Switchback trails are carved into the side of the mountain. Silence permeates the cobalt blue sky day. Crisp morning air fills lungs not accustomed to purity. Not a member of the expedition comprised of ten astronauts with three being top scientists in their own fields could believe what they were experiencing. No trees or vegetation could be seen for miles but oxygen was in ample supply unsullied by years of pumping toxins out of pipes. This was truly a virgin expanse, a clean planet. Their mandate was to penetrate the cave system to see if they would be a good sanctuary from the approaching apocalypse.
Last year it was discovered that a long dead star was located on the periphery of the solar system. The Outer Asteroid Mining Company's robot craft almost plowed right into the pitch black orb. This caused quite the stir in the scientific community because surprises like these weren't supposed to happen in the technologically advanced twenty-ninth century of Earth. The prime minister ordered an immediate investigation.
Coming from a long line of People's Movement global leaders dedicated to the betterment and safety of every citizen PM Davion Colloid decided that acting promptly would keep the planet ahead of the curve. After the Soliod Tragedy most leaders followed Macro Insight Analysis that meant drowning in details was frowned upon. Never again would analysis paralysis enshrine inaction; the indecision born from expecting perfect insight in an inherently imperfect world polluted with flawed beings. Over a million souls lost their lives in the Soliod Tragedy from a hideous attack by barbarians wielding nation killing weapons - a pre-People's Movement superpower leader wouldn't act without guarantees in an environment fraught with disorder.
Good thing humanity acted when they did. For this dead star that was way off the beat-and-path of cargo ships, transports, basically all traffic into and out of the solar system was a ticking time bomb - it carried with it an eons old secret.
On Mars deep catacombs had been found. Hieroglyphics swirled around animated scenes depicting a group of creatures, bipeds standing on what clearly might have been Mars with canals and oceans many billions of years ago being pummeled by some orange-red wave. Every wall had this eerie carefully crafted three-dimensional ancient space perspective of a dying planet. Way up high far from these planetary riders a huge orange-red sphere resembling a star but a hundred-times the size of our Sun always dominated the roof. It was an enigma that lasted for centuries until eight months ago.
Earth vessel Deep Exploration unlocked the tragedy that befell the now extinct Martians. When it reached the Black Star so named because all light seemed to be devoured by this the darkest entity in the known solar system it found the extinct star was emitting an energy signature that was growing more powerful. With some of Earth's finest scientists onboard it didn't take long for them to conclude that if the object's energy kept growing at its present rate it would explode.
This wouldn't be an explosion that would only impact the outer orbit of Pluto but a supernova sized behemoth that would incinerate all planets in a fireball taking with it atmospheres, life, oceans, and gases leaving nothing behind but barren balls or dispersed nothingness were Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus once reigned. Mars many billions of years ago was undoubtedly the result of such an explosion of possibly another of these Killer Stars. That was why its atmosphere was now a puny wispy ghost, the former oceans, and rivers that had covered most of the planet were blown clear out into the vacuum of space.
An urgent search was begun to find a habitable planet that wasn't too far away from Earth. All the great minds had determined that this planet needed a cave system if it was two-light years from the fast approaching blast. Thousands of space ships were sent out on a frantic search for this needle in a hay stack. The odds were against the human race on this one but being the tenacious species that we are it never occurred to anyone to just give up and bury our civilization's achievements deep underground like the Val had done on Mars. Failure just wasn't written into the human genome. We had always been survivors.
Typical of life, Perillion the exploration vessel from what had been the old United States launched at Houston Space Port found the elusive planet now dubbed Salvation not more than a single month before all would be lost. A beautiful but barren expanse, Salvation was comprised of endless mountains that rocketed up many miles into a bright blue sky. Most important of all, it had an extensive cave system that interlocked all the mountains into an underground network. This was essential given that it was in a previously unexplored area outside the solar system but still within the two-light years burning zone.
"It was now time for all of us to leave the only home that we and our ancestors had ever known. Every ship was mustered for this grand voyage, the relocation of an entire sentient species. There were plant, animal, seed, machine, and human transport ships covering just about every flat expanse of land. We were taking everything that wasn't bolted down for once we left orbit that would be the last we'd ever see of this small blue world."
"Our exodus from the known into the unknown went well. We survived the blast. We're all working about twelve hour days. Building a new world from the ground up is tiring but rewarding. We have the opportunity to throw out the disproven, the discredited, only the finest from the extensive human catalog of achievements polished upon our People's Movement ideals will permeate our crystal clear blue sky rebirth. Wish us luck, for it always plays such an important part in shaping the future but without liberty, decency, and community even good fortune would be wasted. Not so for our settlers. We have always believed not in the tyranny of the few, but instead the unbridled empowerment of the many. Deep within our souls we carry principles from our former world."