THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT IS CLASSIFIED ---TOP SECRET--- ABSOLUTELY NO ACCESS TO THIS DOCUMENT IS TO BE ALLOWED TO ANY PERSONS WITHOUT [Red 9] SECURITY CLEARANCE Ministry of Sophont Relations Joint Scientific and Exploratory Operations Commission Project ELOHIM Executive Summary January 14th, 2089 BACKGROUND In the 21 years since the Ministry's founding following First Contact with the Thradashal, and in the Contact events subsequent, the Ministry of Sophont Relations has been largely successful in carrying out its directive of maintaining peaceful and productive relations with extraterrestrial civilizations. Just as importantly, the Ministry has been successful in its unspoken mandate to buffer and moderate the shock of alien interaction with humanity. Implicit in the Ministry's efforts has been the assumption of the territorial integrity of the Sol System. Although it is well beyond our present capability to command or deter interstellar traffic into and out of the solar system, we have at least felt secure in the belief that Sol could not be entered or exited surreptitiously. The sheer scale of the energies involve in interstellar transit preclude the possibility of such technologies being employed in a “stealthy” manner. All visitation to the solar system has been observed and tracked by terrestrial agencies without great difficulty. We may as yet lack the ability to control access to our solar system, but at least we have never lacked for warning of impending visitation. Likewise, no evidence has yet been discovered that would indicate any preexisting alien presence in the solar system, extant or extinct, within recent geological time. The Thradashal and Shirriv'ki both maintain that no record of any previous exploration of Sol exists within their archives. Nor does any pre-Contact information regarding humanity exist in their records, according to them. Both stress that their information is far from complete, and that some intelligent presence in the Sol System in the deep past is not unlikely. Galactic civilization as a whole is much, much older than any of our species. It should be noted that these queries exclude the Custodians from consideration, as the extent of their domain, in both time and space, cannot be guessed. DISCOVERY OF ELOHIM June 7, 2088: Telemetry from Europa Astrobiology Station ceases without warning at 21:39 UTC. A fraction of a second later all telemetry from Relay Galileo ceases. Unable to establish any subsequent contact with any equipment in the Jovian system. June 8: Farside Lunar Observatory re-tasked to observe Galilean moons. Initially, no obvious indicators of unusual activity were observed. Quickly, however, it became apparent that the inner moon Amalthea had disappeared from view, despite the fact that conditions at the time should have allowed direct viewing. Observations were subsequently focused on the former location of Amalthea and its orbit. FLO detected an expanding shell of icy debris centered on the presumed location of Amalthea. Analysis showed that the debris composition matched that of the missing moon, but the mass was insufficient to accord for the entire body. Even at the extremes of the margin of error at least ten percent of the mass of Amalthea was unaccounted for. The scope of observation was expanded while remaining focused on Amalthea's orbit. June 12: A unknown body is detected in a previously unknown orbit around Jupiter. Previous data is reanalyzed in light of this discovery, and the object is discovered in observation data dating back as far as the initial sweeps on the 8th. The MSR declares possible High Energy Event of Extraterrestrial Origin (HEEEO) and Intelligent Threat Contact (ITC) situations. All data is immediately classified Red 9, gag and blackout orders in place. Object is given provisional designation ELOHIM. ELOHIM PHYSICAL DATA: Object is a perfectly regular torus to the limits of measurement Diameter: 102.3 km Height: 20.5 km Width 1.67 km Based on radiotelescope data, the object possesses a magnetic field of substantial strength; the field is at least sufficient to protect an area at least hundreds of kilometers wide from the charged particle radiation of the Jovian system. The object's orbit is highly circular, at approximately halfway between the orbits of Europa and Ganymede. It is important to note that simple ejection from an exploding Amalthea could not have produced this particular orbit; deliberate orbital maneuvering under power is the only tenable explanation. The outer surface of the ring has a high albedo and whitish color, whereas the inner surface is darker and grayer. There is evidence of surface features but they are difficult to resolve at this distance. PROJECT ELOHIM MISSION OVERVIEW By emergency resolution of the Assembly Extraterrestrial Affairs Committee the MSR is hereby directed to mount an expedition to determine the nature of Elohim and ascertain potential threat status. The Committee authorizes the use of any and all means and resources necessary that remain compatible with Red 9 secrecy directives. It is deemed essential to public safety and interstellar relations that secrecy be maintained for as long as possible. On the recommendation of the Minister for Sophont Relations and