A rejected short story written for the second volume of Machine of Death, an anthology based on the idea that there is a machine that can predict, without fail, what someone will die of.
All thank the Machines, prophets of the Path.
The death machines saw it coming. They didn’t tell us about the Path directly, of course, but when dozens, then hundreds, then millions started to come up as ASTEROID IMPACT, people began to take notice. We knew our time on Earth was up.
So humanity took to the stars, selecting only those who were dying of non-apocalyptic causes to enter into the generational slowships. Lots were drawn, and humans were mixed based on their conditions, so that every ship could be guaranteed to have as few critical mishaps as possible. Suddenly, it made sense why so many were dying in FUSION EXPLOSION and RAPID DECOMPRESSION. But those were the lucky ones; the ones who were left to fend for themselves during IMPACT WINTER, MASS EXTINCTION, or TIDAL WAVE had simply to resign themselves to their fate.Read more…