As Wahoo boarded the large strange-looking craft that was probably going to be his home for the rest of his life, he reflected on the events that had brought him – and all of the population of Jamaath – here. It had all started when he had read something in the e-newspaper, over three years ago. He still remembered the date of that newspaper – 17th September 2034. The headline read:
HUMAN POPULATION COULD BE HOUSED IN LARGE SHUTTLES IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME.
The report went on to state that these shuttles could house the population of a large town, and they would be about the same size. They would head for a new planet which had recently been discovered to have sufficient oxygen, fresh water, and even vast reserves of coal – even more coal than the amount that used to exist on Earth.
Wahoo paid no attention to that report – he just sent it for recycling like all the other daily NewsPads. These were a technological replacement for newspapers, which had been used since Wahoo was four years old.
However, two years later, the news came – but not via a NewsPad. Instead, a leading scientist (in fact the creator of this shuttle) came to Jamaath himself and informed them that they would test the new shuttle by sending the citizens of their town onboard, and the government of Middle Asia had approved the test. They were assured that it was completely safe, that it would not run out of fuel (it was largely solar-powered) and that it would feel just like their town.
They were given one year before they had to shift.
Several of the older citizens decided that they weren’t up for space travel, and so, in spite of countless people persuading them to come, they chose to stay. Being thirteen years old, Wahoo did not have a say in whether to stay or to leave – his parents had decided that the whole family would go.
Now, one year after that day, he was in a fake town – though if you looked at it, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was not on Earth. The one thing that they lacked was sunshine – but nobody missed that after the hot and humid temperatures of Middle Asia.
The contraption was just big enough to fit in a large field near their town – their old town, Wahoo reminded himself. This was their home now. Still, there were advantages to living in a shuttle; for example, having a completely air-conditioned village.
Since the shuttle was too large for a runway on the ground, powerful magnets were used to levitate the shuttle one hundred metres up in the air. In this part of the country, there were hardly any tall buildings, so it was not difficult to mark an elevated, imaginary runway, assisted by magnets until it finally took off.
Those who had remained in the town looked in wonder at the immense craft as it rushed over the fields and finally rose up into the sky.