Officer’s Log: Day 3638 of Alpha Centauri Mission
Having finally made may way through the Oort cloud, which has been, at least in the path I took to and from, entirely devoid of bodies larger than that which creates our comets, I left the Oort Cloud into the Kuiper Belt and called in at Eris base, which was nearest to my return path. It has been nearly ten years since have last been in these parts, and my arrival sparked a happy reunion with the scouts based there whom I had not seen for some time and who must have seen me as a survivor of a harrowing and dangerous mission that was obviously successful. While I did not disclose any of the most dramatic aspects of my journey, I did enjoy some fine cooking and conversation with the base authorities and a message was sent out immediately to be relayed to Pluto that I was to arrive within a few days and that I had urgent and important matters to discuss with the authorities there that would require the meeting to be in executive session. It was more than a little strange to talk with the people in Eris, who I did not know all that well considering that I tended to be based out of Pluto and had never been stationed in Eris, but I had some acquaintances there and it was pleasant to be able to talk to people again, as I had been without any contact with others since leaving the professor and his dinosaurs behind at Alpha Centauri.
While the specifics of my mission in full were not obviously known, much less any indication of what I had seen, it was known that I had been involved in a very long-term deep space mission to Alpha Centauri and the people in Eris were pleased to see that I had been able to arrive safe and sound. My awkwardness when it came to personal interactions was, fortunately for me, taken as the natural result of extreme and long-term isolation from interpersonal communication and not the sign of any sort of insanity, especially as it was obvious that I was pleased to be able to be around people and would likely be in my normal self before too long. I did not stay too long, as a few hours of conversation and a quick check of my ship to make sure that it was doing well was sufficient for me to be on my way back to Pluto and the conclusion of this mission, which by any standards will certainly be judged a massive success, and likely the first of many missions to this area once it is clear what it contains.
Officer’s Log: Day 3639 of Alpha Centauri Mission
As I have hailed Pluto base and will be traveling immediately to discuss matters with the government upon my return, I am noting this log as completed, to be archived along with my other logs in my personnel file, to be published if it is not judged as being too much a matter of regime security, which it very well may be. With this, I do not know what sort of life I will have or what sort of opportunities will head may way, seeing as for ten years I have been beyond the awareness of what has been going on here in Pluto, although things appear to be as I left them, more or less, in this segment of space. It feels somewhat unusual to be returning home after such a long absence as this. I feel as if I am a stranger to myself, much less to anyone here, who will have all kinds of stories that they will tell about people I do not know and situations I am not familiar with, and much of what I would have to say I will be unable to say because I will be sworn to secrecy because of the importance of it, and will simply have to apologize for my awkwardness and reluctance, to be excused as being one who has spent too long alone in the isolation of deep space. But that will have to be excuse enough.
Minutes Of Meeting: Hours 8.5 to 11.5….
Councilor Braganza presiding. Fl. Lt ________, having shared his logs, explained what it is that he had seen on his late mission to the Alpha Centauri mission to rapt interest on the part of the councilors. While it was evident that he was not entirely used to be around other people again, he showed no particular ill effects of ten years of a high degree of isolation apart from being more deliberate than usual in saying things, as it was obvious he had a lot on his mind. There were, of course, two notable aspects of his successful scouting mission that drew the most interest from the mission. First, because it was less contentious, there was a lively discussion of the apparent suitability of the system for settlement. The scout noted that although some degree of terraforming would be necessary to make the planets fully inhabitable to the degree of earth, that bases could be set up to start the process as soon as it was thought to be feasible, seeing as how a huge amount of food supplies would likely be necessary, with whole cargo ships devoted to food storage given the demands of colonization, to say nothing of the need for materials and plants and animals to be brought along with the people. Knowing that this could provide for an easing to population pressures in the Belt, this was tabled as a subject of future public discussion with an eye towards future settlements being directed there among those who wanted a greater remove from the problems of earth and the unsettled state of demarcation in the asteroid belt between earth’s domination and greater freedom.
It was the second matter that drew more commentary, and here Councilor Marwen was particularly close in her questioning. She looked at the logs and the video footage of the gate as well as the passage of the ships of the professor and of his dinosaurs through the gate and asked how it was that it was determined that the gate went to a distant part of the galaxy. When the scout explained the connection that the dinosaurs had between mother and child and the location through that bond that helped in the mapping, and also heard the comments about the particles being clearly exotic and this being something that had been noted by previous explorers of small amounts of exotic solar wind who had reached the end of the sun’s Oort Cloud, she wondered if this was something that could draw the interest of exploring missions from earth. He agreed that it was possible. There were further questions about the nature of the gate, with it being obviously an engineered technology of considerable advancement, and also a clear sign of the existence of advanced beings who could travel to areas not distant from ourselves.
