COMMUNICATION FROM ARKAY OF KORENDOR
Date of reception: 12 July 1989
Love and light, my Terran friends. Your history books reveal to the astute reader the visits over many centuries of alien beings. These visitations are found from the dawn of your recorded history. The Confederation has been the primary source of these reports, though some few were not so affiliated.
The subject of this discourse is a long journey undertaken by a brave and adventurous crew of Korendians, a trek that began in your year 462 A.D. and ended 508 of your years later in the Tibetan mountains.
It was "A Mission To Earth."
As I said in my Korendian history lesson, this great event unfolded in our "Early Space Era". At the time, the science you know as "radio astronomy" was well developed, and we had been scanning the heavens for years in hopes of finding somewhere "out there" some signal that would assure us that the worlds of Korena were not alone in the universe, that we had fellow travellers in the depths of the unknown.
In your year of 456 A.D., we found the answer to our prayers, a definitely artificial signal coming from a small yellowish star 411 light years away. We had detected other signals earlier, but none of them had been proven beyond a doubt to be the transmissions of an advanced civilization. Therefore, we were ecstatic at this discovery, and within days the "crash program" began.
Construction on the huge ship was a round-the-clock project, involving many thousands of people driven by an excitement that fairly electrified the air. It was emphasized that it would be a one-way journey, that the voyagers would never see home again, that many would not live to see the arrival even with the time dilation effect at close to light speed. Yet the volunteers applied in seemingly endless numbers, singles, couples and entire families.
As the shell of the enormous craft took shape, the task of selecting the 500 crewmen and women slowly narrowed the field. The sciences took a high priority, but the attention that was given to the other talents and trades was no less thorough, and cooks were considered every bit as important as astrophysicists.
Training began about one Terran year before the projected launch date, in March of 461. By year's end, every one of the 500 personnel was in full readiness, and much of their time was spent on board the ship preparing it for the immense trip that lay ahead.
There were thousands of systems to fire up and test, literally millions of items to check and recheck. Much of it was "busy-work" designed to keep their minds occupied and relieve the tension that had become a living thing aboard the vessel.
Apprehension surfaced as the time neared for leaving their world forever. Many of them spent their last few days outside of the ship, trying to absorb every detail of their beautiful planet for the memories that might well be their only link to home.
The fateful day arrived, a bright day with a few cottony clouds drifting lazily across the blueness of the early morning sky. It seemed that all of Korendor had come to bid a farewell to their intrepid brothers and sisters. As the 500 assembled at the foot of their new and perhaps last home, a wave of powerful, bittersweet emotions flowed over the voyagers and the many millions who had come to see them off.
Joy and sadness, hope and fear, love and caring, the deepest emotions of humanity welled up from within their hearts and souls, and the tears flowed freely that day. Hugs and caresses were shared, kisses were exchanged, and last goodbyes were said. Then all grew still as the ancient Mariner's Prayer boomed from the paging systems. I quote it now with the hope that its beauty has not been lost in the translation.
THE MARINER'S PRAYER
The silence was broken for a few moments only by the unashamed sounds of weeping. Then, with millions of voices united in a hymn of praise composed for the occasion, we shared a final embrace and watched, with pounding hearts, as our explorers mounted the ramp and one by one disappeared into the gleaming hull of the craft.
Mere words could never express the depth of emotions as the last voyager boarded, and the ramp raised and became one with the hull. The time for their departure was about two hours. Those who stayed behind moved out to the safe zone, and gathered in quiet prayer as the final seconds were counted off in hushed tones by the loudspeakers.
And then the instant came.
Though the ship was launched from a facility that absorbed much of the sound and fury of the engines, though the primary "boosters" were designed to suppress noise, no voice could have matched the awesome thunder that, it is said, was heard across the continent.
It rose slowly, almost hesitantly from its moorings, a veritable mountain of metal supported on ten broad columns of white fire, then gathered speed and arched upward on its tails of flame. No breath was taken, no eye was closed as a small replica of Korendor pierced a high cloud and then was gone, leaving behind only a trail of vapor twisting in the wind, and an undying memory.
As their vessel set out into the stygian nothingness between the stars, Korendor's heart went with them.
