A short story about the universe and its end.
THE END OF THE UNIVERSE
The dead whiteness of space was around them. Humans had long since begun to colonize the solar system. And already they were transferring to other star systems and clusters. It was a hellish age of hungry leadership that no one understood. The idea popped into someone's head that the ever-so-famous Helium-3 would be best used to fuel humans in the future. There was so much heated debate. And even whole wars! Such as the Helium Wars in East Africa, the Helium Wars in Europe, the Helium Wars in South America.
Oil and coal had run out. But people had no idea what other source of energy to use to meet their enormous needs. So this was the only option.
A brave expedition was formed, led by the followers of Werner von Braun, who was a famous physicist of the past.
The punishment for disobedience was perverse and brutal - castration and complete removal of the sexual organs. Quite a few had squealed at this - but only brutal annihilation was the appropriate way to deal with the countless human population. The neutered retained their place in society, but they would never again have the chance to become star astronauts.
The consensus was reached. And the Earth Council gave the first order. A full and wide-ranging plan to appropriate Universal goods. An hour sooner!
All well-trained astronauts would be placed under special conditions that would allow them to survive there as long as possible. They had nothing to do with the previous preparation programs. The first daredevils died from too high G in the test capsule, others from malnutrition. Some went mad, torn from their families. Some castrated themselves! Completely insane, they separated their testicles from their body with a barber's knife! They didn't want to take part in the compulsory selection procedures of the conquering pilots again!
The moon had been used in the past to mine Helium-3, but it wasn't exactly industrial, but rather used to repel the invasions of the many aliens that came all the way from some planet near the star Omicron. It was a pulsating star from the constellation kit. It was too far away.
The Omicrons had been defeated. They packed up their hatred and got the hell out of that part of the galaxy. Forever!
But humanity had no idea how to get sufficient quantities of HELIUM-3, as most stellar bodies were too distant to transport it. Yes - building a human colony in the potential deposits was possible, but again, mining it was ungodly expensive!
The whole kerfuffle led to the relocation of a huge portion of the population to other distant planets. "I don't want to be locked up and castrated like a pig! I want to breed!" That was the slogan.
Where science was making brutal mischief, common sense intervened. Deep down I knew I was doing the right thing. I was going to be a conquering aviator. I was going to plant my seed in wombs that came from alien worlds and mine Helium-3 at will, but the bureaucracy was overwhelming. I passed the tests, nearly starving to death during the mandatory fasts to fortify my system and get used to space food - quite different from normal.
I turned my back "Is this inhospitable and hostile place my home?" And I never went back. I was enthusiastic - as, by the way, was any fool in my position! My biceps were inflated, and the testosterone was clearly coming on in spades.
I could feel my scrotum tightening into open space. I wanted to scream. Was I going to be a man anymore? No, I hadn't been castrated! I was free. I was out to infinity!
When the shuttle Aurelius BD 604 picked us up, I knew it was just a prelude to the next step. But there was no way it could be otherwise. There was work to be done. And I set about my duties hard and conscientiously. Somewhere deep inside, I felt an emptiness. And a terrible loneliness.
Attaching to the main transport ship, the Asenaut, was difficult, but by no means impossible. But somewhere deep down I felt even unhooked. I might never have returned. I might never meet the woman of my dreams again. We were lied to there that we would make it. But there was nothing like it. And I knew it. Damn it! I knew it!
The Omicrons' aerial victory was just like a game. They didn't have any fresh additions and they weren't fighting on their turf. This here was different.
For anyone who cares, I would tell them that being a jerk and not knowing anything is fine, but only up to a point. After that you have no excuse. After that you have to survive in real life!
The crew of the ship welcomed me warmly. They were big sweethearts.
The ship's tachyon engines were an impressive achievement of quantum mechanics. We blasted off at full speed for the nearest pulsar in search of new unexplored worlds.