A History (excerpt)

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(From Thresholds 45: Myth, edited by Zachary Angles)

First Contact

To speak of how humans first came to inhabit our planet, it is pertinent to address (and redress) the issue of beginnings in general. Therefore, the first three chapters of our history, in addition to providing a series of episodes on the first settlers, colonization strategies, the roles of engineering, and social structures, also tackle the problems of the tabula rasa condition in which the planet was effectively encountered. Though our recorded timeline officially begins with the very first expedition in MY1, it should also be traced as a continuation of Earth’s existing timeline (hence the use of both chronologies). These parallel threads, while sometimes directly overlapping, exist as direct frames of reference for our narrative. As we will see below, eventually one overtakes the other, but without an understanding of their mutual dependence, our story risks falling apart.

We begin by examining the remnants of Earth’s attempts to reach the red planet. Contrary to popular belief, early visitors to our planet were not predominantly concerned with colonization. From the archives, we gather that Earth’s scientific interests in Mars before EY2015 were purely academic, that is to say, observational. Cases like the Curiosity Rover Mission and other unmanned exploratory assignments to research geology and climate conditions on the planet attest to this academic enterprise, yet there is also evidence that suggests the explorations went further, ultimately looking at potential human habitation. For instance, the set of four manned missions that took place between EY2022 a.d. and EY2035 a.d. have logs prioritizing research umbrellas such as agricultural experimentation and resource extraction. Though the only physical interactions with the planet were in reality minimal and structures were temporary, it is difficult to reconcile such a vast investment without an ulterior colonial agenda.

Yet it was not until EY2045 a.d. that the first official one-way voyage took place. Records cite that the impetus for this undertaking was a collaborative effort by the United Earth Coalition to establish a joint colony on the red planet. Given the size of the expedition, amount of allocated resources, and the fact that a quarter of the crew consisted of a varied sampling of Earth’s population, the operation was considered an unprecedented advancement, not only in extra-planetary travel, but also in the evolution of the human race. As such, Alexandros and Xi, the militant commanders of the mission, re-classified the landing of Genesis I, II, and III as Sol 0 in MY1. This timeline re-zeroing effectively established the beginning of our historical frame of reference, not to mention the secondary timeline previously discussed. By instituting this new chronological datum, the leaders secured a socio-political infrastructure for the future independence of the colony…

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