For Those Who Would Come After

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Average Sci-Fi stuff. Space travel, end of the universe, physics that probably don't make much sense. It's short. Thanks for reading, if you do.

Submitted: January 19, 2015

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Submitted: January 19, 2015

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“Play it again.” whispered the first figure. His voice was hoarse and shaky, but it had not yet lost that commanding, stern quality which so often accompanies a position of power. He expected obedience, that much was clear. His body was obscured by the near total darkness that can only be attained in the depths of space. Still, there was some little remaining vestige of light and heat, akin to the last breaths of a dying star, which managed to reach his dilated pupils. Such light remained in quantities that were just large enough to enable him to recognize the silhouette of a second figure, who was his only remaining subordinate.

 

“Why bother?” This was the second’s usual reply, as he had long ago sunk into depression and no longer cared for the success of their mission. “Why can’t you just face facts? No matter what we do, we’re doomed, and if it’s all the same with you, I’d like to spend my final hours in silence, without that stupid recording in the background.”

 

“Now.” demanded the first. “There may yet remain a solution, the discovery of which is-”

 

“Not aided by the unyielding atmosphere of overriding futility that I so stubbornly insist on perpetuating.” interjected the second. He knew all too well the consequences of such an interruption but the flustered state they caused in his superior was well worth the speech which invariably came after.

 

“As you well ought to have grasped by this time,” began the frequently administered lecture, for, genius though he was, the first figure was relentlessly predictable. “the undertaking bestowed upon us is of the utmost urgency. Success is paramount to-”

 

“Our survival, as well as that of the entire race, the enormity of which I seem to be incapable of comprehending,” finished his underling. “Yes, old one, I remember. Now if playing this recording is the price I must pay to shut you up, so be it.”

 

As the younger reached for the center button on the dash, marked with the faded green symbols of an age before the dawn of his race, the elder smiled to himself. He calls me predictable, he thought, but of the pair of us, your actions are most easily forecast. But then began the audio, which ceased thought of all else.

 

Audio Log One: “My name is Specialist Viktor Andronikov of the United States 2nd Marine Division, and I am the last surviving member of the human race. The final hours of my universe’s expansion cycle are upon me, and I alone was assigned the task of preventing this nightmare and saving my species. I have failed, as you must certainly know. I can only assume that you, whoever you may be, are listening because you have found yourselves in the same situation, and on the behalf of humanity, I offer the only gift I have left to give: the knowledge of mankind.”

 

“So dramatic…”

 

“Be quiet.”

 

“Humanity’s fascination with the sky was no accident. It was mankind's final border with the unknown, and it became our only hope for survival as well. When our sun began to die, we did not have the technology required to escape it. We could travel to our moon, or other planets within our solar system, but the capability of longer distance space travel: between solar systems, and between galaxies had eluded us. The greatest minds of our generation worked tirelessly for a solution, until one was found: A way to break the chains of physics and travel through space at a speed faster than light. The brightest young physicist the United States had ever seen discovered the secret of manufacturing what he called ‘negative energy’. He harnessed this new ability, and began the creation of a ship of immense capacity and unlimited power, however, it could not be completed in time. As the sun engulfed the planet, the young scientist boarded the ship alone and set its coordinates for the closest galaxy, which was called Andromeda. He made one crucial miscalculation. As Einstein discovered, the faster an object moves through space, the slower it experiences time. He calculated the speed of light to the the limit; That is, a person traveling at light speed will not pass through time at all. What he, and the young scientist failed to realize was the effect of traveling even faster. His ship never moved, instead, it forced the rest of the universe to. As a result, time stood frozen for everyone, everyone except the scientist, who experienced the passing of the universe in its entirety. I am that scientist, and I waited as four billion years passed, and the Milky Way galaxy collided with Andromeda. I stood frozen for eight hundred billion years more, and saw the stars fade one by one. I was conscious of every second during the next period of ten raised to the two hundred billion years (equal to a billion times a billion, multiplied one hundred and ninety one times). In this stage, the galaxies collapsed into black holes the size of a trillion Milky Ways, then the black holes collapsed into particles, which decayed into energy, which became scattered through time and space.

 

I do not tell you this for your pity, I have had millennia filled with nothing but my own. I tell you this because, while my invention was the doom of my people, it may yet be the salvation of yours. It remains the one refuge from the end. A place separated from the fate of your universe by negative time and by infinite space. Already you have discovered the entrance to sanctuary. The choice is now yours”

 

The elder of the two glanced at a timepiece he had been granted before the commencement of their mission. There was little time left. The pair sat silently for as long a while as they dared, each of them contemplating the choice that lay before them, and each of them coming to their decision. Power surged through the small room, and bright lights flooded the space. The first to stand was the younger, who noiselessly turned and walked to the glass entrance that led to sanctuary. Sliding open the door, he turned and scanned nervously around the newly illuminated room. He took a deep breath, stepped inside, and the doors closed behind him. With a flash of red against the brilliant white, the elder was alone. He sighed and sat, ready to meet his fate, when he noticed a second panel labeled with nearly identical markings to the first. He pressed the central button, and a new recording played.


 

Audio Log Three Thousand Fifty Four: “...ship is amazing! It changes so much about our knowledge of the origin of our universe!“

 

“The audio recordings along with other documentation left by various different races suggest that the universe is in a cycle from heat death to rebirth through random fluctuations in the universe because of quantum tunneling.”

 

“Yes it does seem to. The original design for the ship is here as well! This discovery is amazing!”

 

“Wait… Here... This room seems to be a library of sorts… It’s DNA! The ship has a catalogue of genes from billions of species. The genomes are somehow stored through this area, behind the glass doorway... It looks like the machine breaks the subject down into its cells for scanning. The subject seems to be disintegrated in the process…”

 

“We have their genes! All these species could be recovered after each cycle... Whoever set this up is preserving… Wait… How…? They’re all human! They aren’t different species at all… Whoever set this up is recreating humanity after each cycle when…”

 

“It’s wiped out…”

 

The recording faded out, and the elder man looked down at his timepiece once more, and smiled. He reached for the microphone connected to the dash, and selected the option to record a new message.

 

He spoke slowly in a commanding, stern voice: “My name is Specialist Viktor Andronikov of the United States 2nd Marine Division, and I am the last surviving member of the human race. The final hours of my universe’s expansion cycle are upon me, and I alone was assigned the task of preventing this nightmare and saving my species. I can only assume that you, whoever you may be, are listening because you have found yourselves in a similar situation, and on the behalf of humanity, I offer the only gift I have left to give: The knowledge that I have not failed you.

 

Follow my instructions, and save humanity once more.”


The old man put down the microphone, saved the recording onto the dash of his ship, and waited: First for the end, then the next beginning, and finally for those who would come after.


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