This is the first draft of my novel Historian’s Crusade. Finished one year ago, the novel was originally serialized on this website and will remain free from here on out. There, is however, an updated and enhanced version available on Amazon, which you can find here:
Changes to the story include different dates, new characterization, continuity clean-up, as well as annotations and a brand new bibliography of all fake future history books. The story on Amazon is also updated to work better with the sequel and is the official version of the “Müllerverse” if you will, should I decide to write more.
Thank you very much.
Alexander Reineke, October 2017
The Historian’s Crusade
By Alexander Reineke
Prometheus: Journey to the Stars and Other Lies
By Professor J.P. Muller, Earth Naval Academy
First published 2252, all rights reserved
Captain’s log, February 5th 2182… this will be my final entry as captain of TAS Prometheus. We have exited hyperspace five minutes ago near Pluto orbit and are on a save trajectory home to Earth on sub light engines. I told Chief Helmsman Harris to take us by all the major habitats on the way there, anything to keep the inevitable a bit further in the future, but still, by tonight we will be docking at Earth Dock Alpha to decommission. I have commanded this ship for close to twelve years now and in this time I have seen so many things that are still hard to describe in as many words, things I still can’t believe I haven’t just dreamed. Twelve years. Part of me feels like its been the blink of an eye, yet another thinks it has been a lifetime. We’ve had some highs… many lows, too, but I prefer to look at the positives. Next week there will be a dedication ceremony when the ship is turned into a museum, all the important alien ambassadors will be there, most of which we’ve helped make first contact with. Makes me proud to have been there. I still need to write some commendations for the crew. A lot of them will go on to make fast careers now that they’re building a whole new class of exploration ships to follow in our footsteps. Good. That’s how it should be, there should always be someone out there looking for the strange unknown. Our journey was cut short in a way, it’s only fair that a few of the crew will get to go on. Still… I won’t complain, exploration is all fun and good and I would have preferred to do nothing much else out there but as we’ve seen over the last decade we have enemies out there too. Shouldn’t stop us from going out there but I’d be a fool to ignore it or pretty up the picture.
I have been called many things over the years whenever we made our way back home. Don’t know if hero should be one of them, but that’s what they have decided to call me. God knows I don’t need my ego stroked anymore… Thought I was going somewhere with this. I dunno. Part of me is just happy that it’s all over, that’s all… oh yeah, was nothing… just glad that I don’t have to play the hero anymore after the last few events. Whatever…
I wanted to start this book out with what might seem like the ending to a book of fiction. Why? Because this is history and history books do not have spoiler tags. In this day and age – which, let’s be honest, has lasted for two centuries and more at this point – of vids and fiction taking over duties from historians to convey history to the general population, the reader of this book should be under no false understanding of what he is getting. This is not a thriller or a historical novel. The ESS Prometheus was launched 82 years ago and decommissioned 70 years ago, it rests in orbit around Luna as a museum ship. Part of this book was, with great thanks to the curator and former colleague of mine Commander Dr. Gwen Hobbs, ESS, partially written on board. Her captain, Kate Connors, died one year ago, most of the crew is still alive and can thus provide first person accounts of what happened. I am under no delusion that people come to my work to hear an enthralling story about glorious explorers boldly going where no human has ever been, even though that my previous employer, the Earth Space Service, would probably like to portray it this way because it bolsters recruiting numbers.
Still, compromises have to be made even in self-published history books so for this purpose I have adopted this casual writing style as not to scare away the audience which relies on me and my colleagues to inform and teach them about their history.
In one way or another, the death of Captain Connors two months after the archives relevant to this book were opened seems ironic considering my previous lecture on this not being a book of fiction, but as Mark Twain once noted, reality is stranger than fiction because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. As such this book might ironically be more interesting than fiction, since it contains both the comically absurd and the absurdly serious.
Many books have been written over the years of the journey of humanity to the stars, but until now the archives have been closed to historians for reasons of national security. It is, however, the luck of the modern historian that the Protection of State Secrets Act of 2094 allows us a quicker glimpse at all sides of the medallion much closer than our predecessors were able to. As such this book also indulges as an old military historian like myself who has grown up with the romanticized accounts of the content of this book. We all have heard the stories of the starship Prometheus, its valiant captain and heroic crew, who single-handedly saved humanity more than once from annihilation and went were no human had gone before. Humanity’s first deep space mission.
It is not arrogance on the part of my profession to now call our childhood stories less than accurate. Even as a Naval historian at the service’s own university, it is our duty to the truth and accuracy, and respect for our own tradition that tasks us with being our own harshest critics.
As already mentioned, it is the nature with top secret documents, it takes decades for them to be declassified for reasons of national security and the PSSA, something that even a socialist utopia like ours has yet to abolish. The cogs may turn slowly but eventually they do turn and as it stands new information about this period in history have made it possible for the Naval Academy itself to commission this book of mine to properly explain the bizarre history of the Navy and how the Prometheus program came to pass. The actual case files and declassified documents will be interspersed with my own ramblings and explanations on the matter as to allow the sources to speak for themselves for one thing, and for neither to intrude upon the other.
My colleagues may forgive a traditionally trained historian for selling out with this book for the general audience.
(to be continued next chapter)