Feb 4, 2012
What an unbelievable week, several weeks actually. I left so much behind, so many, and here waiting for me is something I could have never expected.
Her name is Adriana, and I am conflicted. I really do think I am falling for this girl, falling hard and fast. But I haven’t been able to tell her everything about myself.
I haven’t told her what and who I left behind. I can barely admit what I have done to myself. I can’t imagine what she will think of me when she knows. When she knows I left my wife and my children behind, when she knows I abandoned them. I left them with everything I owned, every scrap of myself I could sign away, and three inadequate letters, and a signed declaration of divorce. I didn’t even have the decency to tell them before I walked out the door. I sent them one last message, I don’t know if they received it, or if they simply deleted it upon arrival. I hope they listened. I hope they understood. But somehow I know they won’t or can’t understand, I’m not sure I understand it myself. Half of me wants to run home, the other half is too much of a coward, and longs for the comfort of a new love that should not be.
I have no right to be happy here.
Silas Page 05/18/2218
Dear digital-journal-computer log-thing. I’ve been assigned to communications on the bridge, but that isn’t what I want to talk about. I’ve met a man. It was not long after I arrived at the lunar base. In fact I ran into him during my testing, seems like it was a lot longer ago than it actually was. It’s somewhat hard to keep track of days now. But back to the new job. I have to monitor and keep the ships communications channels clear. And when there is any kind of official notice or announcement I have to send it out. It’s a pretty cool job, I get to see and know everything going on before the rest of the ship. And, theoretically, if we somehow have any contact with another intelligent race, I will be the one to make that contact. Well I’ll be the one to run the transmission. I’ll get to hear it first anyway. It’s exciting for me anyway. Okay so most of the time I will just be pushing buttons and making routine announcements, and acting as an operator of sorts, but it’s an important job.
Now this boy, well man, his name is Silas, he works on the bridge too. But he didn’t when we met, that happened after. He works in navigation. He will be one of the guys making sure we don’t crash into stuff, and that we are going the right direction. He plays down what he does but it’s actually impressive. They have to make tons of calculations because nothing is exactly where we think it will be. Most things in the universe we have mapped and plotted according to the speed of light and where we observe things being. He has to take that, and figure out where it actually is in relation to us. I don’t completely understand all the details but I understand the principal, it’s a cool principal.
Anyway, we leave orbit in a couple days, and from there it should take at least a week to build up the speed we need to really get moving, so our view won’t change much for the next two weeks at least. I’ll write more around then. I hope we get to see Saturn or Jupiter.
Jan 30, 2012
Nov 7, 2011
02/14/2218, my name is Colin Flannigan; I am one of the IT-Systems engineers for the Eden Foundation, assigned to (voluntarily) Project Salvation. Currently I am working on the man computer system for the Arc-Ship. I’m tackling this on my own, mostly, I have a few testers. But I chose to do this on my own because I don’t think it would help to try to compile the work of multiple individuals and make sure it all works. Sometimes I fear I bit off more than I can chew, but I think I’m nearly done. I have been working on this just over two years now. The core of what I am working on is a system I’ve called M.I.S.S.I.E , it is a Multiple Interface Semi-Sentient Information Engine. Semi-sentient is a bit of a misnomer because it implies some level of A.I. but the system is designed to be adaptive, and even intuitive, but it cannot exceed its parameters, or make decisions it was not asked to make. So it’s not fully A.I. but if you ask this system to examine any information it can make conclusions that are not pre-determined. It’s fairly difficult to explain, but as a whole it’s designed to identify potential problems that a human crew would only identify when the problem shows up, and in this situation when a problem shows up, it may be too late to fix it.
I thought about trying to give the system an interactive personality, but when I started on that, well, I’ll just say it reminded me of trying to teach my sister anything. So I scraped that, and it stopped arguing and just accepted the changes. I also scraped the idea of having a primordially vocal input. The speech recognition was a problem, and it just becomes annoying. But I did have to set up a few audible responses, for notifications and warnings. I’ve left the baseline, so maybe we can have that option available another time. I didn’t think it was critical.
