“Late Arrival”

Andrew Feathers

All rights reserved by the author

 

Mission Log: Revival +3 Standard Rotations

            Command crew activation proceeding without issue.  Navigation reports ship on course.  Science teams will be revived when we have finished our approach. 

            The ship is currently finishing deceleration for insertion into a standard orbit around the subject star SFX-736.  As is usual procedure we will acquire a stable orbit and than decelerate to an orbit closer into the star.  The star itself has passed through the particularly violent formative stages and appears to be reasonably stable and conducive to a controlled environment if there are planetary bodies in the correct position.

 

Mission Log: Revival +33 Standard Rotations

            Science team Revived.  The ship is beginning the long fall towards the habitable zone.  Science and stellar Cartography report that the system is well within the theories of how systems form.  The system consists of four planets.  Two Rocky bodies and two major gas giants.  The star is slightly cooler and smaller than ones we normally consider but it still has potential.

            The innermost planet appears to be within the area where most metals melt so it is likely to be a very useful source of raw materials if we can work out some sort of access.  The second planet appears to have an atmosphere of approximately the correct type although we will have to get closer for a spectroscopic result.  It is within the zone that, for a star of this output, should have liquid water and is likely to have the appropriate spectrum of radiation at the surface.  There are a remarkable number of planetoids in an asteroid belt between the second planet and the first gas giant.  Mostly unremarkable these appear to be mostly metallic by albedo and so will be of some use in developing this system.  The two gas giants are unremarkable and pretty standard for a system like this.  Both have several moons but no large belts of dust or debris as has been our previous experience possibly meriting further study.  Further out the cometary objects start much earlier in this system than in most others.  Probably a function of the small size of the star itself.  Interestingly the second planet does not have a moon but it does have tides from the proximity of the giant in the next orbit.  This will make life a bit interesting but shouldn’t be a problem. 

 

Mission Log: +37 SR

            Unusual Development.  The Stellar Cartography team has sighted some sort of large plasma energy plume that is not on our star charts.  It is blue shifted and appears to be approaching this system at a decreasing rate.  Science has theorized that it could be some sort of Fusion drive space ship decelerating on approach as a plume like that is unlikely to be natural in origin.  This will be especially interesting as our scientists found this type of drive to be impractical, though theoretically possible, considering the materials that we had available.  If it is a ship any sensors facing our direction are likely obscured by their own plasma plume so we should be safe from any possibility of detection until they turn off the drive and approach further.  We will have to see what happens.

 

Mission Log: +42 SR

            Science reports that the second planet has an atmosphere of approximately the right composition for sustaining us.  We would need to alter the composition of the stratosphere to allow all the necessary wavelengths through that is more of a comfort factor than anything else.  We will launch a probe to do further study of the planet before making an initial landing. 

            Now that results are in from the planet we will turn the spectroscope towards the emanations from the plume and see what we can discover about its composition and if it is indeed artificial or if it is some sort of new phenomenon.  We have switched to tight band laser transmissions to keep us from being detected if it is a ship and it does turn off the plume.

 

Mission Log: +57 SR

            The torch has deactivated.  I have ordered navigation to shift our orbit into the planetoid field to limit their ability to detect us.  Considering the distance and direction of the ship we expect we will remain undetected until we decide to reveal ourselves.  To further this end we have sent the planetary probe down to the surface of the second planet with the intention of both getting a closer study of the planets surface and avoiding detection by the ship.

            The results of our study of the emissions of the torch confirm that they apparently have a hydrogen-based fusion drive.  It is apparently a large torus and appears to have a large spindle perpendicular to that plane that passes through its center.  Considering the size of the ship and its rotation we expect that they are most interested in the second world as it has about the correct gravity for the same as the centripetal force on someone on the side of the ships ring.  We have no idea what they might need for atmosphere but it is likely that they will find the planet modifiable to suit their needs considering their evidently advanced technology and the effort that they but into building a ship of that size.  We will just have to wait and see.  I have ordered the revival of the tactical command team to evaluate options and potential problems.

 

Mission Log: +68 Rotations

            Tactical has come out with a preliminary report.  As far as they can tell we would be relatively evenly matched in this encounter.  Because of their drive system we can assume that they either have some sort of uncontrolled fission/fusion weapons or more likely some variety of high energy plasma streams.  Our cohesive light beams should be able to out range them and disable specific locations on their apparently modular structure.  It seems that they are built with more specialization than us as their ship has separate sections for all of its needs if the analysis of our emissions team is correct.  This should make it relatively easy to disable the weapons areas and the propulsion and so avoid annihilating them before we find out if they can be of any use.  We would have to rely on range and speed however as their weapons would slice our ship to pieces very quickly if we arrived in range.  Considering this I have ordered that evacuation plans be made for the colony team and a capsule made ready for their movement separate from the ship.  At this time we would have only a small chance of being detected as they are still in the process of orbiting in.

