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Journey to Neptune

Journey to Neptune
  Ştefan Alexandru-Cristian
Halo: The Fall of Harvest
Halo: Paris IV
varianta print

Ştefan Alexandru-Cristian



Publicat Vineri, 8 Iunie 2007, ora 09:37

      BEGINNING OF ARTICLE #379 / 23rd May, 2055 / 22:23 GMT

      DATABASE OF THE "COSMIC EXPLORER 3" STARSHIP


     

      By the end of the 50th year of the 21st century, the number of organized explorations within the solar system and beyond, was at a remarkably low average. It almost seemed like mankind had lost its interest and passion for interplanetary and interstellar travel and navigation. But the question was "why"?

     

      For centuries humanity has struggled to answer, perhaps the most crucial of questions: Are we alone, in this dark and cold place we call the "universe"?

     

      As dramatic as it may sound, all of the planets in our solar system - also nicknamed "Alpha System" - have been proven to be extremely inhospitable and hostile to life as we know it. At least, that's what our researchers and scientists at the time concluded.

      But this theory wasn't one hundred per cent accurate. By mathematical standards, ninety nine per cent of the entire theory was indeed correct, but what should become of the other one per cent?

      That ONE per cent meant that there was more to the solar system than meets the eye. Although we didn't comprehend what it was indicating, was it Mars, was it Mercury, Venus or Jupiter, or maybe even the asteroid belt?

      No, these planets were certainly out of the question, due to the thorough research exerted on determining whether or not these planets do indeed have life-supporting capabilities. As expected the research concluded that neither of these planets, or any other planet of the Solar System possesses the capacity to sustain any kind of biological life forms.

      It seemed like forever until we finally discovered what the true secret was ... it was Neptune.

      Nobody knew what kind of terrain or climate lay beneath the surface of Neptune, all we knew, was that the blue color most certainly marked the existence of water, or maybe even an ocean hiding beneath its surface.

      It didn't take long until the president of the International Space Exploration Command (ISEC), Scott Turner, expressed his profound interest for a "full-schedule" campaign dedicated to exploring the deep and inhumane waters, or at least, water-like ocean of Neptune.

      The official statement of Turner, was to organize a team of scientists, physicists, and biochemists that would embark on a journey to the far side of Neptune, to a place called "Mare Apollonis", a place which, according to researchers, was the most preferable part of the ocean in which to touch down, and deploy the Mobile Laboratory. The Mobile Laboratory would then, attach itself to the bottom of the ocean where it was scheduled to stay for ten Earth days, analyzing and processing the chemical elements that represented the ocean waters biological properties, in order to establish a conclusive outcome on whether or not, the ocean can support life.

     

      The spaceship "Francis Drake", carrying a team comprised of twenty one scientists, ten physicists and sixteen biochemists, took off from Cape Horizon, North Carolina on October 27th, 2050 - 21:08 GMT.

     

      The journey across the void of space, to Neptune lasted thirty four days, despite the long time it took us to reach Neptunes orbit - more than a month - it was a pretty exciting voyage. I personally had a lot of fun, even though I was in charge of on-board security; a position which would often scare and stir up the passengers - it wasn't my fault the A3 Machine Gun, ISEC provided me with, had such a terrifying design! - but my exceptional taste for quality conversations and politeness, instantly drew up a few people I could have had a decent and uneventful conversation with. There's so much I learned from those people - mostly scientists and biochemists - but I knew damn well, there was a lot I tought them as well.

     

      On November 30th, 2050 - 11:43 GMT, the "Francis Drake" had reached the orbit of Neptune, and touched down in "Mare Apollonis". Once the Mobile Laboratory was deployed on the bottom of the ocean, data recordings began to flow in an instant.

     

      Unlike the water on Earth, Neptunes ocean presented a quantity of eighty per cent hydrogen, nineteen per cent helium, one point five per cent methane, and one hundred ninety two ppm hydrogen deuteride. In short, the water was extremely poisonous and hazardous for human beings.

      To be honest, we were all frightened of what we might find at the bottom of those poisonous waters - perhaps the ocean was bottomless, and we were engaging on an unceasing dive to our doom!

     

      To our delight, the ocean was only 4600 meters deep, but what we found at the bottom was both astonishing and outlandish. Apparently some sort of foreign civilization or community had built several caves and little city-like settlements, out of what was obviously a primitive stone-rock construction material.

      We didn't know what to believe at that moment - an odd and freaky silence seized the room in the Mobile Laboratory where we were all observing the world that was hidden for some many centuries, just under our noses. Captain Anderson immediately gave orders to deploy the three explorer sentinels and start searching for signs of real-time inhabitants of the underwater cities.

      The results were negative, there was no sign of social activity or whereabouts of the creatures that created the cities, whatsoever.

      This mystery demanded meticulous research and observation, for it was our first contact with what seemed to be an extraterrestrial species. Every day of the expedition appeared to be even more and more inconclusive, there was no trace of the origins left behind by the alien species that once inhabited these settlements. But we did manage to find out one outcome of the total loneliness and desertion of this underwater world: There was a slight probability according to which, the existence of dry land millions of years ago on Neptune was a possibility, and throughout time the dry land was probably "swallowed" by the increasing tides.

     

      The ten Earth days passed, and we received orders to return to our home-planet and present our discoveries before the wide-open eyes of the world. I for one, don't know what happened after that - I had left Earth in search of a quiet, more peaceful life deep in the System Beyond all Systems, also nicknamed "Beta System".

     

      I've heard rumors, according to which, ISEC had been entirely abandoned by its staff, dismissing president Scott Turner of his position. The reason why it all happened, is extremely unrational and unknown to me.

     

      That was five years go, who knows ... maybe someone will organize a second Journey to Neptune in the not so distant future, but until then, I am forced to except the fact that human naivety and stupidity, had once again made its point upon the skies of Earth, and beyond, on a completely isolated and desolate world called "Neptune", the only world where we can find our fellow Solar System inhabitants ... or perhaps they'll one day find us.

     

      END OF ARTICLE #379 / 23rd May, 2055 / 22:23 GMT

      DATABASE OF THE "COSMIC EXPLORER 3" STARSHIP

     

© Copyright Ştefan Alexandru-Cristian
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