Commander’s Private Log
73rd Magesterium, Haakonus, Quartum 8
I, Admah Caphtor, have been assigned the post of commander of the cargo ship, Arkon with a crew of thirty. Our stated purpose is to harvest the resources, particularly dihydrogen monoxide, from a dying world in the Kuiper Belt of the system Corrolis. My first mate is Sener Tiras and one of my two chief advisors. The other is my lifemate Jamben Caphtor, although he is not listed on the crew manifest. Jamben serves also in a secret capacity. He is our ship’s theologian. I have decided to keep and encrypt a private log of our journey since, with any grace, we will go nowhere near Corrolis and instead will travel to a new and distant world.
Commander’s Private Log
73rd Magesterium, Rigellus, Quartum 8
It is with great relief that the Arkon has cleared the transit point. Up until passing through the interspace portal, the chance of discovery and destruction was ever on my heart and mind. The Arkon is classed as a cargo ship, but unlike most other cargo ships of the Imperium, the Arkon has a very contraband, and very precious cargo: 120 followers of The Herdsman. Discovery would have meant death for us all, but now we are safe beyond the reach of the Imperium’s enforcers. My first mate has laid in the new course, the course given to us by the Pneumos through the Prophet of The Herdsman so many magesteria ago. We will follow our officially registered course for a quartum before engaging the change in direction. Oh, to be sure, there are Imperium spies among my crew. They do not yet know what “cargo” the Arkon carries, but as soon as we embark on our designated path, my brothers and sisters, for I too, am a follower of The Herdsman, will be released from their confinement. I have set up precautions to intercept any messages the spies attempt to send back, although for now, I am allowing their reports to go through. The Arkon is not the only ship fleeing the Imperium’s decree of death to all The Herdsman”s followers. We have scattered in all directions and with the Jothavah’s blessing, may we all find safe harbor.
Commander’s Private Log
92nd Magesterium, Cintrus, Quartum 2
There are murmurings of mutiny among some of the crew. They think I do not hear, but I have my own spies. And in this, the Imperium spies have revealed themselves. For the followers of The Herdsman and my loyal crew members all know the purpose of our mission. It is not, as the Imperium authorized, to find worlds with resources to harvest, but to find a new home, a refuge for the people whom our Deity, Jothavah and his Son, the the Herdsman love. Still, I have not been truthful in the official log. We have long since passed the point of no return, though the official log does not show that. The rebels continue to send their reports to the Imperium, but I have intercepted them all.
The spies, of course, now know we are not on the way to the Corollis System and the real reason for our journey. In their eyes, it is I and our “cargo” who are the mutineers against the Imperium. I keep a close watch on them, for it is not without possibility they may try to hijack the ship. If they were to succeed, it would mean death for us all, including themselves, since there is no way back now to the Consortium of the Twelve Worlds. I continue to intercept their reports I wish there to be no trace of our path even many magesteria in the future.
The spies are most obvious to me when we gather each Justus to worship. They mouth the words, but I can see the discomfort in their eyes. How strange it must be for them to be in the minority, pretending to adore Jothavah, the Herdsman, and Pneumos to avoid detection. And how wonderful it is for us to sing the praise of our Deity openly, without fear of capture and death.
In happier news, seventeen infants have been birthed since we embarked on our exodus.
Commander’s Private Log
140th Magesterium, Haakonus, Quartum 4
We have begun intercepting audio signals from our destination. The translators are working feverishly to decode the transmissions. It appears that our haven is occupied. This, the Prophet of The Herdsman did not foretell. It also appears that the peoples of this world have several different languages. How strange, when throughout the Imperium there is but one mother tongue. The differing languages also seem to have very different contexts. One is harsh in tone, much like the propaganda of the Imperium, praising its military heroes and exalting the imminent conquest of neighboring lands. This is unsettling, as the prophecy led us to believe that this world was different from the Imperium. Yet, other broadcasts seem to extol fatherhood and family life. The translators have deciphered phrases such as, “Make room for Daddy,” and “Father knows best.” Despite the differences, I have assigned a group to learn each of the languages we have intercepted. The children, now numbering 46, are most adept at this.
Commander’s Private Log
145th Magesterium, Pratus, Quartum 4
We now have video signals from our destination! I am astonished at how like the creatures of this world, which they call “Earth” are to us! Jamben gently chided me. He said that in knowing we are created in the image and likeness of Jothavah, I should not be surprised that our Deity would use the same pattern to create His other flocks. Of course, Jamben is right. One good thing about this is that we will only need to make slight adjustments to our own appearances to assimilate with these “humans” as they call themselves. It does seem strange that the features and colorations of these people appear to be fixed at birth when they have a sauroid creature they call a “chameleon” that can alter its external surfaces, as we can, to match its surroundings.
We are learning much about this world from the transmissions. It is as though the Consortium of the Twelve Worlds were contained on one planet. We have also learned that this species is highly xenophobic. Therefore, my counselors and I have decided that we shall not all disembark together. Instead, we shall scatter in kinship groups across the several continents. It grieves me that we cannot remain all together, but we are not here as invaders but as refugees.
