Chapter 11: Myths and Lessons

The story concludes in the… hmm, conclusion. #GreatestWordsmithOfTheCentury

While the version on the blog will always remain free, please be advised that there is an updated version available on Kindle:

Chapter 11: Myths And Lessons

After our long, but hopefully not long-winded, look at the real, uncensored history of Prometheus, we have now reached the point of where we should ask ourselves for the final time this one important question which I asked at the beginning of this feed: Did Prometheus have a significant impact on history and why was its story quickly mythologized?

Before answering the first part of the question, based on the information presented in the previous chapters, I want to present a final piece of evidence in the form of the main news feeds of the most popular network uplink in the Solar system on the day of Prometheus’ launch and its retirement:

2172 2184
Prometheus Launch Prometheus Decommissioning
First Contact Centennial Celebrations MoJo Vid Star Power Couple No More
Elections in Armstrong City: Mayoral Race Close Second Spring Graffiti on Vaude Embassy
Ceres Strikes Continue Recession on Io Hits Lockheed-Douglas Hard
Ripper 2.0 Killer Apprehended on Mars Eridanus II Legalizes Indigenous Animal Hunt
Android Rights Marches Reach Jovian Moons Ganymede Ban On Android Adoption Struck Down

As we can see, while the ship and its mission made headlines on both occasions, Prometheus was not the only thing on people’s mind even back then. Both launch and decommissioning were big headlines in all major and minor feeds yet they were not the only news. Earther feeds also talked about the centennial celebrations of First Contact, Lunar feeds the mayoral elections in the capital, Ceres the union strikes after the terrible docking fire the previous week, Mars finally caught its serial killer after five terrifying years of slaughter, androids were fighting for their rights when the Jovian authorities didn’t want to recognize them as people. Prometheus was important, but not of a singular nature. So you might wonder if anything changed after the ship and crew returned from a 12-year-long mission of historical proportions as heroes of the Terran Alliance, having helped shaped a golden era in our history. Again, the ship made headlines, but now, with an ever expanding Terran Alliance, there were still other concerns. Celebrity breakups, racist attacks, economic news, civil rights unrests. And there is our pattern: society, entertainment, economics. Terran nature in a nutshell.  Continue reading “Chapter 11: Myths and Lessons”

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Chapter 10: Once More With Clarity

The ship relaunched… but it’s not the same anymore. After the highlight, what is there but to go through the motions again?

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Chapter 10: Once More With Clarity (Year 7-12)

The next five years of Prometheus’ service differed greatly from both the first two years of service, as well as the Actium mission. Without the public attention the first two years received, nor the adulations and fame that came with the conclusion of the Actium mission, Prometheus and her crew were able to focus on their mission, or rather missions. Outfitted with the new Mark VI engine capable of 3.5 ly/day, Prometheus retraced its steps from the last five years to reconnect with previously visited species and build relations. As with its previous mission, most of the time was spent in hyperspace. And while Prometheus was now focused more on making contact and building on previously established relations, as well as help allied species, its overall number of missions reduced by half, with longer missions taking their place.

Years of 2177 through 2181 saw numerous upheavals in local galactic policies, with the Terran Alliance in the still unique position of being able to pick and choose the conflicts it got involved in.

What changed when you got out there again?

(Commander Arroway) We had first gotten into space at a very interesting time. A lot of species were developing space travel, either with help or on their own, the Vaude were steadily losing their hegemonic power over the local group of systems to in-fighting and their conflict with their Vanvaude cousins, the Leonids were growing their empire, and with The Great Machine and the Drobeer finally declaring peace, their sector of space was finally safe to traverse again, meaning that species from the other side of their wormhole junctions were coming into our sector of space. The Alliance was in a strange spot, we were on good speaking terms with most of the species, more advanced than anyone but the Vaude and the Vanvaude, and a unified, and more importantly stable, government back home. Prometheus helped by setting up embassies and trading outposts. We were in the place where we used the tools originally created for the First Wave of Colonization for diplomatic purposes instead, and it worked out great for while there. Continue reading “Chapter 10: Once More With Clarity”

Chapter 9 – Homefront (Year 6)

They saved the world! … Now what?

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Chapter 9: Homefront (Year 6)

After their more than two year mission to stop the Proteus threat, Prometheus and its crew returned home to a hero’s welcome. The years of 2174 through late 2176, one would think, were years of an the entire Terran Alliance holding its breath, but the crew of Prometheus quickly learned how much had changed in those three years and the two before that they had gone.

There is the popular notion that in every century there seems to be a decade that rapidly expands our notion of ourselves and the way we perceive the world, a decade of astonishing change. Of course our understanding always changes, so it’s actually an illusion, but there is still something to say about a good ten years every generation that The years of 2172 through 2176 were most definitely such a period of profound change. While the conflict that was raging hundreds of lightyears away had no impact on the day to day life of the Sol system or even the inner colonies after the initial attacks on the Actium, Gannick, and Epsilon Eridani systems, Terrankind had not stood idly by while Prometheus had shipped out to fight an interstellar war, and had gotten to work instead.

