“Base, this is unit 351 ready to begin the expedition”
“Unit 351, this is launch base gamma, you are cleared for launch”
“Unit 351, launching in 3, 2, 1”
A large vessel activated its engines ready to leave the space station orbiting Titan. For many decades the solar system was thought to be lost, but an errant radio signal betrayed its location. The merging of the galaxies had caused havoc to the galactic positioning system. By some sort of miracle Earth had survived through the merger. The new galactic center was still stabilizing, but at least there weren’t any recent planetary collisions. Numerous expeditions explored the newly merged galaxy after having left the solar system for so long. Communications with Earth ceased some time ago and people worried the planet was no more. Even the space station was completely empty when the first expedition arrived. There were no records of any particular events other than the reports on the ongoing galactic merger. What information remained pointed to a specific day, and then nothing. Automated systems kept the station running.
“Good luck, Captain Murano. We hope you find what you’re looking for”
“Thank you Commander, Murano out”
The great Captain Murano, the first to find the remains of the Titan space station. He now heads the expedition towards Earth to find what happened to the people here. Upon their arrival they spot an unknown starship orbiting the planet. The moon has many more craters than it used to, but other than that the planet seems fine. Further scans find that there are no humans on Earth, but there are other life forms. It is a group of Andromedan researchers.
“What are they doing here? How long have they known about Earth?”, said the captain, perplexed. The Andromedans are nothing new to humans. They have had a long standing relationship that spans centuries. “Comms, I want to speak with them”
The Andromedans explained that they arrived about a week ago. They came from another direction and did not expect to find this planet, which, to them, was just another water world with large landmasses. What drew them here furthered the mystery. Their ship had detected a large energy burst emanating from this solar system. By the time they arrived the energy had dissipated.
“We will join with the Andromedan scientists and find out what happened”
Captain Murano was eager to explore Earth. The records of Earth showed how the continents had moved and the various environmental challenges that the people had to deal with. Particularly that which was caused by humans themselves. They learned the hard way, that they had to be more careful. A lot of people died during that one time many ages ago. Now, the captain witnessed the regal beauty and diversity of the planet. Of the people that lived there, only the great cities remained.
“Did you explore any of the cities?”, asked the captain to one of the Andromedan scientists.
“We did not. We recognized the architecture as your own. Even tried accessing some of the data records of the cities, but nothing is mentioned of the disappearance”, answered the lead scientist.
“Let’s head for one of the city centers, we might find more information there”
As soon as the captain stepped into the city, a beacon of light appeared at the city center. Once they arrived a message played.
“To those of you still retaining your corporeal form know this, we have passed, beyond the limits of our physical form. Our collective knowledge, so vast and far reaching, that the next natural step in our evolution was to shed any mortal remains. We achieved this together, while many of our brethren continue to explore our universe. We might not be able to interact in the future, but know that we will continue our pursuit of knowledge and exploration. Farewell”
An astonishing turn of events for those present. No one expected that the people would simply vanish that way. The Andromedans especially were intrigued and wanted to further study humans and Earth itself. The inquiries of the lead scientist were a bit of an annoyance to the captain, but regardless he agreed that learning more could be the key to someday contacting those who transitioned into a new state of being. For now, Earth was safe and humans could come back to it.