Love & Supernova 0 - How It All Started

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Only the best bait will catch the biggest fish (ancient saying).

How could anyone settle near a star that will soon go supernova? How was it possible to convince millions of people to go there and start a new life? Had they no idea that soon nothing but ashes will remain of them?

The story started much earlier, around 2961. And everything was made possible by a single man, Caligula. For more then 400 years, the greatest achievement one could do is to terraform a planet, offer it for future generations with the status of a free state and give the planet his name. Only the richest could afford such a thing. In many cases, terraforming is done by powerful corporations and interstellar empires, who wish to extend their territories. But still, there are many ONGs and religious organizations who managed to terraform their own planets. Finding a planet is not difficult, but most of them are very difficult to terraform. Some of them are too cold and ice covered, while others are hot and lack water. The best planets are in the habitable zones, not too hot and not too cold. They are the most easy to transform, but also the most hunted.

One rich man, in the middle of the 29's was Caligula (or Alfred Maxwell, on his original name). He took his name from a Roman emperor. At that time, most merchants were busy finding gold or diamond ores, which resulted in a drop of gold price by a thousand times. Caligula knew that iron is the basic ingredient for most alloys. He managed to build a steel producing industrial complex near the richest iron ores in Vega system. He started his business with high difficulties and a huge debt, but in only five years, managed to be successful. In 15 years, he became known as King Of Iron. That is the moment when he changed his name from Alfred Maxwell into Caligula.

Little is known about him, except that he was a successful businessman who always made huge profit by selling steel and crude iron. He had no wife and no children. Some people suggested that he was gay, but nobody could ever prove this. He never spent money on parties, as other rich people do. Some people suspected that he was a transgender. It is common for men who have a feminine side to share male names ended with an a. Usually, they take names from ancient times: Catilina, Aquila, Luca and so on. Might Caligula be a hidden transgender or at least a hidden cross-dresser? The truth was found out only when he died. People found woman clothes in his room.

But now, let's return to our story. When Caligula was 57, in 2961, he was very rich. He had the money to buy one of Saturn's icy moons. He could grow his empire further, but decided to terraform a planet. Maybe he wanted to be remembered forever in history. Planets in habitable zones are always chosen by someone richer. Unclaimed planets are very far away, at over 10 000 light years from Earth. Not many people will wish to go that far. There are many nearby planets hard to terraform, some of them only 50 light years away, but transforming them into a new Earth will be too expensive, requesting far more money then Caligula's whole fortune.

However, at 700 light years, there is a star, Betelgeuse. This star hosts a planet right in the habitable zone. The major problem is that Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star. It is near the end of its lifetime and soon it will go supernova. Nobody chosen that planet because nobody wants to live near a star that will soon go boom. However, for a star, soon could mean even a million years. Caligula realized that a human civilization will only last for a few thousand years, which is incredibly small compared to the life of a star.

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There is one major obstacle in terraforming a planet, the ISA (Interstellar Agency). This organization is formed in early 2200, when NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA and other space agencies joined to help terraform Mars, Venus and the moons of Jupiter. Soon after humans stepped foot outside the Solar System, the ISA became the only organization to leave the Solar System. They are the largest provider of terraforming technologies and they do it almost for free. After a planet is terraformed, they build for free an orbital space station and a surface base, to facilitate passenger and cargo traffic. The ISA gains its money from these bases. Also, they provide the most stable currency, accepted anywhere: the credit, or CC. Every state and every planet has its own currency, but all interstellar trades are done in CC. The ISA helps terraforming because with each new inhabited planet and each new base, they earn more money. They never turn inside a planet's policy, just offer services needed for trade to exist, without creating a monopoly.

If you require cheap terraforming service from the ISA, you have first to complete a feasibility study. If you can prove that your planet will remain habitable and attractive for settlers 2000 years after terraforming, you get their help. If you get their help, terraforming will be five times cheaper then if you work with someone else.

So, Caligula asked some experts to make a feasibility study for his planet. Everything looked fine with the planet, but the ISA, knowing that Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, asked for an additional study for the star. This time, Caligula took one of world's leading star scientists, but bribed his employees. After all measurements were done, the experts concluded that Betelgeuse would explode in 400 000 years. With these results, Caligula went to the ISA headquarters in the Solar System and gained the agreement from ISA.

When Caligula died, in his home, some more detailed measurements were found. Not even he knew that the star will die so soon. He believed that supernova will occur in a few millennia. Well, he died in 2988, while the terraforming process was almost completed. Nobody bothered with this, since nobody will live thousands of years.

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Most rich people who paid for terraforming, set their names to their planets. They built huge statues for people to remember them. Some believed that this will wash their sins. The most known example is Leo Baroni, who owned the CN Leonis stellar system. He mined about 500 tonnes of gold every second, making gold prices to fall below that of copper. He made a fortune, but at the price of many slaves who perished in his labor camps. Near the end of his life, he terraformed five planets, thinking that this could wash his sins.

Caligula refused to name his planet other then Betelgeuse VII. He refused to have a statue or even a portrait on the planet. What he did, is unique in history so far. He wanted Betelgeuse VII to be an independent state and a democracy. He personally wrote the constitution of the new state. The following paragraphs are those who attracted so many settlers:

Cross-dresser and transgender people are welcome. Sexual minorities of all kinds are also welcome. Religious and ideological freedoms are guaranteed.

However, explicit or obscene actions or behavior, like public nudity and public sex, are forbidden and are strongly prohibited by law. Sexual abuse is punished.

It is accepted without discussion for a man to wear woman clothes or for a women to wear men clothes at any age and in any place. Body transformations that require implants, surgery or the use of hormones are accepted only after the age of 20 and only after a formal request made five years before. People who undergo such transformations before waiting five years will be punished.

All citizens, no matter of their external appearance, sexual orientation, religion or ideology, are considered equals.

Betelgeuse VII is a peaceful state. Disturbing the peace and harmony between citizens is also forbidden and will be punished.

Before Betelgeuse VII, there were states created for sexual minorities. IGPP (Interstellar Gay Paradise Planet) and Planeta Lesbiana are two examples, both orbiting red dwarf stars. Another planet that turned into a sex orgy paradise is Deepthroat, around Mira Ceti. But until now, nobody thought about creating a paradise for transgender people, that will not be just another hole to hell. It is the idea of a place where people will just have a normal life, living as they wish.

On Betelgeuse VII, one would see two girls walking on the road, without knowing that one is a woman and the other a man dressed as a woman. One a bench, one will see two men kissing, without knowing that one of them is actually a girl. And in another place, one would see a guy and a girl, when in fact the guy is a girl and the girl is a guy. All this, in a very natural way, like this is how it should be.

Terraforming ended in 2996. In the same year, ISA opened its orbital station and its surface base. Caligula was buried on the planet in a memorial park. Nobody expected that so many people will come, so that passengers will have to wait even an year to catch a seat. Many passenger ships were cancelled on other routes to bring more people here.

Well, this is now only a page in the history books. We are now approaching Earth year 3000. Still, nobody knows how soon the star will explode.



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This story is 1580 words long.