In light of this bombshell, it was decided that the logs of the previous missions that had found exotic solar wind particles coming from the Alpha Centauri system would be suppressed as well as the logs from this mission, though without any sort of prejudice to the scouts themselves. In light of the honorable service and accounting for his considerable discretion, which would be increasingly important, it was thought worthwhile for the returning scout to be transferred to a department where his information would be useful and where is discretion could be viewed as an asset rather than a liability to him and to us. This prompted some discussion among the council, which was impressed with the honesty as well as the insights of the scout in the importance of what he had seen and in the importance of having trustworthy people in charge of any settlement efforts of our neighboring system. But it was by no means easy to figure out what sort of position would work or what department it would be in. Finally, it was decided after considerable debate that he would work best as being a liaison working directly with the council relating to the settlement and further exploration of Alpha Centauri, and that he would be involved in any efforts to further consolidate the position that we were establishing there as well as the delicate matter of the portal. It was thought that certain scanners should be disabled on ships going to that area, except for those with sufficient clearing, so that the exotic solar wind would not even be detected. This was met with general approval. After all of that was dealt with, the council adjourned for lunch and plans were made for the promotion of the scout to a rank commensurate with his position of importance, which would require a ranking of at least commander, if not higher.
Officer’s Log: Day One, Hour 14 After Return
Considering the vast change in my life upon my return, I have decided to begin another log of my experiences. After my report, which went about as I thought it would before the council, it was decided that I would be the point person relating to future missions to explore and settle Alpha Centauri with friendly people, in part to relieve population pressure in this area and in part to ensure that the gate would be properly protected by those who had permission to know about it. I cannot imagine that will be very many people. I was intrigued about the decision to reduce sensor sensitivity relating to solar wind particles, as it was this which inspired the thinking that something was going on unusually in Alpha Centauri to begin with. I am not sure how the secret will be possible to entirely keep, especially if there are a lot of ships flying around the system as a whole, but it is probably worth the effort to figure out longer term plans for exploration and settlement before letting it become widely known that an artifact of obvious xenotechnology indicates that we may have been watched by advanced space travelers, which is sure to terrify people. If dinosaurs are terrifying, then alien technologies of a massively advanced nature is even more so.
It is unclear when and where I will start my duties, but in the meantime I have returned to the barracks and, in light of what will be considerable promotion, I have been moved to much better quarters still remaining in the area where pilots and scouts live, as it is thought with good reason that I will have a lot of interaction with future pilots and scouts who will be sent to further investigate and pilot settlement missions in the Alpha Centauri system. Preliminary notice of my findings, in a suitably discussed form, have already caused the young pilots and scouts to chatter about the news that there could be numerous other bases and settlements on planets only a few years away from us. It is by no means an easy matter to arrange for the survival of larger groups of settlers for the length of time necessary to make it to Alpha Centauri, to say nothing of more distant settlements, but no doubt such efforts will be made to determine what ships can be remotely piloted to save on the amount of people, and how much food and other supplies will be necessary to build a base in a timely fashion to encourage future settlement and the sort of man-aided climate change that would make the planets more habitable to larger groups of people. I will be working with some logistics officers on how this can happen, seeing as it will be of considerable importance in our settlement of more distant parts if the issue of supplies can be managed.
As it appears that I will be considerably busy with new duties, it is quite possible at some point that my duties will move to the Alpha Centauri system itself, although for political reasons it may be thought necessary for me to remain on Pluto even after missions have started going to Alpha Centauri, not least because such missions will need to be dealt with here in the Belt before they are allowed to travel the long distances through our space to reach the system in the first place. Nevertheless, much work remains to be done, and now that we have some idea what is out there, it is time for us to do this work, because as sure as anything, we will eventually return and do much more exploring there. There is simply no way that human beings will ever be able to do something and will be able to completely restrain themselves from going through any gate or crossing any line, alas. Still, it looks like mankind is going to be able to explore considerably further reaches than was thought reasonable, and with our scientists working on how to bridge the gulf between the freedom of travel we may be able to have and the heavy logistical and size demands of being able to undertake it. This is all, though, it must be admitted, going to be very confidential business, and increasingly so from here on out.