Chapter 13: ALTERNATIVE ENDING: ONE BILLIONTH
Omicron, and Astra before her, had been the only humans never to have seen Earth. The others that had lived on the colony with her had remembered the home world, and often told of it. They had recalled how the forests had stretched on forever, running into the plains, which ran into the swamps, which ran into the highlands, which ran into the ocean, and how millions upon millions of creatures had roamed every inch of the land. This Earth was a world away from the one that would have been recognizable to humans. Their species would not begin to evolve for another 997 million years, and it would be another 2.6 million years after that before the first true humans arose out of the Great Rift Valley in Africa. This world was barren, empty, lifeless, and devoid of anything but great empty expanses of land, mountain ranges, and tiny forests of mushrooms.
“It really is terribly lonely,” Omicron said. She reached carefully behind Astra to pull out the blast gun from its holster. Jumping back, she shot herself before Astra could react. Falling to her knees, Astra felt herself taking the gun from Omicron’s hands, and putting it to her own head. She felt herself pulling the trigger listlessly, and something within her fought against it, but too late.