By Melody Kazey
"Please pay attention. The universe is dying, Bram."
The female scientist pulled her lab coat closer to her body as if she had gotten a chill. She withdrew a stylus from the coat pocket and continued monitoring the orbiting satellite at the edge of the universe, dictating any changes or lack thereof on the handheld device. The space station was the last safe haven, and only she and her partner remained to witness it. All of humanity ended-and hopefully began-with them.
"Yes," said the male scientist. Bram, from behind a computer screen. "Yes it is. Has been for centuries."
"No need to sound so nonchalant." The female's eyes never left their target passing by with almost undetectable speed. A steadily spinning ring let out a small spark every so often. The screen blinked as new readings appeared.
A ragged sigh escaped Bram, but he, too, remained on task. "There just isn't anything worth worrying about any longer. The echo of the first snaps are winding their way from the center of the universe. We knew what we were born into. Bred for. Sarai, you know better than most."
The female, Sarai, turned a sharp about face and crossed to a row of computers lining a section of wall in the round room just below the ring of glass that cast out to just a handful of stars lightyears away. A cluster shivered, blinked out. Sarai pushed a thick switch with her pale thumb and a plastic panel on the handheld device popped aside revealing the male end of a cable. She inserted it into one of the machines that began to whir. "Amazing we still thought breeding was wise when we knew the end was inevitable. Humans are incredible, huh?"
"No need to stop everything-dammit!" Bram hissed. He paused from skimming the readings on his computer screen for a second and then returned to work, beginning to input an activation sequence.
"Careful," Sarai said. "We need those hands in one piece. Don't want humanity 2.0 to be a bunch of invalids. What would we have saved them for?"
Fingers flew across the keys with deftness that went unnoticed. "Just a little burn. How's Big Bang Brother loading?"
"Oh god," Sarai said. A half chuckle escaped her throat. "That's the best name you could think of? I thought about calling it-Genesis."
"You're better than Bible references, Sarai. I won't allow it."
"Aren't we a little past the days of domineering men?"
"A woman could use a man more than some God. Plus we already settled-" Bram stepped back from his monitor and retrieved his own handheld device. "-on calling the last day Judgement Day."
Sarai stepped back from her monitor and stood still as Bram approached. "Humanity will rediscover God whether we help or not. It's like us to seek higher meaning. Now why God would let the universe snap like a dried up rubberband and murder-well I guess we'll have to ask the big man when we meet him."
"Now who's being nonchalant?" Bram connected his device into another port along the main board surrounded by levers, green activation lights, and constant, steady readings. Glassy brown eyes watched a screen that reacted to a shift of the Big Bang Brother. With two codes inputted, a canister of metal and wires had begun to hum. A half inch steel capsule closed over the petri dish of humanity's genes. The systems were activated. "Okay, my code is set to standby. I guess no need for a password lock if no one will see it until Judgement Day."
"Sorry you can't use one of your very clever tits codes," Sarai said, a hint of playfulness in her voice. Her eyes were focused on the same monitor as the blue line crested and dropped with more fervor now that their device was alive.
"That's gonna be recorded you know! Sheesh. You think so highly of me I see."
"But of course!" The blue line spiked just as another set of screens did the same. "Honestly, Bram, if you were the last man-" Bram and Sarai turned to the window where the satellite had seemingly traveled another few feet. They stood still and watched. More star clusters blinked out. The pipes in the space station shook and groaned under the stress of another snap. Perhaps the last snap that would echo and reach this edge where no real life even remained. "-I would be glad to be stuck with you. I'm only sorry we aren't smart enough to stop Judgement Day. All we can do is plan for what's next."
"As long as we can make sure something is next. That's where Big Bang Brother comes in."
The space station lights flickered as the drifting habitat rocked. Outside the protective shell, Big Bang Brother's metal body glowed like smoldering coals, then it brightened to a white hot light. The ring around it continued to spin. More streaks of that hot energy bounced between the ring and the central body.
"And these two," Sarai said, as the shaking knocked her and Bram to the floor, bodies sprawled on the ground, objective completed. "The last witnesses to what once was. If only the theories of the violent collapse were true. Save us the heartache of hope."
"Don't leave the droids with questions on Judgement Day," the crackling voice echoed from Bram's unmoving lips as the glow slowly faded from his eyes. "They have all of humanity in their heads. The good and bad. Enough to bring us back one day. Just in case. In case man can really survive. Somehow."
The satellite's ring spun faster, more streaks of impossible lightning flaring out. The vacuum around it seemed to waver like heat lines, and fold upon itself, warping the machine, warping its distant neighboring shelter. The darker depths of broken space sped towards the edge, the last pieces of what was, just as Big Brother Bang cracked. Bram and Sarai whirred lightly as their metal alloy skin strained to continue their records.