{{{THE BEGINNING}}} Log Entry #94

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~111D:83

Ship: UAS Friendship

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This is captain Aswo IL'rahn, of the Explorer-class Utarian Alliance Ship 'Friendship'. Today, exactly 15 Chronites ago, we entered Jump-Point #483169UT in the Sworo system, to emerge in an unexplored star system, marked "Twafl 56B" in our star charts. The sun appears to be a stable yellow dwarf, which seems compatible with the requirements for life to form on the second or third planets. Overall, our sensors detect 7 planets and two asteroid belts in this system. We exited the jump point in close proximity to the 4th planet, and are now on our way to explore the 3rd. Perhaps we will at last discover another sentient race, just like ours, somewhere in this remote place…

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Log Entry #95

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~211N:03

Ship: UAS Friendship

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We did it! Signs of sentient life! The 3rd planet was deserted and way too cold for any carbon-based life-forms to survive, but the 2nd planet is a success! Our scientists are thrilled at the opportunity to study alien sentience. This is not only a great day for science, the existence of sentience other than Utarian suggests many philosophical challenges. But that is not for me to discuss. I will now report our findings and suspicions. Our sensor sweep across the planet indicates traces of many elements and metals that cannot exist naturally in such profound quantities and in such pure and concentrated form as our readings suggest. As of yet, we were unable to detect any spacecraft in this system, or even a satellite network in orbit of the planet itself. We are still too far away to study the surface more accurately, so as of yet our readings are labeled as 'inconclusive'. I have devised a methodical study program – we will land the ship on one of the small moons orbiting this planet, and send probes to further investigate the possibility of sentient interference on the planet's surface. I sincerely hope that our sensors are not deceiving us, and that we are now entering a new golden age in cultural and philosophical studies. We have so much to share with fellow sentients around the galaxy… and this is yet the first opportunity for us to fulfill this dream.

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Log Entry #96

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~211N:72

Ship: UAS Friendship

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Our first unmanned scanner probe has just returned from a close survey of the planet, and it confirms our initial readings. There are entire cities down there, scattered on the planet's surface. For some reason the population is pretty scarce for such an advanced civilization (we estimate that the aliens are at their early industrial era stage). Our scientists have developed three theories to explain this phenomenon. A summary of the scientific report on the three viable theories is provided below.

SUMMARY OF REPORT ON POSSIBLE EXPLANATION OF ALIEN RACE'S UNDERPOPULATION:

(Author's outside-story note: this is quite long and boring, so unless you're a science freak you'd better skip this report and move on to the next log entry)

… The first explanation is that there is something that prevents them from breeding intensively and uncontrollably, like we have done when our race was as young as theirs. This "something" could be some natural limitations to their capability of reproduction, though such an explanation is quite unlikely, because they would've been unable to survive as creatures better fit for rapid reproduction and better equipped for survival would wipe them out from the surface of their planet. A better interpretation of the first theory is that it is some form of religion that is preventing them from breeding extensively. As of yet we cannot provide any evidence for this theory, but there are also no visible flaws in it, so it is currently accepted by most of the scientific staff. The second theory is that the population is there, but we simply cannot see them. Although it sounds quite ridiculous at first, it seems a viable explanation upon further examination. We cannot detect life-forms directly on the planet's surface – only to observe their effect on its ecology. We know that the cities of this alien race seem quite underpopulated – but what if they are also capable of dwelling underground? Is this an impossible assumption? If they are partially living underground (or in caves, or in very small forest communities) it will explain the apparent scarce population quite fine. And the third – and least popular – theory is that of a rapid depopulation of the planet, caused by some unimaginable catastrophe. The few supporters of this explanation were as of yet unable to propose any realistic prognosis of such a catastrophe. It couldn't have been a meteor impact (like the one that wiped out the ancient city of Zwappa on our homeworld, when our ancestors were still gathering river-berries for their living), because any impact that is capable of affecting the population of an entire planet was bound to leave a crater in the planet's surface. Even if it landed in the water (although the planet is not abundant with seas and oceans at all) there should've been enough evidence in the form of salty rains and atmospheric dust, not to mention floods and global climate shifts, that would've been easily detectable even without the need to send remote study probes. Since we are not capable of detecting any such phenomena, the theory fails to explain the problem. Another proposed explanation was that of some kind of disease or starvation that resulted in the death of millions. As we were not able to detect any sign of diseases that resulted in global scale changes in our race's previous experiences with life-bearing planets (though devoid of sentience), there is no reason to assume that such diseases are at all possible (after all, if they were possible, then we should've experienced or observed them at one point or another of our millennia-long written history). As of global starvation, a race of such profound technological level (relatively speaking, of course) should be able to produce its required food artificially (by effective farming, effective fishing, greenhouses etc.), and nobody as of yet provided any explanation why a race which is capable of mechanized industry shouldn't be able to achieve this level of self-preservation. And the final – and most ludicrous – explanation is that of global conflict of unimaginable magnitude. Although the psychology of these aliens is probably very different from our own, it is hardly likely that a race that achieved such a high level of sentience as to start the progress of technological developments will behave like our own uneducated youths, much so more on the macro level. It is a known axiom that a race that achieved full sentience (as required to progress technologically) will be devoid of motivation for conflict, and any form of intellectual progress will hamper the instinctive lust for fighting which is probably common to some races. So these are the theories. They are mostly compatible with……

