Nine-year-old Billy Davis never saw anything more impressive. It was the coolest looking spaceship he had ever seen.
“Is that it Dad?” asked Billy. “Is that really, really it?”
“That's it, son,” said Dad. “That's the spaceship that's gonna take us to live on another planet.”
Billy, Dad, and Billy's mom loaded their things into their private cabin in the ship. It would take a few months to get to the distant star, but such a travel time was pretty amazing considering that the star was 18 light-years away. The relatively short journey was possible only because of the warp-drive engine of the starship, which meant that its effective travel speed was many times the speed of light. The genius physicists of the generation before Billy's had found a way to cheat on the laws of nature, by using a warp drive that effectively shrunk the space in front of the starship. by creating a series of spatial mini-warps as the ship traveled toward the star.
“I can't wait to become a real space pioneer, kind of like Daniel Boone,” said Billy. “I want to learn all about being a space pioneer, so I can help out,” said Billy. “But how can I do that?”
“Why don't you use the holographic simulator?” suggested Mom.
Billy went to the spaceship's holographic simulator, which could convincingly project a 360 degree simulation of a vast variety of landscapes. He requested a program that would let him practice cutting down trees and building log cabins, just like Daniel Boone. For many days he practiced with the simulation, until he finally got the hang of it.
“I'm done, Mom!” exulted Billy. “Now I know how to build us a house when we get to that planet.”
“That's great, Billy,” said Mom, glad that her son had found some activity to help relieve the boredom of the interstellar voyage. “But what about food, Billy? We'll need to grow food somehow on that planet.”
Billy went back to the holographic simulator, and requested a simulation to help him learn the basics of farming. He learned how to plant crops. He also learned how to irrigate crops and harvest them. Finally after days of practice, he announced his new skills to Mom.
“I'm done, Mom!” exulted Billy. “Now I know how to grow us some food when we get to that planet.”
“That's great, Billy,” said Mom, glad that her son had found some way to stay out of trouble. “But what about predators, Billy? We'll need to be able to protect ourselves from predator animals that attack us on that planet.”
Billy went back to the holographic simulator, and requested a simulation to help him learn how to defend himself from predators. He learned how to use a bow and arrow to kill attacking animals. He learned how to use a shotgun to shoot dangerous animals. Finally after days of practice, he announced his new skills to Mom.
Finally the ship arrived at the distant planet. Billy, Dad, and Mom got on a landing craft that would take them down to the surface of the planet.
“So we're really the first humans ever to land on this planet?” asked Billy.
“You bet,” said Dad. “No human has ever set foot on this planet.”
“This is going to be the toughest adventure I've ever had,” said Billy. “But I'm ready for it.”
When the landing craft landed, and Billy and his family got out, Billy couldn't believe what he saw.
“Dad, what is that?” Billy asked.
“That, my son, is our new home,” said Dad. “It's a gleaming 15-story luxury apartment building with elevators, a gym, a heated swimming pool, a variety of restaurants, and a huge ground-level supermarket well-stocked with 5000 varieties of tasty food, not to mention full-wall holographic screens in every apartment.”
“But I thought we were the first humans to get here,” said Billy.
“We are,” explained Dad. “But this planet was pre-colonized twenty years ago by a spaceship of robots and nanobots. They got things all nice and ready for us, so that everything would be ridiculously convenient for us.”
“Aw Dad,” said Billy, lowering his head. “This isn't gonna be much fun.”