You hear it on the radio: some transmission made decades before, a fragment of a conversation, picked up as your ship travels it’s now uncharted path. “I’ll see you soon, put the kettle on,” then laughter and a silence which is eternal. “What was this life, and who were they?” you ask yourself, now on some mission and in a distant galaxy, sent out to explore the universe decades ago, before the Earth was hit by meteorites.
“Life on other planets. I hope so” was all you could think of at the time, as you turned to look at Greg, the captain on this now unrecorded voyage. “Shall I make a note of it” you ask, but he just shakes his head: the answer is in his lack of interest.
What’s the point? There’s no one left who we can talk to, and nothing but these fragments of conversation bouncing round in space and prodding at our spent emotions: brief relics of a vanished world, heard on this voyaging craft which travels now without reference points or purpose.
“Can’t beat the view” you say, trying to keep it light, but routine sapped magic from the flight some years before and silence has become the known companion. Now galaxies pass by unremarked by two souls lost in travelling , robbed of home and context by that catastrophe which destroyed their home in mid-evolution.
“What does it mean” you ask yourself, but mute indifference has no answer. At some unspecified hour, you accept, if you don’t die before the event, some black hole or other matter will swallow this last evidence of man and his ambitions, and suns will rise and planets form without comment or exclamation from a lost life-form now become particle in space
devastating and tragic
This is a stunning piece, Peter; dark, doom-laden and sad, and probably closer to a future reality that no-one would wish to acknowledge. Superb.
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