On March 30, 462 A.D., a man-made world broke free of gravity's confines and began a 508-year trek through the unfathomable loneliness of space. Our most powerful radar systems tracked its progress as it accelerated outward.
Within one year of our time it had left the outermost limits of our system to become our first interstellar craft. A course-correcting maneuver sent it on its long, solitary way to another star.
The power for the trip came from "ram jet" drive engines that took in the diffuse interstellar hydrogen and other materials, ionized it in nuclear chambers and used it as "reaction mass" for thrust. Though it was by no means a mighty source of energy, the task did not require one, just a smooth, steady acceleration. There were centuries to be lived, and they were in no hurry.
At about a quarter of a light year we made our last contact with our brave travellers. Their radio communications had long since faded, but our radar had continued to follow them until, at that distance, the returns could no longer be discerned in the interstellar noise.
It was a sad and poignant moment when our technicians switched off the radar transmitters. With prayers and reflection, Korendor bid their fellows Godspeed and a safe journey. They were at last truly on their own.
We continued to transmit to them on a dozen channels over the years, but not until we found their records here did we learn that our signals had been received and cherished through much of their journey. We knew then that God had indeed been with them, and that our decision was guided by His wisdom.
Of the journey itself, I will not write a great deal. It was a learning experience for them, and in the small world of their ship, a camaraderie was born that we who are not so confined can never hope to appreciate. They became as one family.
Altered though it was by travel at relativistic velocities, time passed, age took its toll, and many died. The pain of the parting was known deeply by all, and the loved ones were held in stasis to be properly interred on the world that was to be their new home. Yet, even as they died, the bounties of love brought forth new lives, and our wondrous God expressed Himself through the blissful joy of the little ones.
And then, their long journey was nearing an end. Their destination was now at hand.
Long-range study of the third planet of this yellow star became the center of their interest. It was by our standards a small world, unlike ours in many ways, yet it was of a beauty truly beyond belief. At first seen as a blue globe, as the ship drew closer in its deceleration from near-light speed, the world revealed life in abundance.
Yet, there was no longer a sign of the technology that had so long ago sent those transmissions into the vast reaches of space. Indeed, the level of civilization seemed quite primitive, without any detectable trace of energy generation beyond simple fire.
The first major test of our adherence to the laws of non-interference with a developing culture was about to begin in earnest.
As the ship made its way inward past the outer planets, it was briefly examined by several small crafts of unknown origin and bearing unrecognized markings. They offered no communication and shortly thereafter they departed as rapidly as they had arrived. The great mystery was developing in ways that our people did not understand and found not at all comforting.
It was obvious that the blue world was not the source of the vehicles, but probes discerned no signs of life on any of the other planets, nor were any transmissions detected although they had carefully monitored a wide band of communication frequencies since they had entered the outer fringes of the system. The puzzle was missing several large, crucial pieces.
I must digress here to relate that these ships were in fact scoutcrafts from a Federation base on the asteroid you know as Ceres. In studying these ancient events after our second arrival here, we learned that the probes did not find life because at the time, our presence was an unknown quantity, our ship of totally alien configuration and our own markings unrecognized.
It was determined that it was not wise to allow our probes to detect the presence of life other than on Earth, which they determined by our trajectory was our destination. The probes were "jammed", as you say.
As to the lack of receivable radio communication, our ship simply did not monitor the frequencies they used. They were where we were not. End of mystery, although not to our explorers.
After traversing the orbits of the outer planets, the huge ship once more fired up its main engines, and placed itself into high orbit about the little blue world. An intensive mapping began, to chart every possible landing site, and hopefully to avoid any vestige of human civilization.
At last, a place was selected, a remote wilderness area in the mountains you call the Himalayas in the region of Tibet. There was no significant trace of habitation within several hundred miles, and the area itself was all but inaccessible to the technology of the world. It was a suitable spot.
In the early hours of June 18 in the year 970, whatever life was about heard a thunderous roar and saw a white fire descend from the heavens into the mountains. Our people had arrived.
