A cordial Hello to all who may see this, and may the day embrace you!
From your history books, you will know that our ship Neverland left the vicinity of Old Earth 11,000 years ago, bound for the solar system of Arcturus. Neverland was constructed in space, over a period of 50 Terran years, and encompasses a length and breadth of about two of your kilometers. The people aboard, numbering 196 (98 pairs), were the first voyagers.
I am Sheela, a female of the 112th generation born on this vessel. I am 20 “years” old. There is an expression that I have read in books. It says “We stand upon the shoulders of giants.” And, yes, so we do. Many of the ancient stories from the beginning of this exploration tell of the challenges, tragedies, and triumphs of our forebears. Books have been my world, as I have no other.
I have never known Earth, our ancestral home, except through writings and legends passed down. I do fervently hope that my little story will reach there. I hope also that its people still survive, in the eleven millennia since Neverland took flight.
The curious name of our vessel has been a source of amusement for many of us. There is a running joke that we will “never land”. It is unknown what we will find on Tormance, the second planet in the Arcturian system. Its name comes from an obscure novel written in Earth’s 20th century. Our technology tells us only that it will be “habitable” to our species.
We of course have our own sustainable food supply, consisting of numerous crops in rotation. We do not eat beasts here, as was done on Earth, nor do we have any on board. Our protein comes from botanical sources, and the fish that we farm. Diets are kept from being dull through inventive hybrids and recipes, and our chefs enjoy a certain exalted standing in our small society.
Person of Earth, I will never know you. If we were to meet one another, I am sure there would be much strangeness. You have known a real world. I have been farmed like the fish. Earth has a violent history, and, at the time of Neverland’s birth, its very makeup was rapidly deteriorating. We too, aboard this fleeing bubble, have at times been in a mode of self destruction, even though our original crew had been picked for their stability. There have been murders, factions arising within the people, and irreconcilable differences. Still, we soldier on towards the purpose. Our numbers have been as few as one fifth of the crew that left Earth, and, as I write this, we are 125.
This may seem unsavory to you, but we compost our dead here, with rare exceptions. Services are held, in keeping with the beliefs of each family.
We, of “The 112th Regiment” (as we are called) will be the first of The People to set our feet upon the planet of a new star.
Truly, we will be Interstellar.