You are the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet. Write the note that you leave to those who come after you.
I know that, like me, you will find this place strange and beautiful. Sadly, I won’t be here to share your joy with you, so it is from the bottom of my soul that I want to warn you, for, by the time you arrive here, be it in five centuries, or in five years, or in five millennia, I won’t be here to tell you face to face. I also know that you may not believe me.
This planet is beautiful, of a beauty that I, who has travelled through space and time for eons, have never seen, ever, anywhere else. Perhaps you will find some descriptions of such beauty in novels. Two thirds of the surface is covered with oceans: yes, you read correctly, water! The hills and mountains are covered with seasonal flowers and ancient trees. There are ruins, very old, although some appear more recent. I found the atmosphere clean and, for our kind, breathable. The only worrying measurement I made, was a high level of radioactivity, and this is not background, it comes from the ground. I have not found, in the time I had free to look, a clear explanation. Some volcanoes are still active, but their activity is not recent enough or high enough to explain the high level.
I fear that some terrible events in some antiquity may account for this observation. What I want to say before I go, and this is my warning, is that this world is only inhabited by insects, and some small crustaceans in the oceans, as far as I could find out. With one exception: I met a creature, evidently intelligent, and of some humanoid kind, although wearing what looked like a primitive space suit. That creature gave me twenty four hours of the planet time to leave, or face summary execution. The creature did not give me time to ask questions. “It” quickly disappeared, after warning me that any other following visitors would face the same fate, but this time, without warning. After it had gone, I realised the creature had spoken my tongue without effort or hesitation. I was confounded.
I leave this in the most obvious place for you to find, as it seems some kind of monument that no doubt you will see from space.
Please leave as soon as you have read this.
Image: Shawn Dulaney – Heavy Sea, 2011
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