Survival of the Fittest
by Simon Okill
The heat sapped every last ounce of my strength as I staggered across the void–the endless waterless void. I shook the canteen to make sure my life was still in my hands. The alien sun bore down on my head now protected by torn clothing–their clothing. Well, they no longer required anything. That is as it should be–survival of the fittest. Best not dwell on such matters. Think positive. It was their fault–the commander and his golden boy the engineer. They should’ve seen it coming. But they blamed me–the flight officer. Why me? I can’t control an unstable wormhole more than the next guy. I kept telling them it was unstable at Earth’s end–we could end up anywhere in the universe and we did. Now they’re both dead. Dead so I may live. That is as it should be–survival of the fittest.
The commander was the first to succumb to the elements. He slipped and cracked his skull. He bled to death right in front of us. Why was the engineer so terrified? Was it the alien environment or did he know he was going to die? Or was it the commander’s death unravelled his mind. Whatever it was he certainly went mad–ran right off the edge of that crater. It must’ve been at least a mile deep. Don’t dwell on such matters, you damned fool. Keep going. Just get to those mountains. There must be water there or something similar in this alien world.
The pale blue sky was streaked with thin wisps of clouds trailing to the horizon, but no water in them. I shook the canteen to make sure my life was in my hands. I took a sip, just enough to wet my cracked lips. That’s when I heard them. The aliens! I ran for cover, but there was no cover. I ran in that life-sucking heat to the top of a ridge and saw them. Them! I collapsed and cried dry tears. It was over.
The search and rescue team picked me up. I was on Earth all along in a place called Death Valley. They found the bodies of the commander and the engineer. They said I murdered them for their water. That is as it should be–survival of the fittest.