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(Prologue) M31: First Blood
Posted By: Greg and Wes Foutch<halogod56@yahoo.com>
Date: 5 May 2003, 12:35 AM

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This story was inspired by Halo.

      The United States of America shared the Earth with one other country: the United Kingdom, and the UK rule was slowly fading. The Russians had provoked World War IV, with the nuclear bombing of Philadelphia in 2747. Using their advanced technology, the United States, with help from the UK, launched an assault on Russia from orbit around the Earth. Missiles fired from satellites, destroying every Russian city of any importance. A Russian space station was completely destroyed. Moscow, along with the Russian dictator, was annihilated. After the abrupt end to World War IV, the US and the UK united to launch an assault on all nations of the world. Slowly, nation-by-nation, the Earth became dominated by the US and the UK. The U.S.A controlled all of North America, Asia, and Australia. The UK controlled all of Europe, South America, and Africa. Yet, even united under two very similar governments, the people of Earth began their ultimate destruction.

      But overpopulation was not the only reason for the secret mission. Earth had essentially become a barren wasteland. The oil resource was extremely low, but that wasn't as much of a problem as one might think; vehicles no longer needed oil, even remotely. A new environmental friendly fuel had been developed, however oil was still needed for energy in other areas. Due to global warming the sea level had risen drastically, and was still on the rise. Key West was completely submerged, as well as many other large seaside areas.

      The stock market reached an all time low in 2589 even lower than the first ever depression in the 1920s - 1930s. World War III started in 2602, putting an end to the 13-year depression. America, once again, emerged as the leading superpower, having the best economic and military stability. The United Kingdom and Russia pursued in second and third. The Space Race continued between the U.S. and Russia, to see who would make the next evolutionary step in space exploration.

      The stock market hit the opposite end of the record books, reaching the highest it's ever been, in the year 2830, about 100 years after World War IV. America still had the most stable economy, and was still considered the most powerful country. However, the Russians had reached the next platform in space exploration, sending the first manned craft one light year past the chunk of ice known as Pluto, completely out of the Milky Way galaxy and back. But the United States was not about to be outdone. With the high-end economy, and the need to prove American technology and society over Russian, the President thought it a good time to act.

      In the year 2850, the Commander-in-Chief, with Congressional approval, ordered the immediate appropriation of funds to step up the secret project. The NASA/SEC (National Aeronautical Space Academy/Space Exploration and Colonization) had been a contemplation of several key astronomers and scientist working in conjunction with the U.S. government for the greater good of mankind. In the year 2853, after 3 years of research, the U.S. government deemed it plausible to construct a mode of transportation to this distant galaxy. Shortly thereafter, 3 spacecraft were commissioned. The U.S.S. Pinta, U.S.S. Nina & U.S.S. Santa Maria were all slated for manufacture and construction immediately began on the U.S.S. Pinta. This behemoth of a cosmic liner, almost 1 kilometer in length, and weighing in at 8 million metric tons, (Yea, she was a little overweight but she could dance like a ballerina.) was being developed specifically for the purpose of exploration and colonization, in short, the crew had to find another Earth.

      This ship had been given the essentials of life. A bio dome held a dense, lush jungle and plots for gardens. This would be necessary to sustain life, supplying food and oxygen for the crew. Horticulture and nutrition experts were summoned to examine what necessary foliage would expend the greatest nutrients and proteins. These same experts were commissioned to MCS, (Military Civilian Status) and would be the in flight guardians of the gardens that would keep not only the crew alive but, themselves also. They had better be right!

      Also aboard was LIFELINE, an oxygen generating apparatus specifically redesigned for the ensuing mission. LIFELINE had originally been developed in the early 28th Century for oceanic exploration. Underwater colonization had been examined for humans and deemed perilous due to the evils of platonic movements, bacterial infections, and the long-term effects of "dome syndrome". An additional self contained LIFELINE ELITE sat in cargo bay twelve for the eventual colonization of a secret planet pre-selected by head brass.

      Due to the great distances to be traveled and the longevity of the coming mission, living quarters were designed on an alien basis so as not to remind even the most homesick crewperson of home. Walls were metallic in nature, bland, without even a hint of color. Blues, greens, and especially yellow's were avoided at all costs for these were the colors of everything considered Earthly. Photographs were strictly forbidden, as were mementos. Each crewperson, civilian and military alike, would be strip searched before boarding. Personal and hygiene products were supplied for them. This was not a weekend cruise to the moon; this was a do-or-die mission of utmost importance. Nothing was left to chance. Lonely civilians and commissioned crewmembers alike have sabotaged many a missions.

      The key substance, H20, would have to be generated in flight, for adequate storage is not an option on a voyage such as this. Fuel Cell Propulsion, (FCP) although outdated, almost antiquated compared to Plasma Drive Propulsion (PDP) of today, fulfilled the critical need for water, for the only drive system to produce H2O as a by-product was FCP. It's ironic that on a 20 trillion dollar project, PDP would only be on board as a backup system.
Solar cells would collect the necessary energy to fulfill the immense bleed on the craft's electrical system. With the most sophisticated flight, weapons, and life support computers, not to mention the sheer numbers of just illumination facilities alone, this ship consumed enough energy in one week that all of New York could operate for a day. Batteries alone accounted for almost 1/2 million tons of her beastly weight.

      In the year 2858, with the completion of the first of three craft, the Pinta was christened for her maiden voyage. Only the best were chosen as command and crew. Due to the duration of the mission, only unattached individuals were considered eligible. A full regiment of tests, both physical and mental, had to be conquered in order to advance in the selection process. Males and females were considered equal on all levels. After several months and the crew selected, the operation had commenced.

      Hopes for a new planet, a new star system, and a new life began with the destination of a single planet in a galaxy known only as M31. The mission had begun, but was far from over...

This is what we have so far. Just wanted to know what you think, email comments and questions to us.