Quick Sci-Fi Fiction by Gene Doucette

Short Sci-Fi Fiction by Gene Doucette

Image for article titled LIGHTSPEED Presents: 'Memoranda from the End of the World' by Gene Doucette

Illustration: Subsequent Mars Media (Adobe Inventory)

io9 is proud to current fiction from LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE. As soon as a month, we characteristic a narrative from LIGHTSPEED’s present challenge. This month’s choice is “Memoranda from the Finish of the World” by Gene Doucette. You possibly can learn the story under or take heed to the podcast on our web site. Take pleasure in!

Memoranda from the Finish of the World

[For internal use only]


Hooked up, please discover your private company-issued Respiration Equipment, for speedy use inside all company campus unfiltered air areas!

This consists of all outside areas, corresponding to: the parking heaps; the parking storage; the smoker’s hut; the paths between the buildings; the shuttlebus ready space; the tennis court docket; and the company golf course. It additionally features a restricted variety of indoor areas, corresponding to: the shuttlebus; any space listed as “Underneath Building”; and the worker toilet on degree two within the north wing of constructing H.

(Word: In case you are studying this memorandum at any of the above-listed unventilated areas, please skip to the part entitled “ Put on Your Private Respiration Equipment” instantly and observe the prescribed steps.)

As detailed within the prior memoranda, “ON THE UNFORTUNATELY HIGH PARTICULATE MATTER COUNT IN OUR COOLING TOWER EJECTA” and “WHY YOU MAY BE COUGHING MORE THIS WEEK,” per coverage, all workers should put on their private Respiration Apparatuses when prone to inhaling unfiltered air whereas on the company campus.

(For extra info, please seek the advice of the up to date Coverage on Respiration within the on-line company handbook.)


Q: How lengthy will this coverage be in impact?
A: Hopefully not for lengthy! Air high quality exams are being carried out always by our on-campus crew of researchers and the authorized division. We’ll present a timeline shortly.

Q: Along with experiencing shortness of breath, I’ve additionally skilled among the following: redness and itching of the eyes; extreme saliva; pores and skin irritation; panic assaults; and dissociative episodes. Are these signs associated to the air high quality considerations expressed by the company?
A: These signs can’t be positively linked to the company’s unfiltered air high quality challenge right now.

Q: Ought to I be involved for my household?
A: In case your speedy household resides greater than ten miles from the company campus, then no! In any other case, please contact your supervisor about signing the litigation waiver and acquiring further Respiration Apparatuses to your speedy relations.

Q: I’ve heard rumors that the excessive particulate matter rely within the coolant tower ejecta is expounded to work on Challenge ExtraSolar. What are you able to inform us?
A: As at all times, every little thing regarding Challenge ExtraSolar is assessed as Prime Secret. Please consult with the Coverage on Denying the Existence of Challenge ExtraSolar within the on-line company handbook for extra info.

[For internal use only]


It has come to the eye of Company Security and Safety that the obligatory Respiration Equipment tips aren’t being strictly adhered to by all workers.

As beforehand outlined—see: “YOUR COMPANY-ISSUED BREATHING APPARATUS”—the sporting of your private Respiration Equipment is required at any time when inhaling non-filtered air whereas on the company campus.

Many have famous that in the middle of issuing Respiration Apparatuses to all workers, we have now uncared for to elucidate why it was essential to not breathe unfiltered air whereas on the company campus. There are a variety of litigation-adjacent causes we didn’t do that (and why we nonetheless can not). Nonetheless, we can talk about quite a lot of the fairly harmful theories which have just lately come to our consideration.

Concept #1: “That is really a psychological take a look at and there’s nothing incorrect with the air.”
That is false. There very a lot is one thing incorrect with the air. Please additionally observe that our psy-ops division was defunded two years in the past.

Concept #2: “The air is poisonous and in case you’ve already breathed it you’re going to die anyway, so why trouble?”
That is false. Company wouldn’t challenge Respiration Apparatuses if we knew the air was poisonous and it was already too late for everybody. The reality is we’re nonetheless operating exams.

Concept #3: “The air grants folks particular skills and company is attempting to maintain all of it for themselves.”
That is false. This principle—and the same “freedom air” principle—are the preferred and the least believable of the theories we have now encountered. We can not right now affirm the nature of the pollutant within the company campus’s unfiltered air, however—as is true for any industrial accident—the air doesn’t grant particular skills.

