Word Count: 994
Writing: 1 hr
Editing: 17 min
Total Time: 1 hr 17 min
“The first thing I noticed was the color, it was all wrong. We'd always called it the red planet, but what my feet were planted on, it was an eerily familiar brown. Like a living memory of home, and I remember my first thought. The very first thing that ever crossed my mind on this desolate planet, 'What have I done?' I saw that dirt and thought about how long it would be before my own bones would lie underneath. But I'm sure I don't have to tell you how that feels.” He paused and stared at the small screen in the wall.
“After the first month we all started to get a little loopy. You know, by then everything had enough time to sink in. We were the only people we would ever see again, for the rest of our lives, until we died on this alien planet. It's a heavy load for anyone.
The next few months sort of drifted on into a surreality of sorts. I remember waking up one day... ohh yea. Even though there aren't really set 'days' and 'nights,' you should make up your own or just use Earth days. Otherwise you will lose all sense of time and things become difficult to establish.
Anyway what was I saying?” He paused and scratched his long beard. “That's right. I remember waking up and having grown a full beard, aged who knows how long, maybe days, maybe weeks, with no recollection of the time before. It was gone in a series of what still feel like dreams and fantasies. Sometimes I'm not even sure I'm here at all to be honest, I couldn't even tell you where here is. But what was I saying... fuck... rambling again.” He mumbled under his breath, a stolid look of concentration on his face and eyes fixed firmly on the floor.
“That's right, sorry, like I said some things will slip loose on you up here, you'll figure out your own little tricks to keeping sane.
Life wasn't ideal obviously, and had we known the truth about what we were getting ourselves into then we certainly would have stayed on Earth. We were safe though, able to try and enjoy whatever miserable lives were ahead of us. Until we found the first camp.
Like my first thought when we landed here, I won't ever lose the image of that first one. There were two crosses banged into the ground and a decaying body laying across the loosened soil below. He wore no protective suit or helmet of any kind, just jeans and a tee-shirt. He chose his death.” A sniffle, the man's beard glistened in the dull light as tears formed minuscule rivers down the path of each coarse hair.
“I'm only telling you this to protect you, to give you the information we were never granted. I don't know if anyone will ever find this or not, or if they're even still sending people up here. To date I have found twenty-seven astronaut camps from governments all over the world. Each and every member of these missions is dead. From the looks of it many were murdered by fellow crew members while even more committed suicide.
This planet is defunct, inhospitable, nothing. My advice to you is to take what I've left behind and use it to build a ship that's capable of getting you back to Earth. I believe that between all the located camp's there are enough supplies to build a ship that will get you home. I'm leaving all of my schematics and research, as well as a map I made marking all discovered campsites.
I' m going to keep working, right until the end. But it won't be much longer now, I can feel it inside, humans weren't meant for this planet.” He chuckled a little and a quick sparkle dances across his pupils.
“I remember this cat I had as a boy, his name was Apple. He got old, then he got sick, and then he was gone for a few days. I was so sad about my little friend who was gone forever, until a day later when he came back. That night he slept curled under my arm, and I remember how happy I was that I got to say goodbye to my pal. Because I think we both knew, we wouldn't be seeing each other in this life again.
I suppose that's what this is, my goodbye to the last thread of a world I used to know so well. I hope this video will help any poor soul who had the misfortune of getting duped like the rest of us. I don't know why they've sent so many of us here to die, and I'm happy not knowing. The only thing that matters is that you get off the planet. Who knows, maybe if you make it back you'll be able to stop this whole thing.
At the least just try and do better than the rest of us, no matter what happens, you're all each other has now. If that's not enough I can promise you that being together, no matter how tough it may get, beats the hell out of being alone. I've been the last man standing for more time then I care to figure. So work together, and... I can't believe I even have to say this, but...” he sighed. “Don't kill each other, and don't kill yourselves. There are better ways, even when it all seems meaningless—which it does all too much. But you got here, now get home.” A long silence blanketed the room and the man appeared to be lost deep within his mind.
“Anyway, good luck.” He moved his mouth to form a smile and hoped he was doing it right. It had been so long. “Save file and close,” he said, and the light faded from the monitor.