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For All Mankind

Myla McNair '27

Ace Clarkson '24

A thousand lights were flashing. Bright red. Something was very wrong. I hurried down the hallway toward the control room. Every single button on the control panel was flashing. I watched the board, the monitor, everything, searching for the problem. It didn’t take long to find it. There was a meteoroid heading straight for the planet. It was coming fast. And it was big. Really big. Big enough to destroy all Melephius. 

Melephius is a planet I discovered fifteen years ago. I was twenty-four and had just begun my career as a scientist working with NASA. Earth wasn’t quite dead back then, but it almost was. The ocean was dark, the smoke was thick, and it was evident we didn’t have much time left there. I was leading a team of scientists trying to find a way for humanity to survive. We were studying possible planets to replace Earth when I discovered the solar system containing Melephius. I ran tests and studied the planet until absolutely certain it was a livable planet. After years of research, it was concluded that Melephius was the best replacement for Earth. 

I journeyed out to Melephius with my fellow scientists to confirm that it truly was a safe place to be. And it was. It was so much better than Earth. The air was fresh, the water crisp, the sky bright blue. I spent years there planning how to develop the planet and worked with many other scientists to create a safe way to travel to and from Melephius. While I was gone, Earth got worse. The air was so heavy, so hard to breathe in, that people began to die at alarming rates. That’s when it was decided to begin Project Desert. 

We had built thousands and thousands of spaceships to carry people from Earth to Melephius, and each pilot immediately began takeoff after Project Desert was initiated. Only one ship remained, my ship. I was the only one left on Melephius, tasked with readying the planet for the arrival of millions of people. Most everything was already prepared; housing, food, transportation, but I needed to write a guide to the planet, explaining the differences between it and Earth, so there would be no surprises for the people when they arrived. The spaceships left almost two weeks ago and were scheduled to arrive in four hours. I had just completed The Guide to Melephius when the alarms sounded.


Of course, something had to go wrong. I was standing in shock, trying to process the fact that a meteoroid was hurtling toward this perfect replacement planet. I could see the meteoroid on the radar, but I needed to know how long before it would reach Melephius. Only Dr. Carter, the head NASA scientist, had that technology, on her ship, that could give that information. I grabbed the intercom and requested Dr. Carter. She picked up almost immediately.  

“What is it, Dr. Bellflower?” She questioned from her ship. 

“Check the radars,” I instructed 

“Checking them now…” she replied. “Oh no.” 

“How long does Melephius have?” I asked. 

“It looks like there are only 57 minutes before impact.” 

“Is there any way to deflect the meteoroid?” 

“Not safely.” she said, sounding unsure. 

“What do you mean?” I asked. Then, before she said anything, I knew. 

“The only way to deflect the meteoroid is by knocking it off course with another ship. We’re four hours away, and by then Melephius will have been destroyed. You still have your ship there…” her voice trailed off, but it confirmed my fears.  

Crashing a ship into a meteoroid would kill the pilot and anyone else on board. 

“Lauren?” Dr. Carter asked. 

A single tear fell down my cheek. 

“You don't-” She started to protest, but I cut her off. 

“It’s okay,” I replied, trying to stay calm. “Melephius was my idea, and my responsibility.” If I didn’t do this, all mankind would die. 

“Thank you, Dr. Bellflower. You’re a hero for your world.” Dr. Carter said in her most official voice. 

“Goodbye, Dr. Carter.” I choked. 

“Goodbye Lauren.” she replied sadly. 

I hung up. Then what I was about to do really hit me. These were the last minutes of my life. My dad had passed several years ago, and, since I was an only child, it was just me and my mom. I would never be able to see her again. Another tear slipped out. I grabbed the intercom and requested Sandra Bellflower. 

“Lauren?” Mom asked. 

“Hi Mom,” I replied, trying to hold it together. I didn’t fool my mom. 

“What’s wrong?” She immediately replied. 

“There’s a meteoroid big coming toward Melephius, big enough to destroy the entire planet.” I began to explain. “I need to fly my ship into it to deflect its course. Which means…” I trailed off. 

“No!!” Mom cried in anguish. I could hear the pain in her voice and see the tears streaming down her face. 

“Mom,” I started, falling to the floor, holding back tears. “Thank you. I couldn’t have accomplished what I did without you. I love you!” Now tears were streaming down my face. 

“I love you too. I’m so proud of you, my little girl.” Mom said back, her voice breaking with every word. 

“I have to go now,” I said, every ounce of my body ached from crying. “Goodbye, Mom.” 

“Goodbye Lauren,” she sobbed. I could hear the intercom taken from her hands and her wailing and screaming, “NO!! Not my Lauren, not my Laur-” 

I hung up. I shook. The tears falling harder than ever now. I sat there, sad, lonely, and practically already dead. This needed to end. I took a deep breath and wiped my eyes. I needed to do what needed to be done. I stood up and took a step. Then another. And another. I got to my ship, got inside, and marked my course to the meteoroid. I started the ship and readied it for takeoff. I stared at the takeoff lever. I took a breath. 

I pulled the lever. I flew into the sky and shot into space. I could see the meteoroid. Closer, closer, closer. I was doing this for all mankind. I pulled to go faster. I was almost there. 

“It’s been nice,” I said to myself. Then I crashed into the meteoroid. There was immense pain, then everything went black. 

Lauren Bellflower was dead. The meteoroid was pushed off its course. Melephius was safe. But the people were not. The meteoroid sped up even faster. Its course redirected to exactly where the spaceships were flying. The spaceships carrying the rest of mankind. It kept gaining speed. If there was sound in space, all that could be heard then would be screams, the deafening screams of terrified people. People who knew they were about to die. The meteoroid crashed into the first ship, then the next, and the one after that, destroying every ship, and killing everyone onboard.                                                                                                                                                                                      All mankind was dead.

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