First Row - A Sci-fi short story
Hi! I;m fairly new into the community and tbh english is my mother tounge so I excuse in advance for any bad writing. THing is,I Like writing and I'm starting to make some short stories in english in order to improve my skill. This is the first one. Hope you enjoy it and all feedback will be most appreciated!
Holding his breath, Alexei disconnected the auto pilot and prepared to do the final landing maneuver by himself. He had trained for that precise moment in the two last years and despite control’s protests and the main computer alarms, he was not willing to give the glory of the moment to a machine.
Watching carefully the readings provided by the HUD and the virtual reality visualization in his helmet, the cockpit seemed nonexistent, a transparent space where, if he wished, only his hands could be seen. The view remembered him of the silly videogames he played in his youth. Looked just like that, but it was as real as it could be.
He extended the landing dampeners and with a soft touch, landed on the surface. Almost without thinking, verified the stability readings and activated the anchor system. The humming of the servomotors brought a slight vibration through the entire cockpit. After that, silence took the place and relieved, Alexei exhaled and announced by the radio
-Control, We’re back
A couple seconds after a loud cheering filled his headphones. Looking at the cockpit camera, smiled in triumph, making the devil’s horns sign.
-fifty years have passed, but here we are, back on the moon-announced in triumph
-Copied that Pilgrim. The whole world is celebrating your arrival- The radio answered after a while.
It wasn’t an easy path there. Without any government support and the economic and politic turmoil back on earth, the space race was mostly abandoned, but for some mega corporations, interested on the promise of incredible wealth hidden in the extra planetary mining. In a world devoid of future, ironically just that bunch of businessmen kept the spark alive.
Attempting to reignite the global interest in space exploration, a new moon mission was designed, but due to costs and in an attempt to have something new to sell, this was a solo mission. One astronaut and a crew of robots who would lay the bases for future mining missions.
Alexei was selected from over twelve thousand candidates from all over the world. Geologist and Engineer, fought for his place in the moon against some of the best individuals mankind had to offer.
Inside the tiny cockpit of the spaceship, Alexei gazed at the landscape, shown via the virtual reality system in his helmet. The moon appeared as a pristine view, filled with dunes and silver craters, under a sky filled with more stars than he had ever saw. For the first time he noticed his hands shaking with emotion and smiling proudly, deployed the robots before preparing himself to descend.
After opening the hatch and looking outside with his own eyes, Alexei held his breath again, in the knowledge that the world was doing the same thing with him. He descended slowly the stairs and jumped the last step, just as Aldrin once did. He gazed a cloud of thin moon dust, like powder, raising around his feet. Did a step forward and looked at the footprint in the planet. Perfect and epic, except for the logo of the corporation that had taken him there. Anyway he didn’t care, he was just too happy to care. He raised his head, looking back to Earth and knowing that everyone was looking the same that him, spoke to the radio. Ha had prepared some words for this moment, but forgot them and improvised on the spot.
-Half a century have passed since we had this view. Hope this new leap help us to grow through the cosmos.
The answer came to his headphones a moment later- Good words Pilgrim. We will be on air for the next ten minutes, please show the people the ship and robots.
Alexei nodded for no one. He disliked this part a bit, but understood well that the key in the Apollo missions and in any future ones was to show as much as possible, in order to keep people interested. He turned back to the ship and looking to the robots that were deploying from under the ship, began to jump to them, talking to his audience.
Almost four hours into the moon walk, Alexei had completed all the deployment tasks for the mining surveyors and robots. Everything was now connected to the ship and the main controls in his suit, so most part of the following mission would be inside the ship. Even though it wasn’t in the day’s agenda, he decided to took a selfie, with the earth on his back. He controlled the camera of the nearest robot and aimed to himself, while checked the image through the image in his helmet. When he was ready, set the timer and smiled to the camera.
A bright golden light filled the entire surface of the moon, shining from behind Alexei’s back. When he turned back, his eyes stuck in an image too unbelievable to be really happening.
The earth had exploded over his head, fractured in thousands of fragments, surrounded by a golden and red veil of lava, fire and molten rock, burning what was left of the shredded atmosphere. Unable to even blink, fell to its knees while tried desperately to call Earth but there was no answer, only silence in the radio. Soon he realized the harsh truth. He was the last human alive and he surely would be dead once the debris from the earth obliterated the moon surface.
Alexei entered the ship in silence, trembling and disoriented. His helmet made a loud bang when fell to the floor of the cockpit. There, in that tiny place, only his breath could be heard. He looked to the ship controls, almost as if he had forgotten what these things were. There was no tactile screen with all the indicators and controls, No, there was the faces of their parents, filled in pride. They asked to visit him in the las two years, but he always was too busy for them and promised to make a visit after… after a couple months, after the mission… after. There was also Irina’s face. He loved her all his youth, but the dream to reach the moon was bigger. There were all his friends, colleagues, his dog, Mishka, running towards him, asking to play, so happy to see him back.
And there was himself, returning as a hero, there he was falling again in love and marrying at the end of spring. There he was with his wife, both only covered by the night and there he was, holding his son for the first time. There was himself, his older face, smiling while Mishka, now an old dog, made an effort to play with the boy. There was he, in his son first day of school, and taking a beer with him after he ended the university. There he was, surrounded by his family, lying in the hospital bed. There he saw himself, sure of his fate, asking his wife to open the window, so he could see the moon one last time, when he finally died.
Screaming in rage, Alexei punched the control screen, which stayed in indifference of Alexei’s violence or feelings. He fell to the ship floor and, in tears, cursed everything, in every language he knew. Punched the ship, jumped to kick the screens and fell on his head. Howled in pain and then stayed still, realizing the truth. He was the only thing left of a billion species. Utterly defeated, Alexei felt himself lighter than he should and understood that his time was running short. He sat in the control chair of the ship and redirected the comm antennas to the void.
