A hunched figure is meticulously picking his way over crumbling rock pass ahead of me. First light catches the peak and the fireball in the sky is once again too glaring to overlook. It was a grey, dreary morning; with just enough light piercing the clouds to make navigating the rugged terrain bearable. It's been hanging over our heads for dozens of months now, but what can we do about it? "Hey Captain, wake up and give me a hand with this rigging.", snaps me out of the daze and I continue on like I always have, one hand over the other, one foot after the next; on and on like it's always been, as we push ourselves through the morning climb.

Still they call me Captain, even though the military is dead and gone to us. I hear them shouting in the streets, "Repent, Repent, your soul must be healed, the end is nigh!" I don't listen to that garbage anymore. Everything is already dead. There isn’t anything more for us, and there sure as hell is no forgiveness for what I’ve done. I'm just here to wait out the rest of the ride; which is about to hit the end of the line. This is the last stop, and nobody’s getting off.

Everyone lurches forward as the tram whips to halt. A loudspeaker crackles, "Everyone off, last chance is now, I'm honored to have carried you today." Why do we humans get so emotional around this time, I start to get lost in my wondering. Remembering snaps me out of it. It isn't my problem anymore. It's no one's problem now.

I reach my pathetic corner of the spire, my apartment number matches the new year. The simple coincidence brings me to laughter for the first time since they let the news leak. They called me hero once, now my address matches their expira-never mind. The heights don't get to me like they do most; they still bring me peace, even in these rough times. The backdrop out my window paints a grim view of what's to come. Looking up you can still make out the dirty exterior of the space station. The International Space Station became something so much bigger than the research center it was intended for. With drive and purpose, the men and women of the third millennia forged it into a stepping stone for our first pushes into the galaxy. This was all before its extensions were abandoned when I was still just a boy, right after the first outbreak.

The Blight. A little less than half a now decrepit century ago, it was to be the first of many things to hit us while we were down.

The fear the blight caused was tremendous, nothing else mattered. The government ordered all funding flopped to the doctors and researchers, leaving the rebuilt ISS abandoned just before it was needed, before we could take another step. Science kept the people in fear of a new outbreak, or new mutation for the next sixty-eight years, and we were more than happy to keep giving them our money. A few private investors tried to keep up maintenance, but soon, just like the sprawling vacant cities begun by the twentieth century, it became another hulking wreck we had to ignore, 500 square miles of orbiting wreckage. Shame, if they had kept pushing into space, tomorrow morning we wouldn’t be just another snuffed experiment of intelligence. The earthquake was really where we hit rock bottom. About sixty years ago a massive 8.6 split through the middle of Los Angeles and caused one of the most devastating natural disasters the old United States ever faced, nearly four million wiped off the slate so quick I could have held my breath through it. Another few million died of aftershocks and conditions in the California area within the day. The destruction didn't stop there, no, something the scientists never predicted happened. The Pacific plate tilted, burying a huge part of Japan's coastal islands and sinking the rest of western coast just into Idaho. The Caribbean, Eurasian plates were shattered into so many smaller fragments and every other tectonic plate nearly buckled from the fallout of the stress release. Whole countries disappeared; Australia became a chain of Islands. Economies and Empires collapsed, there were no more superpowers, Europe, Asia and the Americas were sent crashing to their knees; all of us knowingly awaiting the Executioners blade.

The pain inflicted on the world by this nearly apocalyptic tragedy had an amazing effect, the world actually got along. Together, the countries of the world rebuilt and restored and in the end formed what we now know as the United Nations of Earth. Even though nearly a third of the world was under water or left destroyed we survived. We survived and moved on but there were exceptions, countries that refused aid and were not governed by UN. These sickened and destroyed countries fermented, tearing themselves apart with infighting and greed and brought themselves lower than the Third World of the 20th Century. Eventually from these rotting corpse nations sprang the blight, killing a quarter of the remaining population, transferring itself through our water supplies. But we survived.

After all this destruction and death humanity still managed to find a way to survive the ride, but not this time. More than 70,000 years ago we were starved by drought to as few as 2,000, and grew back to nearly 15 Billion. This time the blow will be much too great to ever overcome, repopulate. Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow.

At least that's what they say, it's been going this way for awhile now, I'm just happy the ride is over. I feel like sleeping through it, but that would be a coward’s way of going out and the marine in me has yet to be stamped out. Some men in my unit are going to the peaks to see it before the rest of us. I don't think I want that either. I will choose the middle option, here, in the city, around the people I've come to know the last fifteen years. Drinking with friends I've known half my life until we don't care about this hulking monstrosity anymore. Apocalipsis De Juan, that's what the locals call it. It's a homely place, opened up about a year ago by some Drug lord who turned Angel after the blight, after the leak. That's where the party is at tonight. I walk in, a few guys sitting at the bar yell to me. "Aye jarhead, lemme buy ya a round" already they're long gone. I want to keep my senses for this, but my throat is parched, as a favor to a dying man I will quench it.

You'd think the news crews would be out gathered around, giving stories and speeches. No, none of that, just one automated program switching between two cameras.

Space, Earth.



Space, Earth

This is how it's going to end. A few drunk men, staring at their beer and awaiting the percussion. Of course, it can't end immediately. Quick and painless is too good for our race. The initial impact will only destroy the last islands of Europe and the Americas. The rest of apocalypse will carry out the collapse of our electromagnetic field triggering more plate snapping quakes, along with tornadoes and hurricanes bigger than Florida had ever seen before it drowned, storms bigger than Florida to erase our ruins. More of a whimper considering the bang it began with.

The barkeep is walking outside now, there isn't going to be anyone left to serve in a few minutes. All attention is focused on our city, not much use to us in here. As I make my way outside I see a man in the corner. He's mumbling about a trumpet and a dragon, something about big trouble. Who cares now, the trouble is here, only a few thousand miles away now, just out past the full moon.
The full moon, it's still quite a sight to see even after all these years. Though today it gives a different impression, instead of its reposeful serene it seems to be mockingly watching us scurry about. "Que Lastima, Resquiescant in Pacem" I hear as the moon is overtaken by the fireball in the sky. What a pity, it had to end like this. The last thought that travels my landscape is simply "Aye, Wormwood, finally you've-“

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