February 2018 Writing Challenge ~ Across the Universe
Sincerely, Voyager 12
Dearest Mishty,
I am a Voyager by choice. I urge you to remember this — remember that I was not stolen from your life, but that I purposely walked out, delving into this endless, starry expanse with no hope but to find some sort of purpose for myself.
You may have seen on the news, or in the papers, or on all the sign-up posters on the streets and taped up on cubicle walls, that initiation for the Voyager program was only two short weeks ago. It was enough time for me to decide my time here on this dismal planet is sufficiently simple to forfeit in the name of science; enough time to say goodbye to my mother and my brothers and my father’s grave; enough time to pack up all the clutter in my dull office; and today, my last day, I write this letter to you.
There will be thirty Voyagers: ten are bilingual, five are children, a random assortment of races and evenly split between genders. None of us are elderly, and all of us are Voyagers by choice.
They are sending us to a neighbor galaxy, to a “Goldilocks planet”. It’s the perfect temperature, the right atmosphere, perfect amount of water, and you will be lightyears away.
It’s the perfect new home for me.
Since it’s so far, they developed a new “flash-freeze preservation” technology. It will shut us down into comas for thousands of years, without us aging or starving or dying in any other manner. We will be adrift, each in our own pod, in the hands of a preprogrammed autopilot and the whims of thousands of specialized engineers and scientists down on earth.
I apologize for the tension between us. I take the blame. I should not have shied away from you after the passing of my father. I should have been kinder to you, and I should have understood when you left me. I will never understand why — but I should have understood that you had left, and I should have moved on.
I won’t begin to imagine the pain I have cost you. Yet perhaps it’s for the best, for both of us, that I am departing to found this new world, this Goldilocks world.
They gave each of us a bundle of envelopes, stamps, and lined letter papers, all with their name and seal emblazoned in the corner. They told us we could write to our friends, family, classmates, colleagues; anyone to whom we wanted to write our last words to before being sent to this neighbor galaxy.
I took them home to my small apartment, the same one we lived in together for nine years so long ago (yes, I never sold it. Sometimes I still have trouble letting go). I have no true friends — none who would notice I had departed the planet for several years in the least — I had already bid goodbye to my family and my colleagues.
You then came to mind. I have thought of you every day, and though sometimes it’s mere seconds you cross my mind, I knew I had to spend the last of my time with the bulk of civilization writing to you, and moreover, apologizing for what has grown between us.
By the time you read this, I will be comatose; far away, shooting through a void of stars and nothing. I worried at first you would not recognize my name scrawled on the envelope. But if I have thought of you every day for years, I imagine you have at least kept the memory of me tucked away in the back of your mind.
They told us the finalized statistics this morning. At least %65 of the Voyagers would survive, likely more. There will likely be no permanent effects if the flash-freezing goes according to plan — except, perhaps, a loss of memory.
I greatly apologize for what I’ve done. I know no words can really mend it, inked or otherwise, but know this. I hope that when I awake, thousands of years from now, when you are long gone — I hope that I still harbor the memory of you.
Sincerely, Voyager 12
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