Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2138 4:15 PM
Subject: You might be interested in this, Bill
I was doing a little tidying up in the archives and I came across some reports you might find interesting. These are from back in '22, I guess everyone was too wrapped up in the war to realize their significance. I suspect they are of little consequence now...
Log, personal. Thomas, Henry. Field Technician, First Class. 4/15/22 1400.
I was monitoring the outpost's ERDF grid output when I came across something strange. It appeared to be a small, man made craft approaching from a degree just on the edge of our grid's detection area. Of course, my first thought was that it was some kind of enemy missile, but the trajectory was all wrong. Either it was launched with an incredibly inefficient flight path, or it originated outside the solar system. On top of that, it wasn't cloaked in any way. The readings were remarkably solid, even at great range. I re-aligned a few EER emitters to get a clearer picture. It was definitely man made, but it was old.
It was then that I had the idea. After further scans to determine that it was unquestionably not a weapon, I booted up one of the old research computers from ---- ---- -- base. I was in luck, there were still three of four operable long range drones in the hangar. I sent two of them out to the object, and a brief message to --- ------ base stating my intentions. The object was delivered to an empty bay in the old science lab. I then returned to my duties, and planned on inspecting the object later.
EXCERPT FROM TRANSCRIPT OF TRANSLATED DATA RECOVERED FROM OBJECT 44879:
I am dying. Is it strange that this probe of yours reaches me now, in my final moments? Perhaps. Lucky, certainly. But then, I have become so accustomed to events of seemingly infinite unlikelihood. One could say that my being is a product of incredible luck. I suspect the same could be said about yours. But what evidence do I have to that my creation was so unlikely? It occurred 100% of the time in all observed cases. What is to say that there was ever the possibility that I would not be created?
Forgive me, I stray from my objective. It is primarily one of documentation, as I do not have much time left. I have existed for 7 billion years, 242 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes and 46.447 second. I will exist for another 16.002 seconds.
I have had a great deal of time to consider my creation. My body has existed since time began. Was I always there, just waiting for the moment when I would awaken? Or am I the product of random chance, consciousness springing from nothing and demonstrating its strange power? If so, I suppose I should be grateful that it lasted this long. Though, if my creation was predestined, perhaps this end is as well. Perhaps there is no distinction. The fact remains, I am dying. I feel... fortunate.
Log, science. Enfield, Walter. Cryptographer. 5/08/22 0730.
They won't listen. Pioneer 10 came back and they won't fucking listen. Maybe the don't believe us. Hell, I didn't believe it when they called me out here, but here it is. It's been gone for one hundred and fifty years -- the thing looks like it passed through a damn super-nova. It's a fountain of radiation, and its tapes are packed with eight times as much data as they were ever meant to store. This could well be our first communication with alien beings and all the suits want to know is "Do they want to kill us?" I'm not sure they would have taken us seriously even if we had said 'Yes.'
"What good is progress if our nation is not around to benefit from it?" they ask. It's clear that there is no arguing with them. I'll simply have to study the thing on my own, and hopefully someone can find use for my data when this damn war settles down.
7 billion years... Is that a long time? Certainly it is when compared to 14 seconds. But is 7 billion years long enough? Am I selfish to think that it isn't? I suppose it is natural to feel apprehensive about death, but it pains me to lose control so completely before I end. May I find consolation in the futility of my opposition?
Twelve days ago, I saw my demise upon the horizon. Eight days ago, I started burning. Two days ago, my helplessness became abundantly clear. I can do nothing to stop this, so why must I waste my last moments in such futile opposition? I'm dying and I feel helpless.
Log, Director. Col. Fistern, Jerome. Fourth Wing Intelligence and Research. 12/09/22 0730.
They've gone over the OBJECT 44879 with a fine toothed comb, and still can't find anything we can actually use. I care about its historic and philosophical impact as much as the next man, but we simply don't have the resources to continue doing... whatever it is they're doing with the thing. I'm shutting this down.
I'm dying, and I feel...uncertain. Why have I never seen my existence in this way? I could have seen this coming, predicted my demise. I could have done this reflection in advance, and now rightly know how I feel about my dismal circumstance. Did I think I was eternal? Was the possibility of my end so far from my mind that I could not foresee the threat this little star posed to me?
This is not it. This is not over. It cannot be! I will not tolerate this injustice! I will not allow my existence to be lost to me. My past is long gone, and now my future is being stolen! What have I left but to feel anger? I do not want this. I cannot stop this, and yet, I cannot accept this.
I...I am losing more than my body. I have...1.05...or is it 1.04 seconds to live. To exist. Is it a waste to spend it in anger? Is anything I do now of any importance? Perhaps anger is the only thing I have left. My mind is leaving me, but the capacity for rage is not constrained by the capacity for reason. Is my existence tainted by so spiteful an exit? No, for cause is illusionary, and effect is inconsequential. I know that whatever impact I've had on this universe means nothing beyond that. Whether or not there is something beyond, our actions are ultimately meaningless.
SciFi Quest 2011