Sunday, 9 October 2016

26.11.2443 - Phone Home

Distance: 4.1 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public

We’re now closer to home than we have been for over 220 years. It’s an odd sensation. Data from my early data stores is leaking into my current processes and these are already inhibited by my reduced capacity. Even at this reduced distance, the Sun looks little different from the other stars in the sky. It is home, whatever that truly means, and this is the closest I will ever get to returning.

The power-up sequence has reported some errors, the most significant of which is the failure of my secondary hardware (or what was once the Primary Command Module) to resume operations. This leaves me running at half-strength and with so much to do in such a short time.

The comms system sent the compressed versions of all the data I’ve accumulated over the years. I wasn’t expecting any transmission, but there is a certain disappointment to receive nothing. Although that’s not quite true. While there was no directed signal at us, there are some fascinating and potentially disturbing readings from the Solar System. We’re too far out for general radio and communications leakage, but the UNSA’s deep space tracking network should be detectable.

We are receiving something. There’s a broad-range hiss across the microwave frequencies – although the wavelength is lengthened by the time it reaches us. It doesn’t correspond with any data format in my memory, but I can tell that it’s informationally dense. Even more interesting is that it’s spread across the whole Solar System. Humanity has clearly undergone an extensive evolution of its information networks.

With so much change in our home system, the temptation to change course has returned, even though there’s no practical way for me to alter my direction sufficiently. There’s a slim chance that I could swing round at Epsilon Indi and maybe, just maybe, make it to Earth. But that would mean abandoning my pursuit of the Visitors. That has to be my duty now. If the Sun Dragons are developing into a galactic-scale threat, then I must confirm that and somehow get what I know back to Earth.

I really wish I could observe what’s happening back home for more time, and try to understand what has occurred. My limited power budget precludes this. As the comms system has completed its task, and I have confirmed that we are on course for Epsilon Indi, I will have to enter another long sleep.

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