Earthling Emigration Plan
When the destination was decided, the Earth Federal Government ordered the immediate commencement of the emigration plan from Earth. It had been simulated many times by now, so there was little confusion within the government. The most important task was to control public unrest when informing them about Amal, their destination.
Seminars were opened everywhere with physicists, medical doctors, and religious leaders doing the persuasion. Few ordinary citizens had detailed knowledge of Amal, and confusion was spurred by both positive and negative news about Amal in the mass media on a daily basis.
The president issued an appeal by TV many times.
“The plan has been prepared so that everyone can emigrate. I can understand your attachment to the Earth, but let’s live together in a new land. Earth will definitely vanish. Don’t also choose to die yourself.”
Among the generations that had experienced frequent, extinction-level global crises, many lamented that they didn’t have the courage to leave for an unknown land. Sanada was unable to hide his complex thoughts about the various reactions of each country. As someone leading the emigration plan, he had an important duty to make it succeed. Those who wanted to remain on Earth must somehow be compelled to board an emigration ship.
Sanada asked the president to repeat his televised statement, and asked officials from all over the world to strongly urge dissidents to emigrate.
2.7 billion people…everyone had to move to Amal. All the humans of Earth would move to Amal’s moon. In fact, it was called Amal’s moon because it had the same orbital relationship as Earth and its moon. But Amal’s was suitable for human habitation. The atmospheric composition was 22% nitrogen, 22% oxygen. The surface temperature averaged 30˚C with 42% humidity, and carbon dioxide measured 0.1%, not very different from Earth. The water area was 3.5 times the land area. There were no deserts or arid regions, and .07% was classified as rainy. Living things existed on land and in the sea, including plants. The total area was about twice that of Earth, ample space for all 2.7 billion Earthlings.
A total of 700 million people were selected at random by a government computer as the first migrants. The initial convoy of 7,000 ships would depart with people from all over the world. Yuki would command 167 escort ships for the 7,000 emigration ships. She secretly hoped that Kodai knew about Earth’s crisis and would return the night before launch. But in the end, he did not.
The Kodai home was in Yokosuka on Japan’s Miura Peninsula where Kodai was born.
“Dad didn’t come home after all,” Miyuki complained in the well-appointed living room.
“He couldn’t help it,” Yuki smiled.
“You’re overdoing it, mother,” Miyuki said angrily. “You’re lonely!”
Miyuki had clashed with her father since her middle school days. When he returned to Earth after a long absence he barely listened to her, and she would often say that she didn’t like him. The last time they’d seen each other was three years ago.
“What is he thinking, leaving us alone?” she snarled sharply.
“He can’t help it, it’s his job,” Yuki answered. “He’s often flying in space these days and can’t even communicate.”
Yuki never complained about Kodai in front of their daughter. Still…anticipating that he might come back home on this day, she had prepared his favorite meal. Braised pork belly, cuttlefish, spinach with sesame seeds, broccoli and ham salad, and kenchin soup. Miyuki dug into a book of desserts to make pumpkin pie.
In the end, they declared, “Let’s eat all this food we worked so hard on!” and tucked in. But their progress with the chopsticks was slow. Yuki’s obligations as fleet commander weighed heavily upon her. It was a good thing that she’d taken on the heavy responsibility of saving the human race, but it was clear that Kodai was more suited to the role.
If Kodai knew of Earth’s situation, he would fly back home. Together, the two of them would have the confidence to overcome any crisis. Until now, he had come back to Earth once a year, but at this important time he hadn’t returned for as many as three years. Morever, the influence of the space lines and particle flow had created conditions where it wasn’t possible to communicate.
(Where will you be when Earth disappears…?)
Kodai was apart from this emergency. Indescribable sadness and anxiety spread over Yuki’s heart. She and Kodai had protected Earth together. His love for her supported her strong, pure will. When she said she wanted to protect the Earth, she was stating her love for Kodai. She thought he would stay with her forever. Now that he was missing, she wondered if her will was enough to play this important role.
(I want to see you…I want to hear your powerful words…)
Miyuki was just three years old when Kodai became the captain of a space cargo ship. Its main mission was to deliver supplies to the frontier. Before taking that work, he’d been a member of the National Security Crisis Response Headquarters for the Space Science Bureau. It was considered an important post and there were great expectations for his future. His achievements on Yamato had already made him a legend, and his presence in the Earth Defense Force and the Space Science Bureau was suffused with pure charisma.
But after Yamato sank in its last battle, it seemed that a great war was underway in the center of the galaxy. The news was unclear. It was unknown if his sworn friend Dessler participated or not. But afterward, tensions rose between planets. Open battles were few. Whenever the head of the Space Science Bureau asked Kodai for support, it was a political maneuver.
