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We are the first. We are the last. We go into that longest of nights, and we go willingly. But go we must. We are afraid and we are fleeing.

Something is coming and we are running further than imagination can take us.

We are Human. This galaxy belongs to us. We are the teeming masses of Humanity in all its forms. We have immeasurable lifespans; we wield vast energies; we mutate matter itself. We are Gods!

But still we flee. Something is coming, something greater than us all combined.

We are the children of the first ape who peered dimly into the night sky and reached up to scoop a handful of stars or to seize the moon, that silvery fruit which ripened and decayed in some strange seasonality. He reached, but could not grasp. We are his children, we grasp whatever we wish. We are his children, but he would run from us in fear if he saw us. We are Human, but he would not know us. We have made a long journey already, and it has changed us.

We scooped the first handful of moondust; we reached the stars; we overcame lightspeed barriers; we did so much more... For we are Gods!

But now we flee from something made of dust and gas.

The Andromeda Galaxy draws closer, tugging at our outermost stars, sending ripples across vast distances, disturbing the gravitic energies that sustain us. We must flee. The greatest armada conceivable is massed and ready, so many I cannot count them unaided. Ships to suit whatever form our cousins have taken; generation ships, sleeperships, globes of water, globes of methane, bioelectrical field containment spheres...

I chose a physical form. My mind peers through the cryogenic pod and the ship's hull, far along the path ahead, into the darkness at the edge of infinity. I see it is not empty, but boiling with quantum foam and unknown dangers. We will cross that gulf, leaving behind only those who choose to stay.

I will sleep through the journey. I ask the ship's system, “Will I dream?” It tells me it cannot know.

Should we, could we have done something? Started earlier, worked harder, not wasted billions of years? We have known this would come, the time when our galaxy would be ripped apart by its neighbor; but we did nothing, because it was easy to do nothing. It is too late, now. We have no choice if we wish to survive. We will shake off the chains that bind us to our home, the galaxy that gave us birth and gifted us with the atoms and energies of our bodies. Ungrateful children, we leave it to its fate as we seek a new home, a less vulnerable galaxy.

I am afraid. Afraid of staying, afraid of going. Our journey will be inconceivably long, even with our clever ape tricks. Will I dream? Will I have nightmares? Will I arrive, or is there something between the galaxies that even we are unprepared for? I am a child of the ape, frightened of the dark.

As the Exodus begins and sleep calls me, I hear our Leader's thoughts. “It would be easy to await the coming of Armageddon. But we choose to do the inconceivable, to create the greatest wonder of our entire history. Nothing -- nothing -- will ever surpass what we do today.”

And so we pass into the longest of nights...

* Written for a microfiction contest, Dec 2013

* Key items to include : Longest night, Fear, Not here and not now

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