END OF SUMMARY

This is Aswo again. We have launched a Chronite ago several more study probes. We expect to receive some answers to our most urgent questions for now, and the crew is eager to move on to manned landings and establish contact with this alien race.

Aswo out…

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Log Entry #97

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~311D:54

Ship: UAS Friendship

---RECORDING---

Another night has passed, and further reports continue to arrive from our probes. We have now observed several completely abandoned cities, a discovery that has caused a great outrage in the ranks of the scientific staff aboard the ship. Apparently, this discovery is compatible only with the third, and less popular theory. There are too many problems with that theory to accept it as of yet, and our scientists are trying to devise a new one, which will work correctly in light of the new facts. We have been transmitting our findings to Utar all the while, and finally the Great Council acknowledged our findings and urged us to proceed with our investigation. Two additional exploration ships are already en route to the Twafl system to assist us in our mission. They will take many more days to arrive. In the meanwhile, there are already plans of manned landings on the surface of the planet, and attempts to establish contact. We have intercepted radio transmittions from the planet, and our linguists are working on translating it to Utherno, so we could communicate with the aliens with more ease. Some of the transmittions included images of the aliens, and from what we see they appear to be a feline race, almost twice as tall as an average Utara. They appear to be pretty civilized – we observed some kind of a ceremony – so we do not expect any problems with contacting them.

That's all for now, Aswo out…

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Log Entry #98

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~711D:12

Ship: UAS Friendship

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I have not recorded anything in the log for quite awhile – there were complications with the supporters of the Third Theory. It has almost caused a mutiny aboard the ship, but I have managed to solve the situation by agreeing to their demands – any manned mission to the planet's surface will carry at least a single weapon for self-defense. Obviously, we do not possess a great stock of weapons aboard the ship, since not many of the crewmembers are fond of hunting wild animals (for what the weapons are mostly used), so most of our away teams will probably remain unarmed anyway. The first manned landing in one of their largest cities will commence very soon – we have already sent a radio transmittion to them in their language to await our arrival.

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Log Entry #99

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~811N:09

Ship: UAS Friendship

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Contact! What an excitement! We have established friendly relations with the natives! They call themselves the Kilrathi, and their culture is just incredible! They are honor-bound species, and… well, reports on Kilrathi culture can be provided from the scientific staff, not me. The UAS Trader and UAS Utopia have arrived in this system a short while ago, and are assisting in any was they can. Although we are communicating with the Kilrathi freely, they have forbidden us to penetrate and study their culture further. They say it is some kind of religious taboo or something like that. Anyway, we think that we could trade some of our technology to the Kilrathi, and in return they will let us study them freely. I have to go, duty calls.

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Log Entry #100

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~74~221D:80

Ship: UAS Friendship

---RECORDING---

The Kilrathi are such a capable race! Within several dozen Chronites after we gave them the designs of our ships and instructions for producing the materials required for them, they have already started several projects of building their first ships. The Great Council has approved sending additional ships to help us studying the great Kilrathi race. This is indeed a new age for both of our species!

