For the fun of it and to do something different with my writing I decided to do a writing prompt. I liked how it turned out and it would be a shame to let it sit in Google Docs forever. So I decided to post it here. It isn’t my typical content but it was a fun change of pace for me as a writer. I’m more used to writing non-fiction than fiction, so let me know in the comments what you think!
“If you could reimagine your existence entirely, who would you be? What world would you live in?”
In humanity’s future, perhaps a century from now or perhaps a few millennia, traveling throughout the stars isn’t as difficult as it used to be. The terraformed Mars has a population of billions. The settlement of Europa has been going on for decades. Shining cities under protective domes are scattered about the surface.
We have discovered so many new truths about the universe and developed technologies our ancestors could only dream of. Despite our advances, we are still alone. Scientists never gave up on the idea that humanity isn’t the only form of rational life. They looked at the magnificence of the cosmos and instinctively felt, “We cannot be all there is.”
So they still try. They still research and find new ways to send messages faster, farther, louder… They shout out “Here we are! Where are you?” Many have given up their hopes of finding others, but a few stubborn hopefuls carry on. Right when the funding has dried up, those few stubborn scientists finally receive a reply.
It’s nothing we can understand. It sounds like a whale song with clicking vowels and consonants. The whole thing has bursts of static throughout when the signal wasn’t quite strong enough. However, it was strong enough. We know where it comes from.
All of humanity is abuzz with excitement. The Martian Congress approves plans for the longest space expedition ever undertaken. Years of preparation begin to create the massive spaceship Portunes.
I was a fresh cadet in the flight academy when news broke of intelligent alien life. From that moment on I was determined that I was going to be one of the people who were going to meet them. I wanted to see if it was real. I hope it’s real.
I’ve always wanted to be the person who traveled far enough to see something for the very first time. This was the ultimate chance to be a part of the first crew to encounter aliens or find the truth behind the biggest red herring in history. Either way, I’d see something new. No one has ever gotten out of the Milky Way, let alone a galaxy 10 billion light-years away. It was the chance of a lifetime and I didn’t want to miss it.
When I’ve graduated and spent some years as a transport class pilot, the announcement of Captain Serenity Renolds as the Portunes is broadcasted. Soon after the call goes out for a co-pilot. I don’t think I’ve ever applied to a job so fast. Out of all candidates she chose me! It was a dream come true.
For the longest time, I never asked her why. I was afraid that doing so would pop the bubble somehow and make her realize that the whole thing was some sort of mixup. A week before the launch, I asked her to celebrate the upcoming expedition during the glitzy gala. She told me, “You’re good, kid. You know how to improvise and keep a level head when it matters. Besides, you’re a sarcastic twerp. Do you think I want to sit next to someone boring for years?” I couldn’t help but laugh at how she phrased that and said “Thanks, I guess. Glad to know I won because I offer in-flight entertainment”. We had a short toast to “Keeping ourselves alive” and rejoined the formal mingling with the important moneybags, government people, and the scatted press.
Today is the day. Today the Portunes launches and our expedition begins. I’m on the ship readying for lift-off. Sitting to my left is my captain, performing the last-minute checks before the countdown. This is the happiest and most nervous I’ve been in my entire life! No amount of classes, simulations, and inter-galaxy hops could ever prepare me for the sheer overwhelming scale of the expedition and the weight of history on my shoulders.
The countdown starts.
I can’t believe it. This is it!
This one moment…
The start of something entirely new.
Whatever is out there, we get to see and experience it!
No turning back now.
I’m flying farther than anyone ever has. Because I want to know what’s out there. I want to see it myself. I am scared, so scared because anything could happen and it’s just us, all alone in a vast hostile space. Yet I am so, so, excited! Because… well, anything can happen!
*Image does not belong to me. Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash