1 days. 24 hours. 86,400 little seconds.
John had not moved from the co-pilots chair since taking second watch, the dim lights of the cockpit casting reflections in the forward viewport as he watched the Universe rush by. He could hear the engines, still straining against the laws of physics, the deep thrum of the inertial dampeners the only thing stopping his corpse from being spread across a trillion miles of empty space.
James sat beside him, the enclosed space forcing their suits to knock occasionally. He still had his harness buckled, hadn’t even thought to release it after their own release.
The Aurora. A beautiful name for such an ugly vessel. A cockpit strapped to the most powerful engine ever developed.
“Flight log, this is Lieutenant John Evans, co-pilot of the inaugural voyage of the U.N.S. Aurora. Mission time is tee plus 1 day exactly, current speed is point eighteen 9s c. Velocity is still increasing, inertial dampeners are currently at 157% operating efficiency.”
He sighed, rubbed the bridge of his nose, stroked the stubble that was starting to grow.
“Given status of engines and power plant, estimate we’ll lose structural integrity before we exhaust fuel supplies. But that doesn’t matter. None of this matters.”
The M9 was reliable, not like the ship. John had inherited it from his father, in the days when airmen carried such devices. Now it was the most important mechanical device aboard.
“Commander Adams is in control of the craft, he hasn’t requested I take over after his second watch so I’m happy to leave him in charge. Sure it’ll please his ego.”
In the decade before the turn of the millennium, Sergei Avdeyev had held the record for the most time dilation experienced by a human being. He travelled at an average of 27,000 km/h for over two years, and in that time he experienced 0.02 seconds less than a man who had being on the ground.
Travelling at a few decimal points just below c, the absolute speed of light, the Aurora had experienced a total time dilation of almost two and a half thousand years already.
Everyone they knew, their entire culture, even civilisation itself, were over before they had even got hungry enough to open the MREs.
Placing the muzzle of the pistol against the roof of his mouth, John took one last look about the cockpit. All their marvels and ingenuity had condemned them to be the last men alive in all the heavens. And as he pulled the trigger, felt the moment before the hammer struck the primer, he saw the tiny trail of blood from James’ head.
Of all the micrometeroids in all the galaxies, James’ head had flown straight through one. He had beaten John to the end of the Universe.
Prompt originally posted by Griffinist on reddit and received 2 upvotes.