NOTE: voice recognition — excerpted from laboratory verbal log, Jupiter Trojan station Green-3, April 19, 2357 A.D.
sselkins: Did you see what happened?
hkorolovska: No, but I saw the chart.
sselkins: It’s got to be a mistake.
hkorolovska: It is no mistake.
sselkins: The test drone was only gone for six seconds.
sselkins: But it’s impossible.
hkorolovska: Perhaps, but the drone took a photo at its turnaround point. Unless I am mistaken, that’s the limb of Earth’s moon in the upper right corner. With a section of the Earth itself in the lower half.
sselkins: Henrietta, if that’s correct —
hkorolovska: It is correct. We have broken the light-speed barrier.
sselkins: No one will believe us if we publish that.
hkorolovska: So? Let them come and observe for themselves.
sselkins: We’ll need to re-execute the test several times to be sure.
hkorolovska: Of course.
sselkins: And the Interplanetary Science Bureau will want confirmation.
sselkins: How can you be so calm about this?
hkorolovska: I have been working on this inverted suspensor field design my whole life. From the time I was a teenager at University. Until now, I only lacked the proper engine to power it. Your prototype antimatter reactor was my chance to see if my calculations would be correct. And they were. So, all that remains for us to do is behave like proper scientists, reproduce our results, and disseminate the information through the proper channels.
sselkins: We’ll be given the Hero of Humanity medal!
hkorolovska: (tsk) It is what you might call, chump change.
sselkins: You’re not excited about being introduced in front of the entire General Assembly? They will stand and applaud us. We’ll be given any research assignments we want. We could claim any position at any of the top schools. Didn’t you want to be a dean?
hkorolovska: It would have been nice. Now? I want more.
sselkins: What more is there?
hkorolovska: We’ve known for two hundred years that there are over twelve terrestrial planets within fifty light-years of Earth. Planets with water, and spectral patterns indicative of oxygen atmospheres, too.
sselkins: Performing an in-system test with an uncrewed drone is one thing. To develop both a version of my reactor and a version of your field generator large enough to function on even a modestly-sized interplanetary craft —
hkorolovska: The General Assembly will see the possibilities instantly, and they will demand a starship. Colonization of the solar system has been a painstaking and tedious process. Not even a tiny fraction of Earth’s people have been able to live successfully in space. The habitats are too complex and too expensive. You know this as well as I.
sselkins: It will take years. It might take decades. We —
hkorolovska: I will be the first human being to set foot on the surface of another clement planet beyond the Earth, I swear this to you.
sselkins: We haven’t even determined if a living organism can survive within the confines of the field!
hkorolovska: A technicality, Simon. A technicality.
— Henrietta Korolovska would eventually go on to found and be the lifetime Colonial Administrator of the planet Atlantis, in the Beta Hydri star system — the first successful interstellar colony established by humans.