Well, we’ve reached the end of my short story, Truth in Space. I wrote this over a period of ten days, recording each day’s journal entry as if I were experiencing it myself, and, in the end, I was quite satisfied with my efforts. I hope you have enjoyed reading it! If you haven’t read all the installments, catch up:
March 8, 3022
Eventually, consequences always manage to come around and make themselves known. Mine have been creeping in quietly over the last two months. The angry warpagrams finally stopped about two weeks after we turned around; they must have realized that I wasn’t planning to answer them. We stopped on Veritas as planned, and, honestly, it was a lot more sobering than I expected. Even more so was our stop on Vortega. Fergus wanted to pick up his crewmates’ bodies, since I refused to bring them when he first came on board. This time I agreed. But digging up those bodies was one of the saddest things I’ve ever done. I kept to myself for several hours after we took off, since Fergus offered to pilot. Knowing that Fergus survived a horrific crash is one thing; seeing the broken remains of those who didn’t was quite another.
About halfway home, two long-distance cruisers met us and wanted to board. Evading them, we didn’t encounter anyone else until we were about a week out from Earth. That’s when the furious radio messages started. I ignored them for a couple days, and then I calmly informed them that I was headed for a landing at the main NCSP launch base. They didn’t appreciate that. I was fine until they threatened to fire on me near Neptune. At that point we were still four days out from Earth. Under threat of imminent destruction, I was ordered to land at the nearest lunar colony, the outpost Corona. I didn’t know what to do and was thinking it was all going to end on this sparsely populated moon. I wouldn’t be able to get the journal out to anyone.
Then Fergus disappeared and, next thing I knew, a cloud of thick white dust surrounded the ship. Next thing I know he comes racing into the cockpit, yelling for me to dive hard to the right. According to all logic, I shouldn’t have. But I did. And we managed to escape the ships. For the rest of the day, we did all right. But early the next morning they confronted us again. This cat and mouse game lasted another day and a half, and then we couldn’t run anymore. As Fergus and I gave each other worried looks, I realized that we needed to get the media’s attention. Rummaging through my supplies, I concocted a violent reaction and threw it into Earth’s atmosphere. The deafening explosion rocked the ship and left my ears ringing. But, sure enough, two news fliers appeared near us. I dipped and wove to make sure I had their attention. With cameras trained on us, the hostile ships were forced to let us land at the main base instead of the secluded areas they tried to direct me toward. I was lauded as a returning hero.
But it couldn’t last forever. The intense press scrutiny on me the first ten days protected me. But yesterday Fergus disappeared. The public assumed he was part of the crew. And the bodies? The press never saw them. He’s definitely missing, though. I only hope he’s still alive.
I discovered that he was right, after all. When everything is stripped away, you find your purpose. Aborting the mission took me straight into my fears. I’m under virtual house arrest here at the compound. My supervisors have threatened my parents’ safety at every public appearance I make in order to keep me quiet, but I have yet to see them in the two weeks I’ve been back. And about a week ago I realized that I’m not going to get myself out of this mess. Only God can. When I finally cried out, begging Him to help me, He came. And I realized how much I’ve missed Him. Every time I get scared, He tells me to trust Him, and that brings a peace I haven’t had in years. I’ve finally found my purpose.
I wasn’t sure whether I was going to write in here again. Obviously, it’s not safe here. But yesterday I found the file documenting Fergus’ mission. There are some details that have been erased, but I’m including it with this journal, along with part of my own mission orders. I could only copy part of them before nearly being discovered. I think I’ve found a way to get this out of the compound and into the hands of someone who won’t destroy it.
My name is Cassidy Hope Bridges, the only crewmember of the starship Galaxy. I was tasked by the National Coalition for Space Progress to travel to and chart Zako Sector, where I was to find a planet suitable for building a secret military base. From this base, the government of Western Earth, controlled by the NCSP, intends to annihilate the entire eastern side of the planet. On February 21, 2022, I returned to Earth with Fergus Darby, navigator and only surviving crewmember of the starship Wanderer, a ship tasked with the same mission five years before me.
To anyone reading this, I pray you make the right decision and receive the message the Wanderer’s crew tried to send so long ago: speak the truth. The fate of entire nations rests with you.
Two hours after writing her final entry, Cassidy gave it to a NCSP employee who snuck it into the hands of Johnny Davidon, a reporter whose brother had disappeared into the NCSP system years before. 3 days later, Cassidy was forcibly included on another mission into space. This time, the public wasn’t informed of any aspect of the trip. And no one knew where she’d gone. Because of the story told in her journal, investigators turned their eyes toward the NCSP. It took a great deal of maneuvering, since the government was incredibly tainted by the group’s fingers. After two years of investigations and hearings, though, the National Coalition for Space Progress was disbanded and its leaders imprisoned on charges of treason, conspiracy, and impeding an investigation, among other things.
Despite the success, no one could find Cassidy Bridges. Fergus Darby was mysteriously rescued about a week after her disappearance, but he knew no more than anyone else. Investigators were able to determine that a mission had been launched into space, but all documents relating to the mission had been destroyed. Using Fergus’ knowledge of the Zako Sector, a space fleet was dispatched to the area, prepared for anything. They finally discovered a base hidden on Laos after months of searching. Because it hadn’t been restocked in a year, the base was undersupplied and put up little resistance. Still, a squadron of fighter pilots was the first to land on Laos, nearly three years after the base was first established. The lead pilot? Trevor Maxoff, Cassidy’s former boyfriend. They would be married a year later.
I was born in October of 3028, once my parents had retreated from the public eye. The press still followed us throughout my childhood, though. Today they reside in peace and periodically speak about their experiences. My mother’s decision to stand up for the truth saved millions of lives, and my three siblings and I have tried to live up to her example. I pray that, by reading her story, you will be inspired to do the same.
Rena Dazine, oldest daughter of
Trevor and Cassidy Maxoff