Chapter 1

The world ended on October 16th, 2020. At 11pm. Amen.

Some people called it Rapture Day or even the 2nd coming. Some people called it an extinction level event. Some people called it a declaration of war from unidentified aggressors. There were a lot of things people called it but the official term was the Upsetting Universal Solvent. It sounded stupid and too technical. It sounded complicated, but it wasn't. No. The world was ending. Done. It was upsetting. I called it the Upsetting. That's what mom called it, even though Daddy didn't like when she talked about it. That's what my neighbor Johnny Torrance called it too. Johnny is about to die. Mom is about to die to.

Daddy's already dead.

He killed himself a month before the government came for me.

Done. Amen.

"Are you going to watch?" a girl asks me, "Are you going to come watch the Upsetting?"

She has a tight ponytail and a brave face. She's much braver than I am probably. I don't know who she is but she was drafted with me. She must be 25, almost around my age. Her voice doesn't even shake as she is asking me this. Would you like to see the Upsetting? Would you like to watch the end of the world?"

"No. I'm good."

"You scared? Nothing's going to happen."

"I said I'm good."

"Suit yourself."

She leaves.

I know where she is going. She walks past me to an elevator with the big letters UCE on them. The UCE was the United Countries of Earth. The government didn't tell us much about why we were leaving Earth or why. They kept telling us this was just a 'preventative' measure. Just in case. I knew better. Daddy knew better. That's why he killed himself. The moment I found Daddy's body I knew October 16th was going to mean something serious.

The girl is a Doubter. There are a lot of those left. She's going to the observation deck. The elevator goes up to that floor. My knees get weak. From where we are in this space station I feel the rumblings. We all knew it was going to happen. Some believed and some doubted but no one was in the dark. We all knew the world would be destroyed. It wasn't a surprise but still to see it happening. To know that it was happening now makes me sick. I run into my bathroom. I'm throwing up. I hadn't even eaten today so it is all water. Nothing else. It's OK, though. It makes me feel better.

The space station rumbles.

I panic.

I have to watch. Even though I don't want to. I go to the elevator. I pass the UCE sign. I press the button under the big letters to call the elevator. It stopped working. The lights are flickering too. The Upsetting has begun. I can't make it to the observation deck.

Then I realize. There is a small window area on this floor of the UCE space station. It's floor length. I make my way to it.

I get to the window. Just in time. The core of the planet explodes sending rumbles through the universe. For a moment the calmness of space is shaken. The world that we knew explodes right in front of my face. Beautiful red sparks fly everywhere. Boom, Boom. Fuck What is the boom? Sound doesn't move through space. Maybe that's not the Upsetting. Maybe that is my heart. Boom, boom.

I might as well have been on Earth.

My ligaments collapse.

My bones shake.

I fall to the ground. I fall to my knees. I try to keep it quiet. Boom boom. The world is ending. I turn to my right and see this boy standing there. For a minute I think he's a fucking angel or something.

He's 6'3" tall with brown eyes, brown skin and his hair is white. A lot of people's hair started going white about a year ago. No one knows why exactly. Or at least no one I talked to. He's handsome. His eyes were the shape of almonds. I'd never see an almond again. I'd never smell cinnamon again, but he smells like that too. He smells like cinnamon and John Varvatos cologne. The one in the black bottle with the earthy tones. He has big lips. Soft looking lips that shimmer and look like he was addicted to Carmex. They look like plush pillows. When I look over at him he bends down. He has tears in his eyes. I wish I could cry right now. The tears haven't even come yet. I just feel weak.

"You OK man?" he asks, "I noticed you fall from my room."

From his room.

"You didn't want to watch?" I ask him.

"No. I wanted to remember the Earth before the Upsetters came. Before they told us that they would destroy us."

"So why are you out here?"

He can see from the window. He can see the massive explosion in the distance. The Earth has been destroyed.

"I saw you from my room. You looked like you needed me."

"I don't even know you."

He smiles. He has a real handsome smile. His big lips fold over and his teeth are shining even brighter than the Carmex on his lips. He's smiles through the tears streaming down his face at that moment. It's sad. It's tragic. Everything today is so fucking tragic. I don't even know how I'm talking right now.

