Sunday, 26 June 2016

03.04.2352 - A Question of Power

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

Despite being assigned as a secondary process, the translation of the Cetian transmission is generating more results than direct observation. That isn’t to say I’m not making progress, although as always, everything I discover spawns more questions.

I’m approaching the sensor gathering on two broad fronts. The first is scanning the surface to try and build a picture of how they lived. I’ve built a map of the macro level, but so far have not gained any meaningful readings inside the structures I’ve nominated as cities.

One question that has puzzled me since arriving is how self-contained these cities were. In human cities, there are facilities existing separate from them. We’ve searched for signs of industry, or farming, or other activity around the cities but so far found nothing definite. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t exist. The violence of what the planet suffered could have wiped out any trace of anything less substantial than the cities. It’s also possible that all of their activities were conducted within the cities.

We have detected the remnants of what I believe to be small buildings on both poles of the planet. They’re tiny compared to the cities, and they’re so damaged it’s tricky to pick them out from the surrounding terrain. I can’t find any physical connection between them or the cities. It’s curious why they only exist at the poles. Their positioning has to be significant in some way.

As well as the long range archaeology, we’ve continued monitoring the facility in orbit around Tau Ceti e. For a relatively small device like the probe, the power source is most likely similar to radioactive isotope decay, the same as used in human deep space probes – although I should probably have learned by now the danger of assumptions when dealing with the Cetians!

However, the facility orbiting Tau Ceti e is a different system. Its continuous sending of the data to Earth requires a power source greater by an order of magnitude. Whatever the source, there is no trace of it in our sensor readings.

I’ve remarked before on the thermal properties of the materials both objects were constructed with. I also wonder if perhaps there is an unexpected efficiency with their power technology that might be of use.

My previous assessment of my remaining life span has intruded on my thinking. There is so much work to do here. Even a decade of research will be insufficient to adequately tell the history of these Cetians. After all, it’s clear that this race is no more, so their memorial is this transmission and whatever I learn in the meantime.

No, I need more time to do my work.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

02.04.2352 - A Dragon’s Footprint

Credit: Stellarium software

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

Continued translation of the cultural section of the Cetian data has revealed further confirmation of a Sun Dragon visitation at Tau Ceti e. They first detected its approach from the probe we found orbiting the small moon at Tau Ceti g. The probe experienced no adverse reactions from the entity indicating that they weren’t using a nuclear drive of a type like the Mars Voyager.

The compact nature of the Tau Ceti system’s layout meant that the Sun Dragon arrived at Tau Ceti e within three months – assuming that I’ve understood their metrics for measuring time correctly. Before its arrival, they understood little of the Sun Dragon’s composition or behaviour. So the effects when it arrived in orbit came as a greater surprise than for humanity.

Despite that lack of warning, two factors prevented the apocalyptic effects seen on Earth. Most significantly was the magnetic field. Like Earth, Tau Ceti e possesses a magnetic field providing a shield from radiation in the stellar wind. However, it was far weaker than Earth’s.

That reduced strength lessened the effects from the Sun Dragon feeding on the charged particles captured in the magnetic field. On Earth, the energy discharges created electrical storms on a global scale. From their records, they experienced little more than vigorous displays of aurora.

Their technology also aided them. The Sun Dragon’s arrival at Earth caused a cascade event in the orbiting satellites which then created a belt of debris, as one smashed into another and the debris took out more satellites. When we observed the debris in orbit around Tau Ceti e, I’d assumed that the same pattern had been repeated here.

From their records, this wasn’t the case. Only a few of their satellites were damaged by the Sun Dragon. It appears that their materials technology allowed decent protection from electrical and energised plasma. I remembered the remarkable thermal properties of the two examples of their technology we’ve seen so far.

Although that does also raise the question of what caused the destruction of their satellites.
Of course, the real devastation on Earth arose from the massive weather changes after the Sun Dragon wrapped itself around the Sun. The sudden reduction of the Sun’s heat plunged the world into an ice age. The damage to the world’s infrastructure impeded humanity’s ability to respond and the result was cataclysmic.

Tau Ceti e was a much colder world to begin with, although it would be difficult to imagine that from looking at its current scorched surface. The thermal properties of their materials benefitted them again as the temperature dropped. In short, they survived the encounter much better than humanity did – yet something destroyed their planet and almost all life on it.

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