The problems with a system like this, is trying to anticipate what it might be asked to do. And making sure a system understands things I don’t, like theoretical astronomical physics. And mechanical engineering. I’ve been feeding textbooks into the system, and I think the system is at a point where submitting a textbook is the rough equivalent to adding new program parameters. So as I work, the work is actually progressing faster. The information systems on this ship are going to be astronomical. We are going to have electronic copies of roughly every book ever written, every movie ever made, and every song ever recorded, roughly. We couldn’t possibly find everything. We joked once that we are saving a copy of the internet and sending it into space, which is more or less true. Files have been downloading two and a half years now, so we just might have enough pornography to last all 100 years of this voyage. I thank god every day that we don’t have the problems with “computer virus” that existed 200 years ago. It took about 100 years but, eventually the effort to create a dangerous piece of code that could distribute and execute on it’s own so far outweighed the benefit that it became a novelty. Most of the “virus” these days are only seen as practical jokes. And even those are rare, since you risk spending half your life in prison for writing it, and about one year for each person you infected. The popularity of the virus prank died when some guy got 77 years for emailing a picture to his friends that had an embedded code that disabled the keyboard space bar. The sentence wouldn’t have been so severe had the joke not been spread to half the U.S. It wasn’t dangerous, or even particularly hard to fix. But there it is, no one feels like taking that kind of risk these days, thank god.
The latest update is nearly done compiling. I hope to fix the problem with the notification system. She was notifying of every single potential error she saw. I started calling it the cry wolf system. So now I hope to have fixed it so that the notifications will only be for important issues. I don’t need to be told that; our current course has us locked in geosynchronous orbit with the Earth’s moon, is a major error since we are not on course to our final destination. The system forgot to check for departure before verifying the course to the destination. Maybe it’s just me but I find that funny.
I don’t think I could possibly be more excited. This ship is amazing, I can’t believe I am going to be living on it, and I am even more amazed I get to work on it, and get my fingers into the most intimate workings. I’m one of the ships engineers, there are about 50 of us right now. When we are going we will share the work fairly evenly, but right now we all have specific areas assigned to us. I’ve got the environmental systems. It’s not the most glamorous, but it’s probably the most visible part. Comparatively speaking I’ve got the easy job. Don’t envy the bastard that has to get the gravity right. Now we mostly float around. Lots of magnetic shoes for now. There was a time when they thought about just going with loads of magnets instead of trying to engineer a rotational gravity simulator. But honestly, a ship full of magnets is just a bad idea. So we wound up with a ship that isn’t exactly a looker but is definitely impressive. It looks like a… well it’s a long steel tube, our jokes and nicknames have become old now. We’ve got it set up to start around moon gravity levels, and slowly ramp up to earth gravity, to give everyone a chance to adjust. Most of us have become so used to the low gravity that to just jump right back to normal some of us might break our legs. We will probably run at normal gravity for a while but we also plan to, very gradually, ramp it up. We suspect that the gravity at our final destination will be higher, and we think it’s better to adapt to slightly higher g-force than to be potentially too weak to manage. That’s the thought anyway. Today we don’t have to worry about much more than going from about .5G to 1G. But like I said, that’s not my area yet, so I don’t have to worry about much more than the results. For me, I have to worry about lights, oxygen, water, and unfortunately, waste disposal. The problems you’d never think about, are now a big deal. Where do you get food? How do you produce more air? Can you manufacture water? Where does the trash go?
These problems nearly killed the entire project. But it’s all manageable. We were stuck thinking about synthesizing elements. But we forgot that most of these things are organic. They don’t need to be synthesized. If we have enough plants, and air and water they will cycle, and be mostly self sustaining. We just have to maintain the ratio, and make sure everything is moving. The earth itself provides us with the perfect model. So we just needed to make sure we had ways to replicate those natural systems. This was, in and of itself, a major feat of engineering. Have you ever TRIED to set up a farm in space? We have to get the gravity up a little more before we get the animals in here, no one wants floating cows. I could spend a few hours outlining the systems we set up, and honestly I would like to but that will have to wait. But I’m sure all that will be published before we leave, wouldn’t want to take our secretes to the far side of the universe. Without leaving a note, always leave a note.
Back to my problems, I have to go solve a few. Just got a note about the lights. Apparently we forgot to make sure that we had enough lighting that completely simulates the full sunlight spectrum. Including the UV parts. You never think about Vitamin D until you don’t get it. It shouldn’t be a big problem. We already had that lighting for the plants in the farm, just need to make sure we get spread around the rest of the ship. Someone is going to be changing a light bulb or two. By someone I mean all my assistants and the construction crew we still have on sight.
Oct 27, 2011
This is the first entry in the personal log of Hajar Dermot, assigned to biomedical services, and cryogenics lab, for the Arc-ship Salvation, employee of the Eden Foundation.
