PART I: A NEW MISSION
Dallas took his last breath of fresh air and put on his helmet. It was as hot as an oven in his space suit. In about thirty seconds he was sodden with sweat; nevertheless, Dallas and Cam took a spirited step into the elevator.
“Say your goodbyes to the ground,” said Dallas. “You won’t be seeing it for a while.” Dallas caught a sullen look in Cam’s eyes; something was plaguing her.
“Something has been seriously scraping at my instincts.” Dallas looked bewildered.
“Like what?” Dallas goaded. Silence. The drone of the elevator scaling up the ship was the only thing disrupting the awkward silence between the two astronauts.
“I don’t know,” said Cam, eradicating the silence. “I’m just getting some foretaste of a bad thing, like a preview of a movie.” The elevator was almost at the top of the ship, and Cam stared out the transparent window. They were at the top finally, and the elevator doors opened.
“Bzzzzzt.” The interstellar mission was to repair the broken lunar module on one of Jupiter’s moons; as simple as breathing. It would be a breeze. The two astronauts stepped onto their space shuttle, which was in the middle of nowhere.
“All systems are go!” said Cam. Unresponsive, Dallas just stared into the bright blue sky.
Although it would be a piece of cake, Cam hesitated to start the spaceship. She didn’t feet right about the mission.
“Hey,” Dallas said calmly. “Don’t worry about it! It’ll be fine.”
Despite her instincts, Cam started the spaceship and blasted into space. Blasted into danger’s way.
After the jostling of the atmosphere, Dallas could think clearly and was back on track. They were now passing the moon. “All right. Prepare for hyper-jump!” Dallas started pulling the lever and listening to the ultra-powerful engine get ready for light speed. But Commander Jenkins showed up on the monitor in the middle of his controls. Dallas and Cam snapped to attention and saluted.
“At ease, astronauts.”
“What’s the problem, sir?” asked Dallas.
“Well, it seems our satellite has picked up a giant meteorite, on the trail for Earth.”
Cam’s face turned chalk pale.
“How much longer until impact?”
“About twelve hours. You better get some rest because when you wake up, you’re gonna stop this thing.”
“What?” Dallas yelled. “With all due respect, sir, how are we possibly going to stop a giant meteorite?”
“That is for you to figure out, Mr. Graham.”
“But what about Cam? She’s got a family at home.”
“All the more reason to make it home. I’m done here. You have exactly eleven hours forty-seven minutes. Good luck, astronauts.” The monitor turned black, leaving Dallas Graham and Cam Donston praying for their deaths to be quick and painless.
Cam stared blankly into space. Literally. “I was right,” Cam said, with no emotion. It was like she was in a trance. “I knew there was something wrong, but I went anyway. And now we’re going to die here in the middle of the void of space.”
“But we’ll die with pride, honor, and patriotism. Now let’s go to bed and wake up early, so we can plan how we’re going to stop this big rock!” So Cam mindlessly slumped into bed and lay there, silently crying and saying goodbye to everyone she loved.
* * *
PART II: FALLING INTO EARTH
“Wake up, Cam. Wake up.” Dallas stood over Cam and gently shook her awake.
“How much time left?” Dallas looked at the time on the monitor.
“Three hours and 54 minutes,” said Dallas.
“We better get started,” Cam said somberly.
“No need, Cam. I got no sleep last night. Spent the whole time devising a plan. I know how we’re going to stop this thing.” Cam looked at the several bags under Dallas’s eyes and the completely slumped way he held his shoulders.
“That’s great!” said Cam. “We’d better start preparing!”
The plan was simple. The ship had mining lasers on it in case they needed to cut through rock. They would fly closer to the meteorite, try cutting it into the smallest pieces possible, and turn it into space dust. They contemplated that they would cut it into fractions, until it was so small, the impact would be no more destructive than dropping a bowling ball from a building. As long as people go to underground shelters, they will be fine.
“Thirty minutes left. We should be seeing it in about three… two… one!” Sure enough, they could see the meteorite, coming in way faster than expected. “Uhoh. Start mining lasers now!”
“Zzzzzzz!” the lasers heated up. Cam grabbed the controls and started the ship going in reverse.
“We’re not fast enough!”
“Then we’ll just have to let the meteorite hit.” Dallas looked at Cam. She was silently crying.
“OK.” Dallas grabbed the controls and veered right. But it wasn’t enough.
* * *
The meteorite smashed into the engine part of the ship, with a terrible screech of metal ripping. The ship was totally exposed to the void of space. The shock wave threw Cam and Dallas against the side of the ship, and Cam knocked her head bad, even in her space suit. The meteorite kept hurtling towards Earth, and Cam watched as her vision darkened. Before she went unconscious, she saw the impact of the meteorite and the end of Earth. And then everything went black. Cam and Dallas were unconscious, falling into Earth.
* * *
FINAL PART: ALONE
Cam… Cam… Cam! Wake up!” Cam Donston slowly let the light flood into her eyes. Immediately, dust covered her vision, but when she wiped her eyes, she saw Dallas Graham, standing over her, looking casual as ever. “Geez, you took quite a nap there, Cam!”
Cam was confused. Was she dead? Did she somehow make it? Or was it all a dream, from beginning to end? No, she thought. It doesn’t matter. I’m moving, breathing, and somehow on a destroyed world. Then Cam remembered seeing the meteorite hit.
She did a full 360-degree turn around the desolated planet. Just blackish-gray sand. She then realized she somehow made it, and the dust that fell in her eyes was actually ash. So she and Dallas were alone, on the planet Earth, or whatever the ball of ash was. But she would have to get used to it.
* * *
In the year 2520, Cam and Dallas were long dead. But they had children together. And those children had children, and from the year that Earth was destroyed, in 2082, a little more than 400 years later, there were about two million people back on Earth. It wasn’t 6 billion, but it was a start! Cam and Dallas were remembered like Adam and Eve, the first people on planet Imagine, the name of the ship that held the two most famous people on Earth. Cam and Dallas would live in the people of Imagine forever.