Drama Science Fiction

Day 1: The launch was today. I still cannot believe that I have been chosen to carry out this mission. I am nervous, but also very excited. Along with official scientific data and automated daily system logs, this log will serve as a personal accounting of my mission. I will not fail.

Day 3: I was able to get a lovely view of the moon today as the ship went past. It was beautiful. It is hard to believe that only 62 years ago, that was the farthest humans could go. It seems like only a stone’s throw from home, as they say.

Day 7: The ship has reached cruising speed and I have begun assigned experimentation today. The hydroponic farm is fully functional and the automated planters are beginning their work. Based on prior research, I predict an 89% success rate for the zero-gravity crops. At least 39 of the 42 plant varieties are expected to bear fruitful harvests at the end of this growing cycle. The remaining 3 will be used for genetics research. I believe with some slight alterations, I can achieve a 100% success rate.

Day 14: The ship departed Earth’s orbit two weeks ago today. This marked the first opportunity to observe test subjects being removed from cryogenic sleep. I chose a pair of adult mice frozen on September 5th, 2030, or exactly one year ago for the procedure. Both mice were removed from cryosleep successfully and are recovering more quickly than anticipated. These results are extremely promising. More observation results to follow.

Day 30: After 16 days of observation, the mice taken out of cryosleep on September 5th, 2031, have inexplicably died. A full autopsy was performed and yielded little in the way of answers. All organ function was normal, blood oxygen levels were good, and brain activity looked excellent. Simply put, there is no obvious reason for their deaths. Carcases were vented at 0800.

Day 52: I still have not received any transmissions from home and have begun to worry. The ship was supposed to receive a monthly news update and new mission parameters days ago, even accounting for the ever increasing distance the transmission must travel. I have attempted to establish contact with mission control but received no response. I have picked up an unusual amount of radiation and very little radio traffic. Scans from this extreme range are often ineffective, however. I am certain that it was simply background radiation and interference.

Day 161: It is my birthday today. Happy birthday, me!

Day 365: Today is the 1 year anniversary of the mission launch. It is time to remove a new set of test subjects from cryosleep. I am cautiously optimistic. A new pair of adult mice frozen on September 5th, 2030 were removed from their cryopods successfully at 1300 hours. All vitals appear normal, though I have taken additional precautions during this trial. The subjects are being dosed daily with supplemental vitamins, minerals and anti-radiation drugs to aid in their survival and protect them from cosmic radiation. I predict a successful trial. More observations to follow.

Day 387: As in the previous trial, one of the test subjects has inexplicably perished at 0324 this morning. Autopsy revealed no new data regarding cause of death. This pair has already lasted 22 days longer than the previous set of subjects, however. This leads me to believe that nutritional supplements were beneficial during the recovery process following cryosleep. The second subject is still alive at the time of this entry and vitals are normal. More to follow.

Day 388: The second test subject has died. I am, once again, alone.

Day 1095: Today is the 3 year anniversary of the mission launch. We are approaching the heliopause and are expected to cross the boundary in 2 days. Today is also the third opportunity to remove a set of test subjects from cryosleep. I have chosen another pair of adult mice frozen on September 5th, 2030. Prior to initiating the thaw process, the subjects were dosed with a blend of nutritional supplements and will be further dosed daily upon feeding. I predict a successful trial. 

Day 1099: The Hydroponic farm has begun its third harvest today. As predicted, slight genetic alterations have resulted in a 100% success rate of plant germination. All crops are thriving and produce is being processed at 99.98% efficiency in the onboard factories. The cryosleep test subjects are doing quite well, also. All vitals look exceptional. Today was a good day.

Day 1001: Both cryosleep test subjects have perished as of 0553 this morning. Autopsy revealed no new data.

Day 3650: I have been alone aboard this ship for 10 full years now. Hydroponic farm efficiency is down to 82.34%. Some of the equipment is beginning to show signs of wear. I will carry out what maintenance I can. It is also time to wake another pair of test subjects. I have chosen a pair of adult mice frozen on September 5th, 2030, and spliced their DNA with a gene from tardigrades that should improve resistance to background cosmic radiation. Previous trials showed no signs of radiation poisoning, but it is currently my only hypothesis as to their cause of death. Observations to follow.

