Any system with High Tech rules: The Bulwark

Hey, you, kids. I don’t know how you got in here, but it’s your lucky day that you did. Maybe you thought you were squatting in an abandoned construction project… but you were actually stowing away on Earth’s last space station.

Humans didn’t get off Earth in time. We defunded the space program, convinced ourselves that FTL was impossible, and decided it wasn’t worth the bother to try to colonize other worlds. Centuries of fabulous technology never brought us any closer to getting all of our eggs out of one planetary basket. And then the apocalypse came.

I don’t know what happened. If you look out the window, you’ll see what’s left of Earth: a slowly drifting arc of asteroids. It doesn’t seem physically possible for something to just tear it into chunks in place like that, especially without reducing everything on it to dust first, but there it is. Maybe it had something to do with the companies trying to stabilize the major fault lines. Maybe we mined out too much of the guts holding everything together. Maybe somebody set off a doomsday weapon. We may never know.

My grandfather built this station. It’s designed to be self-sustaining for decades, solar powered, armored against meteors, and fit living space for a couple hundred folks. It was also so heavy, everyone laughed at granddad about the impossibility of ever lifting it into space. Turns out that gets a lot easier when the very chunk of ground you’re sitting on is suddenly free of the planet and has negligible escape velocity. Still can’t figure on how the structure, much less us, is still standing.

If the apocalypse down there was gentle enough in places that we survived, maybe some other people did, too. Other shielded facilities like this likely have scientists and technology. We’ve got some short range spaceships here, including one that can tow the best pieces back. We’ve got micro-manufacturing plants that could turn newly exposed chunks of metallic core into more machines. We could turn this little station floating just a bit closer to the sun than the rest of what’s left into a new bulwark of society. At least for a while.

See, that’s the real plan: now that we can’t just sit on our butts and allow the universe to pass us by, maybe we can once again start looking up at the stars. Humanity has one last chance to escape into the galaxy, and nothing left to lose if we take it. All we need is to gather together enough resources to make it possible.

You kids up for it?