Voyager

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short Sci-fi story taking place as the destruction of a solar system is occurring and the events leading up to it.

Submitted: January 26, 2014

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Submitted: January 26, 2014

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The alarm had sounded too late. Once I finally convinced leadership that a response was needed, any response, the potential avenues had been narrowed to accepting whatever fate may come. I had failed. I failed my team, my family, my government... my entire species. The thing is, even if  I had roused them in time to act, the option may still have been just this. Their capability to destroy and conquer is awesome. Even if we had defenses readied, evacuations made (to where?), the chance of success in either endeavor was likely nil. As I sit and write this log, the last of my species are being hunted. My family will survive for a time, but what I've seen paints a bleak picture.. Should any survive, they may be captured and be put to work harvesting our planet's resources. I can only imagine the pain inflicted by our destroyers on those souls. No, it is better to go quickly. I will miss you my wife, my sweet sweet daughter. I am sorry I let you down.

 

It had all begun with my team discovering a radio-wave burst received by one of the satellites stationed just outside of our solar system. Strangely enough, the technology was near absolute and the original designer had to fight a battle to even have them equipped equipped with these tools. His argument was the devices should have the capability to pick up any sort of communication across the spectrum in the case that there was other intelligent life out there attempting contact.

 

A true scientist.

 

The satellites were originally created to monitor the activities of systems outside of our own, to evaluate a future candidate for settlement should the capability to travel from star to star ever be developed. It was only the argument that the satellites could also be used for an early warning detection system that eventually won out. In those days, we were recovering from being a species on the brink of extinction. Just a a dozen centuries earlier, our home world was in turmoil, our kind waged war on one another. It was still etched into our lives. The reminders were everywhere. Decades of fighting over resources that would eventually be exhausted. Only with the threat of extinction was a peace brokered.

 

Just in time.

 

Our resources dwindled and the prolonged war left half the planet a wasteland. Irradiated and desolate with not a single life form for miles. With our combined efforts we developed the means to colonize the other planets within our solar system. Terraformed atmospheres conducive to life on one planet and a moon. We colonized in protected artificial havens on a few others. Massive work stations in space were also created as we expanded, realizing that waste could be ejected into space rather than poisoning our delicate ecosystems as we had done previously. We had vastly cut down on our waste and our resources were being managed very carefully, but we knew that should we as a species continue to exist, our solar system would eventually be exhausted and destroyed. Improvements were made to the satellites looking out, our people realizing that to secure the future of our race we could no longer just look in.

 

Today, another 300 years after the launch of the first generation of satellites, I was a member of the Survey Corps. We alone managed maintained and reviewed the data collected by our satellites. Always looking out, carefully weighing the options for our next home. Then, one of the first generations satellites, still somehow miraculously functioning, picked up the transmission. It was a short burst, almost dismissed. But we dug deeper, that is what we were best at. After evaluating the transmission, feeling certain we had communication coming from an intelligent life form, we took the evidence amassed public. The reaction was spectacular. The people were thrilled with the possibility of a life form being able to create an artificial communication other than our own, and here, a mere quarter of a light-year away and headed our direction. A project was funded to collect and evaluate the device and simultaneously send out our own probe along the same trajectory. The device would carry every sort of communications equipment developed in our history, in hopes that one would employ a technology they had the means to detect. The collection vehicle was designed to capture their  device and return it to our research facility. A team was designated to calculate the path and trajectory of the device to determine where its origins.

 

It was exciting times.

 

We experienced heartbreak when we calculated the origin was that of a planet orbiting a star relatively nearby, but upon closer inspection, none of the planets in the system showed any signs of intelligent life. Traces that would be reflected by a species evolved enough to create and deploy this piece of equipment. It appeared their home planet had likely been made inhospitable by some catastrophe.

 

Hope welled up once again when the device was recovered. We determined it to be several thousand years old.The advances they could have made in that time were massive if our own pace of innovation was any judge. There was the possibility that it was sent and the species had time to relocate to a different solar system that we didn't have the means to inspect for life with our current technology.

 

The collection vehicle was successful in retrieving the device and immediately reversed its course to return. It was unfortunate we didn't have the ability to support a scientist on the vessel for such an extended period. Exploiting the device would have to wait. Once the device made its way back we worked as the eyes of all our kind watched.

