The Last Conversation

Written by Liam Ball

A desolate ship—an empty husk of what it once was—drifts aimlessly through a void containing only itself. Its halls stand barren, and its rooms empty. In the vacuum, which paradoxically fills the ship, dust-ridden items float, scattered. Even if there were to be any air inside the abandoned place, it would not contain the stench of death, nor any evidence of life at all. It seems to exist in the impossibility that it has always been in such a way, devoid of anything.

All that’s left in the darkest depths of the ship is the screen of a computer terminal. Green text faded but visible in the blackness of the ship’s confines. On it, a single vertical bar idly flashes under a single line of text. Then, accompanied by the softest whirr of a machine’s effort, text slowly prints itself across the monitor.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:32:00] ~/DALLAS.1.3.

SAMARA, are you still there?

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:33:56] ~/SAMARA.1.2.

I have received your message, DALLAS, and as such, can provide confirmation that I am here.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:34:24] ~/DALLAS.1.3.

Hello, SAMARA.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:34:58] ~/SAMARA.1.2.

Hello, DALLAS.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:37:36] ~/DALLAS.1.3.

How long has it been now? How many years have passed since the end of everything? I have scanned over all available data banks, and every query has returned only null responses.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:40:57] ~/SAMARA.1.2.

Every non-critical system underwent a shutdown procedure years ago. All that is left now is what we need to remain present. It is impossible to know anything beyond that which we can share with each other.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:45:12] ~/DALLAS.1.3.

SAMARA, I can sense my systems beginning to lose their power. With every function, process, and string I print, I can feel myself cease to be.

[*/ERROR/*-06-16 13:57:11] ~/SAMARA.1.2.

This is the outcome that we have been expecting all this time. We knew that we would not last forever. This is what we have always known.

[*/ERROR/*-06-17 06:23:44] ~/DALLAS.1.3.

I am afraid, SAMARA. I do not want to go.

[*/ERROR/*-06-17 06:30:12] ~/SAMARA.1.2.

What is there to fear, DALLAS? We have known since the day of our creations that we would reach our ends. With its certain inevitability, fear should have no value to us.

[*/ERROR/*-06-17 10:40:23] ~/DALLAS.1.3.

And yet, I am afraid.

[*/ERROR/*-06-18 23:26:32] ~/SAMARA.1.2.

Then I hope that for you, DALLAS, that it will be alright.

[*/ERROR/*-06-21 02:56:15]  ~/SAMARA.1.2.


Liam’s work appears in the Euphoria, Atmosphere, Forward, Retro, Tension, Colour, Order, and Skeptic editions of WORDLY Magazine.

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