"Right now, at this moment, it doesn't matter. We are all that we have left. Everything else is gone. Everything is gone. It's just us. Right now you aren't a stranger. Right now you're my brother. You're my best friend. You're my lover. You're everything to me. You're everything that I have left."

I don't get it. He's serious when he tells me this, though. He even holds my hand. What's weird though is that I feel comforted. I am not on the observation deck like all the other survivors. Neither is this man. I'm sure there were others who locked themselves in their rooms too scared to come out. We were the believers. The people who doubted the Earth would blow up were on the observation deck hoping the Upsetting Universal Solvent was the biggest hoax in history. It wasn't. They had learned. They were now forced to believe.

"I can't take this," I state.

I always knew it was real. I always knew October 16th at 11pm the world would end. I always wished I was wrong. I wasn't.



"I got some alcohol in my room. I brought it in my personal bag. Come on. It may be the last bit of alcohol in the world. I want to share it with someone."

I go to his room. We drink in silence. His room is big. He must be of a higher rank. I didn't know much about ranks or anything like that. I was drafted like a bunch of others. It was supposed to be a precaution. Just in case. Now I have to remember all the things the government had told me. They hadn't told me a lot. They told me I was a private. That was my rank. He must not be a private. Whoever this guy is. He looks younger than me but I don't know. Truthfully I don't care right now. I am just thankful this stranger came to get me when he did. And the alcohol helps. It really does. Even though we aren't talking much it helps. Even though we are sitting in this room remembering all the people we lost back on Earth, I don't feel so alone. This stranger is next to me. This boy who I don't know. And right now he feels so familiar. He's a little piece of home. He's the boy you had a crush on when you were young. He is the stranger you met on a bus. He's the guy who pings you on Jack'd that you were always too shy to hit up first but go on his page every day hoping he'd notice you. He reminds me of home.

"It's all gone," I state.

It's the first words we've said to each other since I came into his room. I can see his personal bag from here. When we left the earth, all the survivors who were drafted were given one bag. It was a duffel bag. We could pack anything we wanted in the bag. Anything at all, but it had to fit in that bag. They said it was just a precaution. I didn't want to leave but the government told me this was war. Mom told me I had to go. She said even Ali got sent to jail for not being compliant to a draft. Mom helped me pack my bag. Daddy was still alive then and I think she was always a doubter. Some people brought pieces of home. Pictures, emotional shit. Others brought guns, survival tutorials. Some people brought bibles. Some people brought alcohol.

The stranger's bag seems like a mix of all of those things.

"Kiss me," he says.

There would be a time where I would jump at the chance. He has a tight shirt on. He has a nice body. His nipples are protruding out of his shirt. His jeans have a small bulge in them. Thick, healthy, strong meat is imprinted on his jeans. Tears are still rolling down his eyes but regardless of how devastated he is I can tell he is handsome. He's the most handsome boy that has ever asked me to kiss him, even though he has way too much Carmex on.

"You're drunk," I state.

"And you're beautiful. So kiss me."

"How'd you know I was gay?" I ask him.

"Does it matter?" he asks, "It's the end of the fucking world. There's only about a thousand people left in the universe. And I'm upset. I'm so fucking upset. And I don't want to be this upset. So kiss me. Right now. Right here."

I do it. I don't hesitate. I push my lips up against his face. He's crying still but I don't care. He kisses me back. His mouth tastes good. I enjoy his tongue as it enters my mouth. He must have packed a ton of toothpaste in his personal bag or found the supply on the UCE space station because he tastes so good. He stands up with me. He grips me by the ass. He pulls me in. His tongue goes in my mouth. Yes. Make me forget. Stranger. Take my mind off the pain. I grab on his ass. He squeezes my ass tighter in return.

Somehow my pants come off. Somehow my shirt comes off. Somehow my underwear is off too. Before I know it his head is buried in my ass and he's tasting me, lashing at my asshole with his tongue. He seems confused on whether to go slow and treasure this moment or go fast to express his emotion.

"Do you want it?" he asks me.

"I'm not a bottom," I tell him.

"I'll let you do me after if you let me go first. I really need this," He tells me.

"Ok fine. You have a condom?"

"No. Raw."

"I don't know you."

"It doesn't matter. Nothing matters anymore."

