Deep Space Travel Journal from New Jersey

July 10. Not sure where I took a wrong turn in the government network but my Federal Reserve hack has become a space probe data stream hack. You'd think that's much more boring, except that I can't find any mention of the probe from any of the space agencies. A secret space probe! I can always crash the market later.

July 16. Fuck it, space science is hard. Never mind whose probe it is, I can't figure out where it is.  It's in our solar system (I had hoped for secret warp cores), but unless its internal clock is broken the telemetry data timing is all weird. I'm not even sure where the signal is being tracked from.

July 18. So the probe is coming to Earth to begin its mission. What the fuck? Anyway, it's quite close. I think it'll enter orbit around the Moon first. I've been reading about orbital mechanics, this is such a weird probe. I'm back to thinking about some sort of UFO engine.

July 20. Shit shit shit shit shit. We have a base on the moon. Or had. The probe just transmitted a photo of a huge base on the moon! Too many holes on it to be inhabited, so I guess it blew up somehow that's why they kept it a secret.

July 20. We have a lot of crap on the moon. All of it secret. How do they keep so much stuff away from astronomers? It's not even all on the dark side. I should check how often amateur astronomers die in accidents.

July 24. The probe shifted orbit from the Moon to the Earth. I've given up trying to figure out how it moves or how it transmits data. What do I know about space probes? I don't even understand the Moon.

July 26. It's a warp engine. Has to be. That can't be Earth. Similar star, similar Moon, that's it.

July 26. Similar continents - that's a lie too many. That's Earth. But I think I'm figuring out the coordinate systems for the photos, and I'm pretty sure Manhattan is above water. And there should be some lights in Australia at night.

July 28. High-res ground photos now. The optics are incredible. You can see the ruins and the refugee camps, and I'm not sure but those look like mass graves. Superb sensors. I'm too drunk and not enough.

July 28. Either somebody figured out time travel for space probes or somebody hacked into somebody else's time-space probe. I can't get myself to give a fuck about either. Wish I believed in parallel universes.

July 29. Somebody from the planet is contacting the probe. It's partially encrypted, but looks like a plea for help. I know I would.

July 29. The probe can transmit data. I know, I'm plugged into a fucking torrent of it. It's not answering the planet. Fucker.

August 3. Still no reply from the probe. Seems to have settled in a long term orbit. Traveling from who knows where and when, just to watch the planet die.

August 4. I keep writing "the planet." It's Earth. It's us.

October 15. Took me a while, but I think I can figure out how to talk back to the probe and maybe take over their systems - it doesn't look like it's set up against an attack from whatever is "this side" of its network. I suspect there's a sort of "go back home" routine in its computers. If there is, I'm going to activate it and take a look at when and where the probe came from. And then I'll crash it against the most important thing of theirs I can find. According to its internal clock, the probe will be here — orbiting over me at the same time I'm here — in something like fifteen years. I'm not the kind of person who survives a world full of dead cities and mass graves, so that gives me a deadline.