Prometheus would make an interesting study for the fact alone that the entire crew was away for the duration of what are now considered the Years of Affinity, as sociologist Mark Krennic had dubbed them, the years in which the rapidly expanding Terran Alliance had come together. In 2167, after the Treaty of Mars gave precedent for colonial independence, the foundation of the New Hanse, and the Rights of Man and Machine, all of which greatly expanded our notion of “Earthlings”, EarthGov renamed itself the Terran Alliance as the governing body of all the peoples which had once come from Earth. Human, android, all Terran, all united under one governing body, one voice. It wasn’t until the Deep Space Program that Terrankind had a common course to unite under, as previously mentioned in chapters 7 and 8.

Or as Android-Terran comedian Lee Arroway McTavish put it in 2176:

Who’d have fucking thought that all it took for all us meatbags and clankers to come together was a good fucking war? I think this is the only time progressives were ever fucking excited for a good war! More identity politics? Have you tried some fucking plasma torpedoes with that?!

Continue reading “Chapter 9 – Homefront (Year 6)”

Chapter 8 – The Actium Crisis (Year 3-5)

The Prometheus on a mission a to save humanity, captained by a lunatic who believes time travelers are respnsible for it. Oh boy.

While the version on the blog will always remain free, please be advised that there is an updated version available on Kindle:

Chapter 8: The Actium Crisis (Year 3-5)

In both the mind of the general public and academia alike, the history of Terrans in space can be put into two categories: 2072 to 2174 and after, or as it is often called “pre- and post-Actium”.

Actium Station was the furthest outpost humanity had established by late 2174. 53 lightyears away from the Sol system, Actium Station had been established by Prometheus fourteen months prior, alongside Gannick Station four lightyears away. They were designed as relay stations to observe and monitor local space. Colonization efforts had already been confined to a small sector around Earth at the time. And while colonization had already happened at an alarming rate for isolationists and security analysts alike, Gannick and Actium Stations were established to mark the outer reaches of Terran influence. Rich in minerals and natural resources, as well as inhabitable planets, the systems were already ear-marked for the second wave of colonization and the Stations built to facilitate peaceful trade and diplomatic exchange with local species. Also designed as Naval outposts, both stations had a number of gunboat squadrons and two Spacefleet cruisers on station. Smaller and slower than Prometheus, the still packed an equal punch and served as force multipliers for the already heavily armed stations. Then, late in November 2174, the attacks came. Actium Station was the first to feel the brunt force of the attack. A force of several battlecruisers destroyed the outpost, then moved on to Gannick. The inner colonies and Earth did not hear about the attacks until December when the force came to attack the colony in the Epsilon Eridani system. Smaller than Proxima Centauri, it was still the most heavily populated system with close to ten thousand settlers, most of them freshly arrived from colony ships within the previous three months. Once again a colony was destroyed. The final tally: three Terran outposts destroyed in as many weeks, eleven thousand dead, five stations destroyed, three Naval flotillas nuked with one ship of the opposing force destroyed. Then the attackers vanished back into the opposite direction.

Prometheus was recalled from the first Terran visit to the Vaude home system to help with the relief effort. It was then that Terran hubris was first tested. As Captain Connors wrote into her ship’s log after the dispatch boat had reached Prometheus only hours before:

We might as well have called this the Icarus Project, because we just got burned. Too fast. Too cocky. Foolish.

Without falling back to see the history of Terran exploration reduced to a Prometheus narrative, this was the moment that historians and contemporary cultural observers alike, began changing their minds on the reckless starship captain, who was often called “luck for brains Connors” by the isolationist-friendly Earth News Now and expansionist-friendly Voice of the Colonies webvid channels alike.

As my colleague Commander Hobbs noted in her 2184 habilitation: We often forget this in a world too interested in a post-Actium world, but Connors was not the most beloved person pre-Actium. Sure, she had commanded a successful mission in the last two-and-a-half years, but there were already talks of recalling Prometheus for a refit and replacing Connors, maybe with her first officer Arroway. So clearly there were some voices, both in the public and the government, who were not too happy with her performance. It’s really just masked by the meteoric expansion wave of the years and, frankly, blind luck that Connors got another shot at legendary status. Morbid as it sounds, Actium was her lucky break.

Continue reading “Chapter 8 – The Actium Crisis (Year 3-5)”

Chapter 7: The 10 Year Mission – Year 2 (Part 2)

Chapter 2 continues and everyone asks themselves what can go wrong next.