(Word: We are able to neither affirm nor deny that there was an industrial accident.)

It has additionally been reported that among the workers who have inhaled unfiltered air on our company campus—whether or not by chance or deliberately—declare to have skilled a type of euphoria. Just like the above theories, that is false: Euphoria isn’t a acknowledged symptom.

Once more: Euphoria is not a acknowledged symptom.

Any workers caught “chasing the euphoria” by “respiratory the liberty air” and/or encouraging others to take action will likely be referred to H.R. instantly, and should face termination.

[For internal use only]


Within the wake of latest occasions, the company felt it essential to handle what’s turning into an more and more frequent drawback for our workers: coping with the media.

It’s essential to do not forget that all media inquiries must be directed to our Public Relations division and/or the Authorized division. When a member of the media asks you a query in regards to the company, you should refer them. (Contact info for each is hooked up to this memo.)

We additionally strongly urge all workers, when confronted with media inquiries, to ask themselves: are you the individual inside the company greatest certified to talk for the company?

Virtually with out exception, the reply isn’t any. That is no matter the query, the questioner, or the circumstance by which the questioner and the questioned occur to come across each other.

Nonetheless, we additionally acknowledge that below excessive duress, workers could not have the presence of thoughts to ruminate on the appropriateness of an in-progress media interplay. Likewise, not all media members readily establish themselves, and a few circumstances don’t allow time for an worker to ask if their interrogator is talking on behalf of a media conglomerate.

For this reason we at company headquarters are advising that every one workers be taught to use the next phrase—“I don’t know”—to all exterior inquiries relating to the corporate.

This phrase has been permitted by the authorized division to be used in all circumstances during which an worker is requested a query regarding the corporate by a non-employee, and it’s for use always whatever the query.

Listed here are a couple of real-life examples of how saying “I don’t know” will help each you (the worker) and the company as a complete proceed to succeed.

Instance #1:
5 quarantined workers escape containment and exit the campus in a heightened state of euphoric dementia. After sacking the native police station, their chief—“Nigel”—declares himself king. The 5 escapees are finally contained, however solely after killing seven folks and biting one other twenty-two.

A member of the media reaches out to recognized workers of the company. You, an affiliate of “Nigel,” are requested to remark.

Possibility 1: “It was solely a matter of time. We’re all going to [expletive] die. Do you personal a gun? Get a [expletive] gun. (crying) These poor bastards . . . Look, go underground and perhaps you possibly can maintain them off for some time. It’s price a strive, proper? Proper? (extra crying.) I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

Possibility 2: “The company strongly denies any reference to these people, can not clarify why they’ve worker badges, and solely realized in regards to the unlucky assault on the police station simply now if you requested about it.”

Possibility 3: “I don’t know.”

As we are able to see, the real-world response proven in Possibility 1 is inappropriate. Possibility 2 is right, however troublesome to breed with out authorized help. Possibility 3 is subsequently most popular.

Instance #2
An outdated school buddy asks if there’s any connection between the corporate’s drastic improve in safety fencing, the breakdown of native authorities, and the unfold of “Euphoric Fever.” Unbeknownst to you, this outdated school buddy now works for a world media group.

Possibility 1: “That is what occurs if you attempt to play God with alien microbes. Jesus Christ. This [expletive] firm, man. Hey, I gotta run, they’re having an issue with the flamethrower once more.”

Possibility 2: “True or not I have to assume that you simply, outdated school buddy, are at present employed by a world media group. The company’s up to date fencing was purely aesthetic, we have now no remark about native authorities, and we’ve by no means heard of ‘Euphoric Fever.’”

Possibility 3: “I don’t know.”

As earlier than, possibility 3 is most popular, possibility 2 is higher however difficult for many workers, and possibility 1—the real-world response, sadly—is extremely damaging to the popularity of the company and must be prevented.

Instance #3
Whereas off obligation and after being relocated to a safe facility, throughout the course of ready in line for rations you overhear a military normal discussing using napalm for an upcoming counterstrike. Involved, and with info relating to the viability of fireplace, you method to debate it with him.

You don’t discover that the overall is at present on dwell tv.

