Tuesday, 13 November 2007
2207: Journey to Cancri
Three centuries ago, people first began to find solar systems that might contain other Earth-like planets, and so might sustain life. Two hundred years ago a spaceship was sent to Selina - the moon around 55 Cancri-f, which it was believed might have extra-terrestrials living on it. Because of the massive distances involved (40 light years), even our fastest ship took almost 100 years to get there. Yesterday it returned, and its crew, who have spent most of the last two centuries in suspended animation, have given us the following account of their exciting journey:
On November 12th 2207 the computer defrosted us - 2 days before our ETA. This gave us time for a shave and hair cut (for some wierd reason your hair keeps growing, even in the freezer - 100 years worth of beard is quite something), and to prepare ourselves for what could be a difficult situation. After all, they might decide we were enemies and attack us.
We had few ideas of what these aliens might be like. All the scientists could say is that it was "probable" that there would be "sentient life". It was also probable that there might just be vegetable life.
In the 20th Century, there had been speculation about "Flashy Light Aliens", who travelled on light beams, but it never really got to be more than speculation. Although somewhere in Chicago there is still a small group of FLA believers - but then, any large city has its share of such people (usually looked after very well in our modern institutions).
The first thing we had to do was to check all the radio frequencies for evidence of attempts to communicate with us. And straight away we found something! Our first contact with the aliens! They were sending television pictures. These looked like old Earth daytime TV, though we didn't recognise any of the programmes, so it must have been before our time ("Jean Knee's Horror Hour", for example, was a programme in which the presenter got a different outrageous hairdo every episode).
This was so exciting! We were going to get to meet something a bit more sophisticated than plant life! A civilisation that was advanced enough to have radio, and to have been watching us! I hoped that their familiarity with our ways wouldn't make them hostile..
We concluded that they must view us as friends, and that they were trying to make us feel at home. Alternatively, they might just be trying to lure us into a false sense of security before blasting us into eternity.
As we got nearer, we could not detect any signs of defence systems. Nor did the aliens appear to want to talk to us - they didn't answer any of our radio messages. The silence, was, as they say, deafening. I would rather that they had fired some warning shots, or told us to go away, or whatever.
Finally the big day came. We had picked an area we thought would be sparsely populated, and touched down. We got into our Rover All-Terrain Vehicle, and drove around looking for any signs of life.
We drove for hours, and found nothing. Darkness was beginning to fall when we saw it. Light! At first we thought it was just a trick of the, erm, light, but as we got nearer we realised that it was indeed artificial.
It's impossible to describe our feelings at this point. Hope. Fear. Terror that we were the human race's ambassadors, and that one wrong action might start an interstellar war that could wipe out civilisation.
we headed towards it. It was some kind of cuboid-shaped construction. Inside this building was going to be the beginning of a new chapter in Earth history. As we got nearer, we noticed something extremely unnerving -
To be continued...