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ITEM CODE: #00-SCPA-6100




The sky was streaked with gold.

On May 2, 3210, the following documents were forwarded to the FPS by a source that wished to remain undisclosed.

Following this, the unanimous decision was made to release the entirety of the #00-SCPA-6100 file and its history to the public, including the enclosed documents.

A second instance of #00-SCPA-6100-A has been detected in the Starfish Cluster.

After consultation, the lunar division of the Board of Extrasolar Travel has agreed to classify the S.R.R. Druyan as presumed lost.

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S.R.R. Druyan

Mission Statement and Description


As part of the Post-Shatter Human Sustainability initiative, the S.R.R. Druyan is a deep space vessel designed to explore regions within the ~9,000 light year range of the Solar System for possible habitable exoplanets, resource pools, and other phenomena of interest. The Druyan is the first of several ships designated for this segment of the PSHS initiative; its objective is to travel to the apparent second Earth that lies in the Keyhole Nebula in order to investigate its nature and potential habitability.

Mission Details

The Druyan has installed onboard a prototype temporal sink drive, the first of their type to be outfitted on a long-term deep exploration craft. First developed on the renowned Europa laboratories in 3149, the temporal sink drive harnesses localized temporal distortion to allow for the maintaining of relative causality while travelling extremely long distances in a comparatively short amount of time. While initial testing confirm the safety of this new method on 6-month or 1-year durations, the Druyan and other vessels in its class are designed for much longer mission lengths, and thus distances. Engineers and medical experts have continued revising the temporal drive for added safety and efficiency, and we believe that it is now in a state to be deployed on a formally sanctioned mission by the Board of Extrasolar Travel.

Six crewmembers were accepted for this mission, following a consultation that confirmed their willingness and knowledge of the risks. Based on the current capabilities of the temporal sinks installed on the ship, it will take approximately eleven years to reach the Keyhole Nebula from earth, as well as eleven years back. In order to facilitate the passage of time, the crew of the Druyan will be put in extended sleep for 6 months per year of travel.

The Druyan is equipped with Scranton-Graham reality stabilization plating and selective identifier cloaking, as per standard protocol for deep space missions as outlined by the Board of Extrasolar Travel.

S.R.R. Druyan

Crew Manifest

  • Jenna Barvadekar, team lead and extrasolar researcher
  • Andrew Finn, mechanical engineer
  • Dr. Tori Stephenson, anomalous phenomena specialist
  • Michelle Yang, astrophysicist
  • Yousuf al-Fares, ship pilot
  • Basil Hebert, astrophysicist

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The following files are excerpted reports and communications logs of Andrew Finn. Due to imperfections of transmitting data via temporal sink, significant portions of the original logs have been unfortunately lost.

Alright, okay. Testing the recording…that sounds good!

Day one ship report. We made it to the edge of the solar system a couple minutes ago. We're just about ready to engage the temporal drive on Jenna's call. I've done a once-over of all the systems and everything's functioning perfectly. Apparently, it was a surprise to some people that the drive takes several hours to warm up — this is complex technology, people. Things feel steady, though. The ship's easy to make yourself feel at home in. Nothing like the blue-and-black steel graveyards you call passenger ships. There's actual lighting in here. No virtual reality support, though. Didn't get that approved.

I've been running around the ship the whole day, checking the drive every few hours — maybe minutes — or so. Basil remarked on it when I bumped into them in a corridor, said I looked "excited" to leave Earth. They didn't give me a chance to ask why. It's odd, I do feel a weird sort of giddiness about this whole thing, but excitement feels slightly…off as a word. Mostly I just feel totally strung out. I can't stop moving my feet. It almost feels like being on the run.


I'm…I'm sorry I left so suddenly. I'm going to be okay out here. I just wanted you to know that. I hope you know that.

Five months. I'm already getting bored.

I was originally going to do these status reports every week — help me keep track of the time that way. Count up, twenty-four reports, then cryosleep. It dawned on me pretty quickly that there wasn't all that much to say. The temporal sink makes it feel as if we're just another ion-powered starship making a trip from Earth to Ganymede or something. The constant hum and rumble of the engine, but otherwise so perfectly smooth, just running in accelerated time.

