in front of a tiny sphere sticking out of the wall. A thin beam of light shot out and moved over my eye in all directions.
It tingled slightly, and as soon as it was over the doors slid open. The noise of dozens of computers working and people talking hit my ears, forcing me to stop for a second to take it all in. Even though I had spent years on this ship I was rarely in this part of it.
I walked in and the door closed behind me.
"Mr. Russel, over here."
I looked up and saw captain Hark standing in the center of the room.
"Good afternoon, sir." I dipped my head slowly and walked over to him. "You all seem to be very busy today."
He gave a small laugh and nodded. "Indeed we are. We're all getting ready for your launch. That's actually the reason that I had you called down here."
He handed me a manila folder. I opened it and started to read over the dozens of papers that it contained. They were covered with math equations and graphs that had to do with some sort of ray.
"What exactly is this, sir?"
"Please, my friends call me Russ." I interrupted.
"Sorry, Russ." He paused. "It seems like we're going to have to move your launch up a bit. In thirty six hours the Earth's sun is going to send out a couple of seriously harmful rays. Harmful enough to destroy our ships."
He gave me a moment for the news to sink in.
He continued. "This means that we need to get you on the planet as soon as possible. You'll just need to make sure that you land and get the solar tents up as soon as possible."
"I see. When exactly do you expect for us to leave?" I put the papers back into the folder and handed them back to him.
"Well, that's the thing." He set the papers down. "We need you to leave in one hour."