The man pulled at his beard and ended playback on the digital recording device. It was a pretty sturdy piece of equipment for such an old relic but the surface air, full of humidity from the coast was taking its toll. If he did not transcribe the entries soon, all of the information included on it would be lost and that would be a shame, he thought. Sitting there, overlooking the majestic turquoise water as it rolled back and forth across the white sand, all under that expansive azure sky, he realized that he had one more entry to add before he put everything down on a more solid medium for future generations. He looked down at the recorder. It had been years since he had used it, but he still remembered most of what was on it; what the important logs were and which ones were just ramblings of a sixteen-year-old alone in an abandoned complex. He remembered to skip the 79th log, for even now he could not stand to listen to what had been recorded on the day he nearly went insane. He supposed he would have to listen to it sooner or later and surely it could not be as heart-breaking as the 87th entry.
The man activated the recorder and loaded the next entry.
-Ark Log 089-
My name is Adam Owun and I am the last human on Earth. That is not to say that I am the last person on Earth, however. Upon my escape from the Ark and after opening the escape vehicle, I came upon a land so beautiful that… well, I was overwhelmed. I had never seen a sky so clear in any of the pictures in the Ark library and the colors of the planet, the flora and fauna, brought tears to my eyes that would not dry. The air was clean and free of radiation and toxins. Most importantly, the Narak were gone, having left the planet centuries ago… after their work was done. It seems so strange that they were seen as monsters by the forbearers, now that I know who the Narak are. You see, not long after I exited my vehicle and it was pulled back out into the sea, I was found by the new natives of this planet. I call them the Amphibyons because of their affinity for water and ability to oxygenate while submerged, but they are actually quite human-like in appearance. They took me in and sheltered me. Then a group of youths took me on a journey, deep into the land and away from their precious coast. It was a test of might for them, because there were creatures so fearsome inland that we had to be careful not to come across them. The Amphibyons, though very intelligent and resourceful, were still primitive compared to the humans of the Old World and still had fear of the beasts.
We finally came upon a sacred place that looked similar to something I might see inside the Ark. It was Narak technology and I was afraid. But the youths believed in me and pushed me onward, alone, to discover the mystery within. I came upon what I now call the Listening Stones, which activated upon my close proximity. The image of a Narak came forth, just as Lota appeared to me upon waking in the Ark. It spoke in my tongue and was even tempered and polite. It told me that several of these places had been placed about the world, as signs of their passing. It also foretold that the Narak knew the humans were not annihilated; that they expected a species such as ours to find a way back. To any like me, this place was a warning. The Narak had invaded Earth and attempted to destroy all of mankind in an effort to preserve the planet Earth, which was one of the few planets in the universe capable of sustaining life. The Narak explained that humans had caused so much damage to the Earth that if allowed to continue on their path, the precious planet would become completely uninhabitable and that could not be allowed. Other life forms in the galaxy were desperate for a planet and to the Narak, humans had forfeited their right to the monopoly of Earth. According to the image, the Narak had eliminated all traces of mankind, spent centuries cleaning up the nuclear fallout from our war and relocated several sentient, alien beings to the newly renovated planet.
Before it faded back into the Listening Stone, the Narak gave its final warning to any humans who managed to survive the Purge. “Look to the skies, but do not reach for them. Balance will be maintained.” The message was clear: humankind had reached space-faring status just before the Purge and we would not be allowed to grow that large ever again. It didn’t matter. The Ark was the only one of its kind. I know I should be mad, but I’m growing wiser with age and I like my life here among the Amphibyons. I have a garden, friends all around me and even a mate from among the local tribe, though the engagement is more… emotional in form. I think that maybe it’s better that man could not retake the Earth. For now, there is no war beyond tribal squabbles and the only threats here are from the annoying insects and occasional panther coming too close to the village.
I will say that I wish that Lilith were here. I miss her terribly, especially at night when the darkness reminds me of our time together in the dying Ark. I’ve started to forget what she even looked like, aside from the dark hair and brilliant eyes… and of course the amazing bosom. I will end on this last note. Religion was merely touched upon in my training and most of what I learned of it in the histories terrified me, what with the holy wars and inquisitions and all, but even at the end of the Purge, most of humanity clung to it. Perhaps it is the comforting notion of an afterlife, for I sort of like the idea that Lilith could be looking down upon me from a place with no pain. If she could see me here, years and years above ground now… would she be as happy as she claimed in her entry? Would her sacrifice feel worthy, even though humanity will still die out with me? This is Adam Owun, of humankind’s last hope the Ark, signing off for a final time. Goodbye.
-End Log 089-
“What is that you are doing, my partner?” the Amphibyon female asked in her own tongue, easing down beside the man. “Your eyes are red! You need water! Is this thing making you upset?”
“No, I am fine, Ulana,” the man replied in the strange language. He reached his tanned arm around her and pulled her close as she smiled up at him. She had large, green eyes, like Lilith, but her body was much more lithe and petite. He enjoyed her company immensely and was glad that she had found him alone out on the beach as dusk approached. “I was just listening to the stories I had recorded while I was under Oceanus’ prison. They are all that is left of humanity.”
“I don’t like it,” she said, frowning. “I don’t like it if it makes my partner sad like this. We should swim, my partner! We will swim until you are not sad anymore.”
“I will, I promise, Ulana. I thought that I might transcribe these recordings on tablets, so that the story of humanity will not be lost forever. We were a part of this world for so long… something has to live on after I am gone. Do you understand?”
“I do, my partner,” she replied. “You cannot fill a tablet with those odd noises, like the ones you made when I was young and first saw you. Who can understand that?”
“I will have to translate them, obviously, although a lot of the drama and context will surely be lost by doing so. You don’t even have words for half of the things I mention.”
“Can we swim now, please?” she begged. She was a marvelous creature, he thought as he looked upon her. Swimming the way that she did, with the face that she had, she might be mistaken for a mermaid in the Old World.
Humans would have tried to kill her just to be on television, he thought grimly. Then he cast those thoughts aside and launched himself from the sand, chasing the girl out into the surf. Grim thoughts would not change his circumstance, but swimming with a beautiful girl would change his mood and he alone carried the happiness for the entire human race.