Maybe I'd have material if I finally cut the bullshit professionalism and stopped acting as if anyone would actually be checking these reports. Yeah, that sounds good.

I feel so goddamn out of place in here. Everyone else is head-over-heels for their scientific work, so eager to get out there and find a planet that looks just like Earth for us to migrate to. Or, in some cases, they just have some sick love for deep space — Yousuf really makes guiding a vessel across a vast empty expanse look like the best thing ever. And that's not to say I'm not excited to find out what's out there, I am — but for some reason it doesn't make me feel like I've got some driving purpose on this voyage. Really, it just painfully highlights the lack of closure I seem to have.

The ship passed close to a G-class star today. It reminded me of the way you looked when the sun got in your eyes.

They say you find peace in solitude, but I haven't gotten myself any closer.

I'm pretty sure they tell you this when you sign up for space travel, but years in space will really drill it into your head — it's basically devoid of anything. At least, from the human scale, you're unlikely to run into nearly any interesting phenomena at all on a straight-line course. There's still stars, of course. Everywhere in the sky, a thousand times more legible and bright than you could see from Earth. But they're distant little spirits, each one millions and millions of kilometers away.

It's almost beautiful — and then you see a comet get pulled apart in a thousand different directions by a phantom spatial anomaly and eaten.

I wasn't alive to see the Shattering — none of us were — but I feel like just knowing that it happened, realizing how much it changed our perception of how bad things really were; I've never been able to shake that chill off. We live and breathe on a world that, by all accounts, should be dead. God, Earth's literally broken into pieces, the rendered plains of a post-war wasteland, still leaking its smoke and fog. No preordained reason to it at all — just the inexplicable anger of entities beyond our comprehension.

And then the gradual realization that the entities were more natural to the universe than us…our existence a spontaneous miracle of continuously maintained structure, a sandcastle that managed to dodge a wave again and again, and even the stars beyond could give us no comfort. Space and time are sickly, melting, a chaotic storm of no peace or serenity. It's too easy to lose faith in…everything.

I'm pretty sure that, deep down, I did.

Pretty sure that was part of why we drifted apart, too.

Sometimes, when I spend too long in my quarters gazing out the glass window at the starfield rushing outside, I'll accidentally doze off, and I tend to get this reoccurring dream. I'd expect it to be some terrible nightmare, but…all it does, mostly, is leave me feeling quiet and at peace. I've started to rely on it to, you know, shake off the demons. Everyone needs something.

I see every radio signal ever sent out from Earth — the billions of people talking, communicating, watching visual productions and mass media — but eventually, I see only the music. The voices immortalized on ancient vinyl and on forgotten radio broadcasts, on an endless journey from Earth to everywhere around it. Invisible transmissions, disembodied voices, like old spirits, dancing across the night sky to here knows when.

Then something curious happens. The radio signals, they reach out into the constellations hanging over the night sky, and instead of leaving the world behind, they begin to…mix together. The invisible rays intermingle, crash together like ocean waves, forming new music in their wake. J.S. Bach plays counterpoint with Philip Glass. Elvis duets with the Rolling Stones.

The stars begin to look like points of fire in the sky, rearranging themselves as through the passage of eons, but whether forwards or backwards I cannot tell. The music dissolves into the fabric of the universe, becoming intertwined with the eternal itself.

In that elemental state, I begin to feel like I'm seeing something else, something I have trouble describing. It's the sense that there's an age of time that's much larger than this human race and this universe itself, even. I know it so strongly, though I can't say why — that we are built on top of old, old, lost lands.

I've made a decision. I'm going to build a transmitter of my own.

I left because of so many reasons that made so much sense to me at the time but seem to diminish with each passing day. I was so thoroughly convinced that I wasn't a person worth your time. We never entirely worked out what was going on between us. More because I never gave you a straight answer on what I wanted. That and how much I held on to the past. To all the things we got up to when we were both still college students. To all the places we traveled on Mars during our first few months and you told me I was the first boyfriend you had.

