July 9, 2149, Earth’s Orbit

“Sir, we aren’t ready. There are too many unknowns,” Commander Karen Bilson said to the hologram.

The Union president’s form flickered on her office table. “Commander, we don’t have a choice. You saw the images Grant sent. They are everything we’ve been waiting for. The other’s found nothing even close to a livable planet. People are dying down here. I’m making the call, and you will assist in the transport of the first selected to the Santa Maria. Understood?”

She shifted on her feet, feeling her blood pressure rise. Every decision made by the Union was rushed, and she wished for a moment that all the cost and work thrown into building the transport vessels and scouring the galaxies for a new home could have been put into saving their planet.

In the end, she bit her tongue and did what every good soldier was told to do. Follow orders. “Understood, sir,” she said with a salute. The hologram flickered and faded away with a hiss.

“Commander? What are the orders?” the ever-loyal First Officer Penner asked.

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