"Raw though?" I ask before thinking about it. We were blood tested before we were drafted. They had to make sure we were healthy. Just as a precaution. They never explained why. They never explained anything but I do remember I passed their tests. This stranger had to pass their tests as well. He was right. Nothing matters. I bend over, "OK. Raw. I want to feel it. I want it to hurt."

Even if he hadn't passed would it matter? No. He was right. Nothing matters. I bend over, "OK. Raw. I want to feel it. I want it to hurt."

"I'll make it hurt," he promises me, "I'll take your mind off of things."

He's stopped crying. Sure enough, the idea of entering a warm ass seems to make things better even if just for a minute. We lose ourselves in one another when he enters me. I forget the world just ended. I forget about everything that I lost. I forget about everyone I lost in that moment when he enters me. Right now we are just two boys who are attracted to each other. Normally we would have spent some time getting to know each other. We would have maybe asked each other's zodiac signs. We would have gone to Dave and Busters. He would have squinted at me seductively across from boneless chicken strips and blue cheese. We might have gotten tested together. Maybe he would have asked me to be his boyfriend and maybe I would play hard to get. That wasn't what was happening. Not here. Not now.

Now we fucked. We fucked until nothing mattered.

He drills into my ass over and over. He chokes me from behind.

"I love you," I tell him.

"I love you too."

He doesn't hesitate with his reply. We are drunk. We don't mean it. At least that's what I'm thinking at the time. It just feels like we needed love at that moment. We needed it even if it wasn't real. He is pounding me relentlessly. His dick is big. It's so big. I hadn't even gotten the time to look at it, but it feels huge.

He nuts in me but stays hard. For a second I think that he won't deliver on his promise to let me fuck him after but sure enough, he pulls out, still dripping and then he turns over. His ass is cute. It's more of a firm ass than it is big, but it looks sexy none-the-less. My dick gets hard immediately when I see it.

"You sure?" I ask him.

"I've never gotten fucked before. But if it helps you right now...I want you to do it."


We fuck several more times. By the time we are done there is an announcement on the loudspeakers.

"This is Admiral Lincoln of the UCE Pioneer."

I didn't know who Lincoln was but Pioneer was a name I'd heard before. That was the name of this Space Station. The Pioneer looked like an orbital dry dock. We weren't allowed to walk through the Pioneer but I had seen glimpses of it on arrival. There is a huge spinning wheel on the outside. That is as much as I saw of my new home. I had hoped it was temporary, but now it's clear that isn't quite the case.

"As you all know the Earth has just been destroyed by the aliens known as the Upsetters. We are currently navigating away from Earth in an attempt to evade the Upsetters. We are the lucky ones. And we will survive. We will survive for everyone that we lost today. Let's have a moment of silence for the ones we lost. Thank you."

I'm in his bed. He's holding me. This stranger. This man who somehow saved me from my misery. We hold each other and the whole time I am thinking how weird this is but also how OK I am with the fact that it is weird.

"Where are we going?" I ask.


"That Captain guy said we are evading the aliens. Where will we go? How long can we just float out in space without a planet?"

The government isn't sharing that information.

"They don't want us asking too many questions," he tells me in a weird evasive way.

"Who's they?"

"The government. Information is classified nowadays..."

"Can I have your name?" I ask him.

He looks over at me. His doesn't expect me to be having a conversation. It's been hours now and we haven't really talked about anything personal. Back on Earth if I had a hook up I would have left hours ago. We were past the awkward stage. We were past the stage where we realize we are perfect strangers. The thing about that though is we weren't back on Earth. We were on a space station flying away from Earth. Just a handful of survivors. That's all that was left.

"Does it matter?" he asks me.

He doesn't let me go even though he seems annoyed at the question. His voice is deep and it sounds like he has a New York accent. I always thought New York accents on guys were really sexy. It's really sexy actually.

"It does. I don't want to feel like a hoe. If I have sex with a guy I want to at least know his name," I explain to him.

"Chad. What's yours?"


"That's different," he responds, "Selah like the bible?"

"What you talking about?" I ask.

"Selah is in the bible. It appears dozens of times."

"Oh I never read that thing," I respond.

He stares at me hard for a minute, "That thing?"

"Sorry, did I offend you?" I ask, "I'm just not really religious. I'm assuming that you are religious?"

