Commander’s Log - Arete I

The Arete mission was a long-duration UNAC expedition to the planet Prometheus in the Proxima Centauri system, and the first crewed interstellar voyage humanity undertook. By UNAC mandate, the mission’s intrepid commander, Tegan Calder, recorded a log at roughly 18:00 every mission day. The commander's log, as well as the other crew logs, spanned the duration of the mission: every waking day for twenty-four years. The daily audio logs of Cmdr. Calder serve as an important and highly detailed documentation of one of humanity’s most monumental and historical endeavors, for the benefit of both UNAC reviewers and future historians.

Sample Logs

Launch - Log 0001

LOG 04/10/2081 18:02 SHIP TIME
CALDER: Alright, that should be... ah yeah the green light is on. This is Commander Tegan Calder of the Arete mission to Prometheus in the Proxima Centauri system, aboard the UNSS Skyward Spirit spacecraft. All systems nominal at time of report. We've just begun our acceleration burn out of the solar system and are currently traveling at... (away from mic) Bachiko? Velocity check? (into mic again) ...roughly 55 kilometers a second and rising at a rate of about 1 gee. We had Cadmus Three on radar for a little while after leaving Lunar orbit, but we’re passing Jovian orbit now so that’s long behind us. (pause) We’re now farther than any human has ever been from Earth. Morale is good, but seeing Earth from this far away does have... a distinct effect on one’s emotional state. I think it’s starting to set in how long we’ll be gone, so I’ve set up movie night in about fifteen minutes. Star Trek, the one from 2009. Bachiko admitted he hadn’t ever seen it and Castañeda almost went into cardiac arrest. (sighs) You’d think this would have come up at some point in two years of training, but... oh well. (pause) After we cross Terminus’ orbit, we’ll be putting everyone except myself and Castañeda in stasis for at least the next year; two years in the case of Shen and Karthikeyan. (pause) Will report more tomorrow. Goodnight, Earth.
 

[9 years of logs omitted]

 

Arrival - Log 1006

LOG 02/10/2090 18:05 SHIP TIME
CALDER: This is Commander Tegan Calder of the Arete mission to Prometheus, aboard the UNSS Skyward Spirit. All systems nominal at time of report. We've just finished our deceleration burn and are on course for orbital insertion above Prometheus, after which we'll put the ship in lateral rotation to maintain point-three-six-gee pseudogravity in preparation for landing. Morale has absolutely skyrocketed in the last few weeks, especially the past couple of days. I'm pretty sure the reasoning is half and half: one half is that we're all done with stasis for the next six years, the other is that we're about to reach our destination. I mean, the excitement is practically tangible; you can probably even hear it in my voice. The deep field camera is live on the bridge screens -well, the ones we can spare- and Prometheus just keeps getting bigger and more beautiful; all red-oranges and blue-greens, with pitch maroon seas... (pause) We intercepted more and more Copernicus data as we got closer, and I just... can't wait to be on the surface. I mean, obviously I'm also terrified, but... more exhilarated than afraid. We're going to be the first humans on an alien world, ever. (pause) I'm needed on the bridge again; Shen is having a bit of an issue synchronizing the ship's time with Copernicus. Will report more tomorrow. Goodnight, Earth.
 

[1 year of logs omitted]

 

Touchdown - Log 1370

LOG 03/10/2091 18:10 SHIP TIME
CALDER: This is Commander Tegan Calder of the Arete mission, aboard the shuttle Deucalion. All systems nominal at time of report; touchdown occurred at roughly 11:33 ship time, just north of the equator on Planum Hecateris, a little ways east of Mare Ballard. Morale is at an all-time high. I'm sure you all got the transmission I sent from the surface when I stepped out of the shuttle six hours ago, but for posterity's sake... (pause) I did it. We did it. (laughs giddily) I still can't believe I'm the first human who's ever touched this planet. The first human to set foot on a world with a different sun. It's just... (laughs) insane. This planet is such a strange place, and, frankly... I'm glad I get to share it with these five. Well, only Kasiobi and Castañeda are here with me on the surface, but the other three will have their surface shift soon enough. (pause) There's just... so much to learn here, a wealth of knowledge beneath a mysterious orange and turquoise mask. (pause) I need to go help the others finish prepping the habitats for, well, habitation. Will report more tomorrow. Goodnight, Earth.
 

