The Galivant went dark ten years ago. We’d expected to hear from them for thirty years total, but contact ended five years early. There was no reason it should have happened. They were still within range of the communication stations, then. They were no reports of malfunctions, nothing that would interfere. They signed off as per normal one night, and never made contact again.
We kept trying, of course. For those five years of expected contact, we attempted to raise them every day. For another year or two after that, we kept trying on an increasingly irregular basis, simply because we thought they might be in range for a little while longer. After that, well, even the most optimistic interpretations of the specs said it was impossible. So, for three years, no one has even attempted to contact the Galivant and we’ve long since given up on them. Something happened, maybe overnight, maybe over a period of no contact, but something happened and the Galivant was lost.
Three days ago, the Galivant made contact. Thing is, they checked in as though it were the next morning, not ten years later. They asked for the old operators, wondered why so many people on staff had turned over, and seemed genuinely shocked to find out we had a new director. As soon as the people in the control room realized what was going on, that this wasn’t some sort of trick, we got the doctors out to tell us what we should do. After all, that sort of shock, who knows how they’ll react, especially when they’re so far from Earth.
Instead, we asked them to give us detailed scans of the surrounding area, all the scans from “the previous night,” anything we could think of to try to find out what happened. But there’s nothing. It’s like they blipped out of existence and blipped back in without leaving so much as a tremor on any of their instruments.
We’d done scans of our own, of course, after contact ended. But we don’t have enough out there. That’s the whole point of their journey. They’re going off to establish a new base, and once it’s up and running, we’ll be able to string together communication stations, satellites to scan, everything we need to have even a hope of solving the problem. If we get it established now, well, it’s ten years too late.
But they’ve marked their position in space, anything that was picked up. We’ll have that whenever we send someone out that way, if we do. Because no one knows what happened to the Galivant in those ten dark years. No one knows, and we can’t be certain it won’t happen to anyone else.