While the version on the blog will always remain free, please be advised that there is an updated version available on Kindle:

(…)

Considering that Prometheus was launched prematurely by several months, how was the ship performing at this point in the mission?

(Chief Stevenson) Well, thankfully, pretty darn well. The boyos over at spacedock put together a pretty fine ship for us regardless of launch date. Ya see, space is really big and when there really isn’t a budget, you can go nuts with the size of your ship, and that’s what we did. Prometheus isn’t your average Spacefleet starship after all. No, this lady we flew was a full blown explorer. When you don’t need to hold a lot of crew or rockets, you get to fill it with really cool stuff like 3D printers and foundries. So the ship was only a teeny bit bigger than a heavy cruiser, it picked way more cool toys and we could live out there on way longer.

Yet in the very beginning of your mission you continued to run into problems that seem to stem from bad design or a small armament. Wouldn’t you want to switch those out in hindsight?

Nah, Captain insisted on an armed explorer going out there, not a battleship with some labs on it. She had a mighty fun shouting match with the design office over it back when she was appointed. We still got to put up a good fight in those early years. We just put in a lot more effort than the kids these days. Our engineering bay was way more important for the missions and also allowed me to play with so many cool toys and build stuff for missions.

What can you tell me about the Minefield Incident?

The minefield was fun. Oh yeah, we almost got killed when we stumbled on that, but we got out with one hell of a story to tell. Then again, I’m still wondering how we flew into a tiny minefield in open space…

Because it was cloaked?

Well, stealth cloaked, not really invisible cloaked. Was kind of an interesting mission. Those mines attached themselves magnetically to our hull, so the Captain and LT Yuedan went out to out it off.

Was it standard protocol for the Captain and a Senior Officer to do bomb disposal?

Well, back in the day Spacefleet had this old tradition from back in the olden days about important stuff going to important people. Took them a while to remember that it wasn’t the Apollo or Ares Mission days anymore and that the crew had more than a couple of people in it, but I once forgot that we had Marines on board when I almost killed myself getting some intruders electrocuted, so who am I to judge? …But yeah, that was a fun mission with the mines. Sure, we had to cut the LT’s arm off, when the mine rolled about a bit, but we got it off the hull and then the people showed up that lay the minefield and let us out, and Doc Pill grew the LT a new arm until the next adventure happened and it looked all brand new like nothing happened, so it was all good.

I was more thinking about the fact that it was the first time contact was established with the Vadvaude years before TAS Osiris met them.

Well, isn’t really a first contact. Didn’t really meet them until later.

But you met the people for the first time that would dominate your ship’s mission for the next three years. It was their minefield, you saw their stealth ships, and you even spoke to them over the comms, how is it now a first contact?

They didn’t even introduce themselves with name and face, so how is it a first contact if we can’t say “Hi, we’re the Vadvaude, eat lasers, human scum” and we’re like “Hi, Vadvaude, we’re the humans, AAAAARRGH!”? See, that doesn’t count.

(…)

So what about the time that the Captain’s hamster got ill and she spent the entire night in sickbay with you trying to get it better?

(CMO Troughton) Oh, that never happened, we just took some acid. Didn’t much care for it… Next question.

(…)

How would you sum up your second year in space?

(Commander Cobenzi) Adequate. The crew performed satisfactory. I was starting to be less scared whenever we encountered something, knowing that the crew would not do something stupid or overreact. In many ways it was quite tranquil.

(Lt. Yuedan) Better than the first. We were allowed to go on a lot more missions and a lot more varied missions. My people appreciated that. It wasn’t just the usual go-to away teams anymore and that gave some of my Marines a chance to earn some necessary experience. Other than that I always liked when we were actually needed on a mission, even though the year had more lulls than the previous.

(Chief Stevenson) Real fun, like that one time when I got pregnant by a board game… no wait, that was just Doc Pill’s birthday drugs, never mind…

(Lt. Commander Prisha) We were establishing a routine. Which was nice. There was a lot of boredom though, I cannot really deny that.

(CMO Troughton) Only time I committed genocide. Thankfully nobody brings it up anymore other than uppity historians… But yeah, it was kinda boring.

(Commander Arroway) There is no denying that the people back home were starting to lose interest, which is probably what you are trying to reference. We had established a routine, true, but that is nothing to sneer at. A routine is good, it allows one to get anticipate a lot of things going into it, because we’ve seen things before. A valuable tool in anyone’s arsenal, but it does not read or report as well as something brand new. The true irony is that everything was still new, just that it didn’t look like it anymore. In many ways our second year is one of our most adventurous considering the new things we saw, though there were some slumps in between. And, frankly, it wasn’t on us to entertain the masses back home, we were doing our job, not entertain the Sol system.

Continue reading “Chapter 7: The 10 Year Mission – Year 2 (Part 2)”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

NON SPOILER REVIEW

Ah, Rogue One. I’m all prepared. Read Rogue One Catalyst, the prequel book, rewatched A New Hope, stayed away from spoilers. Here we go:

Well, that was… something. I just saw the 6th best Star Wars film.

