HASHIBA/PERSONAL LOG

Once upon a few months ago, I would have dated this entry. However, I'm having difficulty remembering the exact day, and frankly I don't care enough to ask someone for the actual date. As I have not for the past month or so of entries. It's May. Sufficient enough.

Sometimes I wake up with the feeling – no – the certainty that the date won't matter. No one on Earth will read this. Therefore, it seems quite unnecessary. I understand where Sage is coming from with this exercise. The daily routine, key word routine (he loves that word), the ritual of writing personal thoughts in a journal to inject a certain sense of normalcy and mental unloading to help ease the passage of time on this ship.

Doesn't matter. I'm still caught in the crosshairs of boredom and a madness borne from the heavy load we carry, literally and figuratively. I believe our minds are slowly deteriorating in here and we don't even realize it. Or my mind, at least. Not just from the claustrophobic atmosphere - narrow hallways, narrow beds in small, compartmentalized rooms, the ever pressing weight of empty space all around us, emptiness and nothing more for millions of miles.

I like to point that out to Kento sometimes and watch him pale like someone scribbled on his face with chalk. Mean-spirited? Yes. Amusing? Absolutely. This is what he gets for poking fun, relentlessly, at my leaner physique for the better part of a year. I think he still fails to realize that I have nothing but time to come up with ways to get back at him for his juvenile attempts at razzing me.

I am a genius, after all.

But I digress.

Our mental deterioration - not just from claustrophobia. Familiarity. Sharing the same enclosed environment with seven other people for sixteen months, essentially marooned on a deserted island made of plated gold, cold metal, and steel piping. Fortunately, our resident shrink has worked hard to keep us from going completely insane, but I don't think Sage realizes by doing so, he's directing all the frustration and edginess of everyone on board onto himself. Or maybe that's just me. If he does, he doesn't care. I have a hard time figuring out what he does care about, other than the mission and the sun. And the engine room.

Hmm.

He's also sporting quite the golden tan these days from staring at the sun so much, when he's not psych evaluating us. Honestly, with all the time Sage spends checking on our mental states, who's checking up on him?

So.

Mission.

I suppose this is the quintessence of what he really wanted us to write about. The real fat white elephant everyone's carefully tiptoeing around so as not to disturb any fragile psyches over the nature and ultimate magnitude of our mission. He insists writing about it will help.

Bullshit. We both know the truth. I'm sure venting on paper will relieve some of the pressure for a little while, ease the constant gnawing ache in the pit of my stomach that's been growing as we get closer. Only relief for a moment, in an endless stream of them; I can't shut my mind off any more than anyone else here. One hour of reprieve from the reality of our situation seems trivial compared to the countless hours in this confined space.

There's this grassy knoll (addendum: was a grassy knoll, before Solar Winter. Now it's buried under mounds of snow. Summer hasn't come to Japan in sixteen years. I've looked at the stars, and one in particular, from inside observatories and universities around the world since then) a few miles from my apartment back home (I write 'home' as if I'm on another continent instead of almost two planets away) large and far enough from the oppressive lights of the city where I used to set up my telescope and look at the stars and identify the constellations. Perhaps see Mars or Jupiter, if the timing was right. It never failed to remind me how insignificant our little planet really is, how vastly gargantuan the universe around us is. How small I am compared to the celestial entities I have been mesmerized by nearly all my life.

I have always been fascinated with outer space. It's a vast, quiet, cold beauty. Capable of creating endless prisms of color with its gasses, planetary bodies, stars, and galaxies we will never be able to replicate on earth, not to do it justice. What we know of the universe could barely fill a thimble. Nothing brought that particular point home more than the happenstance which brought us to this ship.

As a teenager, I would have told you I'd love this. Being in space. The sheer wonder of it. The culmination of all my hopes and dreams.

But not like this.

I feel cheated. Here is your life's greatest aspiration, everything you have ever wanted, but here is the price: Your life. And the lives of people you love.

Even knowing this particular occurrence was through no human error or fault, I'm still pissed.

We, as the human race, have thoroughly adapted an instant gratification mentality, incapable as a whole of looking forward and planning ahead for pesky things like the eventual depletion of our natural resources, burning every last drop of our fossil fuels, substituting our finite resources for less harmful, technological advancements. It has always fallen back on whatever works today and we'll worry about the consequences tomorrow. I put myself in that category, as well. We're a wasteful, selfish species, and it's hard not to feel as if we've somehow brought this upon ourselves.

Everything we have; every shred of what fissile resources were left that we could spare and not kill the planet in the process, is strapped on this ship with us.

And there is a small chance it might not be enough to save us. No one knows that better than me.

I'm responsible for it, after all.

No one saw this coming. As brilliant as everyone considers me to be, I would have laughed in your face had you told me this. Theoretically –

No. Not theoretical. Fact. Factual. This was not supposed to happen for close to five billion years. Give or take a few million, whatever, but it wouldn't affect anyone for a damn long while, and the only creatures I reckon would be there to witness it would be the cockroaches. I would assume in five billion years, we would either be extinct or we would have moved on to other planets to continue the song and dance of sucking up its natural resources after drying this one up.

I never anticipated the 'extinct' part so close within our grasp, so soon. Even now, I catch myself wondering at the very idea of it. This happens in other galaxies, millions of light years away, something to study, learn from, marvel at. A dying star.

Our star is dying.

Our sole infinite resource is fading. The sun is, thank you, Elton John, going down on me. On us.

Not in the conventional way, of course. An ancient particle – Big Bang ancient - that the greatest minds on Earth only ever theorized existed found its way to our star and drifted in. Disrupted its ability to convert hydrogen into helium (no matter how many times I write this, it still staggers me). That particle nestled inside the sun for sixteen years, eating away at the star's insides.

Like a cancer.

But there are treatments for cancer. And therein lays the hope.

We are the hope.

The eight of us on this flight. Of the four billion people left on the planet, eight of us were handpicked to deliver this precious package. The most important pay load in the history of mankind.

A bomb I helped create. One that is, theoretically, supposed to blow the particle out of the sun and help it function again

We were entrusted with its delivery, and now the fate of those four billion people rides on the success of this mission. If we fail, everyone dies.

Failure is not an option.

Rowen H.

May (?) 2057