“This is Jeremy, day one-thousand and twelve,” Jeremy began, wiping his hand down his face. The calluses scratched him a little, but his sigh eased all the pains. “The experiments failed and we’ve...I’ve run out of resources to keep trying.”
Jeremy had also run out of drive to keep going.
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“The last experiment had the same results as the last forty, the...the specimen is beyond saving. I know that is not the answer that you want to hear, especially from what I’ve been seeing in the news. Earth needs more than failure...it needs more than good results. It needs a miracle now and that’s something we’ve failed to do here.”
Jeremy looked around the lab. The window provided a clear view of Neptune, of endless space. It was the only good thing he saw in the room. Messy walls, cluttered desks, cold, blinking LEDs in the darkroom. It looked like a ransacked apartment in the worst neighbourhood.
“The others...Doctor Lions, Craig, Simon, Julie, are gone, as protocol dictated,” Jeremy continued, clearing a slight choking noise in his throat as he spoke. “Doctor Lions’ shuttle has sent him to TLX7-b, his estimated journey is two-hundred something years. Julie has been sent to another planet in the same system, a...uh...YG89-c. Craig and Simon have encountered problems on their travels.”
Jeremy wanted to leave it there, but he decided it best to just say it all.
“Craig’s navigation had a malfunction. He went off course and fell to Neptune. His shuttle crashed due to the faulty system. No chance of survival. As for Simon, his shuttle worked fine, but from what I saw on the video feed, asteroids collided and debris hit his shuttle, destroying it instantly.”
Jeremy leaned back and walked over the window, his foot pushing binders and books aside.
“My shuttle won’t be ready for another two years,” Jeremy said to himself more than the camera. “By then, the fire year mission is complete and I can be sent to some planet that might be the chance for human life to start again...or I will end up like Simon and Craig. Right now, there is a fifty percent chance of that happening.”
Jeremy smiled at that dark thought.
“Anyway, the capsule has been loaded with all our data, the specimen and the best results we could get. Sending it off now, it should reach earth in two weeks.”
Jeremy walked back to the computer, tapped a few keys and after multiple checks, the capsule was silently launched. Had he not checked the video feed, he would have no assurance that it left at all. He felt jealous of that torpedo-like package. Even if the Earth it would reach was shattered and struggling, it would feel the sun when it landed.
Of all the things Jeremy thought he would miss, it wasn’t the sun. Ice-cream, cycling and patting his dog were all on that list, but not the sun.
“I suppose the question is what I will do for the next two years,” Jeremy said, realising his report was devolving into a sappy mental conversation, but not caring. “There is enough food and water to last me the two years, but if I find that I can’t handle it, it’s off to the icebox. A deep sleep which I won’t wake up from until I reach my planet...or at all if things go bad.”
He had to finish the report.
“I apologize for this less-than-helpful report. I’m sorry for Craig and Simon’s families. Those two will be remembered, missed dearly by many. I hope that the other scientists can make something of our experiments and put a stop to this organic corruption that is killing our home, that I, Lions and Julie will receive a report one day telling us the good news. Until then, we will build the colonies, we will start again. Mankind will be a species that will fight for survival, that will never give up hope. We will be as endless as the stars and Earth will be remembered as the planet where all things began, not where they ended.”
Jeremy signed off and ended the report. Already half of the video had reached Earth, the rest would be transmitted shortly. Jeremy sat there, staring at it until it was done. He didn’t know what he would do for the next two years, because going to sleep wasn’t something he was looking forward to.
Jeremy, the last on the space station, decided to wait until he received a confirmation of his report and perhaps orders from home. He expected the worst, which was either a cold confirmation or nothing at all. During that time, he decided to clean up the station, put everything back in its place.
He paced the halls, took small naps and read books from the digital library. Days passed, then weeks, then months. He learnt that Julie had taken her life aboard her shuttle. He learnt that Lions’ planet was no more. Yet, no news from Earth. After a year of mental torture and waiting, he could not wait anymore.
He decided to start putting systems to sleep, shutting them down one by one. He was going to seep. He had already reached his room when the message finally came through.
He stared at it, wondering if there was a point in reading it. He opened it anyway, letting it play throughout the station.
“Jeremy, we are sorry, but there is nothing left for Earth and no doubt you have heard about Lions and Julie,” a female voice began. He opened the video and looked at the old woman. There was a hint of the purple corruption in her eyes, she wouldn’t live long. “The planet is too far gone, even if we could find a cure. The world is too weak to fight, to lash out, to keep trying. Our thoughts are now on two things. First, what comes next? Where will we go, what happens after death? The second is you.”
Jeremy continued to walk through the station, deactivating any other systems, except the intercom.
“People, for so long, have considered scenarios such as this and wondered how far humanity would fall. We considered anarchy, chaos, and vast bloodshed. We had that for a while, but it slowed down as quickly as it started. Now, we are all passengers on a subway, waiting until we reach our final destination.”
Jeremy walked into the shuttle and started flicking switches, opening compartments and packing anything he wanted to take with him.
“Sadly, this was the way peace was brought to our world...but perhaps this isn’t peace. Perhaps, we as humans, are at peace when half of us are fighting. When half the world is suffering, while the other half is surviving, when the scales are balanced.”
Jeremy returned to his room and sat at the desk.
“I cannot speak for most of the world, but I can speak for myself and those close to me when I say this...you are all we have left. Our chance to live on, through you. Jeremy, I know you don’t like the odds, but we are hoping you will take the chance. You are the last one, the only one, who hasn’t been corrupted. In essence, you are the strongest man in the universe.”
Jeremy chuckled grimly, at how pitifully true that statement was. The old woman smiled knowingly as if she could see him laughing.
“With this final transmission, we have sent hundreds of thousands of messages from those left on Earth. Videos, wishes, letters...everything. Not to mention, a few extra data packs of Earth in its final hours.”
“This is Earth, thanking you for your service and saying our last goodbye. May you be as endless as the stars, Jeremy.”
Jeremy watched the video again as he looked at the planet around him. The flora was very earthlike, with few curiosities. The fauna was strange, but not too dissimilar either. It was a home.
“A home for humanity,” Jeremy smiled.