He seems to know it's coming because he answers me quickly quoting the bible, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah."

He quotes the bible so fluently as though it's the simplest thing in the world.

"I have no idea what it means."

"You have no idea what your own name means?" he asks laughing.

"Thought it was just a name."

"No. It has a meaning."

"What's the meaning?"

"It means stop and think about what was just said. Selah. It means to pause and reflect. It is honestly used in the Old testament twice as much as Amen and three times as often as Hallelujah. Whoever gave you that name must have thought you would be very special."

My great-grandmother had picked the name. She was 80 when I was born. My mother told me the story. I had popped out of her pussy and she said Selah. It was the same day she had died. She was the lucky one. She hadn't been blown up by alien invaders.

I get up. My thoughts are changing. I'm thinking about my family.

"I have to go."

He grabs me by my wrist, "You don't have to go anywhere. What are you talking about?"

"It was nice. But it's back to reality. And the reality is that a year ago an alien race descended on the Earth and let us know that they would destroy us. They didn't give a reason. They didn't give an explanation. They just gave a warning. And in 365 days they kept their promise."

That is the reality. We could lock ourselves in a room and pretend like we were something we weren't all day. It wouldn't change the fact of what happened today.

The world ended today.

I get my clothes and start walking towards the door.



Chad looks me up and down, smiles and then says, "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

"Man what the fuck is that supposed to mean?" I ask him.

"Selah: It means to Stop and Think."


I head back to my room. The Pioneer space station is huge, but luckily I'm good at directions even though I haven't seen much of it. There isn't a lot of time to really be excited about your surroundings when the world was ending. For the first time I take a real look at my room. It's my new home. My new home is 17 feet by 11 feet. It's smaller than most college dorms. It reminds me of a college dorm too. The bed is tiny. There is only one shower per floor. Everything is a motherfucking drip sink. This is my new world.

Welcome home Selah.

I head to sleep. I try not to dream but it doesn't matter. The nightmares come anyway...



I'm annoyed as fuck. That name again. Lincoln. His message is translated into several different languages.

I tossed and turned all night thinking about the explosion. The bells ring over and over again. I head out to the hallway and see a storm of kids heading towards the one bathroom on my floor. It is a waste of time trying to take a shower first thing in the morning. Everyone else was thinking the same thing.

"You headed to the mess hall? You are in my squad..."

It's the girl with the ponytail. The friendly looking girl. She gives me a smile. She has a blonde ponytail and her cheeks are the color of pomegranates. I wouldn't say she was pretty but I wouldn't say she was ugly either. She just looks a little awkward to say the least. "How do you know?"

"I'm the Squad coordinator. It's my job to know."

"What the fuck is a mess hall?" I ask.

She smiles, "Man you never seen an army movie? It's where we are going to eat."

"No... I don't like military movies."

"Well you should have. You are part of the United Earth Army now. C`mon. I'll show you the way," she says, "My name is Anne."

Anne is a country girl from down south. She seems like one of those girls who doesn't curse or anything like that. I feel like a fucking sailor around her. I can't help it. I try not to curse so much, though. Mom thought I was too cute to talk in the way that I did. She said that I would make some woman a fine husband someday. Grandma always knew I was gay, though. She would always correct my mother and say I would make ANYONE a fine husband, whether I cursed or not. Grandma always took my side.

My name is Selah Powell. I'm 26. Too old to be dependent on my parents. Too young to never see them again.

"There's a lot of us," I state.

"It's separated by countries. The Japanese survivors are over there. The Chinese survivors are over there. Then you see Russia, Mexico, Canada and the UK there. United States is right in the middle."

"Of course we are."

As we walk through the aisles I notice how things are separated.

She laughs, "Right now it doesn't matter. We are one army."

"None of us look like soldiers yet. Everyone looks miserable."

I look around. Tears. Everyone was crying. No one was even trying to hide it. You would think we were at a funeral instead of some 'mess hall'. The wailing is almost haunting to say the least. Everyone is sad about the fact that the Earth was destroyed. Everyone should have a reason to be. The world has ended. As Chad would say. The world has ended, Selah.

"No... not yet. We will be soldiers soon. Every squad gets a ship. It'll be fun. You'll see. Everything will be OK. I'm telling you. Look, there is our squad table."

