Greetings to all. The Homeworld Gazette asked me to write a account of what is involved in one of our voyage ands I will be sending regular updates back home.
Great excitement (as usual) in the space station as I am prepared for my journey. Two new crew members with me on this flight. Attrition rates have been severe in recent years with the increased technological advances that SHADO are making. But our ever-resourceful scientists are, even now, working on new developments. With their efforts, we may bring this long war to an end and finally achieve our goal of acquiring a new world for colonisation.
Preparation for a flight is lengthy. We are given final medical checks to ensure that we are in peak condition to endure the journey , then once approval is given we are suited up.
The final moment, when my helmet is fitted, is always a little tense and sometimes stressful, particularly for new recruits who have been known to panic on occasions. However, our technicians are experienced and well able to reassure nervous astronauts. My routine is always the same. I give my wife a last kiss, the last for several months, always a sad thought, and then I like to put my helmet on myself, without assistance. It’s a little habit of mine. My ‘good-luck’ ritual in a way. Helmet fitted, seals tightened and then the (this word untranslatable) gradually fills the helmet. I am used to it and it only takes a few moments to get accustomed to the sensation of fluid filling ones lungs instead of air. The taste is somewhat unexpected, but pleasant enough. It is surprisingly easy to adapt to breathing liquids although initially it is strange to discover that one does not have to actually ‘breathe’. (I find myself automatically ‘breathing’ – my ribcage moving in and out, although it is not required)
Once inside the capsule, (I believe our enemies call them ‘yoofoes’ ) it is a tight squeeze. There is so much equipment and weaponry that space is at a premium, but that is not a serious problem. We spend most of the flight in what can be termed ‘suspended animation’ but is in reality a very deep sleep. I get comfortable, get myself ready for the long rest ahead and then, once sealed inside the craft we prepare for flight. There is no need for restraints, being weightless has its advantages and once we are underway the centripetal effect of the gyratory motors ensures that we have sufficient gravity to remain healthy. Without some gravity we would gradually lose muscle tone and therefore would not be able to operate effectively to complete our mission.
This mission is a relatively straightforward one. We are to infiltrate the Earth defences and take samples of plant life and, if possible, animal life. Not necessarily living animals, tissue samples will do. There are so many creatures on the planet and it is vital that we try to catalogue as many as possible prior to colonisation so that our species will be prepared. The tiny things that fly are the hardest to obtain.
Anyway, I am now in my adjustable seat, ready for ignition of the FTL engines that will speed us to that far-flung corner of the galaxy where we hope to make our new home in a few hundred years.
The sheer wonder of flying out past our dying sun and the sterile dead planets that travel around it in slowly decaying orbits. It is always sad to see the once vibrant worlds now dead and blackened, no life, no atmosphere, nothing. But we have our new world to look forward to, and even though I will not be live long enough to be one of the first colonists on that world, I am proud to do my small part right now. My great great grandchildren will hopefully stand on that blue and white world and say to them selves. ‘One of my ancestors fought to win this world.’
And now that we are underway it is time to sleep. That is a simple task. The fluid is programmed to send us into dreamless sleep as soon as we are travelling at the correct speed and on course. So I will stop this personal log, and settle back, to dream of blue skies and green plants and clean water. It will be 85 ( this word untranslatable) before we awaken, as we approach that small yellow sun in the distant arm of the galaxy.
Then the work begins.
Once the computer recognises that we are on approach vector, we are revived and given time to readjust ourselves. At this point we are usually safe from attack by SHADO predators, although once we come within range of the satellite that orbits the world we have to be careful of the small craft that come from that dead lump of lifeless rock.
But now…Sleep. I will continue this transmission when I am revived.
Awake once more. As we cross the system’s outer limits I always enjoy seeing the different constellations and the outer planets in this system. As usual my muscles are a little stiff with disuse, but some vigorous exercise will soon solve that problem. Our sleeper couches are designed to keep our slumbering bodies in peak condition and the fluid provides nutrition as well as oxygen. All our systems are functioning well.
We are now busy with all those fiddly little tasks that need to be accomplished before we can enter the orbital path of our target. One of the most important things, although not important to our mission, is to read the messages from home that have been arriving while we have been sleeping. News from home.
It is always difficult to accept that so much time has passed while we have slept and that life has continued on our world. There is always the fear, unspoken of course, that some tragedy might have befallen someone we love, that an elderly parent might have succumbed to old age, or an offspring to one of the many diseases that are rife now. The rapidly decreasing longevity of our race is becoming a serious concern for us all as is the increase in pandemics that defy all our attempts to find a cure or vaccination.
We read in silence, hoping that each crew member has good news. And I have read my messages. Short terse words, all that are allowed, but all is well. To show readers what I mean, this is one of my personal messages, received 5 (this word not translatable) ago from my spouse. ‘Family fine. No illness. Miss you. Come back safely.’ All that needs to be said. And now I can reply. A terse message back. ‘Mission going well. Target in sight. Next message on return journey. Love.’ Written words sound so stilted though. However, very soon, (this word not translatable) willing, we will be on our way home with a cargo of precious samples.
And a hero’s welcome at the end.
Messages read, we now settle to the mundane tasks of renewing the fluid in our helmets and ensuring that we are on course. Our astrophysics specialists have calculated the optimum course for the approach to the planet, and so we have little to do apart from wait. Should we be intercepted by our enemy, the onboard computers are programmed with complex algorithms that will compute a new course.
This is possibly the most dangerous and yet also the most boring time, sitting here waiting, unable to do much more than talk among ourselves about our tasks once we have landed. On this mission I have been directed to obtain samples of human tissue, preferably organ tissue. Ideally a live human, but that is not always possible, although we are equipped to transport any humanoid back to our world in one of our special containers. I will certainly do my utmost to acquire one. And now I must end this log. We are on approach vector and the course corrections necessary to ensure our arrival at the designated landing site require my attention. I will continue with my account once we have breached the defences and have made a safe touch-down on the world that will one day be ours.
From Mission Control: No further transmisssions received. This mission now considered to have failed.