J stared out into the glow of the blue and white planet.
It was quiet.
Vacuum—or near vacuum—was always quiet. This was a quiet that echoed: As if one could almost feel the thrumming that was now replaced with such silence.
“It’s finally happened.”
A stood a distance away, speaking through the mindlink.
J could feel their reticence to speak more words that had nowhere to land in the gravity of this space. Hope against all odds is hard to hold, and there had been so much hope here.
“It is terribly difficult,” J spoke after a time, “for a world-species to overcome the worst of its own. So few overcome this difficulty… among so many others. It requires such sacrifice—that should never be required—to do what must be done to save a world like this one. I hesitate to name a more frustrating predicament for a being to endure.”
After a breadth of wordless contemplation, J said, “We should perform the rites when you are ready.”
In the next moment, the two specters stood much closer to one another. If anyone were around to witness, they would have seen their forms grow dim and merge to form a more solid-looking figure… then after a moment, vanish.
A flash of lightning flickered in the atmosphere across the void. The moon resumed its journey in solitude. The deep blue planet appeared still in its enormous and undetectable velocities, more than half-veiled in its own shadow. As the sun lay its light against the curve of the planetary sphere, no doubt the smallest of beginnings are taking shape. After such an ending, it is good for things to begin again.
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