Possibility 1: “WE TRIED FIRE! NOTHING WORKS! THEY’RE NOT HUMAN ANYMORE! [garbled ranting] [expletive] [garbled ranting] [incoherent shrieking]”

Possibility 2: “These corporation-supplied rations are wholesome and scrumptious!”

Possibility 3: Don’t method the overall. Don’t talk about what you understand with the army in any respect.

Possibility 4: “I don’t know.”

You might be appropriate: this instance is definitely a trick! The greatest possibility is 3. Choices 1, 2, and 4 all characteristic interrupting a dwell tv broadcast, which pulls unwelcome consideration no matter what one says following that interruption. Nonetheless, if you end up fully unable to keep away from doing this, choices 2 or 4 are far higher than the real-world possibility 1.

We hope this recommendation and the offered examples show helpful to you, our valued workers, in navigating the difficult instances we’re at present experiencing.

Additionally observe: For those who assume you could have stated or are going to say one thing to a media consultant, we ask that you simply attain out to your supervisor instantly for additional steering.

From: the workplace of the Seek for Non-Terrestrial Intelligence (SNOTI)

To: all SNOTI-participating observatories


Expensive taking part members:

We right here on the foremost SNOTI workplace hope that this message reaches you, and that you’re nicely and never at present contaminated with the PNTL contagion (about which: extra under.) Tragically, the most recent info has it that our observatories in North America and Western Europe have, very similar to the remainder of society in these areas, collapsed. (So, in case you are studying this and situated in a type of areas, it’s doubtless you aren’t totally your self. If this isn’t the case, cheerio! We hope you could have enough meals and water. Please tell us if we will help.)

We’ve two essential items of knowledge to share with our members right now. First, present proof signifies that our New South Wales observatory, together with our Guizhou department, have confirmed the receipt of a message from a non-terrestrial supply!

This will sound very a lot as if we’ve found the existence of water moments earlier than drowning. Nonetheless, regardless of the very actual world risk the Parasitic Non-Terrestrial Lifeform contagion represents to us all, a lot of our SNOTI observatories have continued to work exhausting within the seek for clever non-terrestrial life that can be not at present on the planet. To that finish: we seem to have succeeded!

We’re attaching the coordinates for the sign supply to this memorandum. Please observe that the coordinates do not correspond to something specifically; the sign is both being despatched from a beforehand undiscovered planet, or an area non-terrestrial object.

In case you are ready, have energy, and are of sound thoughts, please direct your array to the coordinates. Bear in mind that we have now not been in a position to discern what the sign is saying right now, if something. Nonetheless, it is repeating and non-random.

(In what was a gesture of wishful pondering—the stress has gotten to us all—the NSW workplace did craft and ship a response, within the unlikely occasion the sign origin was someplace close by, astronomically talking. We welcome you to do the identical, if it lightens the temper.)

Secondly, it has come to our consideration that these inflicted with the PNTL contagion are uncommonly drawn to observatories. In case you have not already achieved so, we strongly advocate you fortify your facility in addition to is feasible.

Pleased sign searching! We promise to share any new findings as they occur, for so long as we’re ready.


Your SNOTI directors

[For internal use only]


It’s with a heavy coronary heart that we should formally announce the closing of the company’s foremost campus, efficient instantly.

This isn’t a choice frivolously made! Regardless of the attempting instances of the previous a number of months, we right here on the Company Shelter have been attacking the issue day by day within the hopes of developing with an answer.

(Word: As talked about within the earlier memo, “WE ARE UNABLE TO DISCLOSE THE LOCATION OF THE TOP SECRET CORPORATE SHELTER”, we’re unable to reveal the placement of the highest secret company shelter right now. We proceed to log your requests!)

Nonetheless, latest satellite tv for pc surveys of our southwestern campus have introduced us to the identical conclusion a lot of you little question already reached: the campus technically now not exists in any significant bodily sense.

This was finally as a result of army’s firebombing marketing campaign, though the riots have been a proximate trigger. We’ve additionally been notified that the upcoming nuclear strike is more likely to render any insurance coverage claims moot.

And so: we have now determined it might be within the company’s greatest pursuits to shut the campus completely, write off the loss, and transfer on.

Sadly, this implies we may even be initiating a compulsory attrition for all workers assigned to that facility who haven’t already self-furloughed by the use of untimely dying or an infection.

