Friday, November 14, 2008

The Friday Challenge - 11/14/08

As of the deadline we have four submissions for the 11/7/08 Friday Challenge, and as usual, they range from the sublime to the silly. In the order submitted, they are:

Vidad: "The Chosen One"

Knarf: "Inauguration Day"

Henry: "Happy Annointment Day!"

Snowdog: "One Year of HopeChange"

As always, you're invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorites among the entries, and we will plan to announce the winner on Sunday evening.

Now, as for this week's Friday Challenge:

I call this one the Space Colonist's Dilemma. Imagine you're one of the leaders, perhaps the leader, of the first expedition sent out to colonize another star system. After five years of traveling at relativistic speeds, during which, say, forty years have passed back on Earth, you've finally reached your destination: Tau Ceti IV, and it's a paradise. The air is breathable and clean, the temperature range within acceptable Earth norms, and the local ecology safely compatible with human life and agriculture. There are no large predatory animals, no ugly biochemical, bacteriological, or viral surprises, and no signs that anything even remotely resembling intelligent life ever developed on this world, or aside from you, ever will.

Accordingly, your group has decided to stay, not that you had much choice in the matter. Planting a colony on this world will require cannibalizing almost all of the critical systems from your starship, and the stripped-down hulk will never fly again. Now, today, you are about to decommission the last major subsystem prior to shutting down the main power plant: the communications system. You need the parts, short of coupling it to the main reactor you have no hope of juicing it enough to reach Earth anyway, and besides, communications with Earth have been pretty spotty all along, as the lightspeed lag increased. The last message you received from Earth was twenty years old when you got it, and all it did was pretty much validate all the reasons why you chose to leave Earth in the first place, as things had pretty much kept progressing the way they were going when you left. The one thing that came as a mild surprise to you was the decision, by whatever governing body was now in charge of things back there, to build and launch no more follow-up ships until they heard back from your expedition.


So this is the last message your expedition will ever transmit to Earth. It will take Earth twenty years to receive it, and be received by the great-grandchildren of the people you left behind. The odds of your fellow colonists ever seeing or hearing it are next to nil.

What do you say?

As always, we're playing by the so-called rules for the Friday Challenge, and playing for whatever is behind Door #2. The deadline for entries is midnight Central time, Thursday, Noveber 20.

Interesting dilemma, hmm?