Part 1-"Prologue"

My name is Melissa, Lisa for short. I am a biologist, I'm 25 years old, and I'm on board the Spacecraft Ultima.

Spacecraft Ultima is the first of its kind. It has the ability to travel faster than light.

On board, we also have Andrew, a technician, Mike, a mathematician, Annie, a psychiatrist, Marie and Laila, doctors, Milo, a violinist, and Athena, a cream-colored Labrador.

Oh yes, and the pilot and co-pilot, George and Judy.

We just took off from the United States, main airbase, in the U.K. about a day ago.

Confusing? I'll explain later.

We left on the 7th of July, year 2019.

We're moving at a leisurely speed right now. We're passing Saturn at the moment.

It's really beautiful.. it has a sort of orange color to it.

Hmm. I think I'm getting sleepy... I'll go to my room to take a nap first... Jet lag is so annoying. It's probably night time back home.

And so I fell asleep.

I woke up sometime later.

The crew was eating lunch already.

"Hey, guys! How long was I asleep?"

"An hour or so." Mike said. "Look outside. We're passing Pluto. See Charon over there? It really is a puny moon, huh?"

I looked outside. Sure enough, there was Pluto. It looked like an oversized snowball. And in the distance, I saw Charon, the puny moon of Pluto. It looked just like Pluto.

"Hey, George! Taking a break?" I asked.

"Ya. Judy's in the cockpit right now." George replied.

"Oh, ok." I said.

"I think I'll have some lamb with olive oil, some mashed potatoes, and some beef with broccoli, and I'll drink some Coke." I said to the 'cook', which was, well, a metallic box.

"Wait a second, please." the box replied.

Sure enough, my food popped up in a flash, on a tray.

"I'm still amazed to see food made so fast... and it doesn't look artificial at all!"

"Well, these atomic reconstructors are amazing... they reconstruct the atoms perfectly! And all it takes to do that is a drop of water. Ever since cold fusion use became widespread, energy had become so cheap..." Mike said.

We could ask the reconstructor to make anything that its computer recognized in its memory... and since the reconstructor's computer had access to the Net, it could make absolutely anything. But the reconstructor had one flaw, not that it was a really bad flaw anyway. It could not reconstruct any living organism, even tiny microscopic creatures. It just could not make life. Well, that's a good thing. I shudder to think about what could happen if we could ask it to make viruses, or humans, or monsters.

Yet, we still have to be careful about what to ask the reconstructor. It has the ability to make anything nonliving (which is why we can ask it to make food), so it can also make weapons of destruction. It can easily look for data about weapons from the Net, thanks to its computer.

Our ship is still connected in real time to earth, thanks to the Net.

The internet has evolved dramatically since the start of this millenium. Before, no one recognized its full potential yet. All those computers, connected. All that computing power!

In the year 2015, a hacker from the United States, known only by his/her codename 'Alpha', managed to make a virus which spread rapidly through email. The virus caused the affected computers to stop all other processes, or even turn on if they are off, then connect simultaneously at exactly 12 midnight until exactly 12:10.

During those ten minutes, the owners of the computers would not really see any changes in the computers, other than the fact that the computer would mysteriously turn on, and the fact that the internet connection would appear to be 'down'.

Actually, the internet connection would appear to be down because it is connected to the computer of 'Alpha'.

An estimated 1 million computers were affected.

Alpha's computer, for 10 minutes daily, had the speed and computing power of 1 million computers.

A week after, authorities soon found out about the 'Midnight Glitch', as it was called afterwards, in computers in all the states. They investigated the problem, and mysteriously, the glitch disappeared the same day they publicly announced that they would investigate. No one knew what happened to 'Alpha' afterwards.

How did authorities find out about the codename 'Alpha' anyway?

Well, the next morning after the glitch disappeared, when the owners of the affected computers surfed the internet, this message popped up:


It was a strange message indeed, but it only popped up for one second, just enough time for it to be read, and after that, there was no more trace of Alpha whatsoever.

