Bollard had waited a long time for this. Longer than he could
actually remember. And that was a long time. Ick didn't know how
long, because he'd forgotten how to tell the time, but he knew
he'd waited a good while. Ages. Aeons maybe, even though he had
no idea how long that was. But it sounded like it was along time,
so he'd go with that.
Bollard had waited aeons for this.
he had forgotten almost everything (bar his name), he had woken
from Deep Sleep and found a note glued to his head. He'd pulled
it off ( much too fast and taken several layers of skin with it).
After shouting obscenities to no-one in particular about what
kind of idiot would glue a note to someone's head, he spent several
minutes getting his eyes to focus and then read it:
Ick :) xx
stumbled out of his Deep Sleep Tube and gazed around him. Buttons
and switches. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them. Mostly blinking
off and on. On and off. But when he looked more closely, he noticed
that some of them had little yellow pieces of paper stuck next
peered at one.
CLEANING SYSTEM (never used)
moved to another:
PLAYS CRAP SONGS FROM THE 1980's
ONE JUST BLINKS.
IDEA WHAT IT DOES
started pulling the notes down from around him. What the hell
was this? He'd told himself he needed to engage the autopilot,
yet had then proceeded to tell himself to ignore everything! Even
in his fragile mental state, Ick could see that one Post It Note
saying AUTOPILOT would have worked quite nicely. Ick worried that
he appeared to be only slightly more with it before he went into
Deep Sleep than after
after scouring all the hundreds of notes he found the Autopilot
one. He kept only two of the hundreds he discarded
said SHITTER: YOU HAVEN'T CRAPPED FOR A BLOODY LONG TIME SO YOU'LL
NEED THIS ONE)
the other said
KEEP! WOOHOO! and had a ;) next to it.
put those in his pocket.
though he didn't know himself, Ick reckoned he was a good judge
of character and could trust himself.
he kept the two messages and stood in front of the Auto Pilot.
goes nothing, he thought.
flicked the switch.
beeped. Everything blinked.
then everything shook!
Ick knew he had to get strapped in. He found the nearest chair
and buckled up. He was excited but he didn't know why. He was
waiting for something and he knew that this was it! He just hoped
AUTOPILOT knew what it was doing.
beeping. More blinking. And much more shaking.
closed his eyes. Deep Sleep. All I want is Deep Sleep.
there was an almighty thud!
breathed deeply. He knew now why he had left a note for himself
about the toilet.
waited. And waited. And waited.
was he waiting for?
knew he wasn't going to find out by sitting here. He unbuckled
himself and moved to the door. He was most dismayed to find it
labelled DOOR with his scribbled monica underneath it. How stupid
did he think he was?
he found another by the handle. It said:
WAY TO NEW EARTH
it came flooding back.
The invasion. So sudden. Destroyed. The horror. SO SUDDEN. No
chance. Why? Exodus. Hope? A few. Spaceships. Undetected. Deep
he knew it all. He had witnessed the horror of it all. Seen the
death and suffering. He started shaking and stumbled.
Everybody was dead.
knew what he had to do.
breaths. He needed to do this. Had to do this
knew he should have asked the on board computer for an atmospheric
reading first, but he was just too damn scared.
Bollard paused. He was trying to remember something. Something
important. He wracked his over stretched brain.
it came to him
.. a phrase. An important one.
cleared his throat.
the first time in 258 years a human spoke:
is one big step for man and one huge leap for mankind"
that, Ick Bollard opened the door.
was dark. The air was tinged with the odour of ozone. God that
smelled good! Ick took a deep breath. He hadn't smelled fresh
air for, well, as long as he could remember.
took that Big Step for mankind.
recoiled. That wasn't right. He tried again. And it quacked again.
no no! Ick thought. He grabbed a flashlight and shone in through
almost dropped his flashlight. The only thing that kept him looking
was the strange voyeur in him. There were rows upon rows of them.
Ducks. And they seemed to be dead. All lying on their backs, legs
in the air.
found the flood lights for his ship (labelled BIG BASTARD LIGHTS)
and turned them on.
he could see for miles around were ducks. Every hill, every valley
was full of dead ducks. Millions upon millions of dead ducks.
closed the door and stumbled back to his DST.
the last human alive, he had kind of got used to failure.
knew that ducks would eat just about anything. A whole planet
of dead ducks? Must be a no no.
that Ick went back to sleep.
* * *
a small planet in the middle of no where of importance, a duck
and at em guys! There you go!! Works everytime!"
a million ducks carried on about their business despite all the
disruptions to their lives.