The Last of Us
// DAYS SINCE LAUNCH: 2938
It was my final day on Iebos. We had finished gathering resources from the planet over a four-year period. Earth was a dying planet. Natural resources were running extremely low as the population and demand for power increased. There were plans to relocate most of the world’s population to Iebos, a planet capable of sustaining human life, however this proved to be impossible, as there were not enough resources left on Earth to sustain the crew over the four-year journey to the newly found planet. Instead, the leaders of the world came together and established a program, where enormous ships, known as Voyagers, would embark on the journey with its 5,000 passengers and gather resources from Iebos, where they would be transported back to Earth. It was a stable program, and gave life on Earth a second chance. It was up to us, a crew 5,000 strong, to bring back the resources necessary to sustain human life, and save humanity from extinction.
I made my way to the command room to notify the pilots that we were clear for departure, before meeting up with Violet, second in command, in the dining hall. We sat at our regular spot, a small table by a grand window that peered into the calm silence of space. We were both ready to head home, eager to pick up where we left off. The ship began to tremble as the large thrusters ignited, and a voice over the intercom announced the long-awaited news: Home time.
// DAYS SINCE LAUNCH: 3682
I had just finished my meal, when there was a loud banging on the door of my cabin. I opened the door and Violet stood there, distraught, short of breath, pointing towards the large window in the hallway.
“Captain, you need to see this.”
Before me, floated the signal of a lost Earth.
Voyager 6, the previous ship before us, floated in space, destroyed. It was in pieces, bombarded by a sea of asteroids. The ship that carried enough resources to sustain life on Earth for twelve years, lay waste in the void of space. Debris and resources orbited around the wreck. A chilling science fell over the crew, as more and more people came to the window.
“Does this mean…” Violet said before losing herself in disbelief.
I turned to the growing crowd. “Everyone back to their stations” – but no one moved.
The faces of over a hundred people stood shocked, unable to come to terms with what was out there. I looked at Violet, who’s face had turned a ghostly white, then back to the gathering.
“We will arrange for teams to search the vessel and recover any survivors and resources that can be of use. For now, we must all remain calm and sit tight for the rest of the journey.” The crowd began to murmur, while many remained stunned. I pushed my way through the sea of people and towards the control room, Violet close behind. This was bad, very bad. We had teams search and recover resources and passengers from Voyager 6, before reporting back to the control room.
“Sir, we managed to recover 300 tonnes of wood, 18000 kilos of coal, 24000 Litres of-“
“What about the passengers! Were there any survivors?” I raised my voice at the recruit.
“Twenty-Four Sir. Twenty-Four survivors.” He replied, breaking eye contact and bowing his head.
A crew of 5,000 reduced to a mere 24. I had them all report to the command room to explain what had happened to their ship. They were directed to their cabins and the ship continued on its long journey home.
// DAYS SINCE LAUNCH: 4197
We were less than 12 million miles away from home now, well within Earth’s telecommunication range. We transmitted a signal to notify of our arrival and waited for a response. Nothing. There were approximately 120 days left of our journey and the crew was getting nervous, as news spread quickly throughout the ship that we were not receiving any response from Earth. I called a meeting with Violet and a few of the survivors to discuss what the future has in store for us.
“We had twelve years’ worth of resources aboard that ship, there is no way that the people stuck on Earth would have survived.” One of the survivors spoke up. “I say we turn back now and start fresh on Iebos, that would be our safest bet.”
“No! We can’t abandon anyone on Earth, they’re counting on us! I yelled, fist slammed on the table.
“There IS no one on Earth! They’re all dead!
A chilling silence fell upon the crew. Heads bowed and jaws clenched. The realisation had just settled in.
“Captain, he’s right.” Violet stepped closer and rest her hand on my shoulder. “We know Iebos is capable of sustaining life, and there is enough people aboard this ship to start up human life again. You need to rethink this mission.”
I turned and looked into her deep blue eyes. They were filled with a mix of desperation and hope, confused almost, like she was unable to come to terms with the whole situation. She was right. Life on Earth had become nothing more than day to day survival, where greed had overthrown most laws, with the rich thriving and the poor being left literally, in the dirt. It was a difficult decision to make, and it was mine. I needed time.
“Everyone will return to their quarters and we will discuss this issue at a later date” I turned and made for the door, before Violet got a hold of my arm.
// DAYS SINCE LAUNCH: 4312
We could see Earth from the windows now, it’s spherical lay silhouette to the empty space behind it. Voyager still transmitted; but Earth didn’t. There were no signs that anything had survived on the planet. All resources had been depleted and the last of humanity as we know it remained on this ship. I notified Violet over the intercom to arrange an assembly with all passengers aboard Voyager 7. I had made my decision.
“As many of you may know, Earth is a lost cause, with no signs of life on its surface. So the decision has been made the return to Iebos and start a new life on the planet, filled with endless resources and even more possibilities”
There was mixed reaction from the crowd. Many people roared in defiance while others stood in silence.
“We will slingshot around Earth, where everyone will be able to see the planet for the last time. Thankyou”
// DAYS SINCE LAUNCH: 4328
We entered into Earth’s orbit. The ship began shaking violently as we gained speed. I looked out the window and saw nothing more than barren planes, deprived of any greenery or life. The clouds were a thick black colour, stained with the pollution of our wasted resources. Many of the crew aboard the ship crammed to the windows to get a glimpse of their home planet. The slingshot was over on less than an hour, each minute spent observing the lost planet. We broke from the Earth’s orbit and headed back due course to Iebos.
I had one final look at the planet I grew up on as memories came flooding back of the once thriving planet, that had become nothing more than vast wasteland. I could not dwell on these memories, for they were a part of the past now, for the future stood before me, 5,000 strong, filled with hope, and all that remained of the human race.