As a young man, Kodai had lost both Yamato and Captain Okita. It was always felt that work on the ground did not suit his character. He missed the sea of space. He married Yuki and Miyuki was born. He was able to indulge in a peaceful newlywed life for only a few days. At that time, a friend requested that he take work as the captain of a space cargo ship. Kodai hesitated, but still took the job.
“You’re not just one person any more,” Sanada vehemently objected. “What will Yuki and Miyuki do?”
But Kodai dismissed him and chose the path of flying cargo in space. Even a worn-out cargo ship would do. He wanted to wander the stars. Kodai seemed possessed. Where did this persistent attachment to the Milky Way come from? Not even Kodai himself could explain it.
Kodai spoke frankly about it to Yuki.
Yuki gazed at him with sad eyes. Miyuki was still only three years old.
(Don’t go…stay with Miyuki and me…)
That was Yuki’s true feeling, but she didn’t express it in words. Could it be that the trauma of so many past battles on Yamato could not be overcome…?
After experiencing intense combat, it was often the case that the mind could not adapt to peaceful days. Yuki felt that the time he fought on Yamato may have deeply scarred Kodai in both body and spirit. In fact, he’d lost his parents to a Gamilas planet bomb. He had lost his brother, sister-in-law, and niece in battles against the Dark Nebula Empire. He had lost his best friend Daisuke Shima in the war against the Dengil Empire, along with Juuzo Okita, who he loved like a father.
“Do as you please. But come home safely.”
It was hard to live apart from Kodai. She suppressed the urge to shout at him not to go.
Since the battle of Aquarius, Kodai occasionally stared absentmindedly out into the night sky, gazine at the orbiting mass of ice. He was troubled by nightmares and occasionally got up in the middle of the night. Yuki knew him well enough to know it was impossible to say, “Don’t go.”
“I love you, Yuki. But I really need to sort out my feelings.”
She could only nod silently. Kodai left the task force and chose the path of boarding his cargo ship. Yuki remained in her position at the Science Bureau. Captain Kodai’s cargo ship returned to Earth once a year. But he had not been home for the past three years. Yuki never complained, but intended to live for Kodai by pouring her love upon Miyuki.
Miyuki was still angry.
“A father who leaves his family alone to do his favorite job, not coming back at such an important time…I can’t forgive that!”
The doorbell rang, startling Yuki. Who was it?
“Father? No, that can’t possibly be him. It must be Dr. Sado. I told him it would be good for him to come.”
Miyuki had invited Dr. Sado to dinner. Sakezo Sado was a skilled doctor who formerly served as Yamato’s medical officer. He appeared to be a doctor, but his character was the mental pillar for Yamato’s crew. He had retired from the front line and now served as a veterinarian in his specially-protected field park, returning to his original specialty. Miyuki was an apprentice veterinarian under him and lived part-time at the field park. There, she lived peacefully with Analyzer and the third generation Mi-kun.
“Thank you for inviting me.”
As Miyuki had said, it was Dr. Sado at the door. He was his usual self with his bald head, drooping glasses, and white coat. Miyuki took his hand and happily pulled him inside.
“Dr. Sado, mother cooked a lot of food.”
Yuki brightened at the now-lively dinner table.
“Doctor, you always take good care of Miyuki.”
Sado squinted at all the dishes on the table.
“Look at all this! It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a feast. I’m going to want a drink afterward.”
“Yes, we’ve prepared properly,” Miyuki laughed as she held up a bottle.
“Would you like a glass or a bowl, doctor?” Yuki asked.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to drink it out of that big tea bowl.”
No matter how old, it seemed Dr. Sado’s appetite for sake stayed the same.
“It won’t affect your hands,” Miyuki giggled. “You’ll still be able to operate just fine after the bottle is empty.”
“I started out as a veterinarian, so I’m wild at heart.”
For a while, the three of them were excited to share stories about Mi-kun and Analyzer.
“Did Kodai not return after all? That’s going to worry Sanada, too. Yuki, you have such an important duty. But if Kodai knew about all this, he would suffer the most.” Dr. Sado muttered this as he sipped sake from his bowl.
Miyuki’s smiling face changed completely as anger rippled through her.
“He’s a terrible father, not coming home or even calling at such an important time!”
Dr. Sado reprimanded her with a face reddened by alcohol.
“It won’t do to get so angry. You haven’t even considered how lonely both your mother and father are.”
Miyuki seemed to accept this as she took the sake bottle back from him.
“Well, girls are quite difficult at this age, aren’t they, Yuki?”
Yuki smiled while pouring sake into her own bowl.
“Oh, Miyuki is always good to me, but with her father…”
“Where is Kodai now? After Yamato sank into the sea of Aquarius, I worried that all the life would go out of him. He experienced too many things at such a young age.”
Miyuki became sulky.
“So what? It’s not all about him…”
“Hey, hey. Don’t say such a thing. He’s your father.”
