Mission Date: O years, 224 days
We’ve hit a milestone today! Due to complex nature of gravitation slingshots, we’re passing Earth for the second time today, more than half a year into our journey. Today’s flyby is much faster than the last. About half of the crew gathered in the observatory to watch it fly by over the course of about fifteen minutes or so. Truly a majestic sight, passing between the moon and earth. At these speeds you aren’t able to judge distances, the planet doesn’t feel any further away than a mountain on the highway. It’s the last time any of us will see the blue marble with our own eyes. Simply breathtaking.
Maybe I should get some introductory stuff out of the way. I’m the captain of a colony ship en route to Alpha Centauri, the UNSS Ennui. It should take roughly eighty years to get there, which makes this a generation ship. I, however, fully intend to still be alive when we arrive to bring humanity to the stars!
Aside from our last flyby, an odd thing happened today. About 15% of crew members called in sick, and another 10% simply didn’t show up for duty. Normally I’d be concerned about some sort of space-plague, but we have a sort of explanation: over the last two days, every last one of our escape pods has gone missing. When about half of them were gone, security was ordered to put the remaining pods under guard. Now all of the pods are missing, along with a disproportionately high number of security personnel.
Oddly enough, none of this would have happened if anyone had read the memos. Our velocity in relation to the Earth was very, very high. Far higher than the delta-v escape pod thrusters can achieve. This was all in a crew wide communique, which apparently nobody reads. Apparently nobody payed any attention in the mandatory orbital mechanics classes either. I think there may at least be a silver lining for the eventual human population of Alpha Centauri, in a Darwinian sense.
I need to decide what to tell the remaining crew members. Since this was our last Earth flyby, we don’t need to worry about this happening again. What we do need to worry about is keeping morale up. Which explanation for their disappearance would be worse for your personal morale, that a large number of your coworkers escaped successfully, or that all of the escapees certainly died and the beautiful meteor shower you witnessed this afternoon in the observatory was thanks to their sacrifice?
I think I’ll go with space-plague.
Captain Richards out.