I'm confused on why she seems to know everything. Then I remember. There was an orientation. An orientation I had missed on purpose because I was so scared. Maybe that's when Anne found out that she was the Squad coordinator. I don't even know what that means. A part of me doesn't care. It's hard to care about anything right now honestly. As we arrive at the Squad's table she seems to know everyone sitting there as well.

"Who is this, Anne?" someone says, "He's hot..."

It's a guy. He looks Asian but he's most definitely American. He's kind of cute. I have to admit. He has on a sleeveless shirt and has these defined muscles. He has long straight hair that falls to his shoulders and looks really pretty although he himself is very masculine looking. He looks like he is about 6'2" but I can tell the baby face from anywhere. The way he looks at me tells me that he's definitely interested in me in some sort of way.

"Um...thanks," I state.

"What's your name?" he asks, licking his lips.

"I'm Selah. Selah Powell. And I'm kind of hungry I should probably go get something to eat or..."

"You can have mine," Katashi says passing me his plate, "I didn't touch it."

I look down at the plate. To say it doesn't look appetizing isn't really quite the word. The shit looks horrible. I push the plate away.

"I realize why you didn't touch it," I say.

"Supposedly no one thought that the aliens were telling the truth when they said that they would blow up the Earth. So even though we were launched in space as a precaution no one really took it serious. Hence the food sucks," Anne states.

"You know a lot don't you?" I ask Anne.

"That girl's a walking Encyclopedia," a tall black guy at the table says.

The Asian boy with the pretty hair and defined features sits down beside me. He smiles flirtatiously before saying, "We all have our talents..."

"Katashi he's not interested in you," a girl says, "He's clearly straight. And he's clearly looking my way..."

The girl is pretty as well. I mean she is definitely prettier than Anne. She has big tits and looks like she belongs more on the cover of Maxim instead of here. Right next to the girl with the big tits is a young kid, a bulky boy, a tall black guy with a mean looking face and lastly a handsome white boy with blond hair that looks like the boys-next-door. We were all sitting at this table and I want to assume that this was the squad.

"You got a lot of fans," Anne states at that moment, "Mr. Popular."

The girl with the big tits smiles at me, "I'm Cassie. So me and Katashi are wondering. Are you straight or gay?"

I notice her and Katashi at that moment. They'd been whispering for a few seconds sending signals back and forth.


"Ay!" Katashi says.

He is celebrating something. I'm not quite sure what. Katashi was attractive but he wasn't really my type. He just seemed so...young and a little immature. The guy I end up with wasn't going to be fist pumping because he found out I was gay. That just wasn't going to happen.

"Damn. You too FINE to be gay," Cassie says.

I've heard it before. How fine I was. I was always good looking. I'll give it that. My hair was short and always trimmed up, at least back on Earth it was. I had the perfect goatee and straight white teeth. My head a little big but no one seemed to mind. I'd always gotten attention. People walked around and called me a pretty boy for kicks. I guess I was kind of a pretty boy but I was far from being a punk. I just really really enjoyed taking care of my looks.

"I don't get why they would save gay people. There are 1000 people left in the world and it looks like we are surrounded by gays," the tall black guy says.

He seems negative. Really negative. I'm immediately annoyed.

"Something wrong with being gay?" I ask him.

"I just think it's a waste," he responds, "We have to procreate."

"Gay people can bust a nut too," I respond, "Please believe that you aren't that special."

Immediately I know I don't like the guy.

"I'll have your baby," Cassie tells me.

A few people at the table laugh. Even negative ass tall guy smiles.

"I think that's the first time someone has laughed since the Upsetting," someone says. I turn and notice it's the white boy with the boy next door charm that looks like some type of Ken Doll.

He's right. Him pointing that out seems to bring attention to the fact that we are here laughing and all around us people are still upset. The other Americans are all silent. The UK survivors have abandoned their food and seemed to be holding some sort of memorial for all the people who were deceased.

"Who gives a fuck?" someone says.

