Planetfall
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Excerpt, Memoirs of K. Yildirim, Mission Commander, Expedition of the First Thousand

I think back to what happened, how it changed the way in which we view the ultimate result of the expedition. I don't think we will ever know why the event was such a surprise, given the extensive mapping operations for more than a century before we arrived.

As I reflect, whatever the results afterward, I am grateful to have experienced the event in its purest form, unmixed with any of the subsequent uncertainty and doubt that we have come to associate with this enterprise. This fledgling world needs its moments of hope as well as its reminders of the mysteries that we have yet to unlock as we traverse the cosmos.

I have reproduced my notes from the first landing, taken as the events were developing. Reading them over, I come to the conclusion that I would undertake this mission again, if I had the opportunity. I hope that this is as valuable a service to the reader as it was to me.

ETA New Shambhala 2 hours 4 minutes 12 seconds: Video feed of Venus goes live on the all-ship communications network. All non-essential ship function personnel gather in the community theater.

ETA New Shambhala 1 hour 37 minutes 5 seconds: Visual of the New Shambhala Atmospheric Colony achieved. Cheers go up from assembled personnel.

ETA New Shambhala 1 hour 15 minutes 46 seconds: Brief messages of congratulation played alongside visual of descent. Messages are from UN Secretary General Nkurunziza, Prime Minister Xue, President Wataya, Prime Minister Đukanović, and numerous world cultural figures, congratulating the First Thousand on their successful mission.

ETA New Shambhala 31 minutes 18 seconds: Entry into the Venusian atmosphere confirmed. Cheers again go up from assembled personnel.

ETA New Shambhala 5 minutes 32 seconds: New Shambhala Head Administrator Natalya Volkova, present at the station with a skeleton crew of personnel for the past two years, appears on video feed, officially welcoming the First Thousand.

ETA New Shambhala 0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds: Ship docks with New Shambhala. Assembled personnel engage in extended celebration. "To the Stars," a new anthem composed as part of a worldwide collaborative effort among the international musical community, is played over the ship's PA system.

ETA New Shambhala -0 hours 3 minutes 31 seconds: The flag of the United Nations is symbolically raised in the entryway between the ship and the New Shambhala Docking Port.

ETA New Shambhala -0 hours 17 minutes 59 seconds: The First Thousand begin entry into the confines of New Shambhala, marking the beginning of humanity's status as an interplanetary species.

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