(Word: workers troubled with Euphoric Fever are ineligible for severance. Please learn Company Stance on Non-Human Standing of PNTL-Contaminated Individuals within the on-line company handbook for particulars on this coverage.)

For those who consider your employment standing has been impacted by this transformation, however haven’t but been contacted by Human Sources, let your speedy supervisor know instantly in order that we could start the obligatory attrition course of.

We want to apologize to all affected workers, and thanks all to your years of service. None of us on the Company Shelter could be right here with out your exhausting work and lots of sacrifices.


Whats up and welcome to Lengthy-Time period Subterranean Housing Bunker #7, or as we wish to name it, “The Bunker!”

Earlier than we go over some very essential guidelines about your new long-term housing, we want to congratulate you on having made it this far, and to thanks for being right here! The overall collapse of society is troublesome on us all, however we’re positive that in time you’ll regulate, simply as we have, to the modified circumstances!

Now, a quick questionnaire, to convey everybody up to the mark as shortly as attainable! Don’t fear, there are not any incorrect solutions. Take your time and have enjoyable!

Entrance Questionnaire

Q: What’s your age, and are you medically able to fathering/bearing youngsters?
A: __________

Q: What’s your distinctive/particular talent/data base that was thought of important in rebuilding civilization? Are you the one one who can do it, or can or not it’s taught within the occasion one thing ought to occur to you?
A: __________

Q: Do you could have a fever?
A: __________

Q: Are you content proper now? As in, very completely happy?
A: __________

Q: Please checklist all of the weapons you might be proficient in using. (Present as a lot element as attainable. Ex: as an alternative of “weapons”, say “Sig Sauer P320” or “Winchester Mannequin 94 carbine 30-30”.)
A: __________

Q: Have you ever ever killed an individual? (In self-defense or in any other case.)
A: __________

Q: Are you positive you’re not an unreasonable diploma of completely happy proper now?
A: __________

Q: Please checklist any expertise not already talked about above. (Ex: truck driving; masonry; flamethrower upkeep.)
A: __________

Flip in your accomplished kind to the bunker sergeant. Word that this questionnaire is obligatory.

Essential Guidelines About Your New Housing

It’s critically essential that every one bunker residents be conscious of every of those guidelines, and to observe them precisely, at all instances!

Rule #1: Don’t go exterior. In case you are not an energetic member of the assault crew or the fireplace squad, don’t depart the bunker at any time, for any purpose. You’ll not be allowed again inside.

Rule #2: No smoking. We respect that it is a problem for a lot of of you, however please understand that the air filters are the one factor maintaining the bunker protected from the contagion; any pointless stress to the filters must be prevented. Additionally, there isn’t a provide of tobacco merchandise within the bunker. For those who plan to step exterior for a smoke, please see rule #1.

Rule #3: Report completely happy folks. Parasitic Non-Terrestrial Lifeform contagion, AKA PNTL, AKA PANTAL, AKA PANTALOON, AKA Euphoric Fever, has the next easily-identifiable signs: 1) overwhelming euphoria, 2) a light fever, 3) delusions of grandeur, 4) a powerful urge to chew folks. These signs usually current on this order, which implies that happiness is the primary signal that one thing could also be incorrect. For those who encounter somebody within the bunker who seems to be completely happy in a approach that is unnecessary to you, belief your instincts! Report unnaturally completely happy folks to the bunker sergeant in order that they are often remoted and examined.

Rule #4: Don’t ask for extra meals. Your day by day assigned rations have been apportioned exactly to offer sufficient energy for all of us to outlive. Don’t ask for extra helpings, or for seasoning or condiments. What you could have been offered is all there’s. Needless to say our bunker nutritionists are calculating not solely how a lot meals every of us can have per day, however for what number of days, based mostly on how a lot meals we at present have. Further helpings now could imply a complete lack of meals later.

Thanks to your time! Please see your bunker sergeant to your sleeping project. We want you luck as a brand new and productive member of The Bunker!

[This missive translated from [Untranslatable] to English.

When solely the perfect [Untranslatable] will do, select [Untranslatable] for all of your galactic translations!]


Folks of Earth:

Your planet has been designated for fumigation. Please see under for particulars.

Why is that this taking place?

