Cosmonauts were first in space, to look for God and find no trace…
I grimace as I hear her scream. Even though the tape is two years old and was recorded miles above Earth, her scream seems to reverberate through my ship. Chloe’s blue eyes widen in terror. The camera is pointing directly towards her, so I can’t see what is causing such fear. That, among other things, has haunted me. But, perhaps I’ve found the answer.
“You can’t keep doing this, Ken.”
The stern, soft voice of my father-in-law wakes me up. Keeping my eyes closed I inhale deeply. Leaning forward in my chair, I pinch the bridge of my nose and reply, “It’s not what you think, Sid.”
He chuckles softly, “Yes. It is. I know exactly what you’re doing. Playing that tape lets you hear her voice before you sleep. With that updated sound system and hologram, it feels like she’s right here, in this room, on this ship. But, she’s not, Kenny. Not ever again. What I don’t understand is why you let yourself fall asleep before you hit pause, so you don’t have to watch that last scene again.”
I shake my head, “That’s not what I’m doing, Sid. I’m past that now. I’m looking—“
A growl of frustration cuts me off, “NO! No more, Ken. No more half-cocked theories of a black hole, aliens, or anything else you use to convince yourself that she’s still alive somewhere. She’s gone. Accept it. Please. Because I can’t move on until you do. Please, Ken, this is no way to live. We need to go back home. She’s not up here.”
His desperation almost stops me. But, he needs to know.
“I’m not doing those things anymore. But, I have one last…theory.
“Hologram. Repeat scene 6412.”
His eyes widen.
“Houston! We have major malfunction. Nothing is working. Manual override is—wait, there’s a light, Houston. We’re glowing, we’re shaking, I feel—"
“Oh my Go—“
Static. I stop the tape. Sid’s eyes are wide, then narrow as he glares at me.
“I know. What did you hear?”
“You know what I—“
I wave him off in frustration.
“Not the words. The emotions. She and the crew, they’re scared, of course. But at the very end, there’s something else. Listen again, but don’t watch it. Watch the Mood Scanner instead.”
It takes several replays, but finally he turns off the hologram. He walks through the door, nearly hitting it before it zips open. Puzzled, I follow. I find him in the Display Room, looking out the large window.
Sid faces the blackness, “So, you think He’s up here, huh? That when they called out ‘Jesus’ and ‘Oh my God’ they weren’t doing so out of fear, but recognition, because of the partial readout on that Mood Scanner? Does that about sum it up, Ken?”
I can’t help but smile in relief. “YES!”
He nods, still looking out the window, “There’s never been any trace, Ken. So many missions, so many people from all over our planet have been up here, thousands of satellites, dozens of space stations, and nothing. Not one single trace of God, or any Supreme Being up in the heavens. Don’t you find that odd?”
“No, Sid, I don’t. Nobody saw life on Mars for centuries either. No one saw our twin galaxy until five years ago and it was right there the whole time. You should know, Sid, not seeing and not being are two different things.”
Sid turns back and looks at me with heavy eyes, “So what if you’re right? So what? What’s it change? She’s gone, just like she’s been for two years. So what’s the point?”
I smile as the thought returns. “It matters because now I get it. We’ve done so much, so fast, without a care for the consequences. We’re so caught up in discovery, of knowing everything, we’ve forgotten one basic truth.”
Sid gives a half smile of his own, and replies, “We can’t know everything.”
Grinning, I continue, my chest feeling light, “But, I did discover one thing. Chloe’s fine. I’ll never know what happened, what she saw that was so terrifying. Was it God, or something else we haven’t discovered yet? But, now I know she recognized Him. In her last and worst moment, she wasn’t alone, and she’s not alone now. And that’s all that matters.”
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