As I sit down to write this narrative, the air around me has become cold and thin. The end is near I am afraid. But I shall welcome the grips of death. I have nothing else to live for, everything I have is gone. Quite frankly everything I know or have ever known is gone. Swept away in a single flash of fate, a snap and my entire world was obliterated.
But I get ahead of myself. I have sat down here to write what happened. Or at least what happened to me. It is all I can do and I must do it. It is funny now that I think of it. I have the power to alter human history forever. For this document, this one piece of writing will be the last thing that any human has ever written. It will be the only document that lives on after our race. And since I am the author, I have unlimited power. I will be just though, fair to the human history. I will just leave out everything before my arrival here. No previous accounts of anything. That way the horrors of man will die with me.
I’m sure if you are reading this then you are quite confused. I’m assuming that you are not of the human race, as I am fairly certain that we are no more. But if you have found this, then you know where I am. Hopefully my body is floating nearby as you read this. I pause now to ask you something. Look at my face. I’m sure it is frozen in place, the confines of space are quite good at preserving the dead. Look at my face, look at my expression. Is it twisted in agony or peaceful? I pray it is the latter. I have never feared death, but I have always feared pain. It’s quite strange thinking of what I look like dead. I just wonder if a dead man sees he own face after he dies. Just think if that was the last thing you saw, your own face twisted in pain. Then just darkness, eternal blinding darkness. I feel an urge to just stop writing and to curl into a ball. It has gotten so cold now that my hands won’t stop shaking. But while my body is dieing, my mind is firing on all pistons. I wonder if this always happens before death. Maybe the mind realizes that all is lost and it sacrifices the body, routing all energy to the brain. That way you can have several moments where everything is perfectly clear. That is what’s happening with me. Everything seems clear, every question I’ve ever had has been solved. Or maybe I’m just telling myself that, maybe I’m laying comatose on the floor and this is just a manifestation of my mind, a last ditch effort to make death seem easier. I don’t think there’s a way to know for sure.
I feel my heart beat slowing now. My eyes are failing me, darkness is creeping slowly in from the boundaries of my vision. I fear I have little time to explain such a complex story. So I think I shall begin in the best place, the beginning. It all started with a shower. At least my story did.
I was in the shower when the first announcement was made. That was three days ago.
I know you’re confused as a reader. To me this all seems perfectly correct, but to you it must seem like the ravings of a mad man. Actually that is what this is, for the things I have done in the past three days are more than any sane man would do.
It’s so cold.
I want to apologize to you now. When I began this I had a concise and quick narrative in mind. But now it seems I have rambled on for a page and I haven’t even began telling you my story. I also apologize for wasting time apologizing to you. How false does it seem, the apology that I just issued you? I’m dead and yet I still feel as though I have hurt you in some way. I’m a body floating through space to you. I doubt you gave me more than a second’s glance when you first saw me. Yet I apologized to you.
How does it feel to have a dead man’s pity?
The air is thin now, breathing has become extraordinarily hard. It seems as though I have to take huge breaths just to keep from suffocating. My head is beginning to feel light and the urge to laugh is present. Maybe I will, maybe I’ll just start giggling and not stop till all the air is gone and I slowly choke to death.
No, I must trudge on. For your sake and my own.
I was in the shower. You already now that. Of course you don’t know where that shower was. Actually you most likely do, that is if you have found this paper on the desk that I am writing on now, well then you know what kind of place I am in. But for the sake of details, I’ll tell you anyway. First though, I must tell you who I am, then in turn what I do, for it would make no sense if I explained where I am and you didn’t know who I was or what I did. You see, the place I am in is no simple structure, no it is a complex place indeed. And seeing as how I want to tell my story, it would be quite rude of me to not tell you who or what I am. Because who I am and what I do is a huge factor in my story, a valuable piece of info that you need to truly understand the complexities surrounding the series of events that I am about to tell you.
My name is Lt. Commander Louis Farnic.
I work for the NASP. That stands for the Neo-American Space Program.
The year is 2110.
The date is March 7th.
Earth is gone.
To read that on paper truly is hard. I know Earth is gone. I have known that for the past three days now. I saw the planet in its final moments. Yet to see it written out in front of me, in my own handwriting, it has a sense of finality.
The air is thinner yet, so I must go forth, for I fear that if I dawdle anymore then I will not be able to finish before I perish. So to continue, I will tell you where I am. For as I said earlier, this place plays a huge role in my story.
I’m aboard the NASS Alpha 110-OP1. In simpler terms, Space Station Alpha. The first “lab” that the NASP put up. I call it a lab, but in reality it’s a damn spy station. I wish I had more time to explain the state of things on Earth. Or, rather, the ways things used to be. I think I can sum it up in a single word though. War. Well actually two words, war and fear. That’s why I’m up here, the AS is so paranoid of attack, they broke their own sanctions and put a military station in orbit.
