Entry #1


April 12th, 2461


11:00 PM Chatham Standard Time (CST)


The Starship Nevada


Who would have thought? A young woman like me, billions of miles and a few centuries away, could write a letter to you, a seemingly normal person in the year 2018. So how is this happening? Let’s just write it off to the wonders of space-time for now and we can tackle the ins and outs of subspace mechanics and interstellar travel. I’m sure you are more curious about my daily life though, right?


According to my LeapSim history lessons, people in your time lived their lives around the digital proliferation of their own lives and the consumption of content produced by the lives of others. Because of my love of movies, I’m the only history buff on the ship. Bare with me though, most of The Nevada’s data has been lost since leaving Earth’s system nearly two centuries ago.


On that note, yes I was born on this ship and I celebrated my 18th birthday just a month ago. I joined The Nevada’s crew when I was 16 and was matched with a subspace mechanic for mentorship. Her name was Sage and she died before the last winter solstice celebration. Now, I have her job.


The Nevada can travel up to 2.8 times the speed of light which is pretty decent for a ship as old as she is. When my parents were just kids, the ship flew dangerously close to a cosmic event many believed to be a collision of two black holes. The ship, losing its footing in deep space, scorched itself near a star. It took an entire generation to get the ship moving again and very little was recovered from our databases.


During the course of that 20-year reconstruction period, Nevada’s crew lost complete contact with the parent company of this ship, the Sierra Nevada Corporation.


When my parents were the age I am now, they were working non-stop to get the ship’s engine running again and was part of a generation of workers who skipped years of basic education. And it’s not only because it all-hands-on-deck to get the ship flying again, but because all the ship’s training and simulation programs were lost.


When my parents met deep down in the ship’s massive plasma cooling tubes, they were both 18 and being encouraged to find a mate. Sometimes they joke it was out of convenience but they decided to enter into a cohabitation and reproduction contract.

Yes, we still practice the ritual of marriage. And yes, even in this dark and desperate existence, people still manage to punish themselves with divorce. Marriage in deep space is more about filing paperwork with your ship’s union delegate about your intention to have a child.


And this is where things might get a little weird for you all. On Earth, in your time, people seemed to have lived until 70ish years old. That is not the case with the swaths of our civilization that lives outside the solar system. When the first interstellar colonists left Earth and signed their lives into the hands of corporations, they didn’t realize they were also signing over the lives of their descendants too. That’s if they decided to have children.


According to most contracts signed centuries ago, and which have become a social contract throughout human strongholds in the galaxy, is that every person is afforded the right to have a single child. But it’s heavily regulated and controlled. You must declare your intent to do so by the time you are 20 and you must complete a period of medical checkups and genetic scans to make sure you and your potential offspring will be healthy. After your approval, you have two years to do the dirty. This process is equal for all genders on the ship.


The reason for the time restraints may be a bit grim for you to accept. For a human who is born and lives in deep space, 22 years of age is midlife. A typical lifespan rarely exceeds 40-42 years of age. My parents had me at age 20 but they were lucky. Because they lived through years on a derelict ship with their resource manufacturing and medical technology destroyed, many of the people in their same generation were not approved for reproduction.


Many were worked to death. Some looked nearly twice their age and lack of medicine and proper sustenance left their health compromised. The reconstruction period of The Nevada was also devastating for another reason: No new professionals. All the graduate level educational programs meant to train new scientists, engineers, doctors, pilots, and more were gone. An entire generation of builders will have to survive and push forward with the most basic of educational training. The few professionals that didn’t die when the ship thrashed near a Red Giant, trained as many young people as they could.


I was lucky that my parents soldiered on. Regardless of how hopeless the situation seemed back then, they kept the focus on the future. When I was born, it was only a year until the ship was able to achieve lightspeed again. We started off at the lowest impulse for a few years because we didn’t know if the repairs could hold up.


My parents love to tell me stories from that era but one, in particular, that took place when I was 3 years old. The Nevada encountered a massive cargo vessel entering a nearby system and was able to communicate with it. My parents said that it took months to reach the ship but when they finally did, it helped them start over. Owned by Earth-based Space Exploration Technologies, the ship was carrying massive machines for boring holes on newly-discovered planets. My parents described a skeleton crew who were helpful but feeling a little lost themselves.


Apparently, they too had lost contact with their company just under a decade before. Regardless they helped The Nevada put the finishing touches on the damaged engine and replenished our database with what they could. Films, music, series, and most importantly, of course, educational sims. The standard for education since humans stepped foot on Mars many years ago was Magic LeapSim packs. They were the basics though: Math, science, and some history. The plus? A full and thorough engineering and coding database. For emergencies, Nurse practitioner training sims were available and much-needed on the Nevada.


My parents said that one thing they hoped the other ship would have was a snapshot of the internet. In the early years of colonial departures from Earth, servers were installed on ships for the purpose of uploading as much of the browsable and necessary Internet as they could. Silicon Valley made network-specific versions of its applications for colony ships with the expectation that the product would make its way to a new world. Neither The Nevada or the passing cargo ship had a snapshot.


My mom says running into another ship gave The Nevada’s mission new life. I think she most mostly excited about their advancements in food and clothing replication technology, which they shared with us. Today, in The Nevada’s dining hall, a photograph of the command crews of both ship’s sharing a meal they printed with the sharing of technology.


Today, Life is still hard but better than my folks had it.


I’m lucky to have been born into a time when The Nevada is continuing its search for a habitable world. When my great great great grandparents left Earth, they had a vision of building a new home for humanity in the cosmos and while we know almost nothing about who they were, I hope that I carrying out their vision in that adventurous spirit.


My parents are keeping up good morale but are now confined to their quarters due to decreasing medical status. The ship’s nurses give them both no more than six months to live out the rest of their lives and they have accepted the fate knowing what they gave for the continuation of the mission.


For years, a ship or space station’s committee of doctors issues an approximate date of when you’ll pass and that issued document is your license to not work anymore and just hang with your loved ones at home. The Nevada’s last doctor died a few months ago, unfortunately. The ship now only has the educational programs to train nurses.


So where does this leave me? I’m 18 and I have to start looking for a mate myself. The ship’s number needs to grow now that our interstellar mission is back on track. And given a previous generation of low-reproductive numbers, there’s very little to choose from.


I’ll be procrastinating the inevitable mating process for a few months. For now, I’ve managed to restore some old video files that were seemingly damaged years ago. So far, I’ve seen about a dozen episodes of Star Trek: Voyager.


Interesting stuff.


Will write again soon,