i think my spaceship knows which way to go

Can you hear me, Major Tom?

I'm the sole waking member of one of the last colony ships to leave the planet Earth. It will be a decade before we reach our destination, and someone needs to make sure the ship is intact when it gets there. There are emergency backups in place in case something happens to me, but mostly the ship's systems are designed to keep that from happening.

Depending on how you look at it, the planet isn't dying--if we'd waited that long we wouldn't have been able to send ships at all. But there's no disputing it now: Earth's days are numbered. We don't know how long, but we know that it's coming up soon. Probably even in our lifetimes. The colony ships are meant to give the human race a chance to survive.

For a while I kept in touch with the planet via radio transmissions that got slower and slower as I traveled further away. They sent me news of the world below: all the wars and disasters and tragedies that have colored all of human history. At first I thought I liked getting the news, but after a year or two I had to turn it off. I haven't spoken with another human being in a year now. To keep my sanity, I have books and movies. I write where I can. I'm trying to learn to draw.

But the transmission that made me turn it off--some tragedy that I guess was too much for me--has never left me. Is that what I'm preserving here? More of the same that happened down below? I used to have these utopian visions for the future. In space we'd only have colonists who volunteered, who became part of the colony because they believed. I thought it would be a chance to make something new. But I can't believe that now. Humans are humans no matter where they are--even if where they are is in a distant colony.

More than once I've thought about aborting the mission in the only way I know how. I could destroy this ship. Nobody would feel anything, except me. Do humans really deserve a chance at survival? Shouldn't we just burn up on our dying world? But every time I consider it, I stop myself. I've got a databank full of beautiful things humans have created. There's always hope that somewhere down the line, we'll strive to be the best we can be rather than fight to see who can be the worst.

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