By the year 5072, humanity depleted Earth’s natural resources. Hardscrabble soil led to famine, and elevated regions became uninhabitable as oxygen levels continued to drop. When aquifers withered away, wealthy countries learned to melt the ice caps for drinkable water, but their overzealous efforts led to flooding that devastated island nations.
It wasn’t the apocalypse, but it was close. Scientists predicted a societal collapse within two centuries and the end of humanity within the millennium.
In a flurry of activity, world leaders instituted a program aimed at discovering a new habitable planet. Space shuttles launched into space, each equipped with a team of twenty. Each team was promised unimaginable wealth should they find a new planet on which humans could live.
The world leaders called this plan Goldspace.
Although each Goldspace ship contains twenty members, only five are awake at any one time. These five, known as the Actives, are placed into pods in the ship’s control room. These pods are filled with a kind of nutritional sludge that greatly reduces the process of aging. As a result, Actives could live for almost a century and a half, though they rarely do thanks to the dangerous natures of their jobs.
The remaining fifteen team members rest in similar pods in the back of the ship. In their pods, however, the sludge is thicker, more viscous, and in it resides a drug that brings the human body to a near standstill. In the Preservation Pods, humans can live for up to five hundred years before needing to be awoken.
The five roles in a Goldspace pod belong to the Astronomer, Pilot, Technician, Biologist, and Rogue. The Astronomer serves as the ship’s captain, charting the course and managing the team’s morale. The Pilot navigates based on the Astronomer’s orders, and the Technician fixes the shuttle’s technology whenever it breaks. The Biologist examines bacteria, creatures, and soil samples so as to determine the viability of the planet to a human’s genome.
Finally, the Rogue: this recruit possesses a military background along with a basic understanding of biology. He visits the planets to acquire samples for the biologist, doing his best to survive what the environment dares to throw at him.
Each team of twenty follows the same plan for its backup. A prominent statistician calculated this plan according to the life expectancy of each job. All Goldspace shuttles, therefore, hold two Captains, two Pilots, three Technicians, three Biologists, and ten Rogues.