-Whoever listens to me, my name is Alexei Soloiskoff. Last human… last living being from planet earth. My planet has exploded, I don’t know why and I won’t ever know why. If you listen to me, if you can understand me, please… damn… I… I don’t want to die. I’m scared, but powerless against all of this… maybe if we reached the stars before, but now is just too late. If you listen to me, please, learn what happened here, avoid our mistakes and… and…- Alexei broke in a silent cry for a while, before regaining serenity. Only the blank screens answered to his grief.
-I was going to be the first of many… first one alone on the moon, but others would follow.-He laughed in a grin.- The last human… last one of a species who had just begun to crawl outside his home world and now their last footprints will be ones with a corporation logo… no, I can’t accept that. If a footprint survives in this planet, it will be the one of a man.
He cleaned his tears and looked to his watch. Alexei felt a guilty pride for that tiny machine, fabricated in 1969 and similar to the ones used in the Apollo missions. It costed him a little fortune and even after so much years, its hands moved smoothly, indifferent to the calamity that happened. Ha saw his own reflection in the watch face and behind him, lights appearing through the ship windows. He turned to the windows and looked up to the sky, some of the first fragments were approaching. Understanding that he had little time, put his chronograph to run and began to prepare himself.
The shadows began to extend all over the moon surface. If anyone had looked up to the sky, would have seen tiny fragments of landscape, pieces of earth crust and masses of magma floating in the void. Alexei might had seen it, but he was just too busy. Typing the control console like a maniac, he entered the last orders to the computer before activating the timer. With a pull, he took the emergency kit out of its shelf and prepared to exit the ship. At the last moment, he stopped and looking back to the ship, threw his watch inside before jumping through the hatch into the moon surface. He fell in a cloud of dust and behind him, the flash of the ship engines blinded him for an instant, while the ship escaped, flying to the cold space.
Alexei could already feel the alterations in the gravity and tried to run as fast as he could to the nearest robot. Clumsily, he fell over the control board and aimed the comm antennas to the ship. With the controls in his suit’s arm, activated the camera and saw a red light, indicating that the ship was recording the transmission sent by the camera. He stood then, back to the earth and looked at the camera.
-To anyone who finds this ship, know that we existed, we were proud and curious of our universe until the last minute. Let be known that even in the doors of oblivion, we embraced destiny without hiding. I’m Alexei Soloiskoff, Last human from earth, and I have first row seats for the end of my world.
He used the controls in his suit to connect the infra-red image in his helmet. The moon surface as warm, a lot colder than he expected. His suit was also at a warm temperature. The debris were blocking part of the sun, leveling the temperature. Followed by the automatic cameras, Alexei took another look to the apocalypse approaching to his head. Finally took a deep breath while holding the strap of the emergency pack.
All the alarms shouted in panic when Alexei freed the safety lock in his helmet. With a whistle, the air escaped meanwhile he took the breathing mask from the emergency pack and put it on his mouth, along with a dark glasses. The shadows were looming near, but for the brief instants when he received direct sunlight, it burned his skin.
The helmet fell heavily on the sand meanwhile Alexey searched for the locks in his gloves. An instant later they also fell to the ground.
Moving in short steps, the torso of the suit opened and fell behind him. Finally he took the pants down and put a leg outside the suit. Timidly, touched the moon soil with his bare feet.
Amazed, he felt the sand, soft but also sharp, moving between his toes. It was hot just below the surface, when he tried to bury his feet. Alexei felt on his knees and took some sand with his hands. Smiling as a child, felt tears rolling slowly down his cheeks.
After a moment he raised, half naked, and looked upwards. Now some pieces of earth could be recognized. One of the biggest, which almost covered all the sky, began to pull him with his own gravity.
At this point life or death was meaningless. All his life had taken him to this exact point, free from fear in the face of doom. He was the last life, the last stubborn breath and this was his last moment, which he received with deep reverence. He noticed how gravity was disappearing and filled with a epiphany, smiled.
The camera in the robot who followed Alexei recorded the silhouette of a man, with extended arms, almost naked, standing on the surface of the moon. He looked into the shadows and between the golden parts of the fiery apocalypse when he jumped, and went flying back to earth. In a strange silence, the camera recorded an empty landscape until everything became black.
You're gonna carry that weight.
just to let you know, posting any and all things that aren't officially copyrighted can face plagiarism, that isn't protected under the plagiarism clause and it's pretty much fair game.
it's not a bad story over all, at any given time the story can fall under the cliche department with government related issues back on earth, same with the landing and so forth. in all honesty it's not really original, there's a cartoon of sorts floating about as well as a comic. so, with very little originality it's still a good start and somewhat plagiarized here and there, but you did fair with the grammar, they do have grammar and other helpful free tools as well as paid tools ready made available for download to use, don't forget dictionaries, thesaurus and even English grammar/other self help books still exist in places.
Thanks for the feedback! Honestly I'm well aware of at least a couple ideas I borrowed. this was more of an excercise to test writing than trying to showoff creativity.
And regarding the plagiarism, I know, it's really important (though for this particular thing I'm not really interested) . That's why both novels I'm writing are copyrighted (one for the full version the other for the first manuscript)
You're gonna carry that weight.
Personally, I really enjoyed it. It may not have been wholly original but what on earth is? Not sure, but I haven't seen the footprints bit done before, and I thought that was a nice touch; for me, that set it apart enough for a short story. I also thought it was fairly well-written.
consider it done