[3 years of logs omitted]

 

Contact - Log 2047

LOG 09/08/2093 18:03 SHIP TIME
CALDER: This is Commander Tegan Calder of the Arete mission, on the surface of Prometheus. All systems nominal at time of report, but... I mean, holy shit. Earth, we made first contact today. (pause) I'm still amazed that Chandra and Anwuli's translation matrix worked, let alone that well. Three months of nonstop work on one of the most complex bits of software in human history paid off. We said hello, and they said hello back. Called us "skyfolk" and, well. (laughs) They asked the logical first question. "Do you come in peace?" Anwuli told them that yes, of course we do. That we're just here to learn. And they... seemed to appreciate that. (pause) We didn't get to talk to them for too long, since it's still storm season, but we've got a few more years here. And I think... (pause) I think our interstellar neighbors have at least one thing in common with us: curiosity. (pause) Bachiko's already going on and on about an "agreement of interstellar cohabitance" or something? Even though Min told him she's pretty sure we're not authorized to make any political agreements on behalf of humanity, he still insisted we should act as "benevolent emissaries to our neighbors" before the "politicheskiye ublyudki" could get to them. (pause) I know we haven't even gotten the reply to our first first contact with the Prometheans -by the time we get that we'll be on the way home- but I'm confident that most folks back home had the same reaction we all did. It's just so... amazing, for lack of any better word, to know that we aren't alone in the universe anymore, and we haven't been for some time. (pause) The future looks bright, Earth. Will report more tomorrow. Goodnight.
 

[3 years of logs omitted]

 

Departure - Log 3225

LOG 30/10/2096 18:08 SHIP TIME
CALDER: This is Commander Tegan Calder of the Arete mission, aboard the UNSS Skyward Spirit. All systems nominal at time of report. We've just begun our acceleration burn out of Promethean orbit and are currently traveling at roughly 25 kilometers a second and rising at a rate of about 1 gee. Morale is... not too bad, but dropping. (pause) We all know our lives' work is pretty much over; all that's left is the long road home. (pause) It sounds so strange to say this, but... we made friends up here. (laughs) We befriended actual aliens. And I think everyone is already missing them. Even Bachiko. (laughs) We learned so much from this planet and its inhabitants, maybe even more than they learned from us. Then again, we left the habitat camp on the surface as planned, and Chandra encouraged them to reverse engineer everything so we can (imitating Dr. Karthikeyan's voice) "meet again on Earth." (laughs) I admire his dedication to teaching those big guys. To his credit, he's a very patient professor. I don't think they'll have a space program any time in the next half century, but Earth... keep a radio ear pointed at the Centaurus constellation, because I have a feeling E.T. is going to be phoning home fairly soon. (laughs) Speaking of E.T., we're having one more movie night with everyone all together before we start the lonely stasis cycle, so I figured we should watch a feelgood movie. Min suggested Spielberg's E.T. and everyone jumped on that, so I should go get it started. After we cross Epimetheus’ orbit, we’ll be putting everyone except myself and Castañeda in stasis again; same procedure as the flight up. (pause) Will report more tomorrow. Goodnight, Earth.

Legacy

The date of the Deucalion's landing on Planum Hecateris, October 3rd, has become an interstellar holiday: Universal Exploration Day, a celebration of peaceful and responsible cosmic curiosity that carries on the spirit of the Ares and Arete mission crews.
Deucalion Landing.png
by UNAC (Copernicus) / Doug Marshall
Certain logs, particularly the one from the day when Promethean civilization was first discovered (Log No 1961), had a profound effect on the rest of humanity back home on Earth. The discovery of another sapient species in the universe produced an unprecedented and profound paradigm shift in humanity: the revelation that humans were not (and later, that they had never been) alone in the universe was a joyful one. Several decades after the Arete mission's safe return to Earth, humans received a transmission from the Prometheans, kick-starting a chain of long-term back-and-forth correspondence between the two species that eventually lead to an exchange of moons: Theia, the oceanic moon of Hyperion in the Proxima Centauri system, was granted to humans to inhabit in exchange for Promethean habitation rights of Saturn's moon Titan. This agreement of interstellar cohabitance continues to this day, having been signed by emissaries of the skae, shyxaure, and ziirpu. Explorers of all five signatories allow the Promethean interstellar council first claim to jurisdiction of any TI-class world discovered, and in turn Promethean explorers alert the USSC to any TR-class planets they find.
Arete Mission Insignia.png

Archival Status

Like almost all other historical records, the Commander's audio log, accompanying reports, and full mission audio recordings are available to the public via HOMER's Archive, on station Remus in the Procyon system.  

