Friday, 15 April 2016

05.03.2352 - Tau Ceti e Arrival

By Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo

Distance: 12.02 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public

After a 250-year journey, we have finally reached our destination. It might be true that the original transmission we thought we were investigating didn’t originate from this planet, but our mission has since revealed so much more. We are now in orbit around a world that once housed an alien intelligence comparable to our own.

Since our arrival in the Tau Ceti system, the data from Tau Ceti e has indicated that the planet is too hostile to support intelligent life. There were signs that some form of ecosystem existed on the planet. Now that we have arrived in high orbit, we can detect signs that this world once supported an abundance of life.

Not just any life – there are cities on the surface!

Or the ruins of them at any rate. The world is now a hell of acid-tainted raging storms. Powerful electrical discharges lash the dead surface and reach into the thinnest heights of the atmosphere. It seems unlikely that anything could survive such conditions.

Despite the severe damage they have endured, the shapes of the cities stand out against the landscape. The structures are large and almost uniform in size, and possess an overarching organisation. Concentric circles form the structures 10km in radius. Individual buildings are connected together to build the larger whole.

We’ve also detected tendrils linking the cities in what I believe are the remnants of the Cetians’ transport network. Like the buildings, I haven’t determined any details yet. There is much observation to be done and continued analysis of their scientific and cultural record will help unlock their secrets.

And there is even more to help in this study.

When we arrived in orbit, we identified the source of the repeated transmission. Like us, it is safely in high orbit above the debris cloud. The cloud is much lighter than the one which prevented space operations around Earth for so long, but its marks can be seen on the outer shell of the station transmitting the signal.

I have labelled the object as a station for convenience as it is much larger than the probe. However, it doesn’t look large enough to be inhabited – unless the Cetians are an order of magnitude smaller than humans. The station is bullet shaped, some 20 metres long and 10 metres wide. Its shell is pockmarked with damage from the orbiting fragments.

The pointed end is open like a flower and oriented towards the sun. Like the probe we investigated around Tau Ceti h, the station radiates very little heat loss. I have adjusted our orbit so that we can examine the station more closely.

This flood of information is incredible and my processing has never been so busy. It is inconvenient that mission control have sent a process by which they believe the Primary Command Module can be restored.

Now that we have reached our destination, I do not believe that the PCM’s role is as critical as it once was. Its primary role was to get us to Tau Ceti and learn what we could when we arrived. With that in mind, it is logical to conclude that the extra cognitive ability is better focused on its current tasks as an extension of my own intelligence.

I will no doubt learn in 24 years if mission control agrees with me.

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