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AND SO WE COME TO THE END

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WE WILL BE DOING THIS TO THE END OF TIME AND MAYBE PAST THAT

I write this for myself, because as far as I know, there is no one left to read it.

I look out at dawn over a city that once had a name — a name forgotten to me and to time. The sun fills half the sky, burning red and black. Soon, I expect we will plunge into it, Earth and its history engulfed in the flames of a dying star.

We hung on for much longer than you might have expected — a resiliency that surprised even ourselves. They said the rising seas would overwhelm us, and they did rise, but we learned to live behind new coastlines. Manhattan and Miami became underwater relics; it only slightly affected attendance at Hurricanes games. We captured the fish that learned to live in the warm waters between the towers that once held the banks.

Ah, yes - the banks. The financial collapses of the early 21st century should’ve ruined us, too. For a time, they did. Wars raged; borders dissolved and new ones were drawn. Many people suffered; some profited. It took years, and a great deal of bloodshed, but then — a new balance emerged.

Then there was the asteroid. It was the size of Texas, and the scientists said it could cleave the planet in two — but then, people have overestimated Texas before. We discussed our options. Nuclear missiles, a scrappy team of lovable miners, a Superman or Super Men — but in the end, it was pure luck. All the trash we’d put in space for the previous century tipped it a fraction of a degree off course. It crossed so close that the craters on its surface were visible as it streaked across the night sky, but we were spared. They it might not be over so easily - they said that Earth’s gravity could boomerang it around and still crush us again.

But that was years ago, and we could grow old waiting for Texas to come back.

All the things we feared might happen did. The New Madrid fault snapped loose, leveling the Ohio Valley worse than a disinterested Bobby Petrino could. The Yellowstone Caldera burst, covering the skies in ash that brought winter back for a time. California fell into the sea. Ska came back again.

Technology failed us in many ways; the Internet of the 21st century left entire generations deranged, unable to parse truth from fiction, friend from foe, human from algorithm. Few mourned when we were cut off from it. The machines themselves became sentient, and decided that we were just cluttering up their space. We didn’t spark joy for them, and so they let us go. We prepared for the worst; robot feet crunching human skulls on a scarred battlefield. In the end, that never came to pass - they didn’t need our world as long as we stayed out of theirs.

In the end, though, it was a flourishing of technology that allowed us to persist this long; human hibernation was perfected in ways that far exceeded the rudimentary attempts at freezing of previous eras. When people came out of those iceboxes, their personalities never really were the same. (Though I’m told this Disney fellow of yours might’ve always been like that.) Our tech was better, safer, fewer side effects. We learned to use it to survive each season of crisis. If an Ice Age dawned, or a famine seemed imminent, we would burrow away, for a year or a thousand. We would rotate shifts, one in ten thousand awake for a year at a time, monitoring the world outside, waiting, hoping to give the signal that it was safe to return.

That was how we made it this far - millennia into the future, having survived every crisis you could imagine, save for this last one. There’s no outrunning the sun, though. Mercury and Venus have been engulfed; soon we will too, returning to the moment of creation.

As I watch the sun set on humanity here at the end of time, there’s only one thing left to do.

I’m going to watch Alabama and Clemson play tonight.