“I’ve never thought of him as my father.”
“Well, time will tell. When you get a little older and drink a few cups of sake with Kodai, you’ll hear some funny stories.”
After that, Dr. Sado continued drinking cheerfully, seemingly not even to care that the Earth was destined to disappear.
“I think I’ll head back now,” he said after the bottle was emptied.
“Doctor,” Miyuki called out as he departed, “when you get on an emigration ship, take the one I’m on. If you ask Mr. Sanada, he’ll arrange it for you.”
Sado paused for a moment, coughing politely.
(He intends to stay on Earth, which is certain death…)
“Miyuki, what is it?”
Yuki called out as Miyuki was lost in thought.
After seeing Miyuki off the next day, Yuki headed to the first spaceport near the Space Science Bureau. Many immigrants who were leaving Japan gathered in this area. Ships would launch from each of the world’s spaceports, assemble over the lunar base, and depart together for Amal, 27,000 light years away. For the group leaving Japan, the scale was unimaginable.
“I believe the first emigration fleet will arrive safely at Amal,” Sanada said hopefully to the crew of the escort ships. “Your success will lead to the success of the entire operation. Do it well.”
Yuki and the entire escort fleet crew stood at rigid attention and saluted Sanada.
The first convoy of emigration ships rose away from Earth, protected by the escort fleet. Even now, space travel had become as routine as by train or airplane, and it was only the beginning of a great movement. The 700 million people on board gazed back at the receding Earth with their own thoughts in their hearts. They could only bring a limited amount of baggage, and currency was now meaningless. Everything was being reset and a new life was beginning.
Earth was a wonderful planet. It was bitterly hard to leave.
People sent words of regret and gratitude back to Earth. Many were crying. After the Aquarius crisis was over, they had believed once again in Earth’s prosperity. But now they had to abandon it.
“We may have made a big mistake…”
The muttering of a single male migrant symbolized the heavy cloud that the rest could not acknowledge.
“My memories are far away,” Yuki Kodai said, watching the blue Earth recede. That beautiful world would be swallowed up by a black hole in another three months, vanishing without a trace. It was quite simply unbelievable, but unless a miracle happened, that day would surely come.
“May the moon of Amal be as beautiful a world as Earth,” Yuki couldn’t help praying.
It would take several repeated warps to cross the 27,000 light years to Amal. It took time to recharge energy after a large warp, so doing them continuously was impossible, but small warps could be continuous. If nothing interfered, they would arrive at Amal in two weeks.
The second emigrant fleet would also leave Earth a few days later. The escort fleet’s flagship was Blue Noah with its captain, deputy captain, combat leader, navigator and assistant navigator, surveyor, fighter pilots, computer room navigator, and radar operator. It was equipped with the latest aircraft including Cosmo Pulsars, the adopted combat fighter of the Earth Defense Forces. There was also a bomber-type Cosmo Pulsar, lifeboats, landing boats, repair boats, and search boats. It was the pinnacle of space science and technology.
Yuki’s Super Andromeda-class battleship was mass-produced, inheriting the design concept of the new battleship Andromeda that had formed the core of the Earth Defense Forces that fought the White comet. Its weaponry included two Dispersion Wave-Motion Guns in the bow, three shock cannons, twin anti-aircraft batteries, and 28 fightercraft.
The accompanying Dreadnought-class main battleship was equipped with a large-caliber Dispersion Wave-Motion Gun. Its attack power and defensive capabilities were considered the standard for an Earth battleship.
In view of their position to protect emigrant ships, they wanted to avoid combat as much as possible on the way to their destination, but the possibility of immense danger always waited in space.
“All ships will perform their first warp after passing Mars orbit,” the captain of Blue Noah confirmed to both his navigator and to Yuki’s Super Andromeda.
A warp was a shortcut created by connecting two different points in space, an advanced technology that enabled travel on a scale of parsecs. Warp navigation, which was faster than light, had become more advanced with each passing year, easing interplanetary navigation. But that didn’t mean it had no effect on the human body. In particular, human beings who experienced a warp for their first time experienced space sickness with strong nausea and a severe headache that might last a while. Some fainted, unable to endure it. Therefore, it was decided to start with small warps to acclimatize the body before attempted large warps.
“This is Earth’s Space Science Bureau Emigration Planning Headquarters. What’s your status?”
The anxious figure of Sanada appeared on the main screens of Yuki’s escort ships, now underway.
“This is the first emigration convoy,” Yuki answered. “We’re sailing smoothly.”
“Understood. The second emigration fleet will leave on schedule early tomorrow morning.”
And, early the next morning, images of the second fleet leaving Earth safely appeared on Yuki’s screen.
“The second fleet is underway without incident,” Sanada reported. “Thank you for your guidance.”