The Galactic Company at [Untranslatable] has decided that Earth is at present within the midst of an outbreak of [Untranslatable] Flu. (You might also realize it because the [Untranslatable] Fever, [Untranslatable] Plague, or The Crazypants.) As you might be conscious, this illness is attributable to a extremely infectious, sentient pathogen, generally referred to as [Untranslatable] or George.

As there isn’t a recognized treatment for [Untranslatable], the perfect recourse as soon as an outbreak has occurred is to eradicate the contaminated populace.

Is there a treatment?
There is no such thing as a treatment.

Eradication appears drastic?
Eradication is the one viable choice to halt the unfold. These contaminated with [Untranslatable] search solely to search out others to contaminate. As soon as a planet has run out of host candidates, the troubled will exhaust all choices to depart the planet for different worlds.

Any of these contaminated who’re nonetheless succesful will purchase spacecrafts, whereas the later-stage contaminated will instinctively gravitate to larger floor for so long as larger floor exists. We on the Galactic Company’s company headquarters at [Untranslatable] have a accountability to our shareholder planetary programs to step in earlier than a runaway outbreak of [Untranslatable] Flu jumps planets.

How will the planet be fumigated?
Using the most recent and greatest know-how, our knowledgeable crew of fumigators will encompass the planet with our patented Neutron Defend and irradiate the floor with excessive doses of gamma radiation.

This course of makes use of 1/3 much less gamma radiation than our opponents, with twice the effectiveness in half the time. (Ask for a brochure!) Your planet must be prepared for repopulation in fewer than twenty-thousand galactic normal years, which is lots higher than the thirty-five thousand the competitors can promise!

When will this start?
The fumigation has not but been scheduled. Anticipate a second discover nearer to the date.


What do I do if my total species is situated on this planet?
We on the Galactic Company at [Untranslatable] acknowledge that some much less superior species could also be going through whole extinction as a consequence of this outbreak. (Though that is uncommon.) In case you have purpose to consider our fumigation program will consequence within the cessation of your lifeform as a entire, please take the next steps.

1: Acquire.
Collect all people you possibly can show, credibly, are uninfected.

2: Evacuate.
Go away the planet’s floor instantly.

3: Assemble and stay self-isolated.
Discover the closest uninhabited orbital object—a moon, or a close-by asteroid—land and wait. You at the moment are self-quarantining.

[IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to land on another inhabited planet. Now that the Galactic Corporation of [Untranslatable] has recognized your world for fumigation, all craft originating from your own home planet will likely be handled as hostile.]

4: Notify.
As quickly as you’ve touched down, ship phrase to your native Galactic Company company consultant. Inform them what planet you might be from and whether or not you require retrieval. As soon as the mandated quarantine interval has elapsed, a consultant will arrive to are inclined to your additional wants.

Thanks for trusting the Galactic Company at [Untranslatable]!

To Whom It Might Concern—

For those who’re studying this and I haven’t shot you but, it means I’m lifeless. Assuming the cabin I’ve hooked up this observe to remains to be upright, you’re welcome to what’s inside.

I’m positive you’re pondering that is actual neighborly of me, and also you’re proper, besides that’s how I bought the cabin, and the way the man earlier than me bought it too. Mainly, someone approach again at the start of the contagion (most likely earlier than the contagion) stocked this place with every little thing wanted to outlive the top of the world after which the top of the world got here and he didn’t plan close to in addition to he thought he had, seeing as how he’s lifeless now.

Anyhoo, it’s a reasonably candy little place.

Most likely. I imply, I could also be lifeless inside, or alive however so completely happy I need to chew your face off. If I’m lifeless, bury me or no matter and I hope I didn’t stink it up an excessive amount of. If I attempt to chew you, I apologize for that however you understand how it’s with these Pantaloonies.

Right here’s some issues I labored out about your new residence.

First off, there’s a bomb shelter below the cabin flooring. I wouldn’t’ve discovered it if the final man hadn’t tipped me off, so now I’m doing the identical. You gotta roll up the rug. The deal with’s below the unfastened floorboard with the splintered finish. Give it a superb tug and there you go.

It’s a good shelter, not that I’ve any to check it to. Rattling disgrace the top of the world didn’t contain bombs—not together with when the federal government nuked New Mexico which, I imply, didn’t even work. It’s cement-lined, bought its personal turbines, and that’s the place all of the meals is.

Second, there’s no goddamn can opener.

