Origins 7

Reaching out to the cosmos, humans established bases on the moon and on Mars. In many ways the colonization of space paralleled that of the New World five hundred years earlier. Nations contracted with private companies to move people and equipment out and bring resources back.

The world was dividing up the solar system as fast as it could launch a vehicle to plant a flag. China claimed a secluded region of the lunar far side to explore the derelict technologies it discovered. In fact, China consistently found itself at odds with the United States and Europe over meager energy and water resources on the moon. But earths satellite was only a stepping stone to the next prize. Mars.

Several other countries did the same showing, publicly, only those devices that would help humanity. Secretly they developed others that would, they hoped, secure a dominant position in world politics.

Perhaps the greatest triumph in alien technology made use of gravity manipulation to save millions, if not billions of lives. On Friday April 13, 2029, the 350 meter wide asteroid Apophis sped past Earth closer than the orbits of many weather satellites. From this pass, astronomers calculated the asteroid would return to impact our world in 2036. When it did all of it's mass and speed would be transferred to earth with devastating results.

One report suggested the asteroid would explode with the force of 65,000 Hiroshima bombs and create a crater eight miles wide. In the ocean, the impact would create a tsunami 275 meters high.

With this threat, and remembering the lesson of Comet Patterson in 2014, an international team was given the priority of deciphering the workings of the Derelict's gravity control technology. By 2033 a robotic expedition was ready to carry the human built technology to successfully alter the asteroid's orbit. In 2036 Apophis made another close but harmless approach to Earth.

The technology that saved the world was suddenly in great demand. Before long anyone with enough money could purchase vehicles that defied gravity. But more than that, humans were now able to leave earth far more easily than ever before. Within two years, three international corporations had established mining and manufacturing on the moon's surface. By 2036 more than 1000 people called the moon home and by 2041 that population had ballooned to more than 10,000.

Offshoots of the technologies found in the derelict also allowed humans to advance biotechnology by decades. Soon, anyone with the right amount of money might be able to order custom "nanos" that swam through their bloodstreams ridding their bodies of disease and poisons. Some even took a step further replacing parts of their bodies that failed or malfunctioned with semiorganic enhancements. Some went so far as to try to cast off their mortal bodies in exchange for a mechanical life and the promise of virtual immortality. The barriers between ourselves and our technology were blurring.

The computers and robots around us were also becoming smarter. Automobiles were infused with intelligence matching that of a well-trained horse giving their owners more freedom to, as one car maker advertised, "enjoy the ride". Robots could recognize and follow verbal directions spoken in any language and, under minimal supervision, accomplish basic tasks such as package delivery, or item sorting, or even preparing basic meals.

More advanced robots learned to fight wars alongside us and in a few cases for us. The first robotic wars began during the late years of the Terrorism Conflicts of the early 21st Century. By mid-century robotic weapons were a standard part of every country's arsenal. -- Every country that could afford them -- And would play an important role in the African Water Wars of the 2050s and the conflicts to follow.

Africa continued to be troubled by clan divisions and proved to be a haven for those who wished to hide their clandestine efforts from the rest of the world. The center of the continent became harsher as water resources dried up and populations migrated. Conflicts erupted between old adversaries and a new round of wars tore at the continent.


Author Note 5

I haven't abandoned this blog. I have just been taking care of a few other issues before I progress. Behind the scenes, I have been fleshing out the story which is not easy given all the other things I have going.

I have also made a change to the title. I think R.U.I.N.S. is a better title for telling my story.

Stay Tuned.


Author Note 4

It's been three months since the last posting and really a little hard to believe. I have a few stories waiting in the wings but I wanted to fill out the back story a little. I also had a bit of a creative block that I feel I have worked through. Look to see a few new stories in the coming weeks. Then I will start on the major thrust of the Abandoned Worlds. The story that I've wanted to tell from the beginning that I tentatively titled The Guardian of the Graveyard Empire.



Weekly Report to the Derelict Oversight Committee on Current Exploration Operations

October 12, 2031

Director of Derelict Exploration Operations: Taylor Garrett - Civilian Contractor, RAF

The previous week saw progress of only 20 meters in the primary corridor named "Grand Central." Robotic and human teams have been hampered by larger than expected amounts of debris as well as the cramped conditions in the branching corridors "Broadway" and "Main". Overall current exploration operations are at an estimated 45 percent of the Derelict thus far. Keeping safety in mind, and not wishing to destroy important artifacts, progress has been slow.

