By Maximillian d'Erembourg
The alarm -this time- was not a drill nor an exaggeration; in fact, this time the emergency was quite real. Yet another limit had been reached, yet another line had been crossed for the sole surviving remnants of what had once been Humanity.
EAS Opportunity’s originally programmed destination had been Gliese 832c, which from Earth had seemed Humanity's best bet for a new home-world. An opportunity for the quarter-million of us lucky enough to have rated a seat in Earth's only escape pod.
However, there is only so much detail one can discern from sixteen light-years distance, and as we approached at space-warping speed, our atmosphere scanners revealed that Gliese's Eco-sphere had evolved at pH levels that would prove fatal to life as we knew it.
Therefore, the decision had to be made whether or not to lose our velocity by dropping out of warp-space.
The decision had been ours -- my brother and mine, he as the Mission Specialist, I as the ship's Captain. He had voted for our stopping for a few days, to run tests, to make certain no accommodation could be made at this, our programmed destination. I had overruled him, as the question was a matter of the ship's velocity, it fell into my jurisdiction. This point of divergence in our opinions -one of the few we'd had in a lifetime together- showed me his weakness: desperation.
I had chosen to stay in warp, with a slight alteration to vector that would give us a second chance at an Earth-like jackpot. Well...some of us.
Opportunity’s resources were finite. The point of no return had long since been crossed. Some of us would have to make the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest might have even a throw at life. If heading toward the Gliese system had been a red/black bet on a roulette wheel, this new throw was more akin to betting the whole remaining pot on 00.
Half of our quarter-million souls would continue, half the pot -so to speak- having been lost to the first bet.
"We should have died...together." Plead my brother.
I thought about his words for no more time than a spin of a roulette wheel would require, then said my very last words to my twin brother. "That's the difference between you and I, my brother, and the reason that I deserve this chance at continuing...as you no longer do."
I watched as the ejection pod sealed itself off from our main vessel, and began to separate. The airlock hatch was -in the main- plexiglass, so I watched an imperfect copy of myself drop out of warp-space to fall toward certain doom, as if looking into a mirror.
- - -
Maximillian d'Erembourg does not exist. He is the creation of a fantasy-prone mind, which is currently preparing a space-opera novel for self-publication. Although he believes this is the Era of Self Publishing, Max also believes getting his work out onto Amazon will be the best way to 'submit' it to every agent and publisher in the world, cutting through years of rotting in slush-piles.