The world was dead. It was silent and cold and empty. A tomb emblazoned with light blocked only by crumbling stones that cast stark shadows upon the landscape. That was how it was when the explorers found it. 3 sets of tracks led from their vessel with surety and experience in their gait. They had seen hundreds of worlds, faced innumerable dangers, but they had been able to surmount it all. This though, this was something else. This was raw desolation and a world with nothing. There were signs that there had been more, once, but now there was nothing. They hadn’t seen a single drop of water or spot of color beyond brown, gray, and rust. Sometimes, they came across a stone that was a bit too square and perhaps worked by the hand of someone or something, or a stretch of worn ground that might have once housed a river, or even an expanse ground littered with white salt that spoke volumes of an ancient sea. There were only memories, impressions, signs that there had once been more. But there was nothing to tell how the tale began or ended, or even how it was woven in the middle. The explorers made a mark on their long. Resources Negligible, Unable to Support Colonization. They left their footprints in the dirt, adding an epilogue none would read to the forgotten tale of a dead world.
Looking up into the sky from my window, I could see the twin moons, Phobos and Deimos, as bright lights in the sky. But there was a third light tonight. My big brother Hank had said it was Earth. I read about Earth in class. Mommy and Daddy were from Earth, they’d said. A long, long time ago when they were kids they had left there with their parents to come here. I hugged my bear tight and wondered what it was like. I’d grown up in one of the big domes all my life, playing in the hydroponic sheds and out in the long corridors. But Earth had forests and rivers and lakes and all kinds of neat things that I’d seen in the vids. They’d brought animals here, but only some, only the food ones or the pet ones. We had a cat who Mommy said was descended from the cat she had on Earth. I wonder how. Did they put the cat into cryo-sleep like they did the colonists? They must have. I bet it was really scared in the pod. I would have been. Mommy says that someday, people are going to go even further than here and leave the solar system. I’ve got a model of the solar system hanging in my room. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. I wonder what it’s like out past there. Hank says that there are probes out there exploring and beaming back pictures. I wonder if they’ve found anything with forests.