Jared Marechal took his eye from the telescope and wrote in his log book, marking “no change.” He had been watching the Earth daily since before the second Indo-Paki War set off American automatic defense measures, triggering Armageddon. A series of electromagnetic pulses had destroyed most technology on the surface, and left it — still, thirty years later — a sparsely populated feudal wasteland.

“Sir, the citizens await you at the Biodome assembly field.”

“Yes, Anderson. Let’s not keep them waiting.”

Jared walked to the center of the once grassy area reserved for civic assembly, his brown robe trailing him slightly, his head hung down as if by the weight of his grey beard. Climbing onto the podium, he looked out over four generations of Colony families and winced at the hope he saw on the faces of those old enough to know what was happening.

As the crowd grew quiet he began: “Our botanists have had no success combatting the mutant fungi.” Murmurs rolled through the crowd like leaves do in the wind depicted by Earth films.

“Most of our root stock has been destroyed. Air crops, food crops — both have fallen below sustainable levels.” The murmurs intensified.

Jared held up his hands until they quieted themselves.

“Do not lose hope. We have been in radio contact with Earth, and they have made considerable progress on the rescue ship. We just need to hold out until they get here.”

This entry is part of my journal, published January 23, 2012, in New York.