Doug had been on the spaceship for several weeks. On Earth, he had been part of what people called “the 1 percent”. He never had to struggle in his life, but now he found himself bored as could be all alone on a spaceship heading to Artemis, a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. The ship was running on an antimatter engine. It took him to the colony in just under 90 days—an amount of time unprecedented to people of the 21st century. The journey there was especially hard for him because he was afraid of talking to A.I.—he thought they were destined to betray him. It must have been all of the science fiction movies he watched as a kid.
His parents thought that he needed a character-building trip for his coming of age. His uncle had emigrated to Alpha-Centauri where he had eventually died, so his old house now belonged to Doug’s father. The house was to be found in the subtropics of Continent Y, about 45 degrees north of the equator. The terrain resembled the rainforests of western Canada.
He was relieved to arrive and get out of that metal box—he relished the smell of fresh air. He got to know the area very well and spent much time indoors. He passed by the locals there many times and they never acknowledged his existence. The first couple of weeks went by fast and he climbed nearby mountains from which he could see the sparkling purple seas of Artemis.
Another week had gone by and he was fed up with this world—he missed his family more than ever because he had truthfully never been without them for more than a couple of days. The night before he was scheduled to head back to Earth he could not sleep. He was apprehensive and excited, yet there was an undetectable part of him that would miss this world, with its exotic people, coloured oceans and crimson sky.
He went down to the beach for a walk to kill some time before his spaceship was to leave. It was daybreak and bands of light were penetrating the horizon. He felt exhilarated as gusts of wind shattered his comfort and made him walk more briskly. As he was staring at the trees waver in the wind, he noticed a shell on the ground. It was a neon crab-like shell that caught his eye and fascinated him. He had wanted to study biology in school and was thinking about how great it would be to come back and do research here on Artemis.
Doug walked up the ramp of the spaceship. The first thing he did when he got on the ship was disable the automatic voice system. He looked peacefully at the planet as it blasted through the atmosphere. Below him, he saw mostly green and purple but was soon blinded by seeing the rising Alpha Centauri emerge as he ascended above the planet.
The first couple of weeks passed smoothly enough, he started reading a couple books he found fascinating by some weird psychologist named Carl Jung. There was a food supply enough to get him back to Earth, but he was getting tired of the food. He thought it tasted too much like steam and dust. As he was reading that night, he heard a shudder and felt the ship spinning out of control, twirling in relation to the window that he soon looked out of. The ship had collided with a small meteorite and penetrated a small hole in the engine room. His oxygen supply was depleting, though he would only realize it a few moments later.
He had always had it all and was unfamiliar with the pain and indifference that is fundamentally inextricable with the good things in life. Only subconsciously, did he realize and accept that his fate was looming—his demise was on the horizon. He felt his ego becoming delusional from the inability to accept. “What have I done to deserve this?” he was yelling at the wall, which, like nature, was indifferent to his pleas. As an arrow shoots without fail to its destination, he started staring out the window. He did not know the stars well, but he knew as deeply and without thought as anything in his life that he was staring at the Sun—that which granted life to exist and that which included death as part of the bundle. It looked like a grain of sand on a vast beach, yet he knew that it was the grain of sand.
He thought of all the times he wronged someone for insufficient reasons and wondered who it really was that was angry, since he was starting to realize that who he actually was was something deeper. He had been trained all his life to be proud of the difference; to care for his family more than everyone else. It was in his last mental process that he saw that he was it—he was the entirety. No matter where he looked, he saw himself. He understood that he will forever be the totality time—that he was present in the most heinous genocides and in the periods of loving peace and prosperity. He knew that this essence of existence that animates our collective being is the truth that underlines our ego, and is the profound force that instills passion and orients one through life more truly than any conscious desire that he had ever had. He felt sorry for how on Earth religion misdirected this truth and betrayed it in doing so. He wished for nothing—he thought of nothing—yet he knew that he was all. Then he was gone.
Written By: Rupert Mackie