Saturday, 24 February 2018

Prologue and Timeline

Mr Smith.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Peter Gideon, formerly Admiral Gideon of the US Navy.
First, let me impress upon you the need for absolute secrecy in this matter. The ECC has confirmed that with the certainty of crop failures, and the loss of habitat for key ecological species, we can expect the total collapse of all economic and agricultural industry. Put simply sir, you are one of the hundred wealthiest men on the planet, and you will be starving to death with the rest of us within the next ten years.
Obviously, this information is to be kept strictly confidential. Social resources are already maxed out, and news that we are well into the twilight of all civilisation will only make the inevitable worse than it needs to be. Given that there is no longer any point in saving toward the future, we thought that you might be interested in something more ambitious.
Enclosed, you will find a packet that describes our new construction project, and the details of its facilities. The appropriate speed and effort must be put into building it, before Total Collapse renders all plans academic. The Ark is already under construction in the only place that we can be absolutely certain of our privacy: The Ocean.
Please take the time to look over the images of our luxury rooms, and our recreational facilities, including full casino, movie theatre, restaurants, gyms, and water park. We are aware that an exclusive undersea resort is not a new idea; but what we offer you is Permanent Resident Status.
But this is no mere Five Star Hotel; it's the only place on this earth that will remain untouched by the total collapse of all civilisation. By acting quickly and with full financial support, we can assure our high standards of quality and comfort are met, and matched by the practicality and difficulties of producing a new Noah's Ark.
And a new Noah's Ark is what this is. Far beyond all the luxury, there will be genetic samples of all the life-forms this planet has, plant and animal; along with equipment enough to clone them back to life, and facilities to adapt them to the needs of whatever the world will be, far in the future. It is, quite literally, the only place where we can place our hopes for the future, and be certain of its safety.
The governments of the world have realized this, and are planning similar measures on land, but I'm sure I don't need to tell you how desperate their own situations are getting, and their projects do not have the funding or resources to complete their plans before Total Collapse.
Creating a place where it's possible to wait out the end of the world and start again will take no small amount of resources, which is why the offer of permanent resident status is being made only to yourself, and a very select group of the population. The price for a room, to be yours for the rest of your natural life, and then inherited by your heir, will be set at Thirty Billion Euro, per person. All in advance.
We are certain that someone in your position will have all the needed skills to conceal the movement of vast amounts of money. And since in ten years, you'll be penniless and starving, as the world collapses around you; I really think you can see the appeal of being far away when the Total Collapse occurs. We will give you a life of luxury and comfort, in exchange for your entire fortune.
This may seem mercenary, sir; but as you well know, no government could hope to finance such an ambitious operation; and the fate of all living things are at stake.
If you agree, we will be in contact with you shortly. Should you decide not to accept, we will go to the next person with your kind of wealth, and you are free to take your chances on the surface. Either way, I'm sure you can appreciate the need for absolute secrecy.
Yours faithfully,
(Admiral) Peter Gideon.
To: White House; President of the United States
From: Peter Gideon
Eyes Only: Strictly Confidential
Re: The Project

