Telescopes detect animal life on Tau Ceti b, a nearby extrasolar planet. Plans for an exploration mission are drawn up, but are soon abandoned because of the immense cost.

An asteroid strikes the Atlantic Ocean, killing around 500 million in the subsequent natural disasters.
After rebuilding, Earth’s nations agree to prevent a possible extermination of humankind in the future. They decide to create a backup of the human species by starting a colony on Tau Ceti b.

Earth’s nations collaborate to construct a starship and develop new technologies such as hibernation and self-replicating machines.

Building of the starship Exigence is complete. The Earth celebrates its space pioneers: 2100 of the best and brightest have been chosen. They board the ship and enter hibernation as they begin a century long journey.

To eliminate risks of natural or man-made disasters, Earth gradually develops a high surveillance society. The Solar system is intensely monitored as well as each individual’s thoughts and actions. The concept of labor loses its meaning as robots fulfil people’s needs so they can live a life of leisure.

The Exigence reaches Tau Ceti b. However, news of its arrival is received with indifference on Earth. During the long voyage the mission has lost its relevance and Earth’s populations are immersed in virtual worlds. The pioneers realize that they are alone in facing the tasks ahead.