Gemini 14, 2078, m249
The crisis continues to unfold on Earth after last week's cataclysmic events. The series of earthquakes have taken a global toll affecting countries that straddle the boundaries of the Ring of Fire. Japan and the West American Quadrant were the hardest hit. The exact loss of life is still unknown after the initial wave of tectonic activity began 6 days ago, but hundreds of thousands are thought to have perished.
Following protocol, Martian Councils convened late on Martis, shortly after receiving reports of the incident. A key part to the Martian response, confirmed by the United Council of Mars and the Immigration Council, will include a mass evacuation of all pre-approved, waitlisted applicants from the affected regions. This effectively means expediting off-world relocation of more than 35,000 people, many of which have already been airlifted from the disaster zones to makeshift camps near launch centres around the world.
There is an attempt to move 5,000 of these survivors and rendezvous with the next immediate passing craft. It's a very narrow window as significant preparations are required to transport such a large number of human passangers.
The circuit between Earth and Mars currently has 12 freighter crafts that perpetually circle the two planets, making cargo transfers every 2 Martian months. Moving the remaining 30,000 would take at least 1/2 an Earth Year according to specialists, however, mission planners are looking at ways to accelerating the program.
Colonies have less than 7 months to prepare for the staged population influx. Osumi colony has committed to receive all of the first inbound evacuants, largely coming from affected regions in Japan. This number represents 5 time the current capacity of the colony.
Receiving the evacuees will be a massive undertaking and this initiative is largely possible due to the financial and resource contributions of Martian organizations, most notably the MAFL.
"Luckily we were all in Europa for a meeting when we caught wind of the crisis," said Aiger Masing, commissioner of the MAFL, "All club owners, including Kamden Lewis (San Olympus Titans) , Vijya Pandey (Amrita Immortals) , and Jubair Muhammad (Al'amal S.C.) have signed on to support the UCM in these efforts."
The United Council of Mars, representing all settlements, have approved resurrecting the former British colony mission that was abandoned in late 2067. Key members of the original operation, who ended up in other colonies, will be reactivated to lead the operation and administration. By leveraging the existing infrastructure and construction, it is conceivable a new colony can be established to house between 8 to 10 thousand people. Growing the organics components required for life support for this population size will be the biggest challenge for environmental engineers.
Additionally, integration of new colonists is also a concern, especially due to the traumatic circumstances. Transition programs are typically 24-40 weeks (depending on the host colony); pre-colonists are required to live in replica facilities on Earth that resemble their target colony. On average 15% wash out for one reason or another, so this safety net won't be there to filter cold-feet or screening unfit individuals.
Kamden Lewis, who continues to operate multiple businesses on Earth, is said to have lost at least one of his California-based facilities and headquarters. In a statement, he stated, "Mars resources will be put to the test both in terms of infrastructure and the social impact. Our part to welcome these new colonists will be easy compared to the ongoing recovery efforts back on Earth. We will work tirelessly on both planets to help in any way we can."
In the near-term, MAFL and other sport organizations will play an important role in helping keep colony morale up.
“We’ve never assimilated new migrants under these extenuating circumstances before,” said Rjek Someni, head of Martian Immigration Control Council, “We are asking everyone to support this mission, including the burgeoning sport community. It's going to be culture shock on a massive scale, so sports may be one way to ease the transition. It's going to affect all of our lives.”