Posted in Short story

First Officer’s Log

Entry 74865.3

We arrived in this sector three days ago with a lot of hope. Long-range observations showed that this star system is very similar to our own. One planet in the habitable zone (marked as S4576-3 on the charts) showed atmospheric conditions indicating the presence of many diverse lifeforms.

Upon arrival in the sector, we began receiving data across the entire frequency spectrum. Communications Officer Hoffman and his department have been working tirelessly attempting to translate the unusual nature of the native languages (yes, it seems that the natives use multiple languages as we did centuries ago). At this point, it appears that like ourselves, the planet is dominated by one specie of relatively moderate intelligence. Officer Hoffman is confident his department will break the linguistics barrier within days.

The fact that we can receive so much chatter at this range but none back at home indicates that the natives have been using electromagnetic communications for no longer than about 100 of their local years.  They seem to have made significant technological and scientific advancements in that short time, similar to our own progress through our Technological Age.

We continue to approach S4576-3 at impulse where we expect to arrive in a high orbit in another two local days.  At that time, the Science Department will begin in depth scans of the planet’s environment. This should align perfectly with Comm’s predicted deciphering of the native linguistics.

Entry 74865.5

We have entered high orbit around S4576-3. Science has begun their scans of the planet to ascertain whether it could feasibly support an embassy in the event the locals are friendly. Based on the rapid development of their technology in such short time, we remain very hopeful. It seems inconceivable that such a species could be anything other than friendly since such scientific progress demands a degree of cooperation.

In other great news, Communications has managed to translate the most widely used local language.  Ondran’s Hypothesis, in layman terms, predicts that once one language is broken, the progress with others should be exponential. We have been unable to previously confirm the hypothesis, so this in itself is rather exciting. The Science Department has loaned several officers to work with Comms and Medical to study the local’s customs and physiology. Resources seem practically limitless since the locals don’t seem to mind broadcasting everything about themselves into space.  Of course, history tells me that we were really no different when our ancestors first set their sights on space. It’s possible that they believe they are alone, as we once did.

Entry 74865.6

Preliminary results show that it would be unfeasible to establish a permanent embassy on S4576-3.  Graph progressions demonstrate that perhaps 100 years ago we could have survived here long term, but the atmosphere is no longer capable of supporting us for more than a few hours without respirators.  It’s still possible, and there would be no shortage of volunteers for a project that would advance our society so greatly, but there are other issues.

It seems that the locals are directly responsible for the destruction of their own ecosystems.  That isn’t really that surprising; during our technological development, we faced many of the same challenges and damaged our climate to a point where it was almost irreversible.  If our ancestors hadn’t abandoned their petty differences and focused on advancing science and technology, we would likely have suffered the same fate.  There are disagreements over just how close we came, but evidence strongly supports that we were within fewer than two generation of reaching the point of no return known as the Spannger Threshold. The Science Department has gathered data that appears indisputable, S4576-3 has passed the point of no return.  Within another hundred of their local years, this planet will be totally uninhabitable by any known species and there’s nothing that even our advanced technology can do to reverse it.

What’s worse is the dominant species was aware of the damage many years before they reached the Spangger Threshold, but chose to do nothing about it! This is just one of many ways we have witnessed great monstrosity from the natives.  They fight each other over insignificant minutiae. They have wiped out millions of their own over what appears to be no reason at all. Doctor Jovaness, our onboard Psychologist, can make no sense of this unnatural and abnormal psychology.  Despite their intelligence and their obvious ability to cooperate at times, at other times they seem to have no more sense than our lowest lifeforms.

Communications informs me that they call themselves “humans.”

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