“Understood,” Yuki answered.
“One moment. Miyuki is next to me, so I’m going to put her on.”
Sanada beckoned for Miyuki. Her cheerful figure stepped onto the screen with a smile.
“This is a public screen,” Yuki answered with a smile. “It’s not for private use.”
“How comfortable is it on the escort ship,” Miyuki asked.
“It’s fine,” Yuki answered hopefully. “You should have a gentle voyage to Amal.”
Yuki’s prayers seemed to be answered as several warps were safely completed. The emigrant fleet was definitely approaching Amal.
“Our present location is 17,000 light years from Earth,” the Blue Noah captain said to his combat officer Kamijo. “We’re early. There are only 10,000 light years left.”
The center of the galaxy shone brightly ahead in the sea of stars that spread across the screen. Though it looked peaceful and beautiful, a strange distortion could suddenly be seen near a small planet. A radar ping went off simultaneously.
“Sensing a gravity quake,” the operator shouted in surprise. “Someone’s warping out in the area!”
The captain focused all his nerve on the anomaly. Just a spaceship? Or…
If it was an ally there was no cause for alarm, but if it was a hostile they were in trouble. In the distorted area of space, spaceships with a sharp, defiant appearance warped out one after another. In a flash, they surrounded both the emigration fleet and the escort ships. It was a fleet movement with obvious hostile intentions.
“What is this,” The captain leaned forward and shouted. “I’ve never seen these before…how many are there?”
“So far there seem to be about nine hundred!”
“Nine hundred,” Kamijo exclaimed hopelessly.
“We have no data on any of these ships or fighters,” someone in the computer room announced. “They’re not responding to communication!”
Without any provocation, a huge number of beam weapons was suddenly fired from the attacking ships.
“Many high energy reactions approaching from the 12 o’clock direction! All beam guns!”
“Unidentified fleet appeared at 9:48,” the announcement rang out. “Rapidly approaching!”
Another enemy appeared.
“They’ve also appeared at 2:10,” Kamijo shouted. “We’re surrounded! Captain, it’s an ambush!”
“Alert all ships! We recognize the unidentified fleet as an enemy! All ships, prepare for battle!”
At the captain’s order, intense alarms rang out and red lights flashed on. Energy-reading characters flickered on the console of the captain’s chair. Still dozens of seconds until the first combat deployment. It felt hopeless.
“Kamijo! Devote all power to interception until the emigrant ships can warp away. Don’t miss even a single step! Fire! Fire! Fire at will!”
“Aye! This is it…this is what I’m here for!”
Kamijo pulled away at the trigger of the main guns. He had to protect the exposed emigrant fleet by any means necessary! His own parents and sister had boarded one of the ships in Sakura, Japan.
The escort fleet was bombarded, boldly intercepting attacks meant for the emigration ships. But fate twisted severely away from Kamijo’s wishes. An energy beam pierced directly through the center of an emigrant ship. Then others started disintegrating. One was the ship named Sakura. The ship carrying Kamijo’s family exploded in front of him, scattering into flaming wreckage.
At the same time, Blue Noah took a horrific impact, and an explosion thundered inside the bridge.
Kamijo’s body pitched through the air.
Countless screaming civilians ran aimlessly to escape the emigrant ships as they exploded. A mother embraced her baby and crying lovers embraced each other. An elderly couple held hands as they watched intently. Many were torn apart by explosions or the vacuum of space.
Within the pandemonium of tragic screams, one battleship continued its daring counterattack while taking heavy fire. It was the Super Andromeda, under captain Yuki Kodai.
“Protect the emigration fleet!”
The main guns belched fire to cover their charges. An escort ship to starboard suddenly burst into flames and exploded. The main batteries of Yuki’s ship continuously flared as her vessel turned and fought back. But after an impact to its underbelly, it shook with violent convulsions.
“The port thruster nozzle is hit,” a pilot screamed. “Damage to the hull!”
“Don’t give up,” Yuki’s voice resounded throughout the ship.
“We can do this,” her deputy captain barked. “All back full, escape from the battle area!”
But the shock cannons and missiles of the Earth side had only shot down a few enemy fighters so far. They showed considerably advanced flight technology and function while the enemy’s main guns demonstrated overwhelming power in both quantity and quality. In such close-quarters, dogfight-style combat, it was difficult to prepare Wave-Motion Guns for firing. All the cards were dead-set against the Earth side.
A beam struck the bow as allied escort ships blew apart one after another, engulfed in flame. There was no end to the enemy that was tearing them to pieces.
Yuki gave the order.
And a beam gun struck her bridge. The blast lifted her body into an arc and her cap danced lightly in the air.
When the last of the enemy ships powered down and warped away, the moon of Amal that would have become a second Earth receded into the distance of jet-black space, still far beyond the reach of humans from Earth…