Author: J.D. Rice

Dear Traveler,

Welcome. Don’t be alarmed at the state of our planet, the overgrowth is intentional. We decided to let nature take the reins while we slumbered.

We are eager to meet you. . . too eager, you might say. You have likely already found remnants of our spaceports, for they were numerous, and maybe even the skeletons of the many ships we used to fly into the stars in search of you. Our cosmic neighborhood is remote, compared to other galaxies we’ve observed, but we would eventually stumble upon you ourselves. Long range telescopes have identified some truly promising candidate worlds – places we thought might exhibit signs of life like ourselves – but they were farther away than even hypothetical propulsion systems could reach.

Our people, collectively and after much debate, have decided that we cannot wait for you any longer. Our lives are tranquil, free of want and need, our lifespans many times greater than they have been for much of our history. We have no sickness. Little death. Barely any struggle in our lives at all, other than searching for you. It was. . . is. . . our one, unifying passion.

But we now know that our technology will not progress enough, not even in the next 10,000 years, to ever be able to reach you.

And. . . well. . . we just can’t wait that long.

So, here we are. Our entire species, frozen away. Waiting for you to wake us up.

Do whatever research here that you may need. I’m sure your technology is greater than ours, but you are welcome to learn from our artifacts. We only ask that you please, please, wake us up. Plans for the transition and information on stockpiles of food and provisions can be found in our database. They include many contingencies should any technology have broken down over the millenia.

I am eager to share with you knowledge of our culture and way of life, and to learn of yours as well.

I say again: Please wake us up.

Yours truly,
Sovereign P’Jat K’Rroan, Planetary Leader of Penalthus III

The message sat unread on the monitor, displayed in hundreds of languages native to the planet and even some languages invented specifically for alien life to find easier to decode. Nearby, a series of mathematical and chemical equations played on a loop, both serving as a demonstration of the species’ intelligence, and also as a means of speeding communication, once the cryopods inevitably were opened.

The central database could be accessed on the final monitor, the entire system powered by a nuclear fission generator that would last billions of years. The messages could play longer than the life of the planet’s star.

And so they did.

They played when the meteor shower scorched the surface. They played when the planet’s moon broke apart, transforming into a ring of rock and ice. They played as the stars blinked out, one by one, over uncounted time.

They played on and on, until the day when their own star reached the end of its life, sending out a solar flare that snuffed the planet – and the civilization slumbering there – out of existence for good.

No one ever found them. No one ever would.

They had lived and slept and died. . . alone.

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