As they returned, a heated argument between Shingo and Amarth began right away.
Accusations flew, and Amarth was quickly gaining the upper hand.
As Shingo understood that he was cornered, right before everyone else's eyes, he took his gun, pressed it against his mouthpiece and fired.
Not a word was said.
He was precessed just like the others and the following night, the remaining three went scavenging again.
And noone died that night. Neither did anyone die the night after that.
Soon enough, the enemy found out about the deaths of Shingo and Grim. But they marched to find the House deserted. The clan had left. Ironically enough, if the enemy had not agreed to let Shingo and Grim assassinate the others, they could never had been able to escape.
For some time, the clan suffered, as they left many important pieces of equipment behind.
But it didn't matter much. They eventually reached Bifröst, one of the Space elevators from before the End.
The line reaching to space was still functional, made from nanofibres and thus survived the End, but the elevator was damaged beyond repair.
It took the scavengers two years to rebuild it. Another year to change the plans for it to accommodate 3 Scavengers instead of 9. A whole seven years to collect materials to build the spaceship, nicknamed Hope. It took Pete, Amarth and Anonymous a total of sixteen years to build the Hope.
Compared to this, the year and a half it took to reach Mars itself was nothing.
Mars had no breathable atmosphere, though it contains 95% carbon dioxide. The Hope had on board a species of algae, however, for photosynthesis, it would also need water. So the Scavengers set down on the northern polar cap.
With materials both taken from earth and some harvested from Mars itself, the first colony of algae began to form in a greenhouse designed to create a suitable pressure of atmosphere and protect the algae from Martian ionization. This algae could never survive in Earth atmosphere, even with the greenhouse because of the synthetic toxins and radioactivity.
This took ten years of automated work. All of this time the scavengers were stripped of most of their mechanics, their metabolism slowed down to survive with as little as they can.
But with time, there was enough algae to be processed as food. And enough left over for the colony to keep growing.
Soon enough, the Scavengers were free to explore a rather large colony.
And after fifty-six years, they took some data from the Mainframe. This was the genetic data of six unmutated people. The only such data left. This is what they ad been protecting from the start. A new future for mankind. A second age.
And they cloned man. And they cloned woman. And they aged.
One hundred and thirty-six years after the Scavengers left Earth, they let go. One of them had already died due to brain failure. The only organ they could not replace. The rest followed willingly.
And mankind began anew. The Scavengers had the genetic data of some other plants and even some small animals.
And eventually, they left Mars. Well, not all of them. But some did.
And a mere four hundred and fifteen years after the Scavengers left Earth, they learned to know species from other parts of the universe.
Yes, i know "Bifröst" is pronounced as "beefroast", but it's actually a bridge connecting the world of the gods, the world of humans and the underworld in Scandinavian folklore. Really.