Private Logs of Captain Esther Beaufort, Galactic Syndicate of Planets Navy
Entry 1: 275 GY (Galactic Standard Year)
I heard the rumours about the AD Leonis system, the big GSOP secret, off-limits. But I thought them urban legends, they’d been floating around for decades, way before Jessie was born, way before I was born. Today I found out some legends are real.
The GSOP flew me in this morning. On my own, ahead of my crew, ahead of my ship – that was weird in its own right. Turns out things only got weirder. We’ve all been to the peregrine museum on Mars, seen the site where they found those relics. That was centuries ago, and that tiny site gave us faster-than-light technology. I wouldn’t be sailing among the stars without it.
But what they’ve found orbiting the Leonis system, it makes the Mars site look like a child’s sand pit. God, I don’t even know how to put it into words. They found a freaking space station! Or something like that anyway. It’s huge, about half the size of Luna and dominated by a giant mirror. I don’t know why they’ve pulled me in, not yet anyway. Must be for a big mission. I hope it’s big.
Entry 11: 275 GY
The last probe returned from the warp gate. It’d been gone a couple weeks, so we thought it got lost like the others. Still a failure though, all the data’s corrupt. No footage, no audio, no readings, all garbled nonsense. The egghead’s are frustrated.
Me though? I couldn’t be better, the Harvest pulled into dock yesterday, it was good seeing the crew again. I briefed them, let them know what the GSOP had in store for us. Spelled it out in no uncertain terms; ‘we will be the first humans to pass through the warp gate’. I’ll never forget their faces, Lieutenant Cho summed it up best ‘Holy s**t, Cap’, holy s**t indeed Lieutenant.
The excitement had to be tempered. The mission is a ways off, probably a couple years. But there’s plenty of training lined up. They’ve brought in all kinds of psychologists and so-called xeno-experts, got us signed up for first-contact protocols, communication experiments, diplomatic training. I never enlisted to be a politician, but if it means I’ll be the first human to talk to a living peregrine, hell I’d run for president.
Entry 72: 277 GY
I’ve been delaying this entry for a couple weeks. Only now I feel up to writing it.
We lost Cho.
He ‘won’ the short straw. The eggheads had a prototype flyer ready for a one-man recon mission through the gate. I know this kind of frontier exploration has its dangers, but the eggheads seemed confident, and that gave me confidence. Misplaced it seems. We were in Control with the comm guys, cheering Cho on as he flew toward that giant peregrine mirror, we kept in constant communique, he was laughing and cussing right up to the point of contact. Then he broke through. And nothing more. He was supposed to come right back, but he didn’t. That was a month ago.
I spoke with the research team coordinator, he said and I quote ‘We theorise that he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest during the gateway travel, as a result of unforeseen atmospheric anomalies within the warp‘. Egghead bulls**t.
I let Cho go, and now I’ll never see him again.
Entry 162: 279 GY
Mixed feelings today. I missed Jessie’s 15th, that’s the fourth birthday in a row I’ve missed. She’s grown so much, more woman than kid really.
That’s the sad part, the happy part is the warp-ship is ready. It’s no Harvest, but she’ll be commanded by my crew, so I’ve named her New Harvest, wouldn’t feel right to take the next step without her bearing the name at least. New Harvest is built to withstand the warp, and tests are under way, a whole lot of them. GSOP brass is adamant not to have another Cho situation, not that I’d let the eggheads risk another crew member anyway, when we go, we go together, as we should have done. One crew, one mission.
We’re still a year off launch, but this is a big step. Our training has shifted to the warp-ship, this is it, the home stretch. I won’t miss your 16th, Jessie.
Entry 211: 280 GY
Oh God. My fingers are shaking, I can barely type! I’m alive! We’re alive!
When we kicked off from Leonis Orbital I felt, oh I don’t know, despair I guess, I was so sure we were going to meet the same fate as Cho. I was so sure I’d never see Jessie or Michael again. We approached the gate, saw ourselves reflected in it, I was certain it would crack when we hit. But it didn’t, we passed straight through. For a few seconds we saw nothing on sensors, even the view port was black, I thought we’d arrived in a true void, but then we slipped through the other side.
And, my God, it’s incredible. We’ve only started our scans, but already what we’ve found is amazing. It’s a star system, and there are seven planets, some of them habitable, but… maybe I’m dreaming, maybe I died and this is some deathbed fantasy, but the star orbits the planets, not the other way around. And there’s a colossal metal sphere right in the middle of it all. It’s peregrine, no mistake, must be hundreds, maybe thousands of times bigger than the warp gate in Leonis.
We’ve not made contact with any peregrines yet, but there’s still time. Cho, wherever you are, you were the first here, and I’ll make damn sure everyone knows it.