the lighthouse stood tall
A tiny pod battled its way through the atmosphere. A man-made comet descending in a hail of burning particles. Alla sat in the cramped confines of the would-be titanium coffin, eyes set in steely resolve. She chose to ignore whatever it was that Mira's scans had revealed. Impossible or not, … (read more)
A tiny pod battled its way through the atmosphere. A man-made comet descending in a hail of burning particles. Alla sat in the cramped confines of the would-be titanium coffin, eyes set in steely resolve. She chose to ignore whatever it was that Mira's scans had revealed. Impossible or not, there was no way she could go on if she dwelled on the sight of a million life signs flaring up on her screen.
"What's our ETA, Mira?" She spoke the words softly. The kind of tender voice that stood in fear of rising panic. Her stomach was tied in knots, her palms were clammy as she touched the pod's instruments. The hull shook brutally as it finally broke through the atmosphere.
"ETA to landing site: ten minutes." Even Mira's artificial voice seemed distraught. Or was it just the sound of the fuselage burning to crips that distorted it? Alla shook her head at the thought. She was having trouble keeping her head straight. It seemed like each thought opened a small door into the madness she was plunging into. Fight as she might, Alla was still losing her composure.
The soil seemed to dissolve into dust under each step. They had not completed the terraforming though even the early stages of the process seemed half-assed at best. But why terraform a planet that was meant to be found and abandoned? Another off-world lighthouse. Another monument to the loneliness of the human race.
Was it foolishness or forbearance that drove her to check her scanner once more? She couldn't tell but the lighthouse stood tall in front of her. "Mira, isolate Alexey's life sign." The AI projected the image onto her visor. She reeled as her vision was overwhelmed by a million lights. "Mira, isolate Alexey's life sign." She repeated, caught off guard by the malfunction of the AI. The image faded and then faired back up again. A million lights once more. She didn't understand but reason was far beyond her at this point. "Mira, display only Alexey's life sign." She spoke the words hastily. The result was the same and she wondered if her connection to the AI had been damaged upon planetary entry. "I want to see only Alexey's life sign, Mira. Reset."
The projected lights faded only for the ocean of sparks to return a moment later. Mira's artificial voice spoke. "These are all Alexey's life signs, commander."
She stood, gasping for a reason though there was none left. The lighthouse seemed defiant as if mocking her. Nothing made sense. Then the world had gone mad.