Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Death of a Spaceman

The end is coming, as all ends must.

We’d travelled farther than our grandparents had ever dreamed possible to study this black hole, and when it was discovered partway toward our destination that, due to a minor miscalculation during our ships design phase, we wouldn’t have the fuel or oxygen reserves to make it home, we did our best not to let it phase us.

We had a job to do, after all.

And we were living the dream.

Mankind had hungered for this since first it turned it’s eyes skyward, hell, I’d hungered for it myself when I was a child, fantasising about being a spaceman while the other children played at being soldiers, or athletes. The fact that we’d been inadvertently stranded in the icy void of space was distressing, to be sure, but we weren’t going to let it stop us sating that hunger.

We weren’t doing this for ourselves, after all. We were doing it for our world.

How could we do any different?

So here we are, running our tests, sending our updates back to earth, trying to be cheerful but mainly just doing our work in silence. Our updates will make it back to earth, in time, even if we never do, and because of them humankind’s knowledge of the universe in which it lives will grow.

But I do admit, it would be nice to see my wife, my children, one more time.

But I know I can’t. I do my best to be okay with that.

I hope they’re proud.

I think they’re probably proud.

And when our fuel reserves finally run out, three or four days from now, we’ll be pulled gradually toward the very black hole we came here to study.

Toward that last great adventure.

No regrets.

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