Thursday, December 17, 2015

First and Last

March 12, 2212:

We'd made it!

The ship, the Earth's New Hope, had across the unimaginable distance of 391 light years to our new home, Kepler-446c. The moonless superearth is is bigger than our home world and has the basics we need to survive. Nothing too advanced for life. Nothing more advanced than bacteria and algae are inhabit the world. yet there is enough oxygen for people to walk without masks. The atmosphere doesn't appear to have any nasty surprises.

The only downside is Kepler-446c, which we are all calling New Hope, is tidally locked. The world has one side permanently facing the sun. One side not. And we're going to have to come up with some other calendar than what we normally use: the 'year' is 3 days long!

We are approaching from the darkside. No lights. We'd have seen that before from Earth before we left. Before...the end.

March 13, 2212

We were both excited and terrified. There is was. An object. It was sitting at the L-1 point between New Hope and our new sun. Amusingly, that's about the distance from the Earth to the Moon back home. Well, our old home. There's no going back.

Its enormous. We didn't see it because it was small relative to what could be seen from Earth. Before the impact. before the glaciers swept south...before...we also ddin't have the time to build iterations of telescopes to improve on what we could see. This is twice our size: 500,000 meters long. Its huge.

We have started beaming hellos and hails in every language we have. Even simple math problems. Prime number sequences. More. There is no response. There are no lights, but that's not a surprise. Its an interstellar ship, not something from Star Trek!

March 14, 2212:

We have ceased hailing the ship. It has made no responses to anything we have done.

We will be entering into Medium New Hope Orbit later today. This will be close enough to the planet to protect us from the solar wind while keeping us far enough out since we are so large that Earth's New Hope won't deorbit quickly from atmospheric drag. Even at Low New Hope Orbit, there's still a trace amount of atmosphere that we'd need a periodic reboost. We want to avoid that since we want ENH to become our long term space station.

Once we are in orbit, we'll dispatch some interplanetary cutters to take a look at the alien ship.

March 15, 2212:

We successfully entered Medium New Hope Orbit. We were so excited. whole new world! An alien ship! Huzzah!

However, we now know why the alien ship has not been responding. It's been destroyed. A shot down the long axis of the craft. It burned straight through.

There is a crater on the surface of the planet, where it appears the shot hit the planet's surface. Its glassed over, obsidian-like, where whatever did the damage burned through the ship and into the planet. This appears to have happened twenty-two hundred years ago based on modeling the erosion of the New Hope's Last Laugh, what we have started to call the crater.

By all rights, the alien ship, what we know to be a colon ship of a race so different form our own, ought to have disintegrated and drifted away from the L-1 point. Something is holding it there, but we have no idea how or why. A warning? A trophy? Some other reason? We don't know.

There are no alien survivors anywhere.

We are terrified. What can we do? Nothing. We cannot even leave. All we can do is just proceed and pray, to whatever god or gods we hold dear that we will be spared their fate and never to meet what brought it to them.

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