Ascension: Death of a Colony

She was dead before morning. They sealed her cooling body in the cabin, flooded with preserving nitrogen according to protocol, and then notified the Synod.

Quarantine orders were issued too late: the disease spread rapidly, killing all. Shut in her hab, Vana watched each of her children flare with fever and burn away while she remained untouched. At last only Cera remained, clinging to life.

“Never forget,” he said, “they have done this to us.

Then he also was gone, and she was alone.

Unthinkingly, she broke the quarantine seal and left the hab, walking blindly down empty corridors, sensing death behind each closed bulkhead. She found the med centre: diagnostic machinery showing null traces, bodies automatically cryopacked for disposal. Searching for anyone living, she entered a side chamber and found naked, emaciated bodies stacked like firewood. Sightless eyes and hairless, surgically-scarred scalps, each with their barcode: noncons.

Disposable she thought, feeling suddenly, terribly afraid.

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