Derelict reconstruction with missing Chinese segment.

Of note is the discovery of a possible control mechanism for what we suspect is a gravity manipulation system. The devices were attached to a large bulkhead that had been dislodged presumably by the Catastrophic Event [CE]. The mechanism is in a fair state of preservation due to the lack of atmosphere and extreme cold temperatures and appears to have been connected to the primary power circulation grid.

Clues to the cause of the CE are still forthcoming, however, the study teams in the heavily damaged rear areas have reported scoring and melt to some of the superstructure that suggests there was a high-temperature event. What could have caused such damage is unclear as we have had little success with our own attempts to melt the carbon matrix. Sections of the damaged corridors reveal a material that is strong, yet light. Chemical analysis suggests it is a form of crystallized carbon matrix with a melting point above 6500 °F and an organic structure akin to that found in plants or trees. Further study, including tests to the materials, will be required to understand the properties of the derelict's structure and how it reacts to stresses and heat. It has become increasingly clear that the construction methods on the derelict were far beyond anything humans have yet achieved.

In the coming week the team expects to clear and catalog enough debris to reach a void hinted at by scans two weeks ago. The space appears larger than earlier cataloged spaces. Additionally, we are still hoping to find an area of uncontaminated atmosphere sealed at the time of the CE. No further bodies of crew members have been discovered beyond those found in the first days of the investigation. However, there is still a considerable volume of the ship to be explored and we still have not found apparent sleeping or recreational areas.

We have yet to reach any section of the ship that would give a clue to the lifestyle of the crew. Until now, all we have been able to uncover are workstation-like terminals and narrow corridors. The term "spartan" has best described the environment inside.

Some of my colleagues have speculated recently that the derelict may have been a type of warship. I wish to say at this time that there is no clear evidence to support this assertion. No team has found weapons on the ship nor is there evidence of any guns or cannons as we would understand them. My colleagues claims that the lack of amenities for the crew support their thesis, are unfounded and require further study. Other speculations on the exterior appearance and massive power circulation systems are also premature. We simply do not know how much energy was needed to power the vessel and propel it across light years of space. Presumably those sections lay in Chinese hands and any information from them and the Far Side Lunar Laboratory are not forthcoming.


Author's Note 3

Right now there are three stories floating around in my head about this time period that need to be developed. As you can see, I have taken a detour from the time line writing to fill out the period when the Derelict arrived. There are a few pieces I want to include to show how humanity dealt with the arrival and how we're taking the next steps.

I'm still "painting" with broad strokes but every now and then I like to bring the focus down to a personal level. After all, science fiction has very much to do with how regular people deal with extraordinary circumstances.

Of course there will be more art to come, including a good detailed look at the Derelict.


Memorial: Journal Entry of Patrick Teller

September 29, 2031

I've been at Lagrange Point 2 (LP2) for only a month and already I've managed to make an enemy of General Hajicek - only the most powerful person overseeing the Derelict Program.

Being hired to study the six alien bodies on the derelict, as chiché as it sounds, is the opportunity of a lifetime. Only five years ago, as a graduate student, I had serious doubts about xenobiology as a career path. We were still speculating about the best place to find life on Mars when the Derelict arrived. Suddenly xenobiology is the hottest field in academic study. It makes one feel a bit like a very lucky fortune teller.

My first impressions of the alien mummies was that they were big lizards but their physiology was fascinating. Their body style is not too far removed from ours with bilateral symmetry but all their vital organs are encased in a tortoise like shell with fascinating silica-like properties. And they even have blue blood! Chemical differences aside, it is clear that they were intelligent. They made use of technology that enhanced their bodies, had a symbolic language of some kind and, in the opinion of at least one of my colleagues, may have maintained ritual superstitions.

Spend any time with them and it becomes clear that the old movies never really did extraterrestrials justice. The stories were always so one-sided. Alien comes to earth, eats someone, destroys something, kills people, et cetera. These beings were of little threat to us, aside from maybe catching some exotic virus or germ frozen dormant for the last 10,000 years. Their lives were extinguished in some accident or catastrophe that their technology couldn't save them from which makes them seem as fragile as us.

I can't help wondering if there was someone they left behind on their world. Is there some planet where their history records that this vessel was presumed lost like some Greek trading ship on the ancient Mediterranean Sea? Does their history even remember them? They say that it is important not to anthropomorphize when doing this sort of studywork but it is hard to separate oneself from those kinds of thoughts when lab work gets tedious.

