Daedalus One


Image: Space.com

August 29, 2064, Cape Canaveral, Florida

“There it goes. All our hopes for the human race surviving on another planet.”

Chester Menkin put his arm around his wife Helen’s zaftig waist as they watched the launch of the Daedalus One probe together. It was quite literally a “hot August night” as the Orion rocket’s enormous engines erupted with man-made fire, so like the gift of Prometheus, thrusting the space craft away from the launch pad and the surface of our world.

“We’ll eventually go extinct here on Earth, Chester, but we send the best part of ourselves to the stars.”

Dr. and Dr. Menkin were a brilliant Genetics team and responsible for successfully encoding human DNA onto bacteria so “we” could be sent on the long interstellar voyage to the new planet.

There was no hope of a “warp drive” or anyway of safely getting human beings from our Solar System to another. One by one, generation ships, worm holes, every conceivable way of human colonization of planets outside the Solar System fell by the wayside.

This was the only answer; sending a probe with a container of DNA-encoded bacteria on the 10,000 year journey. The bacteria would be dormant for that time, and then once the probe landed, they would come out of dormancy, breed, thrive, and evolve in a new biosphere, eventually replicating the human race.

As the rocket receded in the darkness and distance, the Menkins decided to make a discrete exit from the launch site and return to their modest home a mere ten miles away. In 10,000 years, a new humanity would breed light-years away, but tonight, in the quiet of their bedroom, Chester would hold Helen in his arms and they would ensure their own family’s next generation.

Ten Thousand Years Later on a Planet Far, Far Away

“You were right, Zn’k. The space craft that landed last week does contain biomatter in some form of status. If you hadn’t arrived in time to prevent the capsule from opening, they would have revived and immediately contaminated the planetary biosphere.”

The Daedalus One probe was being held in an isolation chamber in a medical facility by beings that would be unrecognizable as sentient life forms to anyone like Chester and Helen Menkin.

“We had better inject the container with radioactive waste to make sure the contaminants all die off, Tb’q. If your readings are correct, left unchecked, the DNA encoded into the bacteria would have evolved to replace us as the dominant species on our world.”

“Do you think this was an act of war by some alien species, Zn’k?”

“More like an act of survival, I suspect, Tb’q. But it doesn’t matter. We will not allow ourselves to be extinguished as a race for the sake of this interloper species.

“I’ll prepare the injection, Zn’k.”

I got the idea for this wee bit of flash fiction from an article called Our Best Bet for Colonizing Space May Be Printing Humans on Other Planets. Granted, I didn’t exploit the “printing” idea in my story, but I have heard this idea before.

Of course, what’s good for the human race might not be good for sentient species on other planets.

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