The sun never sets upon the human race. It does not set because it does not rise. It does not rise because even at its closest point, it is nine billion, nine-hundred twenty-seven million, four-hundred eight thousand, three-hundred thirty-five kilometers away.
Earth is but a fading memory. Her pale blue figure forever taunts us in the starry sky, an eternal reminder of our folly, our arrogance, and our failure. It is the year three-thousand, three-hundred fourteen, and all the storied achievements of our ancestors – all of their accomplishments, all of their advances and innovations, all of their wishes and dreams and predictions for the future – endure only within the grave of our collective mourning. The population of the human race is exactly six-thousand three-hundred seven; we live and die huddled in squalor, packed atop each other like vermin, eternally bracing against the abyss of extinction upon this dead, cold, barren, sunless, futureless, lifeless rock at the edge of space.
We were not ready. By the time we realized the gravity of our mistakes – by the time the seas rose up to swallow our homes and the rolling smog entombed us all in a shroud of noxious death – only a few understood what had to be done. They worked day and night, without food or rest, in makeshift shelters and filtrated bunkers, racing to try and slip from the noose drawing around us all. Lightening tore through the skies and the lands crumbled down into the oceans like dust. Billions perished. Entire peoples cried out and were no more.
But the human will to survive is not overcome so easily. A single ship rose up through the howling darkness and punched out of the poisonous atmosphere. The hull was warped and battered; the fuel tanks leaked away into the void of space and the automatic navigation malfunctioned beyond repair. Helpless, we drifted for months – for years – death slowly claiming us one by one as we ran out of food, out of air, out of time, out of options. The windows turned white with frost and the lights dimmed into an endless, creeping night.
Nobody chose to live here. Nobody would choose to do so if given the choice again. No astronomer had ever studied this far-flung wasteland beyond the reaches of our solar system, and no one had even deigned to give it a name. But we call it home, because by some pure accident our doomed journey – our desperate flight into the maw of the cosmos – brought us to this place alive.
We had no plan. Our situation seemed impossible. But those who had used their wisdom to emancipate us from our ruined homeworld saved us once more. They guided us down to the frozen surface and built shelter for all from the materials we had brought. They harnessed the heat of the world's molten core to keep us alive and captured what energy they could from the meagre rays of our distant sun. They took our certain doom, and they gave us a chance.
In their great foresight, these men knew that it was necessary to take steps which would prevent the destruction of our fragile, borrowed existence. They established strong and unflinching laws for our protection and appointed strong, virtuous men to uphold them. They removed technology from the hands of the masses and placed it in the hands of the few, so that it cannot sow the seeds of our destruction once more. They created a bold new system by which all are appraised for their skills and talents, so that each may contribute to the collective in their own way. They took chaos, and they gave us order.
There were some who did not understand. They could not see that peace is purchased at a price – that sometimes the individual must sacrifice for the good of the whole. They rebelled, threatening to upend what little we had managed to accomplish. The struggle lasted for many months and claimed many lives. Brother turned against brother, and anarchy threatened to consume us. But in the end, madness could not overcome reason. The survivors were expelled, driven from our harmonious society and chased to their doom out in the frozen vacuum of the wastes – a lesson for those who would think to follow in their footsteps.
We remember these stories not because they uplift us, but because they ground us; we remember them so that the failures of our past need not also become the failures of our future. We know now our true nature – our wanton destructiveness, our insatiable greed, our soaring arrogance, our boundless shortsightedness. These things define us, but they need not rule us. The human race still lives – humbled but unbroken – and our time is not finished.