Breaching the Void

From Earth the stars looks so beautiful, mesmerising and special enough to make a wish on. Yet I hurtle through the intoxicating blankness of space dreading their very existence. They are ugly, annoying and they are about as special as a grain of sand in the Sarah desert. They’re liars, empty promises, and hollow projections of what died millions of years ago, but only still continue to haunt me out spite.

I don’t know what’s real anymore…I’m locked in perpetual night yet infuriatingly inflicted with insomnia. I’m verging on insanity with the only thing helping me maintain my grip on reality is the constant fear of death. A slow painful, agonising death in which my lungs are suffocated, my blood violently pushes against my skull or if I’m lucky enough I’ll survive long enough to freeze.

Whirling and whistling the 3d machine acts as my only confidante and saviour. I use its output of pieces of plastic and complex devices to fix, tinker and build constantly in and around my ship to keep myself on course and not spiralling into the belly of a sun.

If reaching the moon was “One step for man and one giant leap for mankind” then considering I’m in the process of reaching another habitable planet is “one step for man and 13 billion light years of leaps for mankind”.  So suck it Armstrong! But I still feel the weight of billion people’s dreams, wishes and imagination increasingly threatening to compress my spine like the gravity of a planet I could possibly wrongly land on. It’s a scary thought that the only thing keeping me hurtling through space are numbers on a computer screen.

I don’t really call earth home anymore, I don’t have much family, friends or lovers to speak of either. However what I do miss is not having the bone density of a small child and the shitty, boring diet of pills and powder that needs water to even look like food. I guess I should be more grateful considering I’m about to go down in history as the first man to leave our solar system, that’s if there is still a human history. I have the chance of being the Christopher Columbus to a new earth, known as Epsulon and humanities last chance of a do-over.

But when I joined this mission I didn’t have grandiose dreams of being the torch carrier to humanities continued existence, a winner of Nobel prizes or schools built in my name. I just wanted to escape, escape to where and what from? Are questions would also want to find the answers to. 30 years… I could have been prime minister 6 times, gone to 5 Olympics, I could have had children and grandchildren in that time.

I was chosen from a pool of millions, they say because of my years of involvement in aviation, piloting air crafts and working on Luna bases, but really I was the only candidate with literally nothing to lose.  So my job now is simple; take millions of frozen microbes and plant spores to Epsulon and release them on the new planet to grow and colonize and create a natural biosphere. Then once that is done, release nanobots to start creating cities ready for man to move into.  That’s if there is still man left on earth when I reach the new planet.

Call it a punishment from god, bad luck or culmination of mankind’s selfishness, stupidity and lack of solidarity, because now in the year 2150, man finds itself on the edge of extinction on a planet ruined my poverty and war. And to make matters worse, on its knees man finds himself also at the mercy of violent, fluctuating and dangerous weather patterns.  Somehow I still wonder… Will a change in scenery be all that’s needed to vanquish the seven deadly sins from our souls or will the new planet be another host to our disease instead of a remedy to our inflictions?

Every day is the same, I now know every last inch of this spaceship; all I do for 16 hours of the day is scrutinise every nut and bolt and constantly program the ships AI to maintain the exterior of the ship. Beep

I do get sporadic communication from mission control, but call and response take almost 30 hours and increasing every mile I travel further away from our solar system. The sudden sound however of the intercom warms the room and fills me with great excitement even after all these years. I know I give the impressions of a being a solitary man, I am. But sometime even the confines of the vastness of space is lonely enough to conjure a strait jacket that suffocates your soul. Recently in the sentimentality of old age; in between each call I even go to sleep and have the nightmare that I’ll wake up and know with indisputable certainty, that I’m the last human being left in the universe and I will be left to drown in the deafening silence of empty space alone… Beep, the intercom goes off.

The silence that always ensures after is always interrupted soon enough by pitter patter of asteroids slamming into the hall of the spaceship. This time a seemingly innocuous collision causes one of the bay windows to sprout a crack. In shear panic I rush to stem the damage because out here in space things can quickly go from bad to worse in the fraction of a heartbeat. In the process of desperately trying to fill the crack with liquid silicone, the room begins to flash nonstop with a florescent green, momentarily distracting me from my present and urgent task at hand. Green can only mean one thing. Almost instantly after the flashing up I’m abruptly thrust to the ground as the spaceship nose dives through thick plums of smoke. This could possibly be Epuslon or a planet that could possibly act as my final resting place.

My eyes however begin to crawl back to the crack in the window, where under the air pressure the crack begins to splinter in a multitude of chaotic directions, getting bigger the quicker I fall. I know I have only seconds to decide before the window smashes and the air pressure rips everything out of the spaceship; do I lunge for a parachute and let the air take me or do I strap myself in and hold on tight and hope the reinforced craft can withstand the crash?

The decision is made for me when even before I can strap my seat belt in, I’m grabbed and yanked kicking and screaming out towards the window, with only enough time to crawl and scrabble until I can scarcely wrap the tips of my fingers around the parachute and cling to it with all my might. Hurtling in through the air I can barely breathe or open my eyes, finally gathering enough presences of mind so I can pull the parachute cord. Suddenly I’m halted in mid-air then flung up, before beginning to rock gently down, now on the ground I surrender to the mercy of my lungs begging for oxygen.

I’m no oxygen connoisseur, but somehow the oxygen feels different, cleaner, lighter and somehow calming in a way. Soon I’m no longer conscious of it, as my attention is diverted to the world that surrounds me. Barren, entirely flat and void of practically all types of complex life except for tuffs of grass and beginnings of trees. This planet is truly in its infancy, virginal and untainted. From the distance a spiral of black smoke explodes into the sky and scatters all blue from it.

Rushing towards the remains of the spacecraft, the ground leading to it is coated in contorted metal, melted plastic and shattered glass. “Alan, Alan”, I hear the still operational intercom barking my name. Strangely something deep inside of me prevents me from responding and instead alerts me again to the purity of the air, and I’m reminded that it’s uncontaminated, and it’s not dirtied by pollution or gun smoke. Humanity had its chance, it ruined it. I switch the intercom of and gather and destroy any devices that could be traced to Epsulon or alert anyone of my presences here or that I’m even alive anymore. I’ve finally escaped.

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