Galaxy: Idurne 134,
Nearest Planet: Certiorari.
E-14 entered the station, her shoulders drooped and sweat covering her temple. She slugged to the bar. Her eyebrows were slightly creased, and her face contorted in a frown. She was tired of this. The star was going to explode any time now.
E-14 walked towards the counter.
"Can I get Cranella Juice, please? No crest."
The server nodded and started making her order.
"You seem tired. "
E-14 smiled. "What gives?"
The server pointed out the sweat on her temple. "It's rare to see a Rae sweat. What happened?"
The last four years flashed before her eyes. How excited was she to be chosen as a Galactic soldier Little did she know, no matter what she did, she could never fulfil the vow. She had vowed to protect her planet, Raenyara, her people. Back then, their task was to find another shelter for the people.
E-14 averted her eyes. "Well, I have to fulfil my vow."
Server raised his eyebrows. "A vow? Which vow?"
She folded her arms. "To find a planet for my people."
He smiled and asked. "When did the radiation hit?"
The facade of a polite smile fell as she remembered the incident, the helplessness. She silently took a sip.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, just like the psychological expert had taught her."The radiation hit the Raenyara much before we anticipated."
"And you managed to get the people out?" The server asked, his eyes widened.
The cries of the children and the poor echoed through her mind. They didn't have the luxury to get out. When she took that vow, she was meant to save everyone. But she couldn't.
"Some of them. My people are refugees now."
"None of the allied planets gave you shelter?"
"I believe you know the answer to that. The allied planets gave us shelter but as slaves. Ironically, even the rich ones are turning into ones. Just the ultra-rich are here, or the galactic soldiers. Time turners have stopped working."
She remembered the sight of those shelters. The law-abiding planets that were regarded by their virtue and kindness employed her people as their servants. Some of the planets refused to abide by the galactic law, treating the refugees worse than slaves. The poor people had to accept it. Otherwise, they would be dead. The rich didn't escape from that fate. Slowly, their reserve of the currency came to an abrupt end. And the androids? They were exterminated, the moment when everyone realized how harsh the radiations were becoming. Only ultra-rich were living with their dignity intact, that too on the space stations. E-14 vowed to find her people home. It was hard since their star was the only star that still existed.
The server sighed, resigned. "You know that is a dead-end, right? We are the last ones remaining. Not the last galaxy, the last star-system! We ignored the warnings given by our ancestors, and now, we are here. Who knows if you are even going to survive tonight."
E-14 shook her head. "The radiation reached our planet faster than we anticipated. Perhaps this will take the time as well?"
The server handed her the drink and leaned on the counter. "We would be safer, as our station is the farthest. But no planet would survive this. A Rae like you should understand."
"I vowed to fight for my people, to keep them safe. I didn't plead my allegiance to see my fellow Raes turn into mindless slaves of some allied planet!"
The server's face was stoic. "I thought you understood who I am by my Purple skin. My people were from your neighbouring galaxy. Do you remember when we came here to plead the shelters? Do you remember how each of the planets reacted? You had the resources to save us back then, but your galaxies arrogance and self-absorbed nature cost them their lives. It cost the universe so many galaxies and everyone on it."
"I am sorry. I didn't like what the authorities did, but I didn't have the power."
The server nodded. "I understand. What I am saying is, at least we had some sort of hope. Even if your people didn't fulfil our expectations, we still believed that someone would save us. You do not have any hope, especially after how selfishly you reacted. Now that this is the only standing galaxy, there aren't many chances of your survival."
E-14 clenched her fists. "Are you saying that I shouldn't be determined enough to save my people?"
Server scoffed. "Of course not. Determination is beautiful and essential. It is the very reason why Raes survived, and humans didn't. Our ancestors had determination. They didn't resign."
E-14 nodded. "That is true. But it seems you have."
The server gulped. "I have learnt my lesson that determination won't keep me alive. Keeping my head down will."
She fidgeted and looked at her drink. "But will it be worth it? We know that we are going to die someday. Today, more than ever. Don't you want to try enough so that no one can say you didn't try?"
Server shrugged. "Perhaps. Perhaps not. But is embracing the end badly? It is, after all, the beginning, in a way."
E-14 nodded. "I agree. But determination isn't that bad either. We have reached the epitome of perfection. If we had given up every time a bump came into our road, we wouldn't be here."
Server nodded. "Both are required, mam. Perhaps by determination, we have reached the threshold universe wanted us to reach. The universe will be proud of us. Proud of you, especially. For not giving up, even when you could."
E-14 nodded and sipped her drink. She looked at the window as the star was about to explode. The last star was going to disappear, and the universe would die. But determination and acceptance will hold impossible thresholds for the next universe to achieve. In a few minutes, the star exploded, and everything went black.