the MSR department heads the decision was made to involve the Thradashal Embassy in Project ELOHIM. The Embassy reported that they were unable to identify ELOHIM, and concur with the decision to send an exploratory mission. The Embassy pledged such technical assistance as they were able to provide to the project. The Thradashal Trading Fleet is not due to return to Earth for another 12 years at least. Because Sol has not yet been determined to be of high trading interest to the Thradashal, their Embassy was not left with any high value assets, such as a starship or functional interplanetary spacecraft. However, the Embassy was able to provide, on loan, an extremely advanced interplanetary drive unit, to be mated with a spacecraft of human construction. The price for this loan was complete access to all data acquired on ELOHIM before, during, and after the mission, as well as a seat on the flight for a Thradashal technical specialist. JSEOC was tasked with developing the mission profile and designing the necessary hardware. Taking the capabilities of the Thradashal Drive into consideration, the decision was made to base the ship on an existing Earth-Mars cycler. Modifications have been made to augment communications, radiation resistance, and life support endurance, as well as necessary adaptations to join with the drive unit. As of this writing the ship, dubbed the Arthur C. Clarke, is undergoing final assembly. The most pressing concern is now crew selection. For security purposes and simple expediency the training period for the crew must be significantly shortened. Clarke remains on schedule for a July 2089 launch. On a 0.01g brachistochrone trajectory the Clarke will arrive at Jupiter approximately 63 days after launch. ARTHUR C. CLARKE SPECIFICATIONS Length: 120.3 m Width: 13 m main body, 32 m outer diameter of habitat wheel (not including radiator booms) Height: 12.5 m Propulsion: Thradashal xenotech drive unit. Drive is categorized as “propellent-less reaction motor”. The drive exerts an attractive or repulsive force against distant massive bodies, such as Earth or Jupiter, allowing for the exchange of momentum, and thus propulsion, to occur without the need to expel reaction mass. The drive consumes only electrical energy. Fundamental physical basis unknown. The drive will permit a continuous 0.01g acceleration for the entire duration of flight. Delta-v is limited only by reactor power output, and is effectively unlimited for the purposes of this flight. A backup propulsion system exists in the form of the ship's nuclear fusion reactor, which can be used to directly heat H2 propellent, forming a plasma exhaust. Delta-v of this system is limited due to the relatively small quantity of on-board propellent. Power plant: The primary power source is a pure He3 fusion reactor, maximum output approx. 200 MW. Secondary power provided by fission reactor, primarily intended to allow for cold restart of the fusion reactor, output approx. 5 MW. Tertiary power provided by fuel cell banks, output approx. 500 kW. Emergency battery reserve, total energy approx. 100 kWh. Heat rejection: Primary radiator is straight-boom droplet-type, operable in both thrust and freefall conditions. Life support radiation is via dedicated surface radiators on habitat ring. Life Support: 800 days for 8 crew out of hibernation. Hibernation is employed on the inbound and outbound flight phases, during which life support drain is minimal. The Habitat section consists of a 3 RPM centrifugal habitat module, generating Martian (0.38g) gravity. The Habitat contains small living quarters, communal space, recreation and exercise space, primary laboratories, medical bay, kitchen and dining area, and algae-culture bay. The Hub contains the radiation shelter, zero-g laboratory, rapid fabricator, and EVA bay. In addition to the radiation shelter, the ship is equipped with a plasma-magnetosphere shield for protection against charged particle radiation. The shield provides sufficient protection against the Jovian radiation environment that the ship may operate indefinitely at a distance from Jupiter roughly corresponding to the orbit of Europa. Operations closer than this distance must be kept brief, and be conducted with the crew in the rad shelter. Communication: High power signal laser for high-bandwidth communication with Earth. Two high-gain steerable antenna dishes for high-bandwidth local communication or low-bandwidth backup communication with Earth. Omnidirectional low-gain antenna array for local communication only. EVA Equipment and Support Craft: One rigid spacesuit custom fitted to each crew member plus spares. Eight universal soft spacesuits plus spares. Four Remote or Human Operated robots, or “RHObots”. A RHObot is a self-contained EVA capsule, capable of being operated by a single on-board human pilot, remote operation, or limited autonomous guidance. Each RHObot is equipped with various scientific and engineering equipment such as high-dexterity manipulator arms, active and passive sensor arrays, cargo rack, and zero-g toolkit. Each is propelled by a liquid-fuel H2/O2 rocket motor. Each contains a shirt-sleeve environment for one pilot, with external connections for life support sharing with spacesuits. Life support capacity is one man-day. AI: