"To all within the sound of my voice who can hear me and those able to see me on video I have a message for you: Hope is not Lost.
My name is Ray Kaplan, President and CEO of Ascentech, Colonel of the US Spaceport Militia and Executive put in charge of the US Spaceport for external affairs.
Three weeks ago I came to you and said I hoped to never be here again so that you could get on with the hard work of building your survival capacity locally, and someone decided to make good on that by threatening myself, my family, my friends, my community and the works we put together with our own hard work. That someone, or someones, are in what remains of the US federal government, although its not so much 'federal' any more as it sees itself the ruler of all it can grab. We were threatened by ground forces, force from the air and the sea as well.
Today that threat has been ended on all venues and the communications capacity of the US federal government by space has been put to an end. A new government will need to be elected or the States come together to form new government that does not see the works of the people as objects that can be taken over so as to abolish the objectives of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Today I announce the Second Space Age in the form of a vehicle put together by a small group of citizens at the US Spaceport which ended the threats presented to their lives, families, works and sacred honor. In sorrow some lives must be lost amongst those who threatened us, and we did give fair warning as much as possible on land and in the air, and were a bit more forceful and rude at sea and in space. With good grace that loss of life amongst our fellow citizens of the United States was small and today we are utilizing our lift capacity to start finding out if they have homes to return to and then asking if they wish to go to whatever home or lack of same is left. We have done the same with those who fled the CME from the ISS and will do so with any who have been dealt with unkindly by the forces of nature or the forces of man.
This Second Space Age dawned with one vessel called Meridian, a test and research vessel that was also armed against the threats of space and those that could be posed by man, as well. It was called Meridian as it had the potential of marking the division between times, between eras, between what we knew might be possible and what we now know is possible, and Meridian has swept through the last of the Old Era to bring a New One. We are now working frantically with any who have production capacity to start the project of retrofitting our older vessels so that they can now rapidly ascend to space with cargo. The cost, while not exactly pennies, is far, far cheaper than the Old Space Age's best capacity on its best day by orders of magnitude. This means that in the 10 year future I outlined before, we will be compressing as much of it forward as we can, since we can now work directly in space, on the Moon and will seek to build the first spaceships capable of roaming our solar system. In case none of that pans out, we will continue on our prior path, as well, and ramp up production as we had planned to do, and are now automating as much of that process as is humanly possible.
Meridian marks the dawning of the day where we can now test forms of artificial gravity for use in space. That means that space no longer becomes a vast emptiness, but a place to build destinations to live, to work, to play and to then explore the rest of the solar system, indeed all of space as far and as fast as we can go. Immigrants who are skilled at mining, in all the technical fields, in machine tooling, welding, and agriculture in which soil is to be constantly nurtured and never left to chance will be welcome within the next 10 years to build a new home and leave Earth for good. To that end we are ensuring that beyond the mere survival necessities, and for those who see the burnt out cities on the horizon or are now in rude shelters braving the elements, you need not fear, we will continue to put together programs for you, that beyond those we will be offering technical courses so that anyone with materials, skill, ability, drive and willingness to take up new trades can have a way to a brighter future.
It is my fondest desire that within 2 years we will have moved much of our combined operations currently at the Spaceport into space, itself. We will work with our Industrial Work Platform, the Highflight OASES systems and then, because it is International and we are the only ones capable of getting to it, the International Space Station as well. We will be removing the dead satellites from space, cleaning up the junk left in orbit over the prior decades which is a threat to all life in near Earth space, and reprocessing it, re-using it, adapting it or just smelting it down for raw materials to build anew. That is a much larger job than actually building a larger station, and once we start on it, then that will be the first group of people we will actively need: pilots for small craft to fetch and remove space junk. We have modified some open source flight packages for our own use, and those that have any computational power available will be able to get those same packages from us. We need skilled pilots as no amount of automation can handle the vast array and sizes of junk in orbit. If you come to us with those skills, be sure to have a good second set available as removing junk will not be your only job, and there is no glamour in any of this but hard, hard work.
To those cities, counties, provinces or Nations that have need of the raw materials in the relics of the Old Era, in the way of cutting down skyscrapers and getting the remains to the ground in sections, we offer skilled pilots and their ability to do this with Meridian, which is also the largest plasma cutter known to mankind. No building is too large, no task of cutting so big that we will not deal with it. Clean-up is your job, getting it cut and as safely removed as is possible will be ours. We seek only 10% of the gross tonnage to take to orbit to build new facilities, and that by random cuts only, no picking and choosing by anyone. For free we will take down your cities so you may begin the hard work of building anew.
Our work with Texas and having Meridian available now means there is a fighting chance that we may, this winter in the Northern Hemisphere, get fuel and power to sections of the agricultural Midwest and start the processing of the winter harvest and finish the processing of the fall harvest to useful though basic foodstuffs such as flour and cornmeal. We will be distributing that to every HAM radio station and every revitalization center now in place at old home improvement stores that have worked hard to keep their communities alive. We will do a simple allotment per person and we at the spaceport will exempt ourselves from a share. You must be able to contact us to get this bounty, and then it will be divvied up in equal portions to all who ask without respect to where you are on Earth.
