“When I said ‘flooding the planet with space stations’, I wasn’t talking figuratively.” Elizabeth clarified.
“The local government thought it was a good idea to try and turn the planet into a Trade hub between planets; So what they did was remove station restrictions.”
She took a sip.
“What happened next was the most fantasitcally terrifying fireworks in space. There were so many stations that daytime practically became night, it became impossible to safely launch from the surface, so most us were stuck down there.” The Android continued, making sure to empty her coffee.
"So, obviously, synchronization between stations were necessary, it was all fine and dandy until one suffered a glitch in its AI.
“It lost sync, and collided with another station, then another, then another.”
Some years ago…
Elizabeth stood atop a hill, overlooking the capital city of Faargut; The murky orange sky glowed as station debris fell, sky scrapers fell as they were hit by flaming balls of metal, with her eyes, Elizabeth could distinguish people, innocents, running for their lives as the sky fell.
A large piece of station debris emerged from the sky, pieces chipping off and forming their own tiny fireballs; The debris landing just several kilometers away from where she stood.
The flash of light temporarily blinded her, when her eyes refocused, a mushroom cloud was present where the debris landed, followed by a wall of dark brown clouds heading towards her direction. As the wall hit her, she was sent backwards by the wind, her tattered and burnt jacket fluttering at the high winds, visibility was almost zero, and tiny embers bounced off her skin…
Elizabeth sighed, remembering the aftermath.
“Total death toll after that was estimated to be 8.93 billion dead, of the 300 ship captains that volunteered to get evacuees out of the planet, only 3 survived.” The Android added, looking down at her now empty mug.
She contemplated on something, a memory during the evacuation…
Evacuation Day, years ago…
“Hey, you coming?” Elizabeth asked, a bag slung over on her shoulder, slung on her other shoulder was her rifle, she looked like she was about to go to war, wearing a protective vest and all other necessary gear.
The man she was talking to was tying his shoes, following the final knot, he picked up his rifle, already wearing his bag; He was dressed like her, the difference was he had his holster on his abdomen instead of his hips.
The man nodded, and the pair walked out into the wrecked world…
“It was a long time ago, but it feels like it was just yesterday…”
Elizabeth trailed off, staring at her empty mug, wrapping both of her hands around the ceramic container. It was pretty obvious there was something affecting her, her behavior was like that of a soldier being forced to leave a comrade behind.
“…why me…” she whispered to herself, it was inaudible, but anyone with sharp enough hearing would pick it up.
Evacuation Day, 2030
Port 06F, CS Fulter
5 Minutes to departure
“Hey Ivan, get on board.” Elizabeth shouted at her partner, who was helping the last evacuee on board.
“Yeah, yeah.” The man replied, checking the outside for anymore evacuees, the strong winds generated by the shockwaves of large debris hitting the ground was always present.
Elizabeth looked away for a second, glancing around at the other survivors, before looking back at the open cargo bay doors; She was expecting her partner to be present, but what she got was the empty blow of wind.
Using her comms, she tuned in to Ivan’s frequency; “Oi, where are you?” She asked, a simple question.
“Be there in a minute.” Was her only reply, there were strong winds blowing in the background, so she instinctively looked outside.
There was Ivan, carrying a pregnant woman towards the ship, sighing, Elizabeth relaxed, knowing that he was safe.
Or at least, for a few seconds.
A loud crash and a billow of smoke, Elizabeth was nearly thrown outside of the spacecraft, the captain stabilized the ship, making sure to not hit the ship right next to them. Elizabeth fared better, using her hands to try to blow away the smoke.
When the smoke cleared, she was greeted by a sight she didn’t want to see.
The docking platform was damaged, and it looked like it was going to give away.
The captain also knew it.
“This is your captain speaking, the winds are picking up and the longer we stay, the shorter our launch window is open.” Elizabeth paled, stretched out her hand for the woman to grab.
“This is your captain speaking, our time is up, we’re launching in T- 5 seconds.”
Elizabeth reached out further, the docking platform shook as the magnetic fasteners securing the ship detached one by one.
Ivan let go of the woman and ran back towards the control panel on the other side, away from the ship, to speed up the launch sequence.
Elizabeth grabbed the woman’s hand and pulled her in, she shouted back at Ivan, who had his hand on a lever.
Elizabeth shouted, and was about to jump out when…
The explosive bolts connecting the magnets to the ship went off, detaching the magnets from the platform.
The cargo ship flew higher and higher in the air, while Elizabeth stared at the figure of Ivan standing on the docking platform. Staring at her.
Tears slowly made their way down her face as she watched Ivan watch them fly away…
A single tear made its way down Elizabeth’s face and dripped onto her clothing, all the while, she kept staring at her mug.
Wiping the next tear away, Elizabeth looked back up at Siv, and spoke.
“I boarded a ship and flew away.” The Android answered, smiling.
Sighing, she asked: “How about you? Why are you here?” Evidently curious about who Siv was.