The screams. The howling. The sounds of a souls being damned for all eternity. That is what I will take with me to the grave. The abandoned had rushed the launch pad. The soldiers did their best to hold back the tide, but this was no mere zombie hoard. This was far, far worse. It was a mass of humanity with no hope. Nothing to lose.
The soldiers fought as best they could. Thousands cannot trump millions when death chases at their heels. The tens of thousands that died in that clash were but a smudge on charred record of the the billions who followed.
Ever on, ever on they rushed. All futile. Ants to an irresistible flame.
Ever on, ever on they climbed. All final. Death would embrace these too, these few.
The soldiers did well enough. We launched in time. The rocket lifted and reached for the skies. The last of our hope. The last of our dreams. The last of what we felt we could save.
The blast of the roar of the massive engines cleared the pad of those who dared in desperation to try the impossible, to try to add themselves, their impossible selves to the last hope of humanity.
The great rocket, far greater than those who reached for merely the moon, took the hundreds we saved into the sky. To the last ship to leave earth orbit. Had this been merely a nuclear war, they might have been safe in translunar space and we could have saved more, far, far more. The impact ejecta would render near earth space a hazard for decades.
Better to leave, better to abandon, better to save someone than no one.
I pushed away from my console as the last rocket reached beyond what mere mortals could and into that breathless black night.
I rose and walked away. The horde was destroying everything in their fear, their anguish, their rage. Perhaps they would kill me. Perhaps I would fall. Perhaps not. It mattered little. My children were on that last rocket and they would survive. They would thrive. They would bloom. They might even return in the end, after the decade of darkness and death. To tend their own gardens.