After the talk with Sue, Mona made an inspection of the uppermost cargo hold. She was inspecting the marine life, a regular marine menagerie, being transported to Ceres along with a large team of biologists. Their intention was to aquaform the enormous interior ocean or sea of Ceres. This was no small task. The planetoid’s interior contained an amount of water in excess of all the fresh water found on planet Earth. The key to this enormous task was the formation of a self-sustaining ecosystem. That meant finding microorganisms that could live off the inorganic mineral base of Ceres or the small thermal vents inside the planetoid. That part had more or less started and been successful. The next aspect would be to introduce the next step up the food chain—various species of crustaceans and cnidarians (jellyfish) that would eat the microorganisms. What they really wanted was a species capable of bioluminescence, so the scientists could generate some organic light within Ceres’s internal sea.
Mona was stunned by the beauty and the amount of blue-green light coming from many of the holding tanks in the upper hold. The scientists had also brought a few genetically enhanced dolphins to assist in their efforts.
The World Alliance was desperate to find a safe and unreachable haven for refugees and survivors in case the worst-case outcome based on multiple computer modelings occurred.
They had decided that if war was coming, the World Alliance was helpless to stop the Atlantis Alliance. Ultimately, running and hiding was the only possible strategy to guarantee some chance of survival.
Mona was going over the flight plan to Ceres. The most efficient launch window to Mars opened only once every twenty-six months, so if Leviathan made the launch window, which it looked like she would, and used a rapid-transit flight path, she would be at Mars in twenty-six days, averaging seventy-eight thousand miles per hour—the high midrange of Leviathan’s ion drive capability. Once the WAMS Leviathan slung off of Mars at 0.523 AUs from Earth, the transit to Ceres should be eighty more days, for about a 3.5-month one-way trip, Ceres being 1.77 AUs from Earth.
Even if Leviathan made an emergency return trip, Mona calculated at best an eight-month round trip. Plus, if she needed to wait for the next best available launch window, it would require a round trip of one year and two months. Mona thought, The voyage gives me a good amount of time to think about a bunch of issues, so bring it on!