The Chronicles of the XXII Century
The 22nd century was the age of major projects and great discoveries. Like a turbulent stream, it began its way into the river of time ending with a waterfall of equally shocking events which marked the beginning of the horizontal mankind separation.
The present work is an attempt to put into perspective the events, projects, accomplishments, and sometimes even purely personal reminiscences most characteristic of the 22nd century based on the chronicles, stories, and memoirs available in the archives of the Great Global Informatorium (GGI) (See GGI tip).
The beginning of the 22nd century was darkened by "the Massachusetts Nightmare". Back then, a team of brave researchers has designed, constructed, and put into operation the most complex cybernetic device ever built. The machine has worked for only four minutes which was enough for its creators to understand that they were witnessing the birth of the new, non-human civilization of the Earth with prospects completely unpredictable. The machine has immediately been shut off, cemented, booby-trapped, and surrounded with a barbed wire fence. These events were later described by Isaac Bromberg, a historian of science, in his book, How It Really Was.
Fifteen years later, namely in the year 17, the attention of the Planet was captured by another event, both strange and outstanding -- the return of the Taimyr spacecraft which departed from Pluto-2 launch site in early 21st century for a long range exploration mission and was considered lost. As it turned out, the crew of the spacecraft (of which only Sergei Kondratiev, the navigator, and Evgeni Slavin, the physician, made it back to the Earth) has, for the first time in the Planet's history, completed a sigma-deritrinitation (See GGI tip) without even knowing it. Because of the legenic acceleration, a significant distortion of time scale occurred which moved the return of the spacecraft by a hundred years ahead. Also, the crew of Taimyr was the first to ever land at a planet of another solar system, the Blue Sands Planet. The spacecraft itself is now kept at the Cosmogation Museum, available for public viewing.
In the same year 17, the World Council (See GGI tip) approved the project of Venusian atmosphere distillation offered by a group of scientists, and thousands of volunteers rushed to implement it. The rush captured the attention of a younger generation as well; the chronicles mention four young inhabitants of Room 18 at An'yudino School, namely Gennadi "Captain" Komov, Mikhail "Atos" Sidorov, Alexander "Paul" Kostylin, and Paul "Lieber Polly" Gnedykh (all of them have later become famous). These danger-defying young gentlemen have prepared and almost completed a plan of escaping to Venus which failed due to the efforts undertaken by teacher Tenin.
In the year 21, a Ranger (See GGI tip) named August Bader discovered a satellite of two kilometers in diameter near the planet of Vladislava in the EN 17 system. The satellite was identical to those of Mars (Phobos and Deimos) constructed by the supercivilization of Wanderers (See GGI tip) and long since abandoned. The Vladislava satellite was also very old and abandoned a long time ago. In addition to this important discovery, other equally important events occurred. The Great Well reached the center of the Earth, the Blind Spot near the EN 117 star was stormed, and the activity of the Progressors (See GGI tip) commenced. At a newly discovered planet, an early feudalistic civilization has been found, so the researchers from the Institute for Experimental History decided to test their theories of feudal society development. The researchers infiltrated the Arkanar Kingdom, the Princedoms of Irukan and Uban, the Republic of Soan, the Metropolis of Estor, and a number of other nations on the planet. There have been, however, some unpredictable accidents. Thus, Rumata of Estor a.k.a. Anton Malyshev, a researcher of the Institute for Experimental History, has left an eternal trace in the legends of that world.
In the 30s, the Martian flying leeches formerly considered extinct have become active, and the residents of Mars had to organize a hunting effort to destroy the entire population of the leeches. One can now see them stuffed at the Cosmozoology Museum.
In the year 31, an attempt to explore the planet of Vladislava has been undertaken by Rangers Leonid Gorbovsky and Mark Walkenstein. During a probing flight into the planet's atmosphere, a young biologist named Mikhail Sidorov has completed a risky landing which almost killed the entire crew. Even the fact that a primitive life has been discovered as a result of the maneuver never justified Sidorov before Gorbovsky who since then has never gone on a search mission with Sidorov.
Later on, a most curious thing happened to Gorbovsky. During the flight to the EN 2657 star on his six-kilometer Tariel D-starship, he and his crew were marked by an unknown will using an unknown technology and for a long time were emitting a strong radio noise.
During the 30's, another event happened which greatly influenced the subsequent history of the human race. The planet of Leonida was discovered near the white EN 23 star. A group of Pathfinders (See GGI tip) headed by Gennadi Komov which also included Boris Fokin, Pathfinder and archaeologist, and Dr. Mboga, a zoopsychologist, has discovered a civilization living in a perfect harmony with the environment. The discovery has inspired the creation of the FSG (Free Search Group) (See GGI tip) which was joined, among others, by Alexander and Mary Semyonovs, the parents of the future "space Maugli" later found on the planet of Ark.
At the same time, the planet of Garrota was discovered. Its inhabitants, non-humanoid slugs, turned out to be intelligent. The humans were completely unable to establish a contact with them as the slugs considered the humans to be a sort of their own illusions.
Also in the 30's, attempts have been made to search for the Mutually Penetrating Spaces using the efforts of the Readers (See GGI tip) of the Earth.
The mid-30's were marked by two large-scale projects. One was the dive into the EN 2000025 Black Hole completed by the Yormala group using the unique Darkness starship. The other was the completion of the Operation Mirror, global top-secret exercise featuring the defense against an aggression from the outside (presumably, the Wanderers' invasion). The operation was managed by Rudolf Sikorski, who by that time already headed COMCON-2 (See GGI tip).
In the year 37, a group of Pathfinders led by Boris Fokin landed on a nameless planet of the EN 9137 star to explore the remains of structures supposedly constructed by the Wanderers. On December 23, an artifact later dubbed "the sarcophagus" was found in an underground hall made of amberine, a construction material highly typical for the Wanderers. The artifact later on turned out to be an embryonic safe box containing thirteen frozen fertilized eggs of Homo Sapience. The eggs made their first division, and the World Council, forced into the scenario devised by the Wanderers, made the decision to adopt into the family of mankind thirteen newly born citizens of the Earth who were to come into the world by will and skill of an alien civilization. Soon thereafter, in a meeting of the commission formed to oversee this special case, the Sikorski Memorandum was introduced.
Soon after that, the natives of the Tagora planet, until then maintaining a great relationship with the civilization of the Earth, broke all contacts with the humans. The reason, it appeared, was the very reaction of the humans to the fact of finding "the stepchildren". The Tagoreans have found something similar about 150 years ago and immediately destroyed the discovery.
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