Archival Information

Record ID No
fldr-ARETE.CMDR.LOG/0001-4230

Type
Report, Scientific
Medium
Digital Recording, Audio
Authoring Date
2081 - 2105 CE
Location
Prometheus
Prometheus is a titan-class world in the Proxima Centauri star system, and the homeworld of the Prometheans.
 

See Also

       

Comments

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Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
22 May, 2019 03:19

A sci fi document! This is exactly my jam! I love the scientific feel of this article besides the CSS! You manage to do some tremendous amount of work with the CSS wizardry and formatting to make a wonderful article!   My advice for now would just be to expand more upon this document. What is the legacy of the document? What cultural effects did the first successful interstellar mission have on mankind? Did it inspire any other future missions? Congratulations man and Ad astra per aspera!

22 May, 2019 03:31

Thanks again for your feedback! I’m planning to touch more on the legacy and impacts of the mission in the final two logs, especially the last one, but I’ve only got about 900 words left to work with so I’m working on refining the phrasing of the things I want to address.

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
24 May, 2019 17:55

This article is such a good feel good article, I love it! It ends with that perfect touch of melancholy that really ties it all together. I don't really have much to add, I think the article is fantastic; I like the way the story is told through the spoiler tags. It's certainly an interesting approach to this document challenge -- it's a neat way to stand apart from using the actual document contents part of the document template.   There was one sentence I noticed might be a bit awkward -- I'm not sure if I'm reading it weirdly or not, it just seems a bit long: "He kept rambling about "soglasheniye o mezhzvezdnom sotrudnichestve"; even though Min told him she's pretty sure we're not authorized to make any political agreements on behalf of humanity he still insisted we should act as "benevolent emissaries to our neighbors" before the "politicheskiye ublyudki" could get to them."   It could be because of the "soglasheniye o mezhzvezdnom sotrudnichestve" (is that an in-universe language, from the aliens?), but I had to read the sentence a few times to get the flow proper. Would it be possible to add a tool-tip translation (though not sure that fits an audio-log style), or break the sentence into two?   Aside from that, there's literally nothing else I noticed about this article other than how great it was!

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
24 May, 2019 17:56

OH RIGHT. I already mentioned it on Discord, but just have to say again; fantastic header image! and fantastic presentation of the article in general. It's really really nice!

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
24 May, 2019 19:14

Ah yeah, I've just broken that in two sentences. The other language is actually Russian, but I didn't want to throw folks off by adding in Cyrillic text.

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
24 May, 2019 19:16

Thank you so much for the feedback!

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
25 May, 2019 03:33

I am sucker for scfi this was a great.

25 May, 2019 04:56

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
26 May, 2019 16:35

What a great article. I love the formatting. It's also wonderful to read about an expedition were nothing went wrong. One of my favorites from the monthly challenge.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
29 May, 2019 17:32

I'm so glad you liked it that much!! It seemed only apt to create a counterbalance to the Bermuda Triangle-esque entries from other folks.

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
7 Jun, 2019 01:16

This was very well done, caught me all the way to the end. I particularly enjoyed the upbeat ending and the optimism that this adventure had! Also I'm surprised but not disappointed at your use of collapsibles to keep your log organized within your BBCode. Very Impressive and very well done!


explore-ethnis.png

Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
7 Jun, 2019 02:46

Oh great space, thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it; I was a little worried my rebellious formatting would be a disqualifier but I'm pleased you appreciated the innovation! :D

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
19 Jun, 2019 04:03

Hi, love! This is your friendly neighborhood Forge Mother here to let you know that we Enchanters would absolutely love to feature this article in one of our community's daily features! Unfortunately it appears you've neglected to credit some of your artists.   If you could, we'd love to have you credit them! And if / when you've corrected this issue, please respond to this comment to let us know- that way we can show your article off to the lovely users in our community   For more information about our feature requirements, please see our codex entry:
How to have your article featured
Generic article | Sep 14, 2020

20 Jun, 2019 01:16

As per the note in the Diaspora project introduction, Most art assets you see in this world were made by myself using either Paint.NET, Krita, SpaceEngine, or a combination of these tools. This holds true for all images without specific outside credit. However, to comply with the feature rules, I've updated the touchdown image with pseudocanonical credit. :3

DSP | AV | OE | SPH | ADYN | CRDL | LOR | PR
yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
20 Jun, 2019 16:00

Whoops! Missed that this round! I'm so sorry XD I'll update your case <3