My name is Hajar Dermot; I was recruited by The Eden Foundation two years ago to work on Project Salvation as a cryogenics engineer, and biomedical lab technician. I left my home in San Francisco, said good-bye to my friends, and moved to the moon. Honestly, I couldn’t turn down this opportunity, not only for the fact that this is an endeavor that has never before been attempted and therefore the possible discoveries in my field are unprecedented, but also for a childhood dream come true. The things I have been working on for this voyage…sometimes I have trouble digesting the scope, and the ethical implications. Not that the works is unethical, it is just new ground, and sometimes I get the feeling we are entering areas best left alone. I once voice my concern, and I was not the only one, but Dr. Barlow assured us that he has taken every effort to ensure that our individual work was ethically sound. He also assured me that most of the programs I had concerns about were in place for extreme circumstances. Given where we will be living, and how long this trip is supposed to take, I can’t blame them for wanting to prepare for some fairly extreme circumstances. I should probably commit much more detail in my log at this time. There will be time for opinions and analysis once we depart and we’re not entirely consumed with last minute preparations.
I both dread and look forward to leaving. Dread because I will be leaving behind my girlfriend, I offered to get her a position, but she didn’t like the idea of leaving Earth, not many do like that idea. I can’t say what I am most looking forward to, mostly because I am most looking forward to confronting the great unknown.
Oct 25, 2011
This is the first entry in the personal log of Adriana Fang, voluntary passenger on the Arc-ship Salvation.
As I sit, quietly, looking back on the earth from my small room in this cold, cold motel on the moon a song plays through my head over and over, the song is called "2000 Years", over 200 years old, written by Billy Joel (of Earth - I think I like saying that now). They are his words, but I feel so very strongly when I hear them that they feel like mine. I don’t think the song was as appreciated as it should have been. I discovered this when I was studying 20th century history, it was written near the turn of the century, but it may have been written last year. It covers how I feel right now pretty damned well. I am starting this journey on my own, alone with about 2000 other people, hope I can make a few friends quickly, I’d hate to spend the first 50 years sitting against a window watching the stars sail by, alone.
So the head of the passenger management has asked us all to make at least one journal entry here, before we leave. They didn’t say exactly why, but I imagine it’s so they can get a good feel for all of us before they lock us inside a big tin can for the rest of our lives. It’s a good idea; I’d have done the same thing. Most people will tell blank screen things they would never tell someone trying to get a psychological profile. Let’s hope they actually read them. However, knowing these guys they will run them through an algorithm that looks for “unstable” phrases and things like that, lazy, but efficient, probably what I’d do too. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to read 2000 logs like this one, and no one that has figured it out would probably say much aside from “my name is Ralph, I have a cat, and I don’t wet myself much anymore.”
So here we are, my name is Adriana Fang, I am 23 years old, I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I’m leaving Utah, and the Earth forever. I started studying 20th century history when I was 13 years old, and I fell in love. The science fiction is incredible; it quickly became an obsession, the books the movies, all of it. What was their future is my present, and past (sometimes my future too, but not too much). Did you know that people would create these fictions, and then kids would love it so much, they would spend a lifetime making it real? We would never have gotten the advances of the 21st century, if someone hadn’t first made it up. I love it. There was a movement to get this ship named the Enterprise, or the Millennium Falcon, a few lobbied to name it Serenity. I think they were afraid of starting a war if they used one of those, pity, but I like Salvation, even if it does sound a little doomsdayish.
Love, Adriana Fang - 03/17/2218
Oct 23, 2011
Sunday, March 22, 2218, this begins the personal journal of one Silas Paige, 32 years of age.
I have volunteered for life among the stars, and I feel unfathomable amounts of both anticipation, and fear. The ship is the most incredible thing I have ever seen man create. It hovers above the moon, its enormity blocking the sun for long periods. At first glance, it appears to be a floating hollow cylinder, and little more; but upon closer inspection, it is apparent that the planning of the ship's design was meticulous. The outer sections are where most of us will work and live. The center sections contain the inner workings of the ship, and the entire behemoth will rotate with such force that it will feel as though we are standing, once again, upon the surface of the earth. I am sufficiently impressed that I feel no need to inquire as to its inner workings.
On this ship, we've been told, we will all receive work assignments. This was at first disheartening, as I was hoping to spend my time writing and exploring the heavens. This disappointment vanished once we learned that many of these work assignments were simply temporary, until our work was no longer required. I have not yet received a final assignment, but the passenger assignment officials said I would be working with the “bridge staff”, working with the piloting, navigations and communications crew. I suspect this is due to my background as an astronomer and writer, but one can hardly anticipate the inner workings of the minds within the Eden Foundation.
I aim to make this entry brief as I still have much to prepare before our shuttles transport us to the ship. Once on board we may have no opportunity to communicate with our friends and family remaining on earth, and I do have quite a bit left to say to those left behind.
Silas Paige, future intergalactic citizen. 03/19/2218