The selection of a landing site proved to be a provident one, and we felt once more the gentle hand of God guiding us into wise choices. The area about the site abounded with natural caverns that would serve as an ideal foundation for establishing a permanent base and community.
The first order of business was to convert the largest of the caverns to a main "headquarters" and residential complex. This required establishing appropriate conditions within the cavern once the entry could be sealed off. Gravitation was not a concern. Half a millenium of interstellar travel in the reduced simulated gravity of a rotating ship rendered Korendor's high gravitation a distant memory.
The atmosphere was another matter altogether. They had maintained the ship at Korendor's normal air pressure, and Earth's considerably lower pressure proved uncomfortable to the point of being unable to breathe. The cavern was therefore equipped with "airlocks" at its entrances, and brought up to the accustomed barometric level.
Over a five-year period, the crew constructed a very comfortable facility within that cavern, and adapted other smaller ones as workshops, storehouses, power centers, and so on. Tunnels were bored to connect all of them.
The project resulted in the ship being reduced to an empty shell as its components and equipment were converted to the base's needs. One last mighty task remained.
Two years were spent dismantling the hulk that had been their home for over 500 years. It was not without many aches of regret, and more than a few tears were shed as the settlers watched their ship slowly disappear. They knew well that it could never leave Earth, but that understanding did little to ease the sadness as this great shining vessel became just another memory among so many.
Quite often over the course of the beginning years, the people saw small crafts observing their activities. As before, the occupants seemed not to be interested in opening contact, but were apparently content to watch. The sightings tapered off as time passed and stopped as the tenth year began.
Again I must interrupt for a brief moment to say that we have asked the Confederation why they did not even try to communicate with our people. The answer that they offered, which was not overly credible to us, was that at the time, we were simply regarded as an anomoly, random visitors who posed no threat, and were adjudged inferior in technology. Earth's non-alignment made our presence unimportant. They found no scientific or social justification for contacting our people.
We asked them about the abysmal lack of simple curiosity that such a narrow-minded approach bespoke, and we obtained no good answer to the query. In the course of time, we learned that it was primarily due to pure, arrogant interplanetary snobbery. We have used it more than once to tweak their noses.
Returning to our subject, during the next hundred years the settlement grew into a vital, thriving community. The population expanded to over 15,000 and spread from the original site to surrounding terrain as a combination of natural processes and advanced genetic engineering brought about people who were conditioned to your environment.
We were discovered a few times over the years by those hardy souls who braved the fierceness of the region and the superstitions of primitive cultures to learn for themselves the truth of legends of gods from the sky coming in great fire and thunder.
Our mountain was considered a holy and fearful place to be avoided, which assuredly worked in our favor, as we found no merit in becoming the world's first "tourist trap".
These curious visitors chose to remain with us, enthralled by the high honor of spending their lives in the abode of the mountain gods. Our secrecy was thus maintained, and we found in them a rich resource of information about your race. In their DNA we found the codes necessary to bring forth the progenitors of our new species.
In return, we taught them our languages and customs, and they were educated to the reality of the universe and our true nature. Their intelligence amazed us, and their quickness to grasp complex ideas and principles gave us much cause to expect great things from your world in the millenia to come.
Your science would be astounded to know of the matters that became second nature to your ancient forebears.
By the year 1150, we had bred the first colony of Terran natives, almost a thousand men and women with a special task: travel throughout the world and learn all that could be known about your planet and its diverse people.
In our rapidly growing underground complex of 80,000 citizens, industries began to construct a fleet of crafts to allow this exploration to begin. The reconnaissance flights commenced, and over the next ten years a detailed map of your world took shape. Centers of civilization were charted, with Europe being the focus of our initial efforts, it being the apparent heart of Terran culture and society.
We soon found that we had arrived in a period that has come to be known as the Middle or Dark Ages.
The level of poverty, ignorance, superstition and human despair that we encountered was a shattering blow to our hopes. What little learning we had found was confined to the royal class, with the populace barely more than machines in the thankless service of their cold, cruel masters.
It was an unforgettable lesson in the capacity of brutal royalty to visit misery on those whom they considered to be of less worth than animals. Early death was a fact of life, whether from the ravages of disease or starvation or at the whim of edicts from the castles.