I don’t know what occurred to it; perhaps the primary man had considered one of them particular pocket knives with an opener on it or one thing, however I’ve gone by means of this complete home top-to-bottom and it’s simply not right here. The man earlier than me used a searching knife to pop the cans, so I did that too. It’s exhausting work, and I almost misplaced a finger one time, however until you’ve bought an opener of your individual it’s most likely the perfect you’re gonna do.

Third, there’s lots of ammo, however not a single observe about what goes the place. Hopefully, you understand from weapons, however except for the rifle I used to be planning to shoot you with I by no means labored out a lot. (I’ll inform you one factor: smaller gun does NOT equal smaller bullets.) I’d have most likely gotten additional alongside, however I used to be afraid of utilizing the weapons too typically. I didn’t need to name consideration to myself.

Fourth, there’s some type of coordinated gang of Pantaloonies roaming the countryside. Unsure why, as a result of there’s not lots to see out right here apart from the observatory on the hill. (Which is locked, by the way. I feel there’s folks holed up in it, however I headed there earlier than discovering this cabin and I can inform you that in the event that they’re alive, they aren’t open to guests.) For those who’re going to spend so much of trip of the shelter, I’d advocate determining the timing of that pack first; they’re fairly common.

Fifth, you’re not gonna be capable to spend all your time within the shelter, as a lot as that looks as if a good suggestion. I feel the designer tousled with the filtration system. Both that or one thing died in it. So until you’ve bought an HVAC diploma and might repair it your self, I’d reasonable my time down there if I used to be you. (Then once more, I didn’t make it, so what do I do know?)

Lastly, and this isn’t actually associated to the cabin, I’ve been seeing some fairly bizarre lights within the sky round right here. Like, “alien spaceship” bizarre. They’re most likely right here for the observatory too. I wasn’t courageous sufficient to ship a flare (the flare gun’s within the shelter subsequent to the peaches) on the possibility they’re on some type of rescue mission or no matter, however perhaps you’ll be braver’n I used to be.

Oh, and the wooden range works, however you’ll most likely want wooden for it, relying on after I died. There’s an axe close to the door.

Better of luck to you!

[This missive translated from [Untranslatable] to English.

When solely the perfect [Untranslatable] will do, select [Untranslatable] for all of your galactic translations!]


Folks of Earth:

We on the Galactic Company at [Untranslatable] want to apologize for our latest NOTICE OF IMPENDING FUMIGATION. Receipt of this message undoubtedly induced a panic.

It was despatched in error.

Resulting from a clerical misclassification, your planet was categorized as Superior. This was based mostly on a survey of your unpopulated orbital satellites, frequent concentrated radiographic bursts directed away from the planet, and hint proof of habitation in your close by moon.

Now that we have now obtained your quite a few frantic (and profane) responses to our preliminary notification, it has come to our consideration that you’re not Superior, and at present lack the know-how to self-sustain off-planet for lengthy intervals.

The right classification to your species is Intermediate. Had we recognized this, we might have despatched no notification in any respect.

We apologize for the confusion.

Thanks for trusting the Galactic Company at [Untranslatable]!

[This missive translated from [Untranslatable] to English.

When solely the perfect [Untranslatable] will do, select [Untranslatable] for all of your galactic translations!]


Folks of Earth:

We apologize for the final two messages—NOTICE OF IMPENDING FUMIGATION and APOLOGIES FOR OUR ERROR.

Please permit us to elucidate.

Galactic Company’s company coverage dictates that we solely notify species categorized as Superior or larger of impending fumigation. Galactic Company’s company coverage additionally dictates that we make no contact with species categorized as lower than Superior below any circumstances. Lastly, it’s—as beforehand said—Galactic Company’s company coverage that not at all are we to straight work together with a planet with an [Untranslatable] Flu outbreak.

The previously-outlined lodging within the occasion our fumigation was to trigger the entire extinction of a sentient species has been our solely various help plan. Nonetheless, we now acknowledge that continuing with the fumigation as deliberate—and as coverage dictates—creates important reputational legal responsibility for the Galactic Company at [Untranslatable].

We’ve heard your complaints! And we’re listening! (Certainly, it seems each remaining uninfected individual on Earth has a radio transmitter and a colourful vocabulary. There’s a lot to take heed to!) Your spirited curiosity in remaining alive has captured the eye of our authorized and public relations departments specifically, in addition to the eye of the Workplace of Endangered Sentient Species on [Untranslatable] Six.

