The Last Of My Kind - An Entry For A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words - 10/14/2021
Describe what you see:
I see a very lonely young man, in a beautiful world. Outside of his world is a very hostile environment.
Describe what you feel:
I want to explore his world, but at the same time I would like to see him free to find others, and perhaps a happy and friendly new home.
I was born here. Yep, I'm a Martian. No, not one of those silly little green guys that I watch on the screen sometimes. But still a Martian by birth.
My mom and dad were a part of the first and last group of settlers sent out by the billionaire owner of Universe Y. He had everything set up long before my parents and the other settlers got here. Unfortunately he died when his Ferrari sailed off of a cliff, only weeks after we arrived.
The world within the self healing bubbles is vibrant and varied. There are many different natural environments, complete with the native flora and fauna of each. And the main living bubble has every comfort one could wish for, all run by solar power. The farming bubbles take care of themselves almost as easily as the natural habitats.
I should be grateful. Unlimited resources, entertainment, and knowledge. Hundreds of beautiful and wild places to explore. I even have pizza thanks to the replicator.
So why do I want to leave? I'm the only one of my kind here. I need to find a way to the home planet on which I will be an alien. I'll miss the replicator pizza, but it's worth it to find my parents and friends. And who knows, maybe they will know a good recipe for it by now...
When I was fifteen, the humans of Earth were exterminated by a devastating disease. We were given everything needed to find a solution. But by the time our small settlement finally developed a vaccine, communications from Earth had ceased
Were we too late? Perhaps, but we had to try to save any survivors. A vote was taken, and it was unanimous. All fifty-four of us would leave.
This was vital for the gene pool. If we really were the last of our species each individual would be needed.
We would search for and help anyone who had survived. We would repopulate the Earth. In the future, our descendants would populate Mars.
I remember the day before launch day as if it were yesterday...
"Good morning, Chris. How are you going to spend your last day on Mars?"
"I thought I would take a walk outside of the environments, Mom. That and replicator pizza are really the only things I'm going to miss. I can't wait to get to Earth, I've always wanted to see an ocean."
"Enjoy yourself, but be home in time for supper. We are going to have a big day tomorrow. Our new lives will begin! And don't worry about pizza, the ones on Earth are much better, trust me."
"I believe you, I just can't imagine it being better." laughed Chris. "The pictures and videos of Earth are stunning, I can't understand why you left."
"We are explorers at heart. Scientists, artists, engineers. Dreamers one and all. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to create a new world, perhaps the first colony of many. From here we can probe even deeper into the unknown."
"I understand that, Mom. But there really isn't much to explore around here."
"You are right, but I think we all expected this to be a sort of launching point. Once the colony was well established, we would just go on and create a new one. Like the way the American West was settled. Sadly Mr. Dazer's unexpected death changed everything. Nobody else wanted to put in the amount of money necessary to complete his vision."
"That makes sense. I'm glad we are going somewhere more exciting. I'll see you in a few hours, Mom."
"Bye Chris, I love you."
"Love you too!"
Chris then went to the edge of one of the exit bubbles, selected a suit, and went out into the lifeless Martian landscape. On a whim, he grabbed two extra tanks of air. One would last at least three days, more if he was careful. And he would only be out for a few hours. But it was his habit to think "what if". It was like a game, and had served him well in the past.
The landscape was desolate, but like a desert on Earth it held its own beauty and secrets. For example, there were tiny "rock puffs" which almost seemed to grow like living things. And of course the little dust devils were a marvel. The bubbles never had any wind, so it was alien to see such a thing.
Chris headed straight for his favorite lookout point. It would take all of his skills and energy just to get there and back before supper. From Lunar Leap he could see forever! To the left there was the colony, with any available light reflecting on the bubbles. To the right the mountains seemed to dwarf his rocky perch. Ahead was a desert, with a glowing red sky.
Chris sat there and took it all in, before he began to take pictures. Then he stood, turning around 360 degrees to etch it in his memory forever. "Goodbye, Mars." He whispered.
At that moment, a breeze began to steadily pick up the fine particles of dust. He wasn't worried, but it was past time to go anyway. He climbed down, and by that time dust was flying everywhere. With visibility down to almost zero, he tried to guess at the direction of the settlement. After two hours he stopped, knowing that it was close but not wanting to miss it and walk on by. He wouldn't be lost, Lunar Leap could be seen from anywhere in the area. But it would take longer to get home.
Luckily all of the suits were equipped with water, and even enough freeze dried food to last two weeks. All he had to do was sit and wait out the dust storm. Which he did.
It lasted a full eight days. That he knew of. Maybe longer, since he had woken to calmness. Thankful for the clear sky, he took note that his last tank of air was only a quarter full. Definitely time to get home!
Home turned out to be far in the opposite direction. He had in fact passed it by several miles. "Oh well, the walk will feel good after laying around for days."
Arriving at the settlement, he noticed that everything was quiet. Quickly going to his own home, he was greeted by a note on the refrigerator.
"Chris, if you are reading this it means that I was right. And you must know that I will be back for you. When the storm was over, your dad and I went to Lunar Leap, but we couldn't find you.
Everyone says you must be dead, only having enough air for three days. But your dad and I can feel it, you are alive! We tried to get them to delay the launch, or leave us behind. But they took another vote, and are making us go back with the group. They are sending out a search party to look for you as I write this. If unsuccessful, we will be going immediately upon their return.
Dad and I love you Chris, and we will go to NASA and set up communications. When we message you must answer, then I promise you, I will find a way back. Or I will guide you in how to join us on Earth. Check every day at lunchtime, and one day I will be there.
Love you lots, Mom"
So there you have it! I'm sitting here waiting for a message, and wondering if I'm the last of my kind in the universe.