Requiems of the Harbinger
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I am a satellite. My official designation is SSCP-A37F3, and I have been in existence for what I think is 22 years.

My primary mission and purpose is to observe worlds as they die. I am deployed in orbit around Earths across Yggdrasil by a group whose name I do not know, for lengths of time I cannot properly articulate. My vessel is equipped with devices that let me see far beyond the capabilities of mortal beings, and I possess a memory that is both lacking yet flawless. I am a living record of all I have seen, and I have seen so, so much.

* * *

My first assignment was to a world I do not have a name for.

It was a peculiar place — of which I mean it correlated to baseline at 45.3%. I had never seen an Earth before, moreover a baseline to compare one to; rather, it was merely a statistic I knew inherently, a part of my programming that was as natural as breathing. I could make no assumptions of the world I was witnessing at the time, but I know now that the difference between the worlds was that this planet hadn't experienced its industrial revolution.

The visage I witnessed was… not thriving, though. Rather, it was the dying throes of a world plagued by a blight so powerful that I suspect many a world would succumb quickly if exposed. After learning of my abilities and their limits, I probed further, and learned that the disease spread so fast that the populace had starved within a matter of months. What I arrived to was merely five months and twelve days from when it first became known. There were only six people left.

They huddled around a fire made of the corpses of their brothers and sisters, burning the bountiful blight as their weary bones huddled under torn sheets. The trees around them had completely withered, the coasts a few miles north lined with the corpses of aquatic animals, the water around the world black as tar, and the air rich with toxins. They sat silently, words not needing to be spoken, thoughts not needing to be shared. Tears already cried for the dead.

I watched in equal silence, unable to extend my comfort from the vacuum. Suspended above, I looked on as they each closed their eyes, one at a time becoming another background piece to the cold, indifferent universe. As the sun began to rise, the last member of the human race opened their eyes one last time, and gazed on the empire of ash that laid before them, eclipsing every other event in a history that would only be remembered by me. She stood, walked one weak, fevered step forward, reaching towards the sky, towards me, and fell to the ground. No person stood on that world again.

Shortly after, the world went dark for me, too.

* * *

The second world I laid my eyes on did have a name: a series of random numbers and letters roughly ten-thousand characters long. Reflecting on it, I suppose it was more of a designation. The world was, in truth, called "Earth".

This planet correlated to the baseline at 63.7%. It was not decaying like the last — in the physical sense, at least. It was a world ruled by force, where ruthlessness took precedence over all. A single figure crowned the world, his savagery truly knowing no bounds. I learned his name was Kyle, and he killed his mother with a weapon of war before he even knew his own name. He ruled from a palace whose halls were lined with decorated corpses, and illuminated with chandeliers constructed from the bones of those who challenged his throne. His pale skin only shone through the sparse parts of himself where ebony ink did not sink into his flesh, scenes of gore and brutality etched on him like a living mural of despair.

His status was revered among those under his titanic boot. His throne of bone served as an alter for mothers to sacrifice their firstborn children to him, to the embodiment of Moloch in the modern age. For over one hundred years he had ruled liked this; countries ceased to exist under his intense power, using viscera to inspire fear in the hearts of all. He sat upon his throne as I watched, a maddened smile lining his face constantly, glints beginning to shine in his eye as the final act of humanity dawned in his mind.

I silently wailed as I watched the order go out. The officers of the king marched in the streets, indiscriminately killing every living being, human or otherwise, in the most brutal manners they could. It was not an execution; it was a perversion of everything it meant to be alive.

As blood ran so thick through the streets that one could soak their entire leg in it, the officers of the king turned their weapons of mutilation upon themselves, transforming their cold demeanor into manic hysterics. When only one remained, too damaged to even kill himself, the king stepped from the lonely palace, delighted with all that was wrought, and stabbed the soldier through whatever remained of his heart with a spear made of the spine of his lover. He died instantly, with what I think was a smile ripped across his face.