Our explorers did what they could to attempt to instill human values into the rulers. Some few succeeded, most failed, one or two were executed for some invented charge of high treason.
Our efforts on Earth were not all defensive. More than a few times, we found cause to dispatch particularly inhuman individuals into the next life. History vaguely relates the premature demise of certain rulers whose reigns were marked by terror and cruelty. The diligent student of history, armed with this understanding, may be able to find in the records of those years evidence of our intolerance of the savages.
The Asiatic nations fared little better. Although more civilized and refined in many respects, their lack of concern for the masses was every bit as complete as in Europe. Our dreams for your people were rapidly being dashed.
Although our agents continued to infiltrate your population, seeking out the few thinkers and humanitarians, we decided that it was not in our best interest to pursue a comprehensive plan of communication and communion at any near date. We therefore concentrated our attention on continuing to expand our own presence in remote areas of the world in preparation for the age of enlightenment that we hoped would in time come to Earth.
Communities of our people, both Korendian and Terran, were established in places such as Peru, Siberia, the Sahara Desert, and the wilderness of the area you now call Wyoming. As well, we scattered outposts throughout Europe and Asia, to await the change that we were less and less sure would come. In its own way, it was also our Dark Age.
The last of our true Korendians passed on over the years. By the start of the 14th Century they were but a revered memory. The "human" Korendians on Earth were now three million in number, yet still separate from Terran humanity. As the century unfolded, the long-awaited rebirth of thought and knowledge began to reshape Europe.
Our people thus began a three-year migration that brought all but a few thousand to that awakening continent, to be a part of the infant Renaissance. As contact with your people expanded, the inevitable marital union of our two races gave rise to the lineages that survive even to this day.
And then, in the year 1348, all that we had strived for was lost.
The year lives in your memory as in ours. It was the year of terror, of suffering, of ultimate disaster. It was the year of the "Black Death".
Bubonic plague. Even today it is a thing that brings horror into the minds and hearts of mankind. In those days, it was the veritable spawn of Hell. In your history, you are told that fully half the people of Europe perished in that great scourge. However, your world lost more than your tales relate.
Despite our Terran human form, we were yet aliens in most ways. The first of us contracted the disease conventionally, but our differences provided an instrument for the generation of a mutated strain that was unstoppably contagious amongst us. It had no effect on the physiology of your people. It destroyed mine.
It spread amongst us in a matter of a few hours, and killed within mere minutes by destroying the ability of our blood to carry oxygen. There was no possibility of creating an antidote, no means of detecting and isolating the infected people. Within two days, our centuries of presence on Earth ended in agonizing death.
The children of the union of our races fared better. The combination by some miracle created a natural immunity that neither race had known separately. Our lineage passed through that time of death, as though God had intended that it be preserved for times to come.
Our facilities came to an end soon after, as automatic equipment sensed the extended lifelessness, interpreted it as abandonment, and self-destructed.
Those few thousand that had stayed behind when the movement to Europe took place survived, but now demoralized and alone, they departed and disappeared into the anonymity of history.
The source of all that I have presented here is the holy mountain of Tibet where we first came to Earth. In the heart of that mountain, we found a room, a sanctuary, where the ancient records were preserved. Detailed maps led us to similar rooms in all of the other places where we had settled, and within them we found the chronicles of the birth and untimely death of our new race on your world.
Little remains now of our presence on Earth. A few words of your languages carry the heritage of Korendian and Galinguan, and now and again we find in the legends and art of long ago new evidence of the influence of our people on the culture of that dark time.
The one thing that unites our two worlds is the thin thread of ancestry. In the genetic codes that govern life, some of you have the bond with us that began over six centuries ago. My Terran friends, we will seek out those who carry within them the traces of our ancient ancestors. Although you will never know who these people are, be assured that they hold a hallowed place in our hearts. They are all that remains of a heroic adventure that began with Korendor's first voyage to the stars.
The end of this saga is not yet written. God's purpose in preserving our lineage on Earth is unknown to us, but in our faith we await His answer to our questions. Perhaps, as you say it, "The best is yet to come."
Va i luce, and peace be yours.
I am ArKay.
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved