The Earth was lit by fires.
Byrne was the only one in the room who studied the projection. But then, he was the only one who’d been born there. Even he hadn’t been back in a hundred years. He frowned, the globe spun around and a hex of map zoomed out.
His birthplace was dark in the penumbra of approaching dawn. No feeds were coming up to the station from or about the island and the satellites saw no movement. He could zoom in and do a house to house search, but he wouldn’t remember which one had been his home.
“Mister Byrne. The last of the Seeds reports it has passed the point of possible interception.” The young man smiled as he passed this on.
A thousand Seeds had been built in shipyards all over the solar system, launching nearly a hundred a year. A dozen had been destroyed early in their flight, six had gone silent far ahead of schedule and twenty of the most recent ships had been boarded and ransacked by pirates claiming allegiance to one warring faction or another.
Nine hundred and sixty two manned time capsules had been cast out into the universe in the hope of finding new homes for the human race. Byrne worried it wasn’t enough. “One last launch.” he announced.
The artificial gravity dwindled as the ring slowed. The jets fired to align it with a carefully planned trajectory.
Byrne watched the Earth projection as the control room buzzed with pre-flight noise. The surface was becoming blocky as feeds went down. Some areas were hazy because the satellites watching them no longer functioned. He might see the planet again, but it was unlikely he’d ever touch the soil.
The noise fell off. They awaited his command to launch. He nodded. A button was pressed and there was a deep rumble. The space station became a space ship and commenced a journey that would bring it back to spitting distance of Earth every ninety seven years for the next two millennia.