Cynthia had been certain for many months now that the hulk of metal that she and four other crew members were orbiting the earth in would eventually become their coffin.
Below them the earth still constantly fell beneath them, and clouds still whisked across the surface, every once in a while getting caught up as they slammed against high mountain peaks until they dumped their reserves of rain and then moved along. And even the large swaths of dense forest of the high mountain regions of the Rocky’s and Alps as well as other mountainous regions could still clearly be seen. The view at night, however, was a completely different story.
City and street lights still burned and highlighted coasts and massive areas of population, but Cynthia knew better than to imagine those streets still bustling with cars or people. She knew that those city light showed only one thing, the gruesome end that had been mans final days.
Her and her crew referred to the date that marked the beginning of the end as year zero. There probably wouldn’t be anybody alive to recognize the transition from year zero to one.
“What’s the plan, cap?” A voice beside her said. She didn’t have to turn to know that is was William Wellock, her second in command and co-pilot of the shuttle.
She wanted to say she didn’t know, to tell him she was still working on it, but in the end she had only enough will power to shrug her shoulders. She felt that if she tried to speak she would more likely than not break out in sobs before she got any intelligible words passed her lips.
“Sounds like as good a plan as any.” William answered, always trying to be the jokester.
“Does it even matter?” Cynthia answered just as William had turned around, getting ready to push of the bulkhead to give her more time to think.
“What?” He asked, hearing what she had said, just not knowing how to answer.
“Does it matter?” Now the tears started to flow. Afraid that he might notice, she kept her head straight, looking down at the rotating earth beneath them. The eastern sea board would be coming into view soon, bathed in the warmth of the early spring Sun and with it the state of New York, specifically upstate New York and a small town where the winters were cold and the summers were hot, like any other, but a town she had called her all her life. “I mean, I know there is nothing left down there, nothing left to save, but I would rather die down there than up here, forever floating just out of arms reach of home.”
“I suppose not.” William answered back as he placed a hand on the bulkhead to Cynthia’s left and the other on her shoulder. She didn’t particularly like William, but she didn’t dislike him either, but that didn’t stopped their brief love affair from taking place after they learn what was happening down on the ground. It was the only way she could cope; it was the only way any of them could cope. It had only been the one time, but she could sure use a hug, she thought to her self as he touched her shoulder.
“What do you want?”
It was Williams turn to shrug his shoulders. “I don’t know. Not to die up here for sure.”
“Then it’s settled,” she said, turning around, her view of earth no longer visible through the flow tears. “We should prepare the shuttle and tell everyone we’re leaving.”