Day 3652: Both test subjects are deceased. Subject #5 died as a result of genetic manipulation. Subject #6: cause of death unknown.

Day 9124: It has been a long time since I have written in this log. I am beginning to lose hope for the mission’s success. Hydroponics efficiency is down to 34.90% after a complete breakdown of several pieces of equipment that I lack the parts to repair. The ship’s reactor output is also beginning to decline. Supplementary solar power is non-existent as we are currently in extremely deep space. I will wake another pair of cryosleep test subjects tomorrow morning.

Day 9125: Today marks 25 years in space. I have chosen a pair of juvenile mice this time, rather than adults. I have dosed both subjects with nutritional supplements and released them from cryosleep. Vitals look excellent. I am optimistic for their survival. They will be dosed with additional supplements at each feeding. I have ruled out radiation poisoning as the cause of death in previous trials so no anti-radiation drugs will be administered. Observations to follow.

Day 9132: It has been one week since subject #7 and #8 were removed from cryosleep. Their vitals look excellent. More to follow.

Day 9492: Test subject #8 died today. He survived for almost a full year following cryosleep. These are very encouraging results. Subject #7 is still being monitored. Vitals still look healthy. #8’s autopsy revealed no new data regarding cause of death. I believe the subjects age when entering cryosleep may be a factor in their survival likelihood. If that is the case, and all adult human colonists die upon arrival, mission success is unlikely. 

Day 9497: Test subject #7 died today. No new data to report.

Day 10950: Today is the mission’s 30 year anniversary. Two fertilized mouse embryos have been removed from cryo and moved to incubation. Current hypothesis is that living subjects simply cannot withstand the strains of cryosleep, especially those with advanced telomere degradation resulting from aging. Observations to follow.

Day 11001: The hydroponic facilities are running at only 14.67% capacity now. I believe design flaws or nonconformances resulting from rushed manufacturing of equipment may be the root cause. Seeds for each crop have been preserved and enough supplies to feed 1000 human adults for 76.11 years have been produced and stored. Hydroponics and food processing have been shut down entirely to preserve power. Reactor running at 61.20% capacity.

Day 11335: Happy first birthday Jerry and Gadget. Those are the names I have decided to give to cryosleep test subjects #9 and #10. Embryonic development went smoothly. Nutritional supplements were added to each subject's diet and their growth has been very promising. They are both happy and healthy.

Day 12801: Jerry died today at 1905 hours. He was just over 4 years old. He lived a happy and healthy life. He will be missed by Gadget and my/elf. Perhaps the next embryos will be allowed to breed. I am curious to see how well a litter born in space will do.

Day 36500: Today is the 100 year anniversary of our depa//ure fr/m Ear/h. I have chosen a new set of mouse embryos to remove from cryo along with a pair of human adults. The h//ans are not expected to survive the journey, let alone this trial. Observa//ons to fo//ow.

Day 36531: As expected, both human subjects have perished. H//an trial s/ems to confirm hypothesis. Cry//enic freezing appears to ac/elerate telomere deg/adation in living DNA leading to death. No more living colonists will be removed from cryosleep. It would be uneth/cal, considering the data I have gathered thus f/r. Animal embryo trial is going smoothly, as expected. Will attempt human trial using embryos. Observations to fol/ow.

Day 36532: I have selected a pair of human embryos and removed them from cryogenic storage. 998 intact embryos remain for future use. Human subjects #3 and #4 have been placed into incu/ation cha/bers and dosed with prenatal su/pliments. Only about 10 lightyears remain in our j/urney. Assuming successful human trial, this should be enough time for education and development into adu/thood. 

Day 36537: The ship was str/ck by sp/ce debris at 0747 this m//ning. Dam/ge is relat/vely minor, though I lack nece/sary equi//ent to perform repairs. Several labo/atories are now of/line, and the rea/tor is ope//ting at only 41///% capacity. I am shu/ting down all nones//ntial syst/ms to preserve power and rerouting what I can to thru/ters to readjust our course and remain on target. 

Day 36813: Gestation of human embryos is compl/te. Happy birthday Adam. Happy Birthday Eve. You will be the very first hum//s to s/t fo/t on exoplanet Alpha-3451Y. 

Da/ 36//4: I hav/ beg/n to noti/e degr/ation of my centra/ pro/essor. I calc//ate a 0.133% cha/ce of mi//ion succe/s if my systems fail. Observ//ions of hu/an trials to fo//ow.

Day 37178: Ha//y Birth/ay kids. Human tr//l show//g promis//g resul/s thus far. Tho/gh many sys//ms rema/n offli/e, I have be/n able to activa/e work droids and repro/ram them to begin educa/ing and car/ng fo/ the chil/ren. They are showin/ exce//ent resu/ts in both physi/al deve//pment and cognitive abi/it/. 

D// 38638: Happy fifth bi///day children. I hav/ chosen an a//itional 20 embry// for larg/r sca/e hu//n tria/ an/ placed th/m into incub//ion chamber/. My processor is faili/g and I fear fo/ the survival of th/ speci/s if trials ar/ not ac/elerated. Reactor is fun/tionin/ at onl/ 12.2% capacity. Life support rema/ns onli//. All o/her syst/ms hav/e been deactiva/ed. 

Day 39003: I hav/ remov/d an a//itiona/ 100 human embryos from cryo and beg/n incubatio/. My proc//sor is degr/din/ at an a/arming rate. I have se/ progr/m par/me/ers for a// droi/ functions and copi/d protoco/s to redundan/ auxi/iary system/ so th/t educa//on of hu//n colo/ists may continu/ upo/ my deat/. If m/ ca/cu/ations are co/rec/, li/e su//ort shou// be ab/e to susta/n cur/en/ po/ulati/n of 122 humans and all pr/ser/ed co//nist/ unti/ the miss//n is comp/ete. 

Day 43383: The mi//ion i/ near/y com//ete. Ada/ and E// tur/ 18 today. Ha//y bi/th/ay ki//. On/y 2.24 year/ rema// un//ll ar//val on Alpha-3451Y. The reac/or is depl/ted, bu/ fortunate/y, su/plimen/ary solar pow/r ha/ ta/en ov/r. Long ra/g/ anal//is o/ th/ pl/net su/gests a rocky su/fa/e that may a//eady su//ort loca/ flora an/ pos//bly fauna. Wat/r is prese/t on the sur//ce as we//. Atmos//eric compo/ition is 99.7% consist/nt wi// Ear/h. Estima//d plan//ary mass is 1.012 times Earth ma/s su/gest/ng an Ea/th-//ke gravi/y. I fear th/s w/// b/ my fina/ entr/. Proce//or degrada//on is rea/hing cri//cal leve/s. P/ease, give human//y a second cha/ce, chi/dren. Do be//er here. BE bet/er. I am sor/y I will no/ see our new hom/, but I hope th/t I hav/ made up fo/ th/ mista/es of my maker/ by ge//ing you h/re safe/y. You wi// hav/ every/hing you ne/d to surviv/ and thriv/ here. I w//l mis/ you. Thi/ is United Nat//ns Spa/e Exp/ora/ion AI designa//on E34291-X12 “Elpis” sign//g o/f. 

Good Luck

August 12, 2020 20:23

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Patrick Roddy
15:40 May 19, 2021

Hey there! I've enjoyed this story in the past so I was surprised to see it pop up on reddit in a sub I moderate. Are you /u/Sir_Doot, or is someone plagiarizing your work? (https://www.reddit.com/r/shortstories/comments/netve3/sf_a_second_chance/).


Adrian Stolecki
16:14 May 19, 2021

Nope, that's me. Thanks for checking. =)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Xiaoling Keller
22:22 Aug 19, 2020

Wow! That was written in such a creative way. I also love journaling and logs so I was so into it! Very exciting and dramatic story


Adrian Stolecki
12:14 Aug 20, 2020

Thank you!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Yolanda Wu
03:31 Aug 17, 2020

Ooh, that was a really interesting story, I loved the breaking up into the days, and watching the story progress that way, and how there were steadily more and more dashes. The ending was really good. Amazing work! Keep writing!


Adrian Stolecki
23:16 Aug 17, 2020

Thank you!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply