Today we present another new story. It's a piece of flash fiction by our own Neorandomizer. To tell you more would be to tell you too much, so read on!
“Dear it’s time.”
The man looked at his wife standing in the door and sighed. He stood and followed her. He did not bother to turn off the wall viewer playing a video file of unicorns running across a field of pink grass.
He quickly changed into an environment suit that was hanging by the door. His wife was already in hers and was sealing the helmet. When both suits were sealed and checked he led his wife into the lock and cycled it.
Once outside the man looked up at the sky, the thinning atmosphere was making the sky turn to pitch black even though it was close to noon. The sun's light was now harsh and his visor automatically darkened to protect his eyes from the ultraviolet now streaming through the depleted ozone layer.
It had taken less than a generation from the time that the planet’s magnetic field dropped to zero for the solar wind to rip the atmosphere away. The pressure outside was now so low that only a few microbes could survive, and that might not be for long because the temperature was also dropping and no liquid water was left on the surface. At the poles dry ice was forming and soon even the power in the cities would fail leaving no place for humans to live.
The man and his wife drove through a dead city with its once beautiful crystalline towers now dark and starting to show the damage from the environmental apocalypse descending on the planet. The bulk of mankind had left months ago on great ark ships that headed for the nearest star systems in which remote observation had shown habitable worlds. Most people couldn't stand the idea of staying in the solar system with their dead homeworld. The ones not on the ark ships had committed suicide when the animal life started to die. He and his wife agreed that spending their lives on a ship in space was out of the question so they chose the only other available option that gave a chance for life.
Arriving at the space port, the couple could see that it was empty except for one lone small interplanetary craft sitting on its cradle waiting. They must be the last to leave; maybe the last humans in the entire inner solar system.
The ship was an elongated egg lying on its side. More grown than built it had an organic look to it. As the couple approached a hatch opened like an iris dilating showing a dark interior. Stepping in they found two seats in a windowless room the only light coming from a faint glow from the walls.
When sitting in the seats they changed shape to fit the contours of their bodies it felt like being held by a giant gloved hand. Their were no visible controls but that was no problem: the couple just opened their minds and after a few minutes they felt a presence in the room with them.
The man wished he could see outside and before the thought faded an image of the space port sprang into his mind. He was pleased that the control system worked the way it did when he taken a checkout flight a few days before the last Ark Ship left orbit.
Through the telepathic link with the ship the man could feel his wife’s anxiety. After a brief systems check he ordered the ship to lift. Their was no sensation of motion, just the ground suddenly falling away with the space port becoming smaller and smaller. In just a few minutes the ground became curved and then a globe. The brown and dying planet below had streaks of white from the carbon dioxide freezing out and forming new ice packs and glaciers where farm lands and cities once stood. Iron in the soil had begun to oxidize, turning the ground a ruddy color. It was a depressing sight and when he could bare it no longer he ordered the execution of the prerecorded course.
The home world started to slowly shrink as the ship moving at a quarter of light speed started toward their destination. It would take just a few hours to reach what the couple hoped would be their new home. On the trip they relaxed and let their minds wander as the ship showed them the glory of the galaxy around them.
A blue dot appeared in their direction of travel. It slowly grew in size until they could see it was one of the inner planets of their own system. The surface was mostly blue broken up with greens and browns the atmosphere had swirls of white clouds. They looked down onto a wet and living world, the sight brought tears to both their eyes.
“Adam it’s beautiful.”
“Yes and we will have no problems learning to live there.”
Copyright 2010, Richard Anderson
Next week: Another new story!