(Author note: My apologies for the previous flash entry – it’s a story idea that I really liked but I couldn’t pull it together enough to make into a series. I will likely come back to it in the future. This week’s flash is a short intro as well, but I do have future parts written as well and will be running with this one.)
The last words of his mother echoed in his ears – “You’re a coward. I’m very ashamed of you.”
He was waiting for his name to be called for his launch. The launch schedules had all been accelerated as the planet’s rotation has begun to destabilize. It wouldn’t be long before there wasn’t a planet left.
Suddenly, a robot voice called out his ID Number and name, “7-058 Obsidian Skye Taylor”
He stepped up to the counter and presented his ID card and put his hand
into the biometric reader.
“Welcome 7-058. You will be briefed in room 19. Please proceed.”
He was just old enough to remember how life had been before the
Several world capitals and a few countries has been destroyed when Comet Inbou-Tsuku
broke up and rained pieces across the planet. The planet recovered but the population was drastically reduced. The world economy had been set back for almost three centuries but had recovered.
Now in late 28th century, things had recovered back to pre-impact levels but scientists had discovered a new problem. The multiple impacts had destabilized the rotation of the planet.
What had started as a second or two per day change in the length of rotation extended
and shortened as much as thirty minutes and was affecting the axial tilt. Seasons
became more and more chaotic as the tilt wobbled causing the peak of summer to become late fall or late spring to become winter causing massive problems with food
The program that Obsidian had volunteered for was started once the Wobble
had gotten so extreme that it was causing tremors and deformation of the planet’s surface. Scientists quickly realized that the destruction of the planet was imminent. The old space agency plans were retrieved from the archives and put into place to select
astronauts that would be sent into space to find other colonies.
He’d gotten through the selection process and the three years of training,
well, it was three years according to the telechrons. Hours, days and years had lost their original meaning except as units to measure time.
Obsidian was shaken back to reality by another tremor that caused dust to fall
from the roof of the building. He grabbed his personal effects that he planned to take with him. He looked around the lobby and saw a few familiar faces from the
training program but quickly trotted down the hallway pulling the two suitcases of his most valued possessions.
He followed the signs to room 19. It should have been labelled as port 19 but he wasn’t going to quibble at this point. There were at least three dozen other people in the waiting area at port 19. Familiar faces filled the assembled crowd which helped to ease his nerves. He presented himself at the podium with national ID and put his hand in the biometric reader.
His identity confirmed, the agent behind the counter turned to the room
and yelled “42!” and the doors opened revealing the briefing room
Several hours later, all of the necessary paperwork had been signed, next-of-kin recorded and the mission de-brief completed. Tomorrow morning, he would be put into cryogenic stasis for a trip toward the Orion Nebula to look for a new home for the residents of the planet. He and his fellow explorers/scientists were the hope of the
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