Commander’s Private Log
162nd Magesterium, Aulus, Quartum 3
We are now within probe range of our goal. We have detected many communication devices and a spacecraft in orbit around the planet. Though primitive, this indicates a higher degree of sophistication than I would have expected. It is a good thing we have shields to prevent our detection. Still, until all of the probe studies have been analyzed, we will remain in the shadow of this world’s moon. How strange it will seem to look up at the heavens and see but one moon instead of seven. It is also astonishing how fast this world moves. Its solar days and the timing of its revolutions around its star are so short! Whereas our home world rotates once in 46 hours, has nine solar days to a week, 40 weeks to a quartum and eight quartums to a solar year, and ten solar years in a magesteria. this world rotates once in just over 24 hours, has seven days to a week and 52 weeks to a solar year, although some cultures follow a shorter lunar year. It will mean considerable adjustment for our people.
Perhaps it is a function of the rapid revolutions of this world that causes its people to have such short lives. In the Coalition of the Twelve Worlds, our average lifespan is 150 magesteria, although that does vary somewhat depending upon which world one comes from. I cannot help but wonder if, as we adapt to this new world, if we – or our offspring – will also develop shorter lifespans or if we will become conspicuous by the length of our days. Well, it is all in the hands of Jothavah, whichever shall happen.
Commander’s Private Log
163rd Magesterium, Lystrus, Quartum 4
The analysis of data from the probes is complete. This world is far more complex than I had imagined. And then there is the water! So much water! While all the technology is primitive, some is more so, much more so than others. There are people groups living a subsistence existence whose only source of energy is the combustion of organic materials on individual hearths. Others, a little more advanced consolidate organic material combustion into plants to feed energy grids that stretch across much of the planet. Some small areas have tapped the geothermal resources of this world where access is close to the surface. And while there is evidence of nuclear generated power, many of these primitive reactors are either idle or appear to be ageing. Most laughable of all are power generators that rely on solar radiation or wind, as these sources are unpredictable and unreliable. It is strange to me that since it is apparent they have the capacity to use nuclear fission, that they do not make more use of it rather than less reliable or clean methods.
I am greatly relieved that there is a global communication network. This will make our diaspora less grievous since the kinship groups will be able to remain in communication. There is much yet to do to assure a seamless assimilation. Some of the people groups require little to no documentation of its citizens; others, much like the Imperium, require much. However, since some of their communication is electronic, we can create the necessary information for our people and provide them with documents such as birth records and things like “social security numbers.” It is ironic that this will be easiest among the most advanced and the most primitive cultures of this world. It is those in the middle, those that still rely upon physical records collected in civic buildings that will be the greatest challenge. Fortunately, these are in the minority.
Social analysis also reveals several types of mediums of exchange. Some use barter, some use fiat currency, some use certain metals and yet others conduct all transactions electronically, but most use a combination of these forms. Most of these nations have a standard based in metals such as gold, silver, and copper, even if the actual units of metal are not in popular use. Thus, by depositing a stockpile of these metals mined from this solar system’s asteroid belt, and creating digital accounts, we have been able to purchase lands on the several continents for our people and provide them with the means of commerce.
We have discovered that there is one country that is almost as repressive as the Imperium itself. I have assigned this location to the spies. Having learned the language, they should feel right at home there.
So. All told, we are 197 souls including the nine spies. We will establish colonies in places called China (the spies), Russia, India, Uganda, Europe, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Australia and the United States of America. The groups will of necessity be small to limit discovery and the areas where they will settle seem to have sparse populations. Of course, kinship groups will remain together. My husband, brother, his lifemate and their five children have drawn lots for an area in the United States called Wisconsin. Our probes showed many agricultural units in sparsely populated regions near forested areas that have been abandoned. We have purchased two of those units adjacent to each other and will settle there. Even though our people will be scattered across the globe, this planet, this “Earth” has well established, though primitive communication systems that will allow us to remain connected. The life ships are due to depart tomorrow. If all goes well on this world, and it is the haven the Prophet foretold, in two of its year’s time, the Archon will launch itself into the solar system’s sun and we will remain here until our passing or until the Jothavah and The Herdsman make all things new.
Commander’s Private Log
January 15, 2020
We have taken possession of our new homes. Both parcels of land have family dwellings upon them as well as outbuildings for livestock, although all are in need of repair. The land here is rock hard and covered with snow. It is like the ice caps of the planet Centares, but the analyst guides tell us that this season will change into one conducive to agriculture. To that end, we have purchased planting machinery and seeds. I do hope the guides are thorough. I have been a ship’s officer and commander all my adult life and my husband a theologian. My brother and his lifemate were both teachers on our homeworld, so none of us have much experience in agricultural production, especially on this primitive a level.
