NAN Special: Origins Expedition
Fadri Doreen Simmit: What can the Origins Expedition expect to find?
What can the Origins Expedition expect to find after their 5 year long journey?
What do we know of distant Earth?
We think we know a great deal, still frustrating little detail is verified as accurate.
Earth is the cradle of humanity and birthplace of Iscin, the creator of all Iscin’s People. All children of all races are taught this by their fadri. A multitude of legends and early religions kept grains of knowledge and memory of Earth alive for millennia. Much of these facts became hopelessly garbled or altered. Our literature today is full of real and imagined descriptions of this long lost place. But what hard facts really exist? Despite centuries of research on the scarce remains the terrans brought to Sho-Caudal, humanity’s world of origin is in reality unknown to us and clouded in our memory. We know better the legends of the First Empire, the Tale of Mayatrish and Gauss and the Great Wanderings. The legends of our own world, our home since countless generations back. As a matter of fact, Earth is likely to be a very alien world to us indeed.
So, what will the Origins expedition face when returning to this mythical place?
Let us begin with the facts; Earth is a world situated in a system known by its short archaic name – the Sol System. The meaning of the name Sol is lost to us. Maybe it is but one name of many, given it by one civilisation or nation. Maybe it means centre or home. Maybe it just means “life” – like our own system – the Sho System.
The world was referred to as Earth, while many records refer to the people from Earth as terrans. It is safe to assume that Terrans is the name of a leading culture or nation.
We know that Earth had at least one satellite, maybe only one if certain sources are to be believed. We know also that Earth shared its system with eight other planets and countless planetoids. We even know the names of these and some of their moons.
We know the names of some of the firstcomers and also have some of their sad ancient voices preserved. We also know the names of some nations. But we don’t know who came from what nation, where the nations were located or what defined them.
We know that humanity began on Earth and that far less plants and animals were poisonous and inedible to humans there. We know that from centuries of study into the vast differences between Humans and Iscin People compared to the often incompatible native flora and fauna of Sho-Caudal.
We know that humanitiy's ancestors were alone on Earth in terms of intelligence; because the Shan recorded that they were surprised and sometimes ignorant to the other peoples of Sho-Caudal. Maybe they had destroyed all intelligent competition during the development of their final civilisation?
We know of genetic similarities between humans and the livestock they brought – hinting at a joint evolution. But we find just as many mysteries and diversions. It will be safe to assume that Earth harbours countless unknown species, just as alien to us from Sho-Caudal as Sho-Caudal's lifeforms were to the first humans when they arrived to Sho-Caudal.
We can safely assume that humanity's ancestors early turned their eyes to the stars. They probably studied their night sky like our Tolamuun and Dow priests once studied ours. What did their sky look like? Not until recently did we know. Today, by knowing the location of the Sol System, we can with advanced calculations recreate the night sky of Earth and track its sister planets. But we will probably never know what star signs or stories their earliest cultures created out of the myriad of stars in the night sky. Because this they must have done, we cannot be that different after all.
We know that by looking to the stars, humanity's ancestors found Sho-Caudal in the vastness of space and chose to come here, to study it and stay as guests. From fragmented records we know that they had fruitlessly charted several hundred worlds which theoretically could harbour life. But was Sho-Caudal the only world where they found life? Or was it the only world with life in close proximity? Today, we know of at least five hundred worlds orbiting nearly as many stars which theoretically could harbour life. Based on chemical assumption, some doubtlessly contain life. Did humanity's ancestors also visit any of them? Could there be more long lost human cousins stranded on new worlds?
We know that the ancient terrans were capable enough to build great ships which could cross the vast Deeper Void between our worlds.
Sadly, unfortunate events out of the control of these visitors led to violence and the destruction of two great civilisations.
We know also that the surviving newcomers from Earth were abandoned here. No relief seemed to have come to their rescue and ancient messages speak of a great doom that had befallen Earth. What was this doom? Recorded fragments found on the abandoned Lunar Field Station on Ebba mention a great conflict of nations and disputes of ownership. Could the ancient ancestors of humanity have fallen to the eternal curse of greed and strife?