Very shortly, we will likely be dispatching 5 ships to Earth upfront of the fumigation, to the areas disclosed following this message. These areas have been chosen as a result of they look like empty of any humanoid lifeforms, which is the one approach we are able to (hopefully) keep away from anybody carrying the [Untranslatable] Flu.

All uninfected members of your species who could make it to one of many 5 areas on the specified time will likely be faraway from the planet, quarantined remotely after which [Untranslatable] for long-term care.

We hope this resolution is passable, and that you’re inspired to cease utilizing your radiographic gadgets.

Thanks for trusting the Galactic Company at [Untranslatable]!


From: The final of the human race

To: Everybody else

Whats up!

We’re sending this from aboard the final spaceship leaving Earth!

We’d wish to say we hope this finds you nicely, but it surely most likely doesn’t.

We’re sorry about this, however we tried to persuade the aliens to make one other journey, and we don’t assume we bought by means of. Their translation program isn’t all that sizzling and so they’re not 100% positive which species they’re even presupposed to be speaking to. I imply, they allow us to convey our canines (canines made it!) however then they spent our first three hours of the journey attempting to speak to them as an alternative of us. This was an actual drawback when it turned out they didn’t know we wanted to breathe oxygen.

If we’re being sincere, this entire rescue factor has been a fiasco from finish to finish. The aliens—they name themselves one thing that seems like gargling, so we’ve been calling them the Gargles—appear fairly superior, however not super-well-organized.

Simply have a look at the place they landed their ships. All of us right here bought on on the one which landed in Northern Canada, and we’re fairly positive a minimum of two or three folks made it to the Sahara location, however that’s about it. I imply, clearly, proper? One landed on high of Mount Everest, one other on the backside of the Atlantic (they actually didn’t know what sort of species they have been selecting up,) and the fifth one in New Mexico, which remains to be super-radioactive.

They truthfully regarded stunned anybody confirmed up in any respect on the Canadian location. That’s, if we’re deciphering their facial expressions precisely. (Offered we’re even taking a look at their faces; there are three anatomical potentialities.) The extra cynical amongst us assume the Gargles weren’t actually attempting to rescue anybody in any respect, and so they simply guessed incorrect about Canada.

Anyhow, we’re right here now and like I stated, we’re being advised they’ll’t return to rescue anybody else, and we’re actually sorry about that. I suppose the fumigation is not possible to reschedule, and they’re actually fearful about this viral no matter, which is honest. Assuming you’re listening to this dwell, they need to be arriving to sterilize the entire planet in twenty-four hours.

So I suppose that is it.

We wished you to know that a few of us made it. The human race will survive. Sure, all we have now are Canadians—and whoever the Gargles scooped up in northern Africa (assuming they retrieved people and never a bunch of camels)—however we’re right here, and we’re okay.

We don’t know the place they’re taking us, however they appear all proper. I imply, we’re not precisely able to do a lot in the event that they resolve we glance scrumptious or no matter, however up to now so good!

And hey, it sounds just like the planet will likely be liveable once more in about twenty-thousand years, in order that’s one thing to stay up for, proper? One thing for our descendants to inherit, if they need it. Additionally, the fumigation received’t destroy issues, so if you wish to write again, go forward. No person will be capable to learn it for a actually very long time, however, I imply, it’s one thing to do!

Anyway, we’re all actually sorry about how this labored out for the remainder of you.

All the perfect!


The final of the human race

In regards to the Writer

Gene Doucette is the writer of over 20 sci-fi/fantasy titles, together with The Spaceship Subsequent Door and The Frequency of Aliens, the Immortal collection, the Tandemstar books, and The Apocalypse Seven. Gene lives in Cambridge MA.

Please go to LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINEto learn extra nice science fiction and fantasy. This story first appeared within the Might 2021 challenge, which additionally options work by Endria Isa Richardson, a two-part novelette by P H Lee (that includes poetry by Rachel Swirsky), Wealthy Larson, E. Catherine Tobler, Coral Alejandra Moore, Yang-Yang Wang, and extra. You possibly can anticipate this month’s contents to be serialized on-line, or you should buy the entire challenge proper now in handy e-book format for simply $3.99, or subscribe to the e-book version by way of the hyperlink under.


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