The auditorium fell silent as Minister of Space Exploration Jethus Issac stepped onto the stage and up to the podium for the keynote speech on graduation day. Recent news about Taurion and who would be selected for the first expeditions there hyped up the excitement. They’d completed their Taurion preparedness training. Would their graduating class be chosen? Today’s ceremony was being broadcast on solarnet, so anticipation was high.

“10s of thousands or 100s of thousands of years… what does it matter? The point is, it was a very long time ago that the Great Exodus began.

Earth was beaten. A shell of its once incredible splendour. Virtually uninhabitable, and certainly would be uninhabitable shortly. Why is less important, but scholars today still debate the true problem.

In this Great Exodus, the best hope for the continuation of the human race would flee that dying planet. Many would be left behind to try and salvage what they could of planet Earth. It would take many years as resources from bases on the Moon, Titan, and other places in the Solar system would have to be repurposed or salvaged to build the great ships that would bring us all here.

We would forever say goodbye to our planet, Earth, and our star, Sol, and head towards what appeared to be 12 viably “inhabitable” planets.

Not everyone would escape though. Resources on Earth ran low, and many scheduled convoys never arrived here. Further, cryostasis pods would keep most people safe through the long journey, but 5,000 years is a long time for a pod to continue functioning. We lost many people. We can only pray. May God have mercy on the many souls lost. We thank them for their sacrifice.

But we did arrive at long last. Or, at least the 3 Houses destined for this sector of the galaxy would arrive at our determined planets. We still know nothing of the remaining 9 Houses, and still don’t have the means to find out.

House Jodon would settle on the planet Lionis, a vile, volcanic world where one side of the planet perpetually faced its sun. Seemingly unending centuries of hardship would make the Jodons a callous people.

House Reubo would settle in a nearby solar system on the planet Aquarion. With 95% of the planet covered by water, the Reubos would adapt to scarcity through ingenuity and innovation.

Our House, House Ephrati would settle on Verdis. Exquisitely lush with thick vegetation, it’s beauty was unmatched by any on Earth. But so were its dangers similarly unmatched. Toxic foliage, venomous creatures and gargantuan beasts made each day survived one to celebrate. However, over the years we Ephrati would gradually learn from our environment and develop long term strategies of survival.

While Lionis, Aquarion and Verdis are all survivable, they’re all still resource poor. Certainly they may have abundances of some resources, but not enough to truly rebuild civilisation such as the once great Earth boasted.

Thousands of years passed and each House physically kept to their own. How could they justify the travel costs without the means to fuel them profitably for trade?

As you may have heard, over a year ago a strange transmission was detected from a nearby solar system. It was strong, clear, and obviously from some form of highly intelligent civilisation. It was also undecipherable.

Long range communications between our 3 Houses has ramped up well beyond our normal media, idle chatter and holotainment programs.

The planet orbits a brown dwarf star inside of its plasma sheath. That the signal came through to us was a freak of nature. Physical investigation was needed.

Probes from each House were sent and it has been determined that this planet is rich in minerals, fuels, metals, and other badly needed resources. Resources that could be used to thrive, prosper, and even eliminate fuel rationing.

Once probe data was collated and processed, scouts were sent. What they found would astound everyone. They found a large, sophisticated, ancient building left there by someone, or something. The building is still functional, and inside the air is breathable.

But it is the building’s Great Hall that is of most significance. It’s ornately decorated with pictures, sculptures, and undecipherable glyphs… undecipherable all except one that’s written in an ancient tongue from old Earth, “Taurion”, after which we have named the planet.

But more than prosper, Taurion is rich enough for us to rebuild the great ships of old, but this time with superior technologies. Reaching out to the stars is within our grasp. Newly developed, albeit still theoretical, trans-light engines will make finding the other 9 Houses, or at a minimum discovering their fates, a very real possibility.

The opportunity to reunite Humanity after countless millennia is laid at our feet.

Ladies and gentlemen before me today, you have been immersed in the knowledge needed for us to forge this new, bright future. You have prepared yourselves in mind, spirit, and body to venture forth and begin the Great Quest.

We will gather the resources we need.

We will restore the great ships of old for intra-galactic travel.

We will speed the great ships of old with our new technologies to travel in weeks what once took us thousands of years.

We will do this for pride.

We will do this for honour.

We will do this for our House!” Minister Issac shouted.

“And you…” The Minister paused and took a more somber tone, “You will go to Taurion.”

The silence broke.

The students rejoiced, clapping, standing, whistling, pumping their arms in the air and chanting the name of their House, Ephrati. Yes. This was a moment of pride, honour, and duty. They would go to Taurion.

Find out more about Taurion at https://taurion.io/

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