February 23, 2020
We have met our nearest neighbors. They are experienced agriculturalists, but they eschew even the small machines we have purchased and the electrical power we use to heat and light our dwelling units. Instead, they use organic combustion to heat and light their homes, although they do use an internal combustion generator for some things. They also use horses to work their land. They have determined that we are “Englisch cityfolk” who have chosen to depart from the large urban centers of this area to become “farmers” and that we are completely inexperienced. However, recognizing our lack of skill, they have offered their assistance, both in restoring our dwelling places and outbuildings, and in teaching us what we need to know to be effective farmers. With us, they speak the common tongue, but with each other, I note they have a different language, one which appears to be a dialect of one of the languages of the continent of Europe.
But here is the most wonderful thing of all! They know Jothavah, The Herdsman, and Pneumos! They call them the Father Jehovah, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. They even have, not just one, but several copies of the sacred writings, both in their family tongue and the common language. On our homeworld, mere possession of the Lifebuch, in any form, was an immediate death sentence. Among our entire company, we had but one physical copy, which Jamben gradually duplicated during our travels. Here, their Bible is published freely. We have obtained several copies and Jamben has spent many days carefully comparing it to the Lifebuch. Of course, the historical sections are very different, for they tell the story of this world and not ours. But the ethical teachings, rituals for atonement and cleansing are identical, and the Bible’s songbook is as exquisitely beautiful as our own – many of the phrases, allowing for translation – are identical. The most amazing thing of all is the story of the Herdsman, the One they call Jesus and who calls Himself “the Good Shepherd.”
In the Coalition of the Twelve Worlds, there have always been the people of Jothavah, although always few in number. These people, my ancestors, lived by a code of the highest integrity and had many rituals that set them apart from all others. The rituals also provided a means of cleansing, for who among any created being is able to live perfectly? The fortunes of the people of Jothavah rose and fell and rose again during many magesteria. But then the Imperium gained power, first on my homeworld, and then among the other worlds of the Coalition. The Imperium did not look with favor upon the people of Jothavah, but was content to allow them their liberty as long as they obeyed the imperium’s laws. It was a hundred magesteria after the Imperium’s rise to power that a great mystery was proclaimed by the prophets of Jothavah. They declared that in visions and in the stars they saw the Herdsman, the Son of Jothavah become corporeal. Oh, not in our worlds, not in any world that the prophets knew. Still, they were certain of the event and a new joy infused the people of Jothavah. And then, in scarcely any time at all, the joy became a death dirge and the prophets wailed and lamented. At that time, great cataclysms wracked all the twelve worlds. Yet in even less time, the joy rebounded and even the constellations changed. The prophets declared the Herdsman had sacrificed Himself so that all Jothavah’s people would forevermore be free of the required rituals and would be given the Pneumos so that they could know the Herdsman for themselves. And so for three generations, we have gathered, worshipped, and felt the Pneumos come upon us bringing the peace of the Herdsman.
The cataclysms and changing constellations greatly frightened the mages of the Imperium. Soon, worship of Jothavah and the Herdsman was outlawed. The Lifebuch, wherever it was found was destroyed. As the persecutions worsened, plans were made to flee. Prophets on all the Twelve Worlds were given visions of havens and the instructions to reach them.
That was our story. Jamben discovered that here on this insignificant, primitive, blue-green ball, the story of the one called the Good Shepherd was not just written on the stars and in visions. Here, the Herdsman was actually birthed, lived, died, and rose! Imagine that! On this world, people saw, heard, touched the Son of Jothavah! We did not know that our exodus would also be a pilgrimage. And yet, even though this world was granted the greatest honor in the universe, it is divided and torn by strife. Jamben has shared his research with all the other kinship groups and rejoiced to discover that all but one of them have discovered followers of this Jesus in their new homes.
Our neighbors also told us their history, how their ancestors fled from persecution for their beliefs, first to a place called Ukraine, and then to the United States of America. I feel we have much in common with them.
March 30, 2020
True to their word, our neighbors have assisted us in preparing the soil for planting and in repairing our barn. They have also sold heifer calves to both my lifemate and me and my brother. They tell us that we will not be able to harvest milk from them until next year, but until then, we can purchase what we need from them. It is good to have such beneficial relationships, especially now. A plague has descended upon this world, and much of it is in quarantine. I do not know if our people will be susceptible to it. In a way, it is beneficial to all our groups. It gives us more time to assimilate in limited communities. As to our groups, we remain in communication with each other, with the exception of the spies who were sent to China. We have no knowledge of what has become of them.
All around us, the snow is melting and the earth is greening. It is marvelous to behold this new life, especially now as I feel the stirrings of new life within myself. Jamben, I mean James – we have adopted Earth names — my husband is overjoyed.
Thursday, November 26.
Life on this primitive world has been so busy! I have not had time to maintain my personal log. All through the spring and summer months, there were crops to plant, then to harvest, then to sell or preserve. James bought six goats, which along with the calf needed daily tending, And then there is the child growing within me. Both our harvests and my brother’s have been abundant. It could not have happened, even with our guidebooks, without the help of our neighbors, the Yoders. Today, we have invited them into our home in a feast they call Thanksgiving. It is a day set aside to respond in gratitude to all the good gifts the Jothavah, the Creator, Him who is called God the Father, has given us. He has been good indeed.