A month after the 'Midnight Glitch' incident, President Anna Arethusa told the public that everyone with computers which have internet access must keep their computers on from exactly 10 to 12 pm daily, and the owners can still do anything on their computers. But the most important thing was to keep the computers on.

Everyone wondered what the point was in doing that, but people followed anyway. Everyone loved President Arethusa.

A month later and everyone was used to the '10 'o clock Ceremony' as everyone called it.

A year after the '10 'o clock Ceremony', the United States had improved dramatically. Just two months after the 'Ceremony', cold fusion was finally made practical. There were computers a hundred times faster than the previous year's models. Cars could now go on autopilot at 500 miles per hour, compared to manual at 300 mph during the previous year. Gas was no longer needed. A teaspoon of water was enough to keep a car going continuously for a week. Electicity became absurdly cheaper, only a few cents for a thousand dollars worth of electricity during the previous year.

Year 2016: the United States was undoubtedly the strongest, most powerful, richest country in the world. All the oil supplies of the Middle East was gone. As a result, people had to use bicycles. The problem was it was terribly polluted. A lot of people got sick. Electricity prices were sky-high everywhere, except the U.S.

So the United States decided to help the world.

President Arethusa told the world that the countries who wanted help- and many countries badly needed that- should inform the United States.

What was the catch?

Those countries would then become a part of the United States. Their rulers would still have power, though. But the ultimate ruler would be President Arethusa.

It was called the 'Arethusa Agreement'.

All of Asia, except China, Japan, the Philippines, and Russia, agreed.

All of Europe also agreed.

All of Africa had no choice except to agree, since more than half its population had already died because of hunger and diseases.

North and South America also agreed.

Even the United Kingdom agreed.

So the only countries who refused the help of the United States were China, Japan, Russia, and the Philippines.

Those four countries joined together into one country. They called it 'The United Countries of Asia' or 'UCA'(pronounced yu-ka).

After the 'Arethusa Agreement', the United States still kept its name. The countries kept their names too, but became states, and their rulers still ruled them, under the supervision of President Arethusa, of course.

The countries who accepted the agreement improved drastically.

By the year 2017, Africa was all-rainforest. The diseases and viruses were absolutely destroyed. The country now had the problem of having too many obese people in its population.

In the Middle East, oil was completely forgotten. Cold fusion solved all energy problems.

In all the other countries, poverty was completely eliminated. Everyone had a condominium (no more houses, since the population had grown too much) and a car.

As for the four countries in UCA, they finally discovered cold fusion as well. They prospered independently of the U.S. Empire, and became really rich themselves.

And the most surprising thing happened.

A scientist in the Philippines invented the Atomic Reconstructor. It could make anything inorganic.

This boosted the economy of UCA dramatically. But it was very expensive to make, and so there was only one in each country of UCA.

By the year 2018, the problem of faster-than lightspeed travel was solved.

Scientists in the U.K. discovered the subatomic particle, the graviton, actually existed. By gathering a lot of them together, then using nuclear fusion on them, the energy they gave off was sufficient to propel a spacecraft faster than light.

Shortly afterwards, the CIA managed to gather info from a Japanese scientist and so the U.S. was able to make a regenerator as well.

And so NASA made a spacecraft called Ultima to learn more about outer space. They placed the reconstructor on board the Ultima.

But the actual mission of the Ultima was to find intelligent life-forms in other solar systems.

They launched the spacecraft on July 7, 2019.

And so, here we are. With the reconstructor.

Long story, huh?

Well, right now, we're moving away from the solar system.

It's rumored that there was an unidentified celestial object near to the solar system, which was disrupting the orbits of Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus.

"Emergency! There is an unidentified gravitational force pulling Ultima towards it! I cannot see it! It might be a black dwarf, or even a planet. Is it the Planet X that was described in so many textbooks?" Judy said.

Uh oh.