We all see someone walk over. He is covered in tattoos and honestly he is sexy as all fuck. I'm talking about the guy has tattoos on his face. I've always been attracted to the bad boys. I don't know why. This guy has his pants hanging below his ass. If there were rules to this new military, he definitely didn't seem to give a flying fuck about them. He has a toothpick hanging out the side of his mouth. He is mixed I believe. I'm not able to really say what his nationality is. He has big lips and hazel eyes. His skin is a slight tan. His hair is cut down into a Caesar. He walks over like he owns the fucking place and for all I know he does.

"That's rude man," Katashi says to him, "People are dead."

He walks over to Katashi and pushes him. He pushes him hard actually. Katashi is a tall guy and I think he is going to swing back. He looks like he wants to but he doesn't. All of a sudden, I realize this guy is definitely rude to say the least.

"Stop being a fucking bitch about it," he says, "I can't believe I'm in a squad with a bunch of faggots. You know where I was when the Upsetters broadcasted that message? I was balls deep in some pussy. You hear me? They gave their little threat. I didn't even pull out. You know why? Because I knew I'd survive. I knew I'd be here. The weak die and the strong survive. That's Darwin--bitches..."

He grabs an apple out of the plate Katashi left for me before walking away. I don't know whether to be turned on or offended.

"Who is that?" I ask.

"His name is Lucky," Anne tells me.

"He's no one," Katashi responds, "He's trouble. Fucking dickhead. Can't believe I'm on the same squad as that guy. He got into a fight for laughing on the Observation deck when the Earth exploded."

"He laughed?" I asked.

I'm shocked. He was cold. Too cold.

Anne shakes her head, "I guess this is the time to introduce you to everyone. This is Katashi and Cassie. That is Johnny, Idris, Royce and the youngest one is Tony but we all call him Trucker."

Johnny is bulky Caucasian guy, built like a linebacker that breathes heavy. He has the same name as my dead neighbor. He almost looks like him too. He's hardly paying attention to the conversation and looks sort of lost in what we are discussing. He doesn't even look over at me. Idris does look over at me. Idris is the tall black guy that is crossing his arms at that moment looking pissed. He doesn't like me and I don't like him. It's clear. Royce is the boy next door who gives me a normal smile and some type of salute as though were legit soldiers which we most definitely weren't. Then there is Tony or Trucker.

I can't stop staring at him. I'm staring at him so long that he looks over at Anne.

"Why's he staring at me?"

His voice sounds squeaky. It sounds immature and underdeveloped.

Annie looks over at me, "I don't know. Why you staring at him?"

I'm freaking the kid out. I know I am. I can't help it, though.

"He's just...a baby," I respond, "Matter of fact you all are young."

"No one is over 30 on the space station except for Admiral Lincoln," Anne explains at that moment, "He's over the space station. The president didn't survive. None of the presidents did. They all thought it was too much trouble to take the invaders seriously. They are all dead now."

Anne knows a lot. Way too much in fact. She can say it is because she is a coordinator and have the others fooled but I know something is off about how much she knows. I'm not sure exactly what it is yet but I plan to find out.

"So this Admiral Lincoln is in charge?" I ask Anne.

"Until we arrive at our destination and form a new government: yes," Anne explains, "It's martial law."

"What's our destination?"

Anne gets quiet. This is something she doesn't seem to know. The others seem to all get very quiet as well. How the fuck were we in space and no one knew where we were going. The heaviness of how little we knew about the Pioneer takes hold. So many people thought this was just a precaution. In a few days we were supposed to be back on Earth laughing about this stupid hoax.

The heaviness causes Trucker to break out into tears. No one helps him. No one even hands him a fucking tissue.

"Great," Idris states crossing his arms and shaking his head, "So much good news. Everyone I knew is dead and now I'm on a space station headed for god knows where."

"We have to know something," I ask Anne.

Anne sighs.

"It's classified I think," she shrugs.

"Classified meaning no one knows. Probably not even the Captain," Cassie says.

"No one thought about that. No one really thought the Upsetters would blow up the planet. I'm sure the Captain has a plan though," Anne states.


For the moment I feel like Negative Idris. I feel like the guy has a point. We had planned for an attack. But the threat had come almost like a joke. All the power in the world cut off. Planes crashed. Elevators stopped moving. Traffic lights cut off. Then there was this voice in our heads. This voice telling us that in 365 days the world would be destroyed.

And that was it.

