The black craft lay silent in the vacuum of space.
As the tiny transport approached, the name of the ship came into the light of the far-off sun, the huge painted letter dwarfing the shuttle.
PRC-Mao. The People’s Republic of China’s Mao.
It was one of the behemoths of another age, the antimatter-fueled giants that finished Earth’s final resources—and carried humanity to it new home scattered among the stars.
The main living area of the ship was huge. A titanic oval with multiple levels of ecosystems, living area for millions, and a main generator the size of several old earthen cruise ship.
The generator, of course, was offline, a much smaller and more powerful reactor in its place.
The Mao had run on antimatter—the most powerful substance discovered at the time—and as such had needed a cooling system like no other. The real bulk of the Mao was not in its main decks.
It was in the cooling system, system of gigantic pipes and braces stretching miles into space—half the length of the former state of Florida.
It had a great history. Ferrying Earth’s inhabitants, escaping the Sol System for new systems seeded with the fruit of earth. Planets ripe for colonization.
But then it was abandoned, left to drift endlessly, or to be scavenged by pirates for its metal. It’s location was forgotten, its name lost to history.
Clarisse Halling had found it.
The Mao was her ship now. It did not move in space—the engines hadn’t been activated in a hundred years—and most of the ship’s decks were still silent and abandoned. But some hummed with new, updated life.
Holographic chambers, living and training areas, various artificial ecosystems, mock-up generators, labs, miniature factories, gigantic banks of computer and communication consoles…it was everything she needed and more.
Everything necessary for the creation of a new idea.
Everything necessary for the Lifetime Project.
Everything necessary for the forging of the SADERs.