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An exercise in world-building

Or: why you shouldn't stay up til 5am playing Scifi horror

The end of the world was right on schedule, nutcases and all. The richest evangelicals were no exception. A second Flood was coming, they said, and none on earth would be spared. Details varied from figurehead to figurehead, and espionage was rife between groups with differing interpretations of one book or another, but there was no setback more donations from the faithful couldn’t fix. We don’t know how many succeeded in the end, but several massive vessels took shape in orbit, funded by armies of loyal fanatics eager to buy their ticket to paradise. They were dubbed Arks, of course, each one the sole anointed saviour of humanity for thousands on board as they set off, the best technology money could buy, piloted by numerologists who saw a map of heaven in whatever ancient scriptures most appealed to them.

Those of us left behind, the alleged lost and damned, tried to get on with our lives in the face of impending Armageddon. Surprisingly, it didn’t happen. Maybe because so many assholes fled to the stars, or because they took so much with them, or maybe the sheer idiocy of the act simply knocked sense into the world’s remaining leaders, but cooler heads prevailed, ceasefires were made, agreements signed,  treaties ratified. We had a chance at repairing some of the damage to the planet. Maybe even most of it. The UN grew teeth, and brought rogue nations to heel from North Korea to the remaining United States. People started to hope.

Then the Arks returned.

After decades in space we thought the ones that hadn’t exploded had reached the edge of the solar system. The first ignored attempts at contact and flew straight into the atmosphere, breaking apart and burning to dust save for some minor impacts in Siberia. The second stopped over the Pacific, in a geosynchronous orbit exactly above the halfway point of the main tectonic fault line. This one responded to calls from earth, although most wished it hadn’t; the video feeds show dark, empty corridors and unmanned stations, the thousand or so passengers nowhere to be seen, and the only audio response to any contact is the scream of a man that has not stopped in 3 years.

We had assembled a team of astronauts to investigate this ghost ship when the third Ark returned, stopping above the side of the moon forever facing earth, casting a shadow visible to the naked eye. This one contacted us first, four voices in unison broadcast worldwide. They simply said “come and see”.

And then, all Hell broke loose.

By Sarky

Freelance writing, communist propaganda, and only the very finest in depression-enhanced late night existential dread and self-deprecation.

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