This piece has been knocking around in my head for a couple of months. As the cataclysm draws nigh, Kai’s pessimism starts to show through… (and so does mine.)
This is a transcript of the last recording she made before the asteroids impacted. Humanity survives – barely. Kai’s fate remains unknown. She declined to occupy a spot in a surface complex, saying that she’d be fine without it’s protection, and that the spot should go to someone who needed it. The last anyone heard of her was 4 hours before the second Cataclysm, she left the Madrid surface complex in her plane, headed east.
The comments in brackets are provided by the group that transcribed the message to provide context for readers.
Testing. Can you hear me Amy? [a short beep – believed to be from one of Kai’s robots.] Good. [Kai sighs.]
I don’t really know why I’m doing this. If I don’t survive, the odds that anyone will be alive to find this recording, never mind have the technology to play it back, are astronomical. No pun intended. But as I look up into the sky, and see dozens of asteroids, now the size of the moon, hurtling toward earth, I can’t resist the urge to leave something that might outlast me.
My name is Kai Ratchford, and until nine months ago, I was the Alpha Complex robotics second. Then Dr. Eddintown’s lab exploded, and everything changed. My ex-boyfriend did something with time magic that summoned my best friend from college, the Director’s son, his therapist, and a seemingly random historian to the scene. From there, we started to unravel a disturbing conspiracy that eventually led to the realization that Armageddon was upon us.
There were too many things that had to be done for us to stay together. I left to warn the world. I’ve been called “savior” in a dozen languages — and cursed out as a doomsayer in a dozen more. I am the harbinger of the end-times — A herald if you will.
And now, half the world has been evacuated to Rose, which unsurprisingly turned out to be a bad idea. [We believe she is referring to the massacre of 45 million residents of the real world who had been moved to the umbral realm of “Rose”.] Of the remaining population, we might be able to house half of them in the surface complexes we’ve managed to build in the last few months.
We do the simulations again and again — hoping to get a different answer, but we aren’t even sure that the surface installations will survive the shock-waves from impact. Maybe I’m out here, in the middle of nowhere, laying out on top of an airplane, watching the asteroids grow larger by the minute, because I don’t think they’ll hold. Maybe I have a better chance of surviving on my own. Or maybe I’d rather die alone.
But here, at the end of all things, I wish they were with me. I wish Talitha and Quintus and Ariane and Judah and Unity and Alex were here with me. I considered flying back to Alpha Complex. To be honest, I considered it every day I was gone. But a jack-of-all-trades is an expert at nothing.
Alpha Complex doesn’t need another mage – especially not one of middling power level. But a lot of complexes do. I can work with almost anyone — help almost anywhere. I don’t know if it’s enough. But it’s the best I can do. It’s the best we all can do. Whatever else humanity is, we are as ready as we will ever be for the second Cataclysm.
This is Kai Ratchford, of Alpha Complex, signing off. [Kai sighs again.] Goodnight… and if we don’t survive this, “goodbye.”