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He walked slowly along the shore, listening to the low rumble of the ocean's seductive song. White foam fingers crept up to him, touching his bare feet and encircling his ankles. Come in stranger, they beckoned playfully, come in and wash your troubles away. He stopped for a moment to admire the water, a rippling tapestry of regal blue that seemed to go on forever.
But sadly nothing goes on forever. That was the problem. The end was near. Gazing out at the mighty sea that merged seamlessly with the sky on a horizon that stretched for eternity, it was hard to believe. But numbers did not lie. He had checked them again and again and again. And then he had given then to others to check. The scientist changed but the facts remained the same. Their sun was expanding rapidly. Soon it would engulf the world. Before that it would become hot, unbearably hot, too hot to sustain life. The world was ending and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.
Ironically most people didn't know. They went about their lives as though nothing was wrong. They ate, worked, slept, made love, bore children. Some committed suicide. He wondered if they knew what would happen. Would it make a difference? Would their lives have more meaning in the last moments or less? Would the world be more beautiful for them now that it was doomed? It certainly was for him. But it was decided by their esteemed leaders that the public should not know. Why create mass panic over a problem for which you had no solution. Maybe they had a point. And if he wanted o spend his last moments on this world a free man, it was best to agree with that point. He sighed heavily and took one last look out at the ocean before turning and heading towards the lighthouse where Rikka would be waiting.
"Tanus," the woman greeted him, violet eyes sparkling with delight. It had been a while since they had last seen each other. There was nothing like the end of the world to rekindle old friendships.
"Rikka," he embraced her. "You've been well I trust."
"I've been busy," she replied. "But come in and I'll tell you all about my latest preoccupation over dinner."
A meal and several drinks later, the pair sat on the roof of the old lighthouse that Rikka had converted into her observatory. They gazed lovingly at the multitude of stars, billions of suns and planets all at different stages in their development, tiny points if light through windows in time.
"Do you really think it would work?" Tanus asked.
"It may or may not. It's all chance. But it's the only chance I can give our people to be remembered. The only chance that all we are, all that we have achieved does not pass into ashes with our world."
Tanus thought silently for a moment, eyes never leaving the sky. So many worlds. One of them must get the signal. Be advanced enough to intercept it, decode it and understand what it means. One of them must bear the epitaph for their fallen world. Because there was no one else. They would put all their knowledge, science, literature, history, biology, genetic make up, all of it and beam it across space so that their race would be remembered, not vanish unsung into the night.
"A twilight message," he said at last.
"Yes," she smiled back.