Terraformed Earth – Departure

Ignatius Ryan, a Jesuit priest dying of cancer, was kidnapped by his mother and put in cryogenic hibernation by a scientist whose research she was funding. Ignatius is revived, his cancer cured, after seventy-five years. Nothing remains of the world he knew.

Hounded by paparazzi due to his status as the longest sleeping cryohibernation patient o be revived, he attempts to rejoin his religious order. There he learns that his resurrection by science, not faith, has caused intense controversy.

His Jesuit superior tells him the Pope intends to send Ignatius back to cryosleep for a thousand years to allow the church to survive the coming apocalypse. The superior offers to release Ignatius from his vows if he leaves the Society immediately.

Unable to envision a life in an unfamiliar world outside the only institution that remains from his past, Ignatius refuses. He tells the superior he intends to travel to Rome to petition the Pope to allow him to remain a Jesuit.

In Rome, Ignatius meets Cardinal Bienvenista, a Machiavellian figure who sees Ignatius as part of a conspiracy to undermine the church. The Cardinal tells Ignatius he must go into hibernation as ordered. Ignatius appeals the decision to the Pope himself. The Pope tells Ignatius he has had visions of the church in ruins and asks Ignatius to agree to this journey. The Pope tells Ignatius the decision is his and gives Ignatius his blessing.

The Cardinal confronts Ignatius with a stark choice: remain in the world as a target of paparazzi and Satan worshipers or go back into cryosleep. Ignatius hesitates and the Cardinal decides for him – he must go into cryosleep aboard a spacecraft that will follow a cometary orbit and return to Earth in eleven hundred years. Ignatius acquiesces in the decision. He undergoes preparation in the Vatican hospital and then in orbit aboard the spaceship that will carry him into the future. His last memory of old Earth is the cryotech who initiated his hibernation wishing him Godspeed.