Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
A matter of distance
We don't have a memory of our own from before the unification, just a collection of individual, inherited memories. Fear, epidemic, chaos, hate, war, exodus, lone men fleeing to the moon. We sent rockets behind them, carrying spores, but they shot them down and responded with rockets of their own. Spaceports were turned to ruins and we expected that the cities would be next. But the second wave never came. We understood then that trying to deliver our gift by force would only lead to destruction, that it must be accepted. To that end we converted countless transmitters, dishes and radio towers to broadcast our promise of unity. The lone men weren't listening, or at least they didn't respond. We could listen to the radio chatter between them and see the lights on the surface of the moon, but no transmission was intended for us. Eventually the chatter died down and the lights vanished, but ships were still emerging from behind the moon and flying to and from outer planets and we suspected that the lone men still talked to each other through narrow, directed beams of radio waves. Homo monas, that's the name they gave us and, in one of the last transmissions we received, we heard another name, Homo sapiens caelestis.
Many generations passed. We diverted our mind to more pressing issues. But, after countless years, the curiosity returned and we decided to try one more time. We built a rocket and selected three from us to man it. Soon, with six of our eyes, we were observing the moon getting closer and closer. And then...
We were no longer able to perceive the inside of the spaceship. At first we were confused, but it didn't take long for truth to become apparent. The spaceship was simply too far and our mind could no longer reach it. All we could do, was to watch it spiral out of control, failing to execute crucial maneuvers. After that, we pondered sending robotic probes but, should lone men accept our offer, we still needed a way to let them join our mind. We refamiliarised ourselves with aspects of telecommunication which we once were so quick to dismiss as obsolete. Great transmitters, abandoned all these years ago, needed to be refurbished. Satellites needed to be placed into orbit, replacing those destroyed or reprogrammed by lone men. Finally, we invented the converter, a device that could translate our mind to radio waves, to be transmitted over long distances. Soon a new rocket, with new crew of three, left the atmosphere. As the craft was nearing the moon, time delay started affecting our perception. Everything became distant and dream-like. Still, the connection persisted and, finally, we saw the dark side of the moon. It was covered in strip mines, habitats, manufacturing complexes and launch pads, but, worryingly, not a single light could be seen. We settled our lander near one of habitats and attempted to enter. To our relief the airlock was still operational and soon we walked into the old habitat, its halls lit only by few emergency lights. Just as our eyes adjusted to the twilight, we noticed a familiar silhouette nearing us. Untold excitement overcame us as we started to greet incoming human. But before the thought of the greeting could reach the moon, he started to talk.
- Operation of this facility is suspended indefinitely. For your own safety, please leave immediately!
When our delayed greeting was still echoing in the corridors, we noted a strange shine of lone man's skin, a shine of plastic, and we realised that our interlocutor was an android. Every further inquiry yielded the same answer, ushering us out of the habitat. We explored rest of the complex, but found no one else.
We made few more trips to the moon and examined many different installations, but every time we saw only empty halls, androids and computers filled with insignificant data. All clues as to the fate of the lone men have been meticulously erased. Further pursuit seemed purposeless. After all, we could not venture farther than we already did. Even the three seconds of delay on the moon were highly problematic so many minutes or hours during longer travels would be completely crippling. With that conclusion we once again turned our attention back to the planet we inhabit.
ORBIT ESTABLISHED*NATIVE LIFE DETECTED*LIMITED RESOURCES DETECTED*GEOLOGICAL REPORT INCLUDED IN DATASTREAM*POSSIBLE LOCAL CIVILIZATION DETECTED*EQUIPMENT DEPLOYED*FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION STARTED*ORGANIC COMPONENT MALFUNCTION*CAUSE ISOLATED*NATIVE ORGANISM INFECTION*ASTE SYNTHESISED*ASTE RELEASED*MALFUNCTION ELIMINATED*NATIVE CIVILIZATION COLAPSE DETECTED*ASTE CROSS-INTERACTION RULLED OUT*POSSIBLE SYMBIONT ERADICATION*OBSERVATION DATA PRIOR TO COLAPSE INCLUDED IN DATASTREAM*CATALOGUING INITIATED*FACILITIES COMPLEATED*MANUFACTURING INITIATED
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