I am the President and CEO of Ascentech and delivering anywhere on the planet remains, to this day, our prime job and reason for being. Much of the building in space we will assist in, but the leading of it will be up to others that we at the Spaceport trust to do this and do it well. The only proviso is that if you attempt to unequally distribute portions, use food as a means to get power over others, or to simply rule with an iron fist, may I point out that we also have the planet's largest plasma cutting torch available if you decide to try that on any of us or our representatives? After your demise we will then hope to find people able to listen to reason and who have compassion for their fellow man.
Meridian marks the end of the Old Way of power.
In space the tyrant find the vast vacuum of space not to their liking as the least slip-up will yield them up to it.
Nor do fools and idiots last long in space, for the exact, same reason.
I will be going to space and none of us who are going have any room for tyrants, fools, idiots or those looking to live off the hard work of their fellow man. I will be working, and if you come, so will you. Hard work to eat is a requirement, first and foremost, and if you can't tend to a plant or animal, then you are no good to anyone. That goes for me and that goes for you as well. After that we will then have the joy of risking our lives to build a New Frontier for all Mankind. In a decade if you have a useful skill and wish to get off of Earth, then find a way to get a message to us. You have to have skills, ability, willingness to work, the ability to think ahead and, oh yeah, leave your damned prejudices at home since you will find space is unprejudiced to all who live and treats all equally without favor, without fervor and with a final justice that befits those stupid enough to not abide by living with their fellow man in peace. It isn't the end of conflict, I assure you, but it is the end of the petty stuff that has plagued us since the dawn of human history.
Meridian marks the ending of that Age as well.
I welcome all who can hear the sound of my voice to learn good skills, work hard to survive and know that a better day will dawn out of the horror and disaster that has befallen us all. Hope is not lost. Hope can only be built. And that is the hardest work of all as you will do it your entire lives. There is no utopia in this, just hard work. And I want to work with all who are willing to build Hope for our children, our grandchildren and all mankind. I can't do that for you as you must do it for yourself.
I am Ray Kaplan and here is my promise: you won't hear from me about this stuff again. And if we do it right, you'll never hear from any of us at the Spaceport save as welcome visitors and those wishing to help you to a new life as you join us in space. I would like to meet all of those who can hear me, I really do. I want a new life with you, each and every single one of you. Because I do believe that you are the kind of person who can learn by the mistakes of the past and build that new future side by side with me, each to our own ends, and yet together on the greatest project ever presented to mankind in history.
This is Ray Kaplan, signing off. Sorry for the repeats, but some of you are asleep and may want to hear this.
Diana slept hard and her sleep was dreamless save for the deep black of space.
She awoke in a large bed with light sneaking in around a drawn shade and curtains, and by her bed was a figure sitting down lit only by the glow of a laptop computer.
Gazing at the figure she smiled.
"So I'm in need of a vigil?" Diana asked softly.
Setting the laptop aside to the bedside table, it shifted to look at her.
"No, just company," Jasmine's voice came to her softly as she shifted from the chair to the bed to sit down next to Diana.
"It was too much for me," she said looking at Jasmine, "you've talked to Regina...and you...found out from your parents, my brothers, human sisters...it was too much to take."
Extending her right hand, Jasmine cupped Diana's cheek and she shifted her head, closed her eyes and then moved her hands up to place one over Jasmine's and the other on Jasmine's thigh.
"I know, Diana. She wanted it done, done quickly, once..."
Diana kissed the palm of Jasmine's hand and moved her head to look up at her.
"She was ever thus. I'm more cautious with the civilized..." Diana whispered, "...even knowing each of the people there it was..." she shivered as she stared at Jasmine.
Leaning down, Jasmine placed her other hand behind the pillow and Diana moved her hand up, tracing across Jasmine's body until it arrived to cup her left cheek.
"I am here for you, Diana. I share this room with Marissa and Brent called it your room, and he was right. You were the one we wanted to be with. And each of us loves you in our own way."
Diana sighed, her thumb shifting along Jasmine's cheek, then came to rest beside her nose, her palm pressing fully skin to skin.
"And I each, in my own way," Diana whispered, "fear I can understand and take, but there is deep feeling that is always there within me. It never ends and I am its author."
Shifting her face against Diana's hand, Jasmine kissed it and slid further down the arm, kissing as she went. She stopped when her right cheek rubbed Diana's left and she saw that Diana had closed her eyes.
"Let me help you heal it, beloved," Jasmine said softly, "so that at least it is no longer your torment but only your reminder."
Diana shivered, shifting under the covers, moving to pull them off.
"I do not want you hurt by them, Jasmine," Diana whispered.
Jasmine nodded softly once, moving covers aside.
"You will give me nothing you can't heal," she whispered "and I know that you deserve more than that driving pain and redness."
"Yes..." Diana whispered. "Please, yes."