I got so scared of moving past that — of what would happen after. Whether one of us would simply wake up one day to be changed as a person, to no longer need the other. I couldn't decide whether it would be worse if that was you or me. I never took a chance in even trying. But I could never let go of the dream.

So, Miles, I'm not going to run away anymore. I'm going to let you know that I'm still here. These reports, these personal logs — I'm sending them to you, where they belong. I'm ready to fix this.

…so that's it then. I'm gone.

But, you know, I'll still be here. A miniscule speck of dust in a vast beach. And I'll always love you.

Wish I could have explained all this stuff to you earlier, but I just kept on putting it off. Constantly. I didn't want to say it to your face, so I just…ran away from it. And I kept running until I found myself on a fucking twenty-two year mission in deep space with people I don't know and don't want to know.

And there's thousands of light years of empty black void separating me out here, but I hope that the music of the spheres carries this to you, somehow.

Dr. Stephenson invited me to have some wine in xyr quarters. Had to tell xem I wasn't interested.

I'm this close to getting the miniature temporal sink right. I'm almost there. As soon as I manage to stabilize it — as much as I can, feasibly, being one guy without access to a full planetary laboratory — I'll be able to send a message to you.

My voice is still gonna be here.

Tori told us that xe detected screamers were going to pass close to the ship sometime in the next few days. After some brief discussion, we agreed to power down the ship's engines and systems completely. I spent three nights in my bed, everything near pitch-black aside from the faint starlight from the curtains of space outside.

Absent the constant hum of the ion engines, in the total silence of space, when I slowed down my breathing until it barely moved my chest — I swear — I thought I could hear faint music. Nostalgic. Welcoming. It was probably in my head, now that I think about it, but…

I feel more motivated than ever to finish this transmitter.

Oh my god, Miles, we made it. We're at the nebula. Just a few more days left before we arrive at the source of the signals. It's as if the cosmos itself opened up before me; the lights — the twinkling lights, the entertaining lights — they sprung forth from the nothingness, unfurling in gemstone-colored banners. The one word I'd use to describe the Keyhole Nebula: gold. Like a galaxy made of gold leaf.

We stopped the ship for a brief moment, and I took a spacewalk out with Michelle into one of the brightest parts of the nebula. It's been years since my last one, but something about the occasion felt right. It was there — drifting out on that tether, fully immersed in that golden sea — that something clicked for me. Watching stars die and rebirth themselves on a scale so much larger than I could ever hope to see in the short time I had out there, the fires of creation reflecting off the glass visor shielding my eyes, something began to finally make sense for me..

I came out here because the cosmos felt small and senseless, an oncoming storm that would return to destroy us a second time just because we survived the first. But the closer I got to this place at the center of the nebula, the…safer I felt.

It reminds me of the Voyager golden record, that ancient artifact they sent into the void back when they first invented space travel, you know? Something meant to outlast us. Something that would endure even eons after we were all gone. Humanity's immortalized on those metal discs. I like to think that, even if I don't manage to come back home, these recordings will keep me alive. My spirit's out here, floating in space, forever.

Just. Been on my mind recently.

I stand in reflecting light.

Okay. Where to start. We reached the site of the signal, the second Earth. What we came here for.

But we didn't find another Earth. We didn't find another planet at all. We asked Yousuf to check the coordinates five times over. He swears they're right, computer swears it too. Just gold streaked across the sky, going on forever and ever. But we did find…something.

There's a large metal platform hovering, as if floating on top of the sea. Looked entirely manmade. Dominating the majority of its surface — a gigantic radio telescope. An immense reflector dish, decorated with dozens of radar transmitters. There was ample room surrounding it for ships to land - the entire thing was about two kilometers across. As we approached within a few dozen kilometers of it, there was the sensation of piercing through a bubble of some kind — I can't describe it any other way, like entering some weird continuum — and we gathered at the bridge.

Tori got our attention as xe pointed at xyr instrument panel. Xe said that Hume levels had dropped suddenly, to about mid-20th century levels. We ran a series of diagnostics in response to that — at that point, the curious properties of this place really began to make themselves apparent. We had just entered some kind of artificially induced bubble of stabilized reality; technology beyond anything currently known to us — the effects of the anomalous essentially cancelled out while within.

We approached the construction, with some trepidation, landed our spacecraft on the flat metal surface, put on our spacesuits, and walked out towards the telescope.

It felt bizarrely familiar. Not in the sense that I'd seen it before, but that at first I assumed it to be created by extraterrestrials; yet the design, the thought put into it, the cultural language that it drew from…it was definitely foreign to me, yet felt, well, human. We found a control room eventually, but it was weirdly primitive. Completely unmanned, a single nuclear power source drip-feeding energy to the radar transmitters, which then projected its hard-coded transmission across the cosmos towards Earth. It's definitely hard-coded. I checked. Can't use it as a transmitter of my own. Things will have to wait.

Jenna pointed out that there were symbols printed on the walls of the control room. Perfectly pristine. One of them was a perfect drawing of a human being, like those classic anatomy sketches Da Vinci did, just of a different man and woman. I got a shiver down my spine — not out of fear, but at the strange, impossible scale of what I beheld before me. This place looked ancient, as if the telescope and the room had been created at the birth of the universe itself. And there was a picture of a blue-and-green marble, and an icon signifying calm waters, and an image of…of black, nameless entities throwing themselves against an impenetrable glass barrier.

We had gathered up all we could for information, so we exited the place and headed back towards the Druyan. And as soon as we stepped out of the belly of the telescope, we all simultaneously stopped in our tracks. Projected brightly in the black sky, feeling larger than anything I'd ever seen, the Earth, transported here, eight thousand light years away. Fully intact, serene, beautiful, at peace. We stared in silence for what felt like hours. And then we lost focus for a moment, and the image was gone.

It wasn't the real Earth. It never could have been. It was just another spirit, a ghostly afterimage of hope, a dream deep in the always-black where you forget what your home even looked like.

But it's enough.

The transmitter's as finished as it can be; it's a piece of shit, honestly. I didn't study temporal mechanics nearly enough in college to really know how to build a sink myself, even for invisible bits of sound and EM. But if some extinct version of humanity can build a safe harbor for its unknown descendants, I sure as hell can send some voicemail to you. It can't hold itself for more than one single transmission, to tell you the truth, and the amount of data I can send is…limited. But hopefully, in another eleven years, you'll be able to hear me.

Because you're going to want an explanation, Miles, for why I'm not going to come back anytime soon.

And I know. Saying that…really hurts. It's not out of a lack of desire, if you can believe me on that one. In almost any other situation in the world, I'd be happy to just collect the data here and turn right around and start the journey back home. Back to you. It's hard being out here, all this darkness and — and silence. I want to go home — that's something I'd never even imagine myself saying a decade ago when I started this trip. It still feels like a fresh revelation. But there's something greater than my own feelings I feel a call to. It's the same thing I felt out there on the spacewalk, when in those primal fireworks I realized this vast universe didn't scare me anymore. That the Shattering was never the end.

I don't know, once I press "send" on this transmitter and release the carrier waves into the depths of spacetime, whether it'll survive the trip. I half-expect none of these messages to ever reach you. Maybe only half of them remain intact. Maybe a quarter. Maybe nothing at all… I have to place my faith in space itself. And you know what? I do, now that I've seen…well. There's just enough room on this data packet for one more item.

I can't go back, knowing what I know now. Humanity has gone without hope for so long, when this has been here the whole time — this must have been the only one that kept functioning until now. We're going to relight the beacons. We're going to give the human race a gift — a map to the stars. The one that our ancestors meant for us to have, sailing on golden skies. You see, I thought of one more thing, down there at the radio dish.

Did anyone ever think to put the signal under a spectrogram?


There's more of them out there. They built so, so many more.

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