My hand is getting colder. It’s weird as it’s just my right hand. Death is near. I feel it, like someone’s eyes on your back. I’ve turned around a couple of times, half expecting to see someone. But it’s always darkness. Then I remember that they’re all dead.
Every last person.
Seeing that written brings the feeling to my stomach again. The same feeling I felt when I saw them die. The same feeling I felt when I saw Earth die.
Which brings me back to my story. I really must start it. The darkness has encroached more. Like I said, Death is near. The story must be told.
It began, for me, while I was in the shower.
I was washing my hair when the sirens began to scream. I remember it so vividly, the water on my back, the soap in my right hand, the washcloth in my other. I was so innocent then, so free and normal. The scent was “After The Rain”. I can still see the box in my mind’s eye.
Then the sirens.
I don’t remember myself getting out. I don’t remember myself dressing. I don’t remember myself running down the hall to the bridge. The next thing that I remember is Rick’s face. I can it see it perfectly now, his eyes wide, tears flowing down his face. Never before had I seen a man cry. Yet Rick let go the floodgates and everything was coming out.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him. When I think about it now, my voice is thin and monotone. I can see his face, tears flowing, yet my voice is so small, so unconcerned.
“The end.” He says. I can see it playing out now in my mind. It’s like a rerun of a TV show, I know what will happen next, yet it stills seems exciting.
“The end of what?” I ask, the voice of myself still thin, devoid of all emotion.
“The end of us.” Was his reply. The next thing I recall is looking out the veiw port, the Earth resting there in all her glory. The others had arrived, Emily and Paul. They tried desperately to calm Rick, to make sense of his ramblings.
I just watched the view port, watched Earth. For I knew.
He had showed me the paper. The paper, that when read correctly, spelled out the fate of all mankind. He had shown me the printout of the latest study, the latest figures on the newest project.
The project: Tracking an asteroid’s trajectory.
I’m sure you can see what has happened. You can piece together the next event. Rick told the others. He showed the piece of paper, which held thousands of calculations. They scanned over them with trained eyes and they all saw the same thing I did. The course was a little off from what had previously been thought. I think the previous calculations had skipped a variable. Or perhaps I entered a wrong digit. Whatever the case, there was nothing at that point that could fix it.
I remember the others joining me at the view port. We all stood, eyes wide, mouths squeezed shut. We had two hours at that point, if the estimations were correct. Two hours. When you put a timeframe of your life, things really seem to slow down. It felt like a day I stood there, the other members of the station with me. No one talked. Just silence.
For an hour, if I recall correctly, we stood there. Stock-still. All we did was stare and think. I remember a thousand scenarios going through my mind. A thousand ways in which I could stop all of this and save the world. None were practical.
I was first to break the silence.
“How big?” I remember saying.
“A planet killer.” Was the delayed response.
“We won’t tell them.” I remember it now, I see it happening again. I spoke so softly.
“Do you think we’ll go too?” Rick said that. The tears had stopped by that point. No one replied for a while.
“Yes.” I remember being so quiet. It was then that I realized the futility of everything. It was then that I came to see that life was finished.
We stood in silence for another hour.
“Well, it was nice knowing you.” Emily said. I can see her face now, in my mind. It was so peaceful. I can recall staring at her, watching her as we waited for what we thought would be our final moments. She was so peaceful then. In the two hours of silence, she had made peace with all her demons.
Have you ever seen a planet die? I doubt you have. To be totally honest, it is quite a beautiful thing. It would be a nice last image before death.
That exact thought went through my head as we watched the asteroid crash into Earth.
It happened extremely fast. We saw the giant rock float into view, then it drifted into the atmosphere surrounding Earth. There were several flashes then, small explosions it looked like. Almost like the Earth was firing at the foul rock, trying desperately to save itself. But by then the rock was invincible. It sailed through the atmosphere and plummeted to the surface. What followed was amazing.
There was a flash, one huge blinding flash. I raised my hands to shield my eyes. I snapped them shut, trying in vain to keep the horrible light out. After several seconds, I opened my eyes. What I saw was stunning.
The Earth had broken apart into thousands of huge pieces. The insides of the planet, the organs, the blood, the molten rock and the core erupted into space. The oceans were there for a second, then gone. The atmosphere, the clouds, the ground, all evaporated into horrible dust. Everything was enveloped in a sea of red and orange and black. But in all this destruction, it seemed almost as if the remnants of the planet were dancing. The huge fragments that were once continents and landmasses bumped into each other and spun in wild circles. The innards of the planet oozed out and melded with the huge chunks, looking almost like capes of orange and red.
We all stood watching mesmerized. It took several moments to realize that we weren’t dead. Somehow, after all of the terror of waiting for death, it had vanished. We had been spared. Silence reigned for several minutes, then it was broken.
“Is this Hell?” It was I who voiced the question.
“I surely hope not.” This time it was Rick that spoke.
The next thing I recall is a day later. To be totally honest, I have no clue whatsoever what transpired after we watched the Earth die. The next thing my mind sees is the following day. Yesterday, it was. Yes, yesterday.
Yesterday was the day that they all died.
By ‘they’, I mean my crew. My men. The people on this lonely, little, forgotten vessel. We were all in the Medical Bay. Why? I couldn’t tell you. But that is what my mind sees. That is the location that I associate with their deaths.
Me and Rick were talking. Talking about how we had been spared. Talking about how long we had to live. He said we could last for years on the station. He said that we had everything we needed.
“What about food?” I asked, trying to be the voice of reason.
“We have enough supplies to last us at least six months. The rest we can get from the greenhouses.” He replied.
“What about oxygen?” Said the voice of reason.
“We have enough for at least nine months. The rest can be produced by the greenhouse plants.” Rick’s voice quivered with excitement.
I thought then, that maybe we could last. We had food, oxygen, and power from solar cells. I really began to believe we could do it.
Then it hit me, hard.
It could have worked, absolutely would have worked if Earth still existed. We had all forgotten. Forgotten that only four days prior the water purification system had failed. Forgotten that in three days we were to receive the replacement parts. But now I remembered that we would never get them, I remembered that the only place in the universe that could supply them had vanished.
“What about water?” Rick stopped his calculations and looked up. His face showed pain, defeat. He realized it too. We hadn’t enough water.
“We might….” Rick worked furiously, trying to do the math quickly. But I already knew. We had four people who would need water for everything, drinking, bathing, and menial tasks like brushing your teeth. We had at the most enough for a few weeks. Yesterday that was enough, since we only needed it until the system was repaired. Now it seemed like a raindrop.
“Rick, there’s not enough.” I remember speaking quietly again. I remember shaking my head slowly at first. I remember turning and leaning forward against the counter.
“Just wait, let me do the math.” Rick said as his pen wrote faster. But I knew deep down, just like he did, that there was no chance.
It was then that I saw the scalpel.
It set there in its bath of green, sterile liquid, the silver handle reflecting the light. I stared at it for a moment.
Then I made a decision. I would save them by killing them.
It took me a spilt-second to decide this. I don’t really know what switched on in my mind. Maybe something cracked, snapped, maybe that would be a better explanation of what happened. All I know is that I grabbed the scalpel and turned around.
I saw them all sitting at the table. Rick had his back to me; he was hunched over his paper. I paused for half a second then I moved, quickly, as to make sure that I did it before I realized what I was doing. I was behind Rick in an instance. Emily looked up. Our eyes connected. She saw the knife.
I struck the first part of the body that came to mind. I jerked the knife up shoved it into Rick’s temple. I screamed on the inside and hoped with all my soul that it was painless, that he had not felt a thing. He didn’t mutter a word, not a single noise escaped his lips save for a sigh. Really it was just an expulsion of air, silent. His head slumped onto the table.
I turned to Emily next. She looked up at me as I approached. Her eyes were so clear then, so beautiful. Yet I knew what I must do. I was saving them! I was making the inevitable death quick and painless! I was doing the right thing!
When I reached Emily, she turned her head slightly, exposing her temple to me. I wanted to burst into tears then! I wanted to take the blade and ram it into my own heart and die!
But I couldn’t. I had to finish.
I made it quick. I shoved the knife into Emily’s head. She made the smallest yelp and slumped over in her chair. I ripped the knife from her and turned to Paul. I couldn’t stop and think, I had to just act.
He had heard the noise and turned. I ran at him, knife raised. He fought back as I began to swing wildly, cutting his chest and arms. I managed to knock him over and I stabbed wildly at his head and neck. I prayed that I would hit something vital and it would end it. He finally stopped fighting and went limp, blood gushing from his mouth and neck. I got to my feet.
I looked around then. My shirt was covered in blood, my hands drenched in it. I dropped the knife and my hands began to shake wildly. I began to think again.
That happened last night.
I’m still wearing the blood soaked shirt.
I went to the control room after that to shut down the life support systems. I then came to this room, the only cabin with a window. I then began writing this.
I think I saved them. I think I did the right thing. Or maybe I’m insane and I’m trying to justify their deaths.
It really doesn’t matter now. I’m going to die in a few moments. The air is thinner than ever, it seems like I’m taking huge gulps to just function. My vision is ever darkening. I can feel the eyes on my back right now.
I think I’ll sit by the window as I go. The Earth truly does look pretty today.