            I do not think it will come to combat as we seem to be eluding their detection thus far.  Our terrestrial probe is currently sending packet data on tight beam when ever we are in position and apparently they have failed to note its presence as well.  The science team has returned to working on the probes telemetry and will have a complete potentiality report for the second planet shortly.  Meanwhile I have arranged our second probe in preparation for a closer examination of one of the moons of the gas giant that holds some promise as a potential observation colony if we do run in to difficulties and need to eject the colony crew.

 

Mission Log: +70 rotations

            Very unusual development.  As the ship passed near the gas giant on its last orbit it ejected some sort of object.  Possibly a probe but it apparently is not transmitting anything that we can detect.  I have called a meeting to determine if it would be wise to attempt to grab this object.  Science assures me that any transmissions would be jammed by our hull, so if we can get it inside the ship they should assume that it was lost to some malfunction or unforeseen gas disturbance. 

 

Mission Log: +71 rotations

            The second probe is en route to intercept the module heading toward the gas giant.  There are still no detectable transmissions from the capsule so it should be a simple matter to retrieve it with out being detected.  Depending on the findings of the examination we will possibly deposit the colony on the possible moon as a safe guard before entering contact.

            Additionally the telemetry from the probe on the second planet is conclusive.  The planet would require approximately one half life of radium for complete reconstruction of the atmosphere to our needs.  All factors considered that is not a particularly long time to have to work on a planet so there is definite potential.

 

Mission Log: +80 rotations

            The second probe successfully retrieved the object and has returned it to the ship.  We have sent the probe back for a study of the planetoid that might serve as a more permanent base and observation post from its orbit around the gas giant.

            The object is quite small for a probe of any sort and is in the shape of a modified rectilinear solid.  The outside has few adornments other than some clasps of some unidentified material that seems to be metallic.  I have ordered that the object be placed in an isolated chamber for dissection.  Until we have discovered its purpose extreme caution is to be taken and any unusual developments might merit ejecting the object in case of some sort of failsafe mechanism. 

 

Mission Log: +81 rotations

            The second probe has commenced analysis of the moon.  Results are expected shortly.

            The object has been opened but its purpose is still unclear.  The interior was filled with a fairly unusual nitrogen oxygen mix that contained numerous microbes that still seemed to be operating.  The main portion of the interior is some sort of organic structure.  Possibly we are examining an organic computer of some sort but that is not supported by the absence of any sensory portals in the objects shell.  The Organic is completely separate from the object and science is proceeding with its examination. 

 

Mission Log: +85 rotations

            The science team report on the moon is validated and it will serve as an adequate place to park an observation colony as a reserve.  I have ordered the emplacement of the colony crew with memory logs of these encounters to be prepped for emplacement before any further contact is made.

            The Organic is apparently some sort of life form but is entirely different from any thing that we would consider natural.  Its form is amazingly rigid even for a body.  This rigidity is through a complicated mechanical framework base off of mineral deposits and specialized reinforcement and connective tissues.  The form itself has five major appendages grouped around a central core in simple bilateral symmetry.  The four paired appendages and the torso are covered in an apparently removable (something like a flexible shell) separate and apparently inanimate coating with patches of metallic scales localized in a few distinct places.  Two of these appendages are apparently designed for weight bearing as far as our structural analysis can go by the density of the relevant substructure.  The other two paired limbs are apparently simple manipulators of some kind with a small number of large solidified cilia of some sort.  Science speculates that this is likely a remote worker drone as is often found in some primitive species as these manipulators are far too specialized to accomplish all of the potential needed for a technological species.  The final appendage is apparently specialized in environmental interaction.  There are several orifices with a variety of undetermined functions that are apparently extraordinarily specialized again most of these come in pairs.  The internal structure is amazingly complicated compared to our own and there is apparently no way for this tissue to communicate in the usual manner of cogent radiation pulses.  Attempts to revive the tissue in the usual manners were unsuccessful.  Considering the uniqueness of this species we must make contact.

            Science has hypothesized that the species probably works off of a base two system considering the large number of doubled items in this drone.  Knowing this I have sent a signal to the probe on the second planet begin sending binary pulsed signals in the direction of their craft.  Hopefully the primary species of this group will accept our communications and negotiations can begin.  If the design of their drone is any indication there will be little difficulty as they have installed no offensive systems into the worker that we are able to detect. 

            Science has recommended that the sample Organic, the dissection team and the colony crew be landed on the moon of the gas planet to provide a means to observe and record the progress of this delicate encounter.  All memories will be downloaded to the colony core and will be accessible once that team is activated.  We expect no problems and will proceed with the standard greeting laser calls as soon as the ship notices our probes presence. 

            Colony reports ready for separation and landing. They will be released as soon as we are obscured from the alien ship.

 

© Copyright 2004 by the author

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