The Clarke carries a HAMI Mk. IV (Human Analogue Machine Intelligence) as its on-board artifical intelligence. The extreme light-lag between Jupiter and Earth prohibits the use of cloudmind systems. Defense: Fixed axial mount free-electron laser. Output ranges in frequency from visible to soft x-ray. Maximum output is 500 kW in continuous mode, 2 MW in pulsed mode. Frequencies above hard UV are available only in pulsed mode. One Autonomous Kill Vehicle, Fencer-class, the Spray and Pray. The Spray is a small, unmanned combat drone originally designed for the orbital superiority role. It is powered by a tri-modal solid core fission rocket and guided by a non-sapient but very sophisticated battle intelligence. The Spray can be given strategic, high level instructions but operates independently on a tactical level; in full autonomous mode it has goal-seeking programming and the ability to form its own strategies. Submunitions: 10x HE conventional missiles 5x variable-yield nuclear missiles 5x Casaba-Howitzer nuclear-lance missiles 2x 20mm autocannons 1x visible laser, 50kW pulsed fire. The Spray and Pray is concealed within a false cryogenic fuel tank. The drone is released from concealment by explosive dissociation of the false tank. Once deployed it cannot be camouflaged again. CREW Total 8 biological crew plus resident AI. Crew Breakdown: 1 Mission Commander, MWA Astronaut Corp (selected) 1 Thradashal Liason/Engineering Specialist, Thradashal Citizen (selected) 6 Mission Specialists, Various (TBD) Crew Dossier (for crew selected as of this writing) MC: Commander Leann Xia. Born March 13, 2049, Shanghai. Doctor of Astrophysics. Veteran of two Martian Expeditions. Logged 23 months in space career total. Previous assignment: Commander, Tycho Station. TL: Citizen Gynamastronum. Birth date unknown, Hopeful Venture Trading Fleet. Thradashal Embassy resident, 21 years. Part of Thradashal First Contact party. Master Shipmaker. Previous assignment: JSEOC Representative. Mission Specialist Positions Remaining to be Filled: Theoretical Physicist Aerospace Engineer Astrobiologist Anthropologist/Linguist Computer Scientist Ship's Surgeon/Psychologist Recruitment Notes: Mission profile dictates that the best of the best be recruited to fill Mission Specialist positions, subject to availability and willingness to commit to secrecy protocols. Previous space experience not a priority. Importance of psychological profile downgraded but not eliminated, key screening focus on determining interpersonal compatibility, mission commitment, and mental health and stability. Importance of background check downgraded. Physical health check remains priority (transhuman level not relevant). Organizational Note: Cmdr. Xia, while in overall command of the mission, is not expected to exercise routine decision-making authority where investigation of ELOHIM is concerned. Due to highly technical nature of mission, all scientific and exploratory activities are to be governed by consensus of science team, or at least majority rules. Cmdr. Xia has veto authority over any hazardous activities (hazard to be determined by Commander), as well as automatic authority over the operation of the ship itself, and during emergency situations. TL Gynamastronum has absolute authority over all matters pertaining to the Thradashal Drive and any other xenotech equipment on-board. An abbreviated training program, compatible with anticipated recruitment and launch dates, is be prepared. PROJECTED FUTURE DATES July 5, 2089: Arthur C. Clarke launch from Tranquility Station. September 6, 2089: Jupiter and ELOHIM encounter. September 13, 2091: Final launch date for return voyage. CONCLUSION Elohim almost certainly represents the work of an unidentified extraterrestrial intelligence. An elaborate hoax or deception by existing ET presence is considered highly unlikely. Most worryingly, alien contingent on Earth appears as clueless as us. Elohim's origins, purpose, and capabilities are a complete mystery, but almost certainly embodies advanced technology well beyond our own. Its potential benefit to mankind is matched only by its potential danger. A mission to study this object, as closely as possible, as quickly as possible, has been deemed vital to humanity's collective interest by the highest levels of the Many Worlds Assembly. Almost all ordinary exploratory protocol is being modified or discarded in order to obtain the quickest possible launch date. It has been decided that, at minimum, Red 9 secrecy is to be maintained up to launch, and for as long as possible thereafter. Declassification may only be granted by the joint decision of the Minister for Sophont Relations and the AEAC, or by direct order of the Prime Minister. Good luck and godspeed, Ranjeet Bains Asst. Vice-Secretary, JSEOC, MSR END DOCUMENT OOC: Okay, here's my next project. Assuming I can get six players to sign up, I'll post more detail character creation info. This is intended to be a much more character-driven affair than my last RP, and despite the expansive set up there should be plenty of character interaction between players. If that doesn't interest you, or you don't want to do much IC writing, you'll want to reconsider this one. Also, the Commander, the Alien, and the AI are NPCs, so don't ask.