JESSICANA MORGANNIS, PART I
From the Holovid Diary of COLONEL RICHMOND MORGANNIS, Chief Operations Officer, Terran Republic, Discovery-1. January 5th, 2642:
To my daughter, Jessicana:
We’re here, at the far end of the solar system, because of the vision of one man, Tom Connery. You know him as our former President and more recently, as the man who inspired the world to reach into the unknown.
I’ve worked alongside him for years, and knew him since our Academy days. And as he would tell you himself, his story is only one of many that led to this moment, but I think it’s important to put this in context. Before the May 13, 2445 Armistice ended the “war to end all wars”, mans’ battles had ravaged the planet. Once we exhausted virtually all natural resources, the wars began in a futile grab for what little was left. Seventy-eight years of struggle, starvation and plagues left most major cities leveled and in ruins. Millions died and there seemed to be no end to our futile wars.
I wish I could tell you otherwise, Jess, but mankind didn’t stop fighting because we suddenly learned our lesson. Nothing in our history indicates we ever learned anything that way. No. We stopped because scientists announced a historic discovery, the existence of a fracture in space within our own solar system.
It turns out the phenomena had actually been spotted nearly a hundred years earlier, on November 28, 2345, but it disappeared weeks later before it could be researched. The government launched probes to the area, but there were no new sightings until 98.3 years later on March 16, 2444. The probes examined the phenomena, sent back information, and then ceased operation as whatever was out there disappeared again, but this time the scientists weren’t left in the dark. The probes reported three possibly connected discoveries that forever changed the history of mankind.
The first discovery was the existence of the fracture, or “wormhole” as it has been called. Scientists theorized that this phenomenon would allow near instantaneous transportation between two discrete points in space, potentially allowing us to reach far beyond our limited space-faring capability, but where the wormhole might lead remained unknown.
Still, any wormhole leading to another part of the universe would in of itself be historic. Even though the wormhole is what has brought us here today, at the time, it paled in comparison to the probe’s other discoveries.
On the day the fracture closed, the dwarf planet Pluto was inexplicably torn to pieces. We had no idea what could possibly destroy an entire planet, but you can easily understand the panic it caused when the news was released.
Despite Pluto’s destruction, it was the probe’s third discovery that had the most immediate and profound effect.
Prior to Pluto’s destruction and the closing of the wormhole, scientists around the world detected multispectral transmissions originating from the fracture directed at Earth. We had been scanned, but by exactly what or perhaps the better word would be “who” remained unknown. Still, whatever it was, we now had incontrovertible proof that we were no longer the only intelligent life forms in the universe. The implications were clear - whatever destroyed Pluto also scanned our planet and knew of our existence
Jess, there could no longer be any time for our petty feuds and wars. Something existed out there with a terrible power and if we were to survive as a species, we had to finally stop warring with each other. We would have to learn to work together if we wanted to survive
It took over a year, but on May 13, 2445, the treaty was finally signed that promised all countries would lay down their weapons and work together for the hope of mankind. You realize when I was a kid, I saw those old vid clips of that momentous signing and even at seven, I understood its significance, but I never expected that you and I would become part of its history.
For the next hundred years, we worked together, learning to compromise and cooperate and guess what? We not only rebuilt Earth, but we created new technologies that allowed us to salvage squandered natural resources that had originally led to war. We made incredible technological leaps in medicine, aerospace, materials sciences, manufacturing and nano-agriculture. Even without traveling to the stars, Earth became a paradise.
There was no longer any need for individual governments. The Terran Republic, working for all the people, took their place. With representatives from all member nations, the T.R. dedicated itself first and foremost to worldwide defense, then to peace, prosperity and technological advancement for all. To achieve both security as well as advancement, the T.R. created a strict code of conduct for its people, with its ruling tenet being: No one is above the law. For all people to be free, all must follow the same rules. For the first time in mankind’s history, there would be total equality for everyone.
In every way, the T.R. succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination.
Exactly 98.3 years later, on July 3, 2542, the wormhole opened for the third time. Our probes and automated defense perimeter were ready, but we detected no further scans of Earth. It was suggested that what we believed to be alien scans was in fact only feedback from our own probes. Perhaps, some scientists theorized, we were never in any danger at all.
Fear set in…Without any reason to join together for mutual defense, would we now drift apart and resume our old ways?
In fact the old ways did not resume. We had actually changed as a people in the intervening years. With a never-ending abundance of created fuels and food, there was no longer any reason for war. We created a world at peace as a means of saving ourselves, and in effect, we had. Freed of the need to fight to survive, our spirit of adventure, lost for so long, returned.
By June of 2582, exploratory colonies travelled the solar system and terraformed worlds and moons. Where we were once trapped on a single, tiny planet, the spirit that led Columbus to search for new trade-routes and lands led mankind to discover unknown worlds beyond the orbit of Pluto. Jess, you were six when we lived on Mars’ moon, Phobos, but before we terraformed it, that moon was incapable of sustaining life. After…Well, you must remember its great parks and rivers. From death came abundant life.
That spirit of adventure and discovery grabbed the imaginations of all peoples. We realized we wanted, no, we needed to explore further. That is where the story of Tom Connery began and that is why you, I, and more than 75,000 others embarked on this, mankind’s greatest journey.
Hon, I should be back from my meeting tomorrow before dinner. In the meantime, I’ve provided you with access to Tom’s public diary as well as my private one. When you read his words, and maybe mine, they should put this entire mission into perspective for you. I would hope it brings to life what may have been abstract before now and that it shows you why we’ve come so far and refuse to give up. Finally, if you find any of what we wrote of interest and educational, or at the very least fun, I urge you to think about writing your own diary, in your own words, about the world we’re looking for and the wonderful people you are going to meet. And who knows, hon? One day, your children and their children might find your words fun to hear too.
Col. Richmond Morgannis, Holovid diary… out.
Over the next few months, I watched my father’s vid-diary a hundred times. Every time I did, and he blew me his goodbye kiss with a promise to hug me when he returned home the next day, I cried.
Just as my father and the other Terran Republic officials meeting aboard the Colonial-7 boarded their transports to return home a massive explosion ripped through the shuttle bay and destroyed the ship. They never identified the terrorists who destroyed the Colonial-7, murdering my father and 591 others.
January 6, 2642. That day my life changed forever.