This terminal limits me to no more than 500 words, so I’ll make it brief.
The Fermi paradox is the problem that the universe should be teeming with life, yet we can’t find any of it.
There are theories; the Great Filter got them, they exist but we can’t comprehend them, and finally the most popular; they were too far away.
It took us decades, but we finally developed faster than light travel. I won’t bore you with all of the complicated math, but it involved the disruption of dark matter, the type of matter that does not interact with electromagnetic radiation. By pushing dark matter and a certain frequency of radiation together, we could move atoms at a speed that surpassed light. This turned the dark matter into what’s called hot dark matter, which became capable of temporarily lowering an object’s mass, allowing it to move faster than 299,792,458 m/s, aka the speed of light. We could finally explore the universe and figure out if we were alone or not.
I was on the ship that left Earth. We were to orbit the planet for a few weeks, converting dark matter into hot dark matter, and finally take off in the direction of the Wow signal, our best guess at a location for intelligent life.
Despite our breakthrough, we still knew very little of the composition of dark matter. We figured out how to manipulate it, but like a child playing with a weapon, we had no idea how truly dangerous that was.
We had no idea dark matter is, in a way we cannot comprehend, alive.
I don’t know why it took the planet instead of the ship. This is speculation, but I think when we changed dark matter, we HURT it, in a way that a carbon based animal cannot comprehend.
While orbiting, we got a distress signal from control. A giant, almost undetectable mass was surrounding Earth, and suddenly, any baryonic matter (matter made of atoms) began to change, shrinking in size. The distance between chemical bonds became smaller, until they merged into single atoms. All of humanity, and the planet, merged together into a plasma-like mass, before dissipating, like a star would after dying.
We tried contacting control, but I don’t think any of us expected a response.
Only two people remain in my crew. We were sitting down for another silent dinner when I decided to type this all up. The others lost hope much faster than us, but we’re getting there.
I guess the Great Filter was right after all. I wonder how many other civilizations cracked the code of faster than light travel, only to be destroyed by the force they sought control over.
We can’t leave. We can’t travel faster, because the dark matter will wipe us out. We can’t fly away, because we don’t have a reasonable destination to go to.
All we can do is orbit where Earth used to be, regretting humanity’s greatest discovery.