Chapter 12

RECORD: 1632V873$LUN-2.161
IDENTITIES: Commander Kuang Xuan
LOCATION: K1 Dig Site 1, Crew Quarters, Commander's Quarters
THREAT DETECT: None—Speech Composition
THREAT RESPONSE: Record for Posterity

This project has been difficult. No one could have predicted how hard it has been. Our health has suffered. Our families have suffered. We've lost friends. And every day you are here, each and every one of you is making a personal sacrifice.

I know you understand that what we're learning is worth that sacrifice. But I also know that it's frustrating to not be certain that our work is making a difference. So I asked you all to come together today to tell you: You're not just making a difference; you're changing our stars.

Not far from here, a man took the first step onto the Moon saying it was "one giant leap for mankind." Now, because of you, humanity is making its next giant leap.

Today, in a message that will be relayed system-wide, Aeronautics of China is announcing a new phase of the Exodus project. The science we invented will be used to propel humanity beyond our solar system and to new worlds.

(Pause for applause)

Construction of the new colony ships has already begun.

(Pause for applause)

Some of you might want to join those missions. I know you all have the right stuff. (Pause for laughter?) But I hope you'll consider staying. Our work here is invaluable. We're here taking our small steps so that humanity can take ever greater leaps.

Thank you.