Rogue One, like its protagonist, is a movie seriously in need of a purpose. It’s a film that wants to be the first anthology film and tell a new story in the Star Wars universe, yet beats you over the head with cameos and characters from A New Hope we didn’t need to see, while completely ignoring its new characters and failing to give them any sort of meaningful depth. It’s almost amazing.

People complained at the “war movie stuff” was the problem, but I thought the war movie stuff wasn’t a problem at all, the real issue is that the movie wasted my time until about 80 minutes in when the actual plot started. It does some stuff to fill plot holes for A New Hope, but then it meanders around in so much unnecessary fluff. The only bits that got a rise out of me where the cameos, callbacks, and the last five minutes of the film, again: ironic for an anthology. But the part where I was bored until the third act is my main problem. It did establish mood in a way, but didn’t earn it. I was hoping for moments of oppression, a reason for these people to make sacrifices for freedom, but it was the same old, same old. Maybe it also didn’t help that I read the book, because they wasted both Krennic and Galen Erso, it’s almost incredible. They spend so much time on the set-up that the pay off comes too abrupt.

Maybe my assessment of it being the 6th best was a bit harsh. With all the problems I had with Force Awakens, and Revenge of the Sith, I was always engaged and the plot was moving forward. I don’t except much from a SW movie outside of being entertained. This wasn’t interesting to me.
And before someone said that it’s because I know too much: I saw it with Mr Casual fan number 1 aka my dad: he turned to me when the credits rolled and said, translated from German: “What was that supposed to be? I already knew all of this.”
There is pathos in the movie, but its all the third act. The trailer was good because it cut out the first 80 minutes or so.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s main problem is that it isn’t a Star Wars story, it’s THE Star Wars story, it’s A New Hope’s prequel, with all that would make this exciting excised to the end. As the servant of two masters it eventually succumbed under its own weight.

 

Chapter 7: The 10 Year Mission – Year 2 (Part 1)

Not being able to choose between a wider universe and annihilation is no choice at all.

While the version on the blog will always remain free, please be advised that there is an updated version available on Kindle:

 

Chapter 7: The 10 Year Mission That Was Not One – Year Two (Part 1)

Prometheus’ second year of service saw the ship slowly leaving the thirty-lightyear radius around Earth and venture into the unknown. Emboldened by their successes in the previous year and the successful first contact with the Leonids at the very beginning of the second year, Spacefleet Command ordered a new course to be plotted: a straight line for 23 Librae, almost 84 lightyears away from Earth and beyond space normally patrolled by the Vaude themselves. It was here that the crew encountered their first trials, hardly imaginable just a few short months prior.

How would you describe the second year overall?

(Yuedan) An improvement over the first year of our mission, at least for me and my position.

More firefights then?

Also more fist- and knife fights. The Marines were very pleased to see some combat. Especially when we picked up on the Leonids again from the first year.

Is that when you visited their home world?

At the very beginning of the year, yes. It was one of those threats left over that hadn’t come up in a while but around March, about around our thirteenth month in space, is when the Captain decided to go to Leonid Prime. We had disabled a Leonid frigate about ten lightyears away from their homeworld. It turned out to be another test but this time we decided to dig in our heels and fight.

It was not a standard First Contact situation, right?

There is no standard First Contact. All first contacts are different because all aliens are different. Sometimes the best greeting is a punch in the nose.

In her mission logs, Captain Connors awarded you a citation for being instrumental in the Leonid first contact without ever mentioning you in any way beforehand in the ship’s log. Care to elaborate?

It’s because I’m the best at what I do and what I do isn’t very politically correct for our pseudo-Utopia back home.  

So you clearly weren’t commended for your diplomatic skills.

Of course not. That’s why I’m the tactical officer. Back when we started we had some great successes when I was finally allowed to punch or shoot the problem of the week instead of letting the others solve the problem scientifically or diplomatically. Aliens are just like humans in one way and one way only: they are the top dogs of their ecosystems. You don’t get to be a spacefaring civilization without being the most ruthless son of a bitch on your homeworld Either you wipe out a rival civilization or you subjugate other tribes of your own species. My ancestors fought for dominance over Europe as much as yours did over the Pacific. The nations that came out of the 21st century were the most powerful the planet had ever seen, as humans we have made our way to the top of the food chain. Had humanity not found out about the existence of aliens when we did, we would be fighting over dominance of the planet to this day. So when we disabled that Leonid ship I took great care to only shoot away out their engines, then grabbed a boarding team. I didn’t want to kill anyone, but the Leonids needed to be shown who was the most powerful.

Continue reading “Chapter 7: The 10 Year Mission – Year 2 (Part 1)”