You would think that the strangest thing about my tale is that I never wanted to be an astronaut. No, in fact I wanted to be, and until nine years ago, I was a truck driver. Now, here I sit, all alone in a spaceship about the size of your average farm silo.
How does a truck driver become the sole occupant of a deep space mission from Earth? Originally it was supposed to be a multinational team of highly trained former military pilots from three or four of the space faring nations. The number depending on international relations at the time of launch. Well, by the time It came down to final construction and planning, international relations were garbage. China and Russia were engaged in all out war, and the US was doing its best to stay out of it. The US, despite pulling out three times in the last two decades was still entrenched in the Middle East.
All that to say, the mission was pared down to a single astronaut. However, the egotistical, sadistic fucks selected for this mission were not suitable for long extended periods of isolation. Apparently, those who rocket across the sky at speeds beyond sound are too insecure to spend any real time with themselves. So, the call went out for people who didn’t mind being alone.
I applied on a dare. One of my other truck driving buddies said I would be perfect for such a mission. She said I go weeks, sometimes months without actively engaging other human beings, and I did have military flight experience. After weeks of psychological and physical testing, I was selected. Months of training followed.
Eight years ago, they launched me into space on a mission to investigate an object way out near Pluto that did not appear natural. For seven years I passed the time singing, “Why Me?” by Planet P Project. For the last year, I have wondered if there is anyone back on Earth who remembers I am out here. I used to get daily updates from NASA and would respond with my own. Towards the end of the last messages things were not going well on old Terra Firma. The Russian/China war went nuclear, and the Latin States of America invade the United States. Canada rallied to America’s defense, but then had to divert resources to Mother Britain to help fight off the Jihad that was spreading from the Middle East and exploding within European cities.
Then all transmissions were cut off. I have not heard from NASA, or anyone else on Earth for thirteen months now. That saddens me. Not because I feel more isolated than ever, fuck, I am over four billion miles from the closest human being. Can you get more isolated? I don’t mind the isolation, its why I got the job. What saddens me is the possible fate of everything I knew and loved.
I have completed half of my mission. I found and encountered the object I was sent out here to study. Much to my surprise, and I am sure the surprise of anyone who receives the data dump I am sending back to earth, the object is of human origin! I don’t mean some lost spacecraft sent out here in the last sixty or seventy years. It is something we left out here to record our invasion of Earth!
As I approached the object, I started all the scans, imagery, and radio tests on it, all to gather as much data as I could before sailing past the thing. Something I was doing woke it up and it recognized my genetic code, and it initiated a data dump that almost overwhelmed my petabytes of storage. I later learned from the thing that it harbors technology light years beyond our comprehension. Hell, it survived out here for something close to thirty thousand years! I can’t keep bread from getting moldy after week!
Not only did the object dump data into my ships storage units, but it also kind of took my systems over.
My ship started talking to me! At first, I could not understand a single utterance. But it appeared to be learning as it tried to communicate. Words started to make sense, then phrases, until it was uttering complete sentences that I understood completely. One of the first comments I understood from my ship was, “My, how the language has changed.” Once we learned to communicate, we filled in the blanks of human history.
My ship had way more blanks to fill than I did. It’s last transmission from our settlers was about twenty thousand years ago. I was missing everything up to that time.
Where do I begin? I will include as much data as I can in my transmission to Earth, but I think a synopsis is in order. Humans, what we refer to as homo sapiens, did not evolved from anything on Earth. We…we were invaders. Humans entered the Solar system close to thirty thousand years ago. They deposited a satellite at the edge of the system for record keeping and if needed, send and S.O.S back to the home system.
They quickly found the third planet from the sun to be habitable, but it was a crowded planet with all forms of life, including a life form like them. Not wanting to compete, our ancestors hunted down and slaughtered what we now refer to as Neanderthals. With any real bipedal competition destroyed, they started the process of settling the planet. There’s was a small, single ship expedition restricting them to settling just one continent.
Withing a generation, they had power generation, farming, manufacturing, and all the other necessities to build a civilization. Yet, they were so busy setting up shop, they did not think long term, nor where they looking to the sky.
The satellite they left out in the same orbital plane as Pluto detected the asteroid, and logged it, but it was not programmed to alert. The asteroid streaked towards the third planet from the sun and buried itself into the center of the human habitation. There only settlement in what is now the country of Mauritania on the continent of Africa. My ship didn’t know this, I had to fill in that part…and I had to look it up based on the coordinates provided by my ship.
I filled in the blanks from that point on. I used a combination of my own limited knowledge of human history and offered references in the vast amount of reading material NASA supplied me. Based on what we learned together, those early humans survived the meteor impact, but not much they brought with or established did. As a result of the meteor and the struggle the ensued, they lost all technology. Basically, they were blasted back into the stone age.
Humans being humans, they survived, they adapted, and they expanded. I asked my ship if it ever sent a distress signal. It said it had not because it was never instructed to. I then asked it if I could tell it to, it said yes.
I have no idea what is left for me on Earth, or who will receive this message and the attached data dump, but once I sling shot around Pluto, there is a good chance that some of my distant cousins may not be too far behind me.
I just hope they are not as anxious for war as those that settled my home planet.