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Log Entry #109

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 3467~84~581D:00

Ship: UAS Friendship

---RECORDING---

So many days have passed since I have set my foot for the first time on the surface of Kilrah. The sight of their orbital facilities and satellite networks makes me fill with pride. And yet, the Kilrathi are still very reluctant to let us study their history, and they are completely forbid us to approach the abandoned cities, claiming these places are cursed by their gods. The Third Theory Cult is still claiming that the Kilrathi are a dangerous race and that we should abandon all attempts to trade and communicate with them, and they are providing "proofs" for their little theory every day. Sure, the Kilrathi sometimes can be short tempered, but no Utara was yet ever injured by a Kilrathi, though the disappearances of some of our expeditions to the Kilrathi forests are often blamed on the Kilrathi by the irrational Third Theory Cultists, even though the Kilrathi assured us that these forests are completely uninhabited by any of their race. The Cultists also claim that the Kilrathi forbid any of our kind to approach or study the abandoned cities because they are supposedly holding evidence for Kilrathi wars. What nonsense. I surely hope that the situation with the Cultists will stabilize a bit over the next months, as the Kilrathi will slowly reveal their history to us.

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Log Entry #114

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 4467~20~419N:85

Ship: UAS Friendship

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I have been ordered to move out of the Kilrah system back to Utar, to refit our vessel so we could return back, with fresh equipment after being away from home for a year-and-a-half. Our busy work with the Kilrathi – the reason for which I could record in the Log so rarely over the past months – is showing some fruits, and I am reluctant to abandon our work before we finished. Still, there are many more Alliance ships now in the system, so the Kilrathi will hardly be lonely while the Friendship returns to Utar. The returning has some merits too: I will finally reunite with my beloved family, even if it's only for a short while. I have missed our homeworld for too long… Before I go though, I have to say that the Kilrathi are quick-learners. They already have many large spaceships and they are currently in the process of installing jump-drives and some other hardware on their ships. Well… we will be leaving very shortly now... I'll go to prepare and issue the proper orders.

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Log Entry #115

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 4467~20~719D:35

Ship: UAS Friendship

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Ah… Home! Utar is so much more beautiful than the red Kilrah! And I am filled with warmth and happiness with the thought I am mere Chronites away from seeing my young children and mate!

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Log Entry #116

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 4467~30~621D:02

Ship: UAS Friendship

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I am back on the ship's bridge. But as my refreshed crew and I prepared to set off toward the set of jump-points that will eventually lead us to Kilrah, we received new orders. The Council forbids us from heading for Kilrah, and is ordering us to stay put. I have tried to ask for explanations, but for now nobody have answered my questions. There is a tone of secrecy and mystery to these orders, and the atmosphere among the crew is tense. I hope the situation will clear out soon.

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Log Entry #117

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 4467~30~921D:44

Ship: UAS Friendship

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We have received most mysterious and disturbing orders. They are saying that a shuttle is going to arrive and install weapons on our vessel! The moment my crew has heard the news, they were completely stunned, just as myself. If we are installing weapons aboard, that must mean that… oh, my communications officer is signaling me right now. Perhaps new orders arrived, or maybe some explanations. Aswo out.

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Log Entry #118

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 4467~30~921D:94

Ship: UAS Friendship

---RECORDING---

Oh my… there are dozens of them! These are the Kilrathi ships I've seen a couple of months ago, while I was still in Kilrah! What are they doing in the Utara system!?! We have received orders to use our weapons to destroy them. The Council assured us that they are hostile. What have we done to deserve such a fate?

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Log Entry #119

Captain: Aswo IL'rahn

Date: 4467~30~331N:79

Ship: UAS Friendship

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Swarms of… vessels… hit our engines…they are swarming our defenses… heavily armed… cannot… cannot take them out! Utar…They are… my god! They are dropping thermonuclear projectiles! No!!! My mate, she was… [CRASH!] Ahhh! Sustained another hit… Canno… our power is…fluct…Kilrathi… traitors are …we have sustained too… damage…main systems…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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{{{THE END}}}