Short: Last Day at the ICA
This is a short story set on 2213 AD, during the fall of the ICA's Tetragon moon base.
"The Phage are finally here aren't they?" Lieutenant Rainer asked, looking at the red-orange glow seeping under the curtains of his hospital room. The water glass by his arm trembled from the rumble of distant explosions.
"We can't stop them," said Doctor Julia, a tall woman wearing a lab coat with an armored vest on over top. "We just lost the last of the heavy tank divisions. My boss says that we've maybe twelve hours left before they break through the trench line. The end won't be long past that point."
Rainer wanted to clench his fist, but the drugs kept him relaxed. He barred his teeth instead. "I hope the morons on Earth are happy. Looks like their stupid war really did manage to bring about the end of days. Is it too late to carve 'I told you so' on this side of the moon with a laser?"
Julia laughed, it was the hollow kind only used by the doomed. She took a shot of whiskey, the last of the bottle, before opening the metal case she'd brought into the room. Rainer eyed her as the doctor began her prep work on a series of military-grade transport syringes.
"What's that for?" Rainer asked. "If you're gonna do me in before the end, I'd prefer it if you left me with a pistol instead."
Her eyes scanned the empty air in front of her, reading the augmented reality display only she could see. "That's the grand finale. And it'll be a machine gun if I can score you one. This..." she paused again, filling one needle from a bottle according to the secretive instructions, "...is liquid hope."
"A berserker drug?" was Rainer's best guess. His broken back wouldn't be a problem if he was on the right juice. Though his lifespan past four or five hours would be.
"Also not out of the question," Julia said, approaching with the first needle. She didn't ask his permission, just grabbed his wrist and stuck a vein. "Congratulations Lieutenant Rainer, you're the most genetically perfect, by which I mean least-flawed, human male I have access to. In a thousand years or so, your clone might be the last human male as well."
He flinched at the monster needle sucking up his blood. "How's that work?"
She put the graphene syringe up, then jabbed him with the next one. "We're launching the Vanguard as soon as all the necessary personnel samples are onboard. I'm going to visit Corporal Sato and Doctor Harvey after I'm done with you."
"I thought we were too low on fuel to launch the Vanguard to Apollyon," Rainer said.
"We were, but we've been gutting it for the last three months while you've been in here," Julia replied. "It's empty except for DNA, a clone stamper, and the materials needed to make a few people."
"A clone stamper?" Rainer asked with a raised eyebrow. "Those are super illegal."
Now the electrodes they'd kept attached to his head all week made sense. They were backing up his mind, recording his skills, knowledge, and languages. He'd wondered why, to what end, since the recordings couldn't be used to transfer his consciousness or anything. No one was getting new skill map cybernetics in these final days either. If they were going to make clones of him though. Well, that made sense.
"It's not illegal when there's no more law," Julia replied, finishing her extraction and locking up the metal case. "It'll land on Apollyon and print out... yous. And a few other choice specimens of humanity we've lucked into having here at ICA."
"So we're all still going to die to the phage then aren't we?" Rainer asked.
Julia paused at the door, weaving slightly with drunkenness. "Yup. But at least we're firing off the factory to make Adams and Eves into to the stars. Mankind won't die at least. Well...maybe."
Rainer let out a sigh. He'd had his hopes for a minute there. "Well, glad I could help. So when are you delivering my machine gun and battle drugs?"
Julia pushed back her messy black hair and winked at him. "After launch. Maybe I'll bring a pair of guns even. One for each of us."
"Well, at least the end of the world's gonna be a party," Rainer said.
Written by Travis Bach. If you'd like to read more of my fiction, please check out travisbach.net