They were stood in a line, waiting to be audited to make sure they were suitable to go to the new world. It would be a long trip, frozen while the ship flew through space. For thousands of years they would sleep while the ship travelled though the stars to their new home.
The line was a good mile long, there were a lot of people hoping for the new life, to escape the life in the war-torn and vastly overpopulated solar system. Each family unit had been told they could take one backpack of personal belongings, and Joe was carrying the one for him, his wife Sandra and their fifteen year old daughter Rachael. They were assured that all the clothes and other items they would need would be provided.
They had made the journey to Sol Station 1, and the section they had put the lines in was kept at a warm summer temperature of three hundred Kelvin, they were all stood in their tee-shirts and shorts, there were water stations at regular intervals of the passageway they were stood in. They just hoped today would be the day they made it to the front of the queue, this was their tenth day in trying.
As they slowly progressed up the line they were asked by one of the guards how things were going. Joe nodded and she passed along to the next group – a gaggle of five, the two parents and three children within the strict age limits allowed – over the age of five and under sixteen. The mission had been long in the planning, Joe had first heard about it while Sandra was still pregnant with Rachael. There had been stories that the rich had donated billions to the project in the hope they would not have to go through the selection process, thankfully for the normal person this had not happened, and in the line was the full range, poor homeless beggars and some of the richest people in the solar system, forced to give up their riches to take this voyage.
The line shuffled forward. They would see there were only about five families ahead of them. It was only just gone three in the main shift so they would have a very good chance of getting though this time. They shuffled again not long after and by four they were the next to get called.
Joe showed the guards their documents, watched as they were checked and then all three of them held out their hands for the verification. There was a sharp jab as the machine took is genetic sample to test against birth records. They waited for what seemed like an age; the agent dealing with their check seemed uninterested – Joe knew the guy had probably done hundreds of these in the last few weeks.
The agent nodded and took the backpack. He emptied it out into a tray and rifled though the few items they had. There was an old photo of the three of them when Rachael was a baby, a hand written note and a few other personal items. He grunted and tipped the tray back into the bag.
They were waved through and met by another guard.
“Hi, my name is Susie, I will take you through the last part of your appraisal for the new world. As you have got this far you have done better than a lot of people, but we still have to make sure and then have you in the right area, the wake up times will be staggered so that there can be a place for everyone to live. Based on your education and current employment we have you as a priority for wake up, to assist with the construction of housing and air processing and for the incoming colonists. Your daughter will of course wake at the same time, we will not be splitting families.
Susie went through their lives, what they did and assigned them another queue to join. This line was moving faster, they could see the transports ahead ready to take them to the departure area. There was a roar and vibration through the deck as something launched from the station, out of sight.
Joe handed the backpack to a guard who tagged it as they boarded the transport. They managed to find a seat and then watched out of the window as it hurtled round the station, seeing the businesses flying past on their last tour of the Sol Station 1.
The medic at the large colony ship was friendly, she ran a final check on their ID and instructed them to strip to underwear before they could get into the travel chambers. Clothes deposited in a bag and tagged with their ID they clambered in, Joe looked to his left and then right at his family, as the chamber closed and he slowly went to sleep.