A lone bead of sweat wound its way down the side of Jon’s cheek, but that was the only sign of discomfort. His face betrayed no emotion. The entirety of his life was spent in training simulations which culminated in the simplest of tasks – pressing a single button. He was ready.
The small blue planet approached with agonizing slowness, and Jon ran through the deployment procedure in his mind one last time. He had but one chance, with almost no room for error, for the lives of the ten thousand people in the passenger hold would be snuffed out in an instant should he fail. Mostly children, they were the last that were healthy enough to make the voyage.
Millions had died in earlier missions when their ships’ computers failed during their approach. A manual deployment required impossibly perfect timing, but they were out of options. If he failed, the era of man was over.
Jon’s thumb hovered over the button that would launch the last hope of mankind to their new home. He took a deep, steady breath, and pressed.