Last journal entry by head Environmental consultant Dr. Finch
Onboard the New Horizon Colonization vessel, Tau Ceti system
I’m still fighting a one sided battle here. The first landing party is already preparing as if it’s a done deal. The captain continues to insult me at the daily board meetings whenever I try to bring any of them to my side. I seem to be the only person who doesn’t want to colonize the first planet outside our solar system.
I’ve shared my research with everyone who will listen to me at this point. All of my science colleagues onboard have lost interest, and it seems everyone on this ship is now blinded by fame and the history they hope to make that they have lost sight of the true nature of our mission. At this point I’m just delaying the inevitable by not signing off on the next phase. I’ll probably be voted out of the council soon and then they will carry on with the first stages of terraforming without me. I know I’m losing more and more credibility each day, and my entire career is at risk now. At this point I feel like an environmental activist from back in the day chaining myself to a tree to stop a bulldozer. Except there is a lot more at stake here than a single tree. An entire alien species is at stake, to be exact.
It’s proven very difficult to defend an alien species, though, when you can’t see them. My colleagues expect to see sprawling cities on the surface as proof of life, as if the first new intelligent life we encounter billions of miles from Earth would have identical patterns of society as us. How arrogant! But they’re there. I know it, I’m certain they are, but no one believes me. Slight inconsistencies in atmospheric makeup, unnatural terrain formations, even signs of natural resource use. All valid evidence of life to any scientist with half a brain, yet even the head Science Officer is blinded by the chance at glory to consider the fact that we may be on the verge of committing planetary genocide.
I just wish I could understand them better, and have more time to research them, so I could understand why we can’t seem to observe them with our basic human senses. It’s the weakest point of my argument that comes up every time I try to stop the mission. “How can it be considered life if
we can’t see it? Can’t touch it? Every test we have has come up negative on any existence of life.” I’ve thought about these questions a lot myself, trying to justify them. Maybe I’m wrong. What are they to us if we don’t even really comprehend they are there? No one has been to the surface yet, but I don’t think we would have any way of detecting they are there with our current scientific understanding. What does it matter if they are there or not? Based on basic human instinct they should not even be considered real.
Yet despite these seemingly rational arguments, I can’t bring myself to let this go. What if I’m right, and we end up wiping out an entire civilization? An entire history gone without anyone to remember it. No amount of scientific progress could justify those means. I have to do something, and that idea scares me. I’m considering sabotaging the ship, bringing a catastrophic end to an almost successful mission. Are the lives of a few hundred humans worth the fate of an entire civilization? That’s a choice I never thought I would have to make.
I suppose if you don’t hear back from us on Earth and are reading this years later when the backup transmissions reach back home, then you know the choice I made. Now, however, I have some more thinking to do.