The General, on several occasions, has remarked that it is important to "know our enemy" when asked what our studies hope to accomplish. Some think he is just using a military metaphor to get a point across. My feeling is that it is something deeper and more primitive. After all, there's a good number of people who are afraid that we're looking extermination in the face. Some of the military minds around here have speculated aloud that the ship just "looks" like something military. But you'd think that after 10,000 years somebody would have come to claim it. The fearful seem to think that because the aliens are more technologically advanced, they would want to wipe us out. It's more of that movie-thinking coming into play.

I realized that these were once thinking, feeling, beings and they deserved some sort of respect. Some way to acknowledge that they were intelligent beings and not simply experiments to be studied.

I brought up the subject at a recent staff meeting. The General, in his famous Texas drawl explained the situation very bluntly.

"Son," he bellowed, "do you think I'm running an E.T. funeral home here? I'm not havin' a memorial for a bunch of dead aliens. Hell, I don't even know if they were religious!"

He addressed the rest of the room for effect and to ensure my embarrassment was complete, "Our job here, for anyone who is unclear, is to learn as much about these critters as we can. Learn where they came from, why they are here, how to use their tech and, if necessary, how to defend ourselves should the time come."

After the meeting I plodded to the examination lab and began the long biohazard suit-up and coms check process. I proceeded through the pressure doors to the main lab and silently moved to where the six extraterrestrials were lined up for the day's rounds of tests. Our executive team and the various techs were gathered listening to the morning briefing but I wasn't getting any audio on the open channel.

"What's going on?" I said and someone signaled for me to switch to the lab-only channel. I heard the familiar voice of our xenobiology lead speaking.

"-launched themselves across the galaxy and found their end far from home." she said, "Their influence will have a profound effect on the inhabitants of our world for centuries to come. Though they are lost to their home they have been found here. Now let's recognize their sacrifice with a moment of silence."

The channel became quiet and a few heads bowed around me in contemplation. Then in a less reverent tone she continued, "Just because some people can't see past the end of their medal-covered uniforms doesn't mean we can't privately pay respects to fellow explorers." I saw her eyes fix on me with a grin, "Now let's get back to work, folks."


Origins 6

In late 2028 the derelict arrived at earth and a coalition of governments including the E.U., Japan, and the United States formed a team to study it. Fears of unleashing an alien pandemic on the world population prompted the creation of a laboratory at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point. There, the derelict would float, poised between two opposing forces, where the moon and earth's gravity balanced each other.

Unsurprisingly, the first teams aboard found the ship devoid of life. However, there were few members of the crew left. Most had been lost to the depths of space or to whatever disaster struck the derelict. The bodies that remained appeared, in the words of one team member, to be "glass lizard-bugs" a mix of reptile, insect and inorganic crystal.

An unfortunate crew member in a tangle of conduits.

China officially protested what they called the "commandeering" of a vessel under Chinese control. The country unsuccessfully petitioned to have the derelict turned over to an international team of their choosing. However, the world community was not convinced of China's good intentions. The perception was furthered by China's growing influence in world politics and the increasing need for resources which put it at odds with the other major powers. Any technologies China could derive from the alien derelict would surely be used to press a financial and military advantage on a steadily shrinking globe. China would have to be satisfied with what it could learn from its own section of the derelict.

Within five years, a small space-going city formed at the Lagrange Point filled with scientists and engineers eager to understand the ship's secrets. The aliens were able to cross vast interstellar distances suggesting a "hyperdrive" technology as well as hints at advanced techniques for manipulating gravity and the electromagnetic force. The aliens also appeared able to engineer their ships to grow themselves while integrating the necessary structures to make space travel possible. At least one study team published a paper suggesting the derelict might have been alive in some basic way.

A dark and undamaged corridor on the alien ship.

Effects from altering our environment pushed many countries into direct competition, and sometimes conflict, over the changing map of earth and its resources. The arrival of the derelict gave us new technologies that touched every aspect of human life. It also afforded the means to leave our planet far more easily than had ever been accomplished before. Explorers and entrepreneurs soon began to launch themselves into space. Some to seek greater riches and new worlds to conquer. Others to ensure that when we might finally met living aliens we were not at a disadvantage.

As with all major undertakings, exploration and colonization would not prove to be easy.

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