Saturday, 18 June 2022

Debut Flash: 'Midnight' by Jake Theriault

Redundancies. Contingencies. A hundred ways we could save ourselves if something went wrong. We had plans for if the air recyclers went dead, plans for if the hydroponic system broke down, plans for if the dome began rapidly venting air; but we didn’t have any plans in place for terrestrial emergencies. From up here it looked like a suicide.

It was technically night here when it happened, though I remember the sun keeping everything all too clear in my eyes. It was an evening like a hundred others, sending data packets and breakdowns of “soil” samples from our army of computers back to the eggheads in Houston.  The light delay from us to them was negligible, a little over a second both ways, so responses from Home Base were usually quick. But this one wasn’t. I kept waiting for confirmation of the data upload. Then I saw it.

It was a single bright light first. Then another. Then another. Like watching Fourth of July fireworks from across an ocean. I knew what it was before the computers told me.

Had the United States fired the first missile? Had Russia? Iran? North Korea? The computer didn’t know. It never would. And it didn’t really matter. I felt like something more should be happening. No alarms rang out in the base. Why would they? Nothing was wrong on our end. I couldn’t take my eyes off the gradually more and more occluded atmosphere of my former home. I knew I should tell the others, but I couldn’t move from my chair. 

Midnight had come.

2 comments:

  1. What fantastic tension build right from the first sentence. Congratulations 🥳 I

    ReplyDelete

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