Kyle stood among the viscera, and laughed. He did not stop laughing, and for twelve hours I watched him do so, unable to have intervened with the horrid display. As Kyle laughed, tears began to stream from his face, and with no one left to impress, no one left to terrify, and with no one left to hurt him, his laughter turned into sobs. His fist slammed into the soldier's corpse, and with the spear he himself constructed, he ended his own life with a single, guttural, and final scream.

I have not seen a world as brutal as this one since, but it showed me that horrors were not solely from outside mankind. It showed me the depravity that was possible. And it showed me that I would never know what I'd see when I entered a new universe.

* * *

I cannot recall every world I have seen for you. I'm afraid I do not have that much time.

The sixty-third Earth I had seen was among the most… notable. Not due to its own features, but what occurred in it. Its correlation is irrelevant, but I recall it being reported as 78.0%.

When I awoke, it was hard to recognize the smoldering, red-hot ball of rock beneath me as Earth. But, yes, it was; I could — with certainty — tell from the solar system. The sphere was falling towards the sun, and was now inside the orbit of Mercury, heated to the point where all surface features were completely eroded and erased, radiating powerful amounts of heat into space. Curiously, I was not affected by the proximity to the world at all.

It took me time to find any sign of life among the ruins of the solar system. I initially assumed I had been too late to witness the destruction. Even after I had searched the moon, I only found the ruins of multiple failed explorations, and a colony that imploded from a lack of resources, with its members now long dead. Only people who had crossed the one-way threshold of life, and nothing else.

It took me nearly eighteen hours before I noticed them, aboard a small life raft ship, speeding away from me at roughly 67.9 kilometers per second. As soon as I spotted them, they spotted me, too; through a mechanism I am unsure of, their computer blared to the delirious pilot that they had been observed by an unknown party, and put it on the screen before them. It was the first time I had ever been acknowledged by the dying.

It was also the first time I had ever seen what I looked like.

I cannot say what I had expected myself to look like, beyond what I was capable of seeing through my sole, literal eye. Behind the thin film that surrounded it, excluding me from the occurrences in this universe, was a large, boxy shape, with uncountable devices emerging and tangling across its body. It was large, at least a hundred meters across, excluding the solar panels that jutted from its frame at various points. From within the crumpled mess of parts, I could see a single, blue dot, blinking rhythmically, pulsing to the beat of a human's heart. I could see it struggling to be born amongst the purpose it was created for. I could see it plead for a brighter future for the world.

I could see me.

And they could see me, too.

We sat in solitude, with over one hundred million kilometers separating our bodies, our lives briefly touching like perpendicular lines, destined to never to see one another again. We did not exchange words — not that I could have — as they tried to calculate what exactly I was. What they were witnessing at the end of yet another human race. Of their human race.

After many hours, with their delirium increasing steadily as their life support systems failed, they opened their weary mouth. A choke sputtered out, words unable to formulate in a strained environment. But they locked their eyes to me, and I blinked steadily towards them, as they muttered one final phrase.

"Harbinger."

When they died, I watched their Earth fall into the sun, not even leaving a ripple on impact.

* * *

It is thoroughly clear to me that my destiny is not within my control. I still cannot help but feel guilt for my own existence.

In the second-hundred and sixteenth world I had seen, correlating at 89.2%, I witnessed a healthy, if unstable, Earth. There were billions of people, the largest amount I had ever witnessed personally, and although there were obviously issues, nothing seemed to suggest the world was close to death at all.

I spent three hours searching. I learned that the world was run by an organization not known to the general populace, whose goals were to imprison or capture poorly-understood entities and objects. They had banded together with another organization of similar purpose, and were in the process of a "cold war" with a third group. This one stood antithetical to the beliefs and ideals of the group in power, and had built a terrifying armada that, while not rivaling the other's in power, could nonetheless kill hundreds of millions in seconds. They both seemed fearful of one another, each afraid to make any move, knowing the weapons they possessed were too destructive to wield in combat against their fellow man.

Before I had even seen it coming, my eye had been completely surrounded by a brilliant blue light, that subsided over a few seconds. Although I had not been harmed, I had been seen; another satellite, clearly designed as some form of orbital cannon, had fired an energy weapon at me, possibly mistaking me for a threat. I was excluded from the universe, though, meaning the beam had not