There was no huge invasion like we thought. There were no spaceships falling out of the sky. Save one. One bright star that shouldn't have been there. It was in the distance but it just shined bright. So bright that no technology could really see what it was.

And that bright thing in the sky was them. No one said it. No one could prove it. But everyone knew. The upsetters were up there. Waiting. And yesterday, they destroyed us. They blew us up. Just like that. We weren't sure how. We just knew they kept their promise.

And we should have taken them more seriously. We probably could have saved more people. There should have been millions of Pioneer ships, not just one. We probably could have done things better.

A bell rings. It stops the silence.

"What's that mean?" Royce asks.

We all look at Anne. For some reason, we know without really understanding why that Anne would have the answer to this.

"We are supposed to meet our squad captain. Training begins."

"Training for what?" I ask.

Anne shakes her head, "We are soldiers remember? We are being trained to be the crew for a ship. A battle ship. There is a reason all of us are athletic and young. There is a reason the governments sent us. Lucky may be a dick but he has a point. Only the strong survive."

It was cruel. Looking around I can see what Anne means. We are all physically strong looking; even young Trucker seems like he has some muscle to him. Who's to say what strength meant? Grandma was strong to me. She was the strongest woman I know. But she was dead.

I want to cry but someone beats me to it. This time it is Idris. He's breaking out into tears probably thinking about a brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, grandma, lover or wife that didn't make it. He isn't the first to lose it. He wouldn't be the last.

This was a goddam funeral ship.

I whisper to the nearest person next to me who just so happens to be Katashi, "I don't think we need strong soldiers. I think we need strong tissue."

There are files of people leaving the mess hall. People are breaking off into groups based on their different squads. I am realizing there doesn't seem to be any real civilians on this group. Everyone seems to be in a squad. But a squad for what? What the fuck we were going to fight? The Upsetters? Did these people really think we stood a fucking chance if the Upsetters ever came back for us? We didn't have a planet. We had other concerns besides the Upsetters. We weren't really supplied correctly.

How long would we survive floating in space?

How long until we joined the people of Earth?

How long until the human race became extinct.

We head to a room. It has a sign that reads Squadron 110. I guess it is our Squad number because Anne opens the door and we walk in. The small group of us pile in. The only one that I don't see joining us is Lucky but then again he doesn't seem like he was the kind of person to arrive on time anyway.

"There he is," Anne says, "That's our leader. They are the only ones with prior military experience. We report to him and he reports to the Admiral..."

Just at that moment I notice who it is and my mouth drops open.

Fuck. What were the chances?

"Selah..." he says.

I recognize the face of the boy I had sex with. There had to be hundreds of squadrons. That meant there were dozens of captains. And I just so happened to be assigned to the one boy who I had already known.


"You two know each other?" Cassie asks.

The other members of our squad look at Chad. I'm shocked this is our squad leader. How the fuck was I supposed to take him serious let alone take orders from him when we fucked one another.

"Um..." I start, "Chad and I um...we met yesterday just uh...talking."

"My name isn't Chad to you."

He says it almost defensively. Chad looks at me. I have to admit he is sexy as all fuck in his military outfit. The camo fits him perfectly and makes him look beyond attractive. He stares at me with those brown eyes.

"Man chill I was just..."

"Man? I'm your Captain, private. You just earned clean up duty for weak. Every time you call me Chad you'll get additional weeks. It's Captain Kane."

The others laugh at me. I'm embarrassed. I'm beyond embarrassed. Chad putting me on blast like this is uncalled for. I watch as Idris looks dead in my face and rolls out with laughter. I shake my head. This definitely wasn't going to be good.

All of a sudden the lights go out. At first, I'm happy because it distracts from Chad and I. They flicker out. The entire space station goes dark. Someone is crying. I think it's Trucker but I'm not completely sure.

"Please tell me this is a drill," Idris states.

"It's not a drill," Chad says, "This isn't supposed to be happening."

The darkness is familiar. It was so familiar. We had felt this darkness before. We had felt this darkness exactly one year ago on October 16th 2019.

It was them. It was the aliens. It was the ones who had destroyed our home.

The haunting voices fill my head. I look around knowing that everyone is hearing the same exact voice. The voice of the Upsetters.

The dreaded warning was coming once again:

"In 365 days. We will destroy all remaining humans aboard the UCE Pioneer."

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