Mister President.
All 11,598 possible donors have been approached, with the promise of Permanent Resident Status on the Ark-Hive. You were correct, sir; they almost uniformly jumped at the chance. Based on the reactions I've heard over the last eight months, I honestly don't know which was worse for them: The fear of getting killed, or the mortal fear of their money becoming worthless.
Fifteen have decided they cannot leave their families, or the surface for a variety of reasons. Nobody will be learning of The Project from them.
Shipments of supplies to the Ark-Hive is proceeding ahead of schedule, thanks to the influx of funding. Construction is complete. We could have done so faster, but several of the 'Investors' wanted to tour the facilities, and keeping them out while managing to maintain security was not feasible, so we had to go and build the damn luxury resort like we told them we would.
Actually, it worked out for the best. Our actual staff has expressed a desire to make use of the facilities, and since the living modules were all completed according to advertised specifications, they are all in working order. A hundred years ago, the view out these transparent hotel room walls would have been glorious; but with the Oceans going extinct with the rest of it; that's a view our great-grandchildren will enjoy.
Doctor McKay assures me that the cloning facilities can accommodate repopulating of the ocean's animals once the water recovers; as well as the food supply for the Ark-Hive's inhabitants. He and his team have agreed to come with us. Their research into bioengineering will accelerate our ability to repopulate by a good half century. Also, his expertise in engineering bacterial growth may help enhance our ability to respond to pressure changes, thus widening the limits of our habitat zone. At a generous estimate, only 5% of the ocean, most of which is within 300m of the surface, has in fact been charted. It's difficult to predict what will happen with so many unknowns.
As for our Investors, we are telling them that they all have to come aboard at the same time; for secrecy purposes. They have all agreed to that, and the USS Stingray is in the area, to make sure they never reach the rendezvous. The Captain of the Stingray is of course unaware of the Ark-Hive Project; he thinks the target is an anti-terrorism measure.
When the news of the Mid-West's infertility reaches the public, there will be a massive run on the market, and everyone will wonder where the top money-makers of the planet are. That's the deadline. It may be possible to keep their departure quiet, given the mass suicides that have already broken out. The last time the Market crashed like this, the billionaires jumped out the windows.
I know you're having trouble with this, Jeff; but if we tried to pull it off with Government money, there's no way it would ever succeed, and the Project would end... and the entire world would end with it.
Are you very sure you won’t come with us?
Yours very faithfully
Peter Gideon
2072: Martial Law is Declared, and all properties seized. The act covers the loss of several trillion dollars from the common markets, and the Ark-Hive Project remains secret.
2073: The World Union concedes that the Market will never reopen. The Outer Provinces declare Independence in order to keep local militia under control, due to out of control rioting and starvation. National Governments are dissolved.
2076: The Surface Wars end with mass defections, and starvation for all armies en-route. The climate Cascade is realised, as mass extinction of many key animal species causes breakdown in growing cycle.
2080: Drones from the Ark-Hive go to the surface and begin recon checks. Soil tests are declared non-responsive; and air levels fully toxic. The Earth is no longer viable for plant, animal or human life.
2081: The Ark-Hive is declared the last confirmed outpost of human habitation; and Operation Deep Phoenix begins. Admiral Gideon declares the Ark to be the Last Hope of the Earth.
2084: Admiral Gideon is assassinated. Independent Tribunal begins investigating. The Investigation lasts three weeks before the Science Directorate demands free elections to choose replacement, rather than military chain of command structure.
2085: Professor McKay takes command of the Ark as Director; and declares Operation Deep Phoenix a civilian organisation. The military remnant is disbanded under protest, and reorganised into a police and exploration unit.
2090: Deep Water Probes begin tracking recovery of Oceans. Bioengineering teams begin developing augmented coral and phytoplankton species, that can withstand the underwater climate.
2092: First exploratory team returns to the surface to replace aerial drones and air quality probes. There were no survivors. Augmented Dolphins are cloned as working animals. The first practical demonstration of Ocean Solutions.
2095: Sub-Surface Flora is introduced to oceans, and thrives. Life-Balance of the Oceans begins to improve. Bioengineering increases in scope, working from stored genetic samples. Air drones have noted severe temperature drop due to climate shift. Surface begins to experience a second Ice-Age. Steam Output from Ark-Hive's Geo-Thermal Plant allows for warmer water in local vicinity. Stronger breeds of coral and plant life are not affected by cooler temperatures.
2231: The Aqua Movement is founded by Thomas Arden, proposing the taming and permanent colonization of the entire ocean floor.
2236: Thomas Arden dies in an accident, the Aquan Philosophy continues.
2345: Ice Age declared over, as pack ice melts and surface becomes accessible again. New Aerial Probes are launched, and surface is still unsuitable for life; but air quality has recovered enough to support augmented plant and animal life. Remote Probes released from Ark-Hive to begin re-seeding surface life.
2350: Admiral Gareth Bridger becomes first military officer to achieve rank of Director since Admiral Gideon's death. Aqua Members call for public forum on whether or not to continue with plans to recolonise the surface.
2351: Cora Bridger born.
2353: Aqua Movement declared illegal, due to division of resource management, and violent protest actions.
2354: Aquan Purges declared over. Stingray Squad given full authority to ensure the Aquan Philosophy dies with them. Director Bridger insists that the original intention of Ark-Hive remains unchanged.
2371: Surface probes return positive results for the first time. Results are rigged to hide that the surface is once again viable for Landfall.