The Dock. 2002. For as long as anyone on the planet could remember, the Dock had been a feature of the night sky. At first, it had appeared as a flickering point of light, hurtling from one horizon to the other. Many people saw it as a herald of change, though whether for good or ill none could say.
Then, with the invention of primitive telescopes, the Dock was revealed to be a skeletal cylinder, ten kilometres from end to end, in orbit around the planet. Its orbit was highly elliptical, taking it as close as 500 kilometres above the surface and as far away as 2000 kilometres. This discovery raised more questions than it answered. What was the Dock's purpose? Who had put it there? Was it operational?
As the resolution of telescopes improved, and as the planet began to launch its own satellites, it became apparent that the faint halo surrounding the Dock was debris from damage to it. Many scientists thought that the damage was from weapons fire, but others argued that the evidence was inconclusive. Eventually, it was agreed to launch a manned mission to the Dock, in the hope of resolving this and many other questions.
After much preparation, the ship is ready. Many eagerly await the expedition's findings, but some still remember the old legends about the Dock, and fear they will yet prove true...
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