 

The first discoveries were that of the images inscribed on the device. It seemed to show the anatomy of its creators as as well of the location it was sent from. This confirmed our calculated hypothesis. Eventually, it was determined that the disk contained data. We worked tirelessly to determine a method for obtaining this data. As it turned out, the key to the audio was contained with the device. A small needle that touched the disk and when attached to the speaker and with the disk rotating, it played what we determined to be their wildlife and eventually the sound of their language.experts were brought in to attempt to decipher what was being said. Most of the audio data contained greetings in various languages we presumed were spoken on the planet. The images, once collected, were displayed everywhere. Their planet appeared to be a beautiful one. Diverse in life and color. A fascination with their languages spread. Study was offered in their language. Though it was likely a rather limited selection of words, everyone began learned at least a few words they spoke sudden their language popped up in every day conversation. I personally was near obsessed. I dove as deeply into the shallow pool offered by the limited data of their kind as I could.

 

This was all over the span of 10 years. During this time I married and became the head of the Survey Corps. Soon we had a child and my life was truly wonderful.

 

The Survey Corps kept an eye out, hoping to catch another glimpse of these mysterious beings somewhere in the universe, but for the vast majority, it became another passing topic of conversation or of a world with limitless possibilities to base thesis papers on.

 

A quarter century later our discovery probe picked up a transmission. The flame burned again. The communications came in a form that was not used by their original device and everyone in the scientific community and even the passionate amateur pushed to find a way to understand their transmissions. The data could be received, but we had no way of decoding it.

 

One day the code was broken. The communications were broadcast everywhere. It was a audio visual message of peace and exploration. Of scientific curiosity and greeting. As the Survey Corps we took lead on communications with them.

 

Their exploration vessel had picked up our transmission and headed our way immediately. We established communication channels. The scientific team on board an exploration vessel asked questions about our existence and shared glimpses of theirs. The device we retrieved was one of the first of its kind. sent out to greet other life forms. An apparently peaceful people who started colonies on various planets much like ourselves, though they were greatly advanced. They requested to visit our system and share with our kind their discoveries. Their ship had the ability to reach us within a few short weeks. The speed they could achieve was that we only discussed in theory. Upon arrival, the vessel remained in orbit but visited our various colonies all the while communicating with my team. The vessel had no life support system that would be effective on our worlds so both my and their team worked on developing a method to make it possible.

 

I would be the first to greet them once they were able to land.

------

 

As I sit here and log these events red lights begin to flash signaling a breach of the outer perimeter.

------

 

We spent our days in conversation about culture and technology of our respective species. Two scientists with a hunger to learn about one another. It was as if I was the young man that had just been welcomed to the Survey Corps again.

 

It was all a facade. An attempt to elicitation information regarding our capabilities and resources.

 

The ship was there for recon planets for harvest. We had proven ourselves a fine candidate. Our defenses were minimal and our resources vast.

 

The first sign that something terrible was to come was the sudden failure of our satellites in one quadrant. It was dismissed by all but me. I investigated, thoroughly. This simply just did not happen. 20 satellites did not go down simultaneously. Officials turned a blind eye. Everyone, coworkers included, were focused on gathering any and all knowledge they could from these newcomers. I had almost let my curiosity subside.

 

Then, communication was lost with an outlying colony. They turned to our visitor, more of a hopes for help than an accusation. Their team claimed they had no idea as to the cause. That their devices were picking up nothing.

 

The next day I awoke to all inter-planetary communications going down.

 

The recon ship had also been a Trojan-horse. A term I picked up from one of the many discussions I had with my counterpart. He knew the inner workings and locations of all our systems. He took them down and the armada sailed in. Only the Survey Corps still had the means to view other planets within our system, but we had no way to reach out to them. Only those from the moon we were stationed on had any idea.

 

We watched the destruction unfold. Various team members witnessed their colonies destroyed. There was nothing to be done. Now, here I am. Secured within the underground facility that houses the Survey Corps that I gave so much to. Sitting at the very desk I was when all of the wonderful plans were made to reach out to these beings.

 

A red line began cutting through the entrance to my office began to appear. My time is short, I have failed. The cutting stopped and a large metal chunk fell forward to reveal the shape of the beings I had wanted so sorely to meet.

 

"My friend." The form said. A visor pulled back to reveal a face. The face of the one to whom I had given the knowledge to tear us apart.

 

"I think you use that term incorrectly."

 

"You're right. It is unfortunate that it had to be this way. But there can be no contest to our superiority. Perhaps we could have been friends were the situation different. I truly admire your drive and abilities."

 

"Perhaps you're right. But you know this is not the way to preserve your species. Your kind has such potential. You can be more than just the parasites of the universe"

 

He lifted a weapon to point towards my face.

 

"Well," he said somewhat sadly,  "this is what we know."

 

 

The last thing that registered was the symbol of their empire emblazoned on his armor. The home planet they called Earth, with the very probe we had recovered. The image of Earth taken during the days when it was thriving, blue and green, filled with the life they had shared with us via a time capsule called "Voyager 1". The image of the probe depicting the golden disks that offered a message of peace and the search for scientific knowledge. The symbol of mankind. How ironic that symbol had become.


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