I began this account nearly a year ago as a record of events that could be used after my rescue. My comrades could use this data and be sure this never happened again. Well, I suppose it will not be happening again. This account is now my only solace to keep away the madness that threatens to grow in my mind. It is my only tether to reality. I am alone.
Do you even remember who I am? I wish I could remember everything. Let’s see what I know: My name is Alexsandr Fetiukov. I am a member of the United Earth Government Space Program. I have (had?) a family back in Russia that hasn’t heard from me in years. I have been marooned here on the ISS for more than a year, and I am alone.
I am so very, very alone. My isolation is readily apparent to me now, but for how long? I find myself speaking to these pictures, conversing with comrades I’ve never known. Sometimes they respond, and I know they aren’t real (for now) but the responses give me a small amount of respite from the crushing loneliness. It gives me something, however small, to hang on to of myself. Humans are, after all, social creatures; it does not bode well for one to be so cut off from others.
It is a sad sight, planet Earth. I reside above, wheeling about my home at an alarming rate, unable to reach it yet always in sight. The lights on the surface have since gone out, the power grids across the entire world have failed. At night, for those on the surface, the only light that exists flares into life for the briefest instant, and those nearby die with it.
Who began this inexorable march into hell? I saw the first thermonuclear missile detonate ; China is no longer a country, it is a cancerous growth, totally incapable of life. I can only speculate why, but I heard their screams, wailing on and on through space, a shockwave just beneath conscious perception.
I often wake, assuming rest has actually found me, in a cold sweat, the screams reverberating through the station’s walls, pounding inside my head. I do not see how the station is still functioning, the screams are loud enough to rip it apart at the rivets.
Nov. 12, 1912,
Woke to screams this morning, screams so loud they were pounding in my skull long after they stopped echoing through the valley. Our squadron was camped outside a small village somewhere in the French country side; they were attacked in the hours just before dawn. Bloody hell, what kind of man attacks a village that way? We rushed to the village to help, but no one was there. All gone, not a soul. And I mean all gone, not a trace but dust and the echoes of screams.
Were they dead? If so, we could not find any bodies. Fear they were kidnapped, but I’d rather not think about that myself.
Spent the middle part of our day tramping about the hillside. Weather was a dull, flat gray that hung about. Felt almost as if the sky was lamenting. Couldn’t tell what it was lamenting more, the village or us.
We exchanged gunfire with a German patrol near the next town. Put them away smartly, they seemed as if they were already injured. Popped two of them myself; my rifle is becoming an extension of my arm, my own will. Right bit of power that.
The other men never quit talking, never stop using “why.” Why are we here? Why are we fighting? Why do we have to die? I sometimes wonder these things, but know it doesn’t matter. Asking why won’t keep me from taking a bullet to the head. Asking God why won’t get me home. All I can do is keep moving forward. That’s the only way to walk out of this hell. Got to protect myself and my mates and we’ll make it home. Might even get a medal or two for my valiance.
PS – Saw a young girl the other day. Couldn’t have been more than 5 years old, tottered about a crumbling village in a bright yellow coat. Almost like a little canary. She was lost, searching for something in the rubble. Might have been her parents? I should have gone to her. Should have helped. I know you would have. God rest my soul, I hope she’s alright.
Captain Urban Valentine Knabel is woken by screams so loud his head pulls itself apart at the seams. His head bangs against the top of his desk as reality comes flooding back to him: I am on my ship, leaving my home of Corso and headed to parts unknown. I was dreaming, dreaming of a man in.. green. He was tramping around verdant countryside and had some type of rifle in his hands. The familiar hum of hyperspace fills his ears as he begins to piece back his waking consciousness. Captain Knabel stands up and stretches in the quarters of his ship, the UCSC Prophetess as it hurtles toward infinity. He thumbs the button on the intercom and clears his throat before addressing his crew.
“This is your captain speaking. We are currently on course for the, as yet, unexplored Tau Omega system. As you know, we are tasked by the omniscient Corsican government with the mission to find anything there is to be found, so stay alert. Our projections show that we should be in system within the next hour.”
Captain Knabel begins the laborious task of dressing himself in clothes that belong on the bridge of his ship. His uniform is a royal blue coat with dark beige slacks and chestnut shoes. His shirt is pressed stark white, and his chest gleams with medals. His grandfather told him that the medals a man earns tells more about who he is than any conversation could ever reveal.
He considers his fiancée back home and wishes he could write to her. He knows she was nervous when he came to her with his mission, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Humanity has been scattered for so long; there is little record of its origins. What if Knabel found something, something that mattered? The possibility was far too tempting to stay behind.
“Captain, we’ve found something. You’d better come to the bridge immediately.” Ensign Falman sounds anxious.
Are we already here? I had assumed it would take a bit longer to find anything of value, but Falman sounded like she was about to collapse. Could this really be it?