Due to mysterious reasons like hatching underground conspiracies and working for shady secret organizations being a total lazy jackass, yours truly had to disappear from the spotlight and minimize his blogging time. However, you have been granted special access to read his latest sci – fi story, which unlike his earlier works is actually complete. 😛
From this distance, the red giant looked hellishly insane – a raging inferno of hydrogen, helium and carbon. Even as they watched, fiery rivers coalesced and disappeared, the surface burned with a searing blood-red vengeance, and giant prominences which could easily have wrapped a dozen earths within it burst and crackled with its accompanying flood of radiation. It was a red giant in its very death throes, a star ready to go nova.
They watched with disinterested curiosity as the planet closest to its star emerged out of the red background. As finer details began to appear, they saw that it was a sterile world – its lands were scorched, atmosphere lost and oceans evaporated. It was a planet barren of a single bacterium and will never know life again.
The long space vessel landed on the night side of the planet with a careful grace. It was not completely dark; the land was suffused with a pearly glow from the sky. The scene in the heavens looked like a star-gazer’s dream: today the stars were a hundred times brighter than they had once been.
The first to descend to the ground were the Elgae, strange and intelligent winged creatures from a planet that was a hundred light-years from here. The searched the land for days, patiently hunting for signs left by the planet’s long gone occupants. On the third day, they found it.
In five billion years, Earth was no longer recognizable. A lot had happened in the solar system and across the galaxy. Andromeda, the Milky Way’s larger cousin, had drifted ever closer to it. The cosmic collision was bound to happen, but the event was painfully slow and long drawn out. Across millions of years in time and millions of light-years in space, the two galaxies passed through each other, danced and finally became an irregular, single galaxy.
In Earth, men watched as Andromeda grew ever brighter in the sky, and as the island universes began to meet, the chaos was painted right across the night sky, making it look like Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The gases and dust present in each of the galaxies mixed and glowed with incandescence, bringing forth a new burst of star formation. Today the stars burned with more glory than man could ever have dreamed of, turning night into a second day.
But more life means more death, and as more stars were being born, death became more frequent. And suddenly Nature seemed to draw all its forces against Earth and its inhabitants as one of the closest star exploded in a dramatic supernova. For a moment the demon star outshone the combined light of all the stars in the galaxy in which it was contained.
If space were truly a cosmic ocean, then this was its tsunami.
As the star exploded outward, Earth lost all its ozone due to the unheard of levels of radiation from it; and thus suffering the worst mass extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid. Earth, it seemed, was a mere housefly that was entrapped in a blazing blast furnace…
But Nature wasn’t done yet. Earth’s own Sun, which had been its friend and the giver of life, turned against its family as it neared its death. It swelled into a giant as it lost its reserves of fuel, swallowing Mercury and Venus in the process. Now, the drama of the supernova was about to be re-enacted, with different actors, in a smaller scale, and much, much closer to home, as the Sun was about to explode.
Is this the end of all things?
The discovery of the Elgae lay in the region of eternal dawn. A considerable sliver of the Sun was visible towards the horizon, along with a sight that was never seen on Earth before, the solar corona stretching out for millions of miles. If they had been on the day side, the sun would have covered at least half the sky.
And silhouetted against the horizon, unmistakably, were parabolic radio antennae. They were all pointing to a single spot in a sky, trained like telescopes. And what’s more, there were an array of solar cells which all drew the energy from the sun.
The radio antennae, they found easily, were still transmitting.
The Elgae barely had time to record the coordinates in which the antennae were pointed before they received an urgent call from the vessel. They glided swiftly to the spaceship, which took off to the sky in a high, elegant arch.
The Sun’s end had begun.
It began with a flash that plunged the solar system with a burning light. The ship sped away from all the dizzying brightness with considerable speed. The Elgae observed over the next few days as the Sun blew away all the outer layers of the gas giants, melted the asteroids in the Belt…
Destroyed the planet Earth…
Soon, the vessel would be approaching the point to which the radio antennae were directed. As the ship approached closer and closer, the Elgae’s telescopes finally saw it. “We get to meet them after all,” one of them thought.
It was a comet. For generations, comets were thought as harbingers of death and destruction. Nothing was more untrue – it had saved their lives now. This particular comet’s highly eccentric orbit had brought the few hundreds of thousands who had survived the supernova away from the explosive death of their own Sun. In an admirable show of perseverance, men had joined hands, developed technology once more to the fullest and abandoned life on earth. They answered the soft call from space in their minds. To tell the truth Mother Earth had been kind and nurturing, but like all families, all children have to bid goodbye to their mothers one day…
They had survived two disasters, and death had given them a chance for a new life.