Whatever the reason of this doom and the abandonment of the colonists, many of the contraptions of these abandoned newcomers survived, hidden to our Renaissance Era. Unfortunately knowledge is not as easily preserved as physical equipment. Although the best iscins of our First Realms did what they could to understand the ancient artefacts, they were sadly before their time. Much of the softer information, such as pictures, instructions, messages and documents were lost due to the difficulty to interpret the ancient languages and preserve the data. Much more knowledge was lost due to strife, neglect, mistakes or was accidentally corrupted.
Astronomical facts of both the Sol system and early terran mappings of the Sho system are luckily very precise, but sadly there is but one single, stylized image of Earth itself. Earth's continents, vast oceans and green areas can be seen and from this image many planetary and biological assumptions can be made. Based on the proximity and intensity of Earth's star, the planet must have been much warmer than Sho-Caudal with steaming jungles covering most of its green surface. Temperatures at the equator must have been near intolerable for humans, probably explaining some of the arid regions there. But the presence of polar ice caps suggest a greater axial tilt, giving Earth chaotic seasonal climatic changes, much greater than those on Sho-Caudal. But as mentioned, the intensity of the unusually bright yellow dwarf star of the Sol system would mean greater solar activity and much more intense solar winds. Indeed, Troveel studies of the Sol system depicts a stormy star star system and it is still a mystery how Earth could be protected by the intensity of these cosmic storms as it must have lacked a protecting sho field like Sho-Caudal. Maybe some other field protects it? Maybe the flora and fauna of Earth are extremely tolerant to void radiation? The latter would pose a serious problem to the Origins Expedition members.
But, apart from assumptions based on planetary location and visual depiction, no other details relating to humans or their civilisations can be found. No borders or nations can be seen and therefore the dominant species of Earth and their civilisations remain a mystery. Variaties of this image has been preserved in many depictions, carvings and artefacts from the Exile era. The shapes of the continents are very exactly depicted in the Hobeh Desert ruins. Maybe surviving colonists depicted their lost home as remembrance when hiding away from the dangers of their new world? Maybe this was done to show and teach coming generations?
The only surviving image map of Earth's continents
Luckily the remains of both the human and Shan civilisations survived, thrived and sprouted new and fantastic civilisations, which in turn merged with civilisations around them to become what Sho-Caudal is today. Today we work very hard to unveil the mists of history and the Origins Expedition is one of the greatest steps in humanity’s history on Sho-Caudal.
Until recently, many doubted Earth still existed or had ever existed at all. In the industrial Development Era, it was even widespread belief that our ancestors had merely peaked their civilisation here on Sho-Caudal but then squandered everything. Today we know Earth still exists. With the Sansharra telescopes we can even see it orbiting its sun together with its seven planetary sisters. By studying light passing through Earth’s atmosphere and the change of troveel rays, we can even see that the atmospheric composition is similar to our own. We can calculate its mass and know that its gravity will be a great strain for the human expedition members and possibly harmful or deadly to the shan expedition members with their more sensitive circulatory systems. What dangerous flora of viruses and bacteria will the expedition members face? What effects will the isho void of the Sol system have upon the expedition members? Despite the artifical sho-sen they will bring, they cannot hope to avoid the isho desert that is the Sol system.
There are so many questions to be answered, but from Earth there is only silence. No radio or troveel emissions. No communication. No visitors. Is Earth dead or alive in terms of human civilisation or other lifeforms for that matter?
Most likely humans have survived on Earth. It is what humans seem to do best. But will they remember their long lost cousins whom they sent to the stars so long ago? Have they been forced to begin anew as humans had on Sho-Caudal? Will their new civilisations be a threat to us or evenly matched in terms of cultural development?
The Origins Expedition will not only attempt to solve some of the greatest mysteries of history – it will also return humans home to their place of genesis for the first time in nearly 4000 years. It is officially a very technical and scientific expedition, but with great sentimental anchors in history, theology, philosophy and anthropology.
In a year's time from now, when the mighty sho FTL drive of the FSS Mayatrish engages at the outskirts of the Sho system, we will see it as a bright star in our night sky. This star will slowly wane over the years as the FSS mayatrish makes it way towards the Sol system across the Deeper Void. But all who look upon this new star will bless the brave copras on their way and be reminded of the greatness of the void and the promise of a greater future. Similarily, the distant humans of earth must have looked up at a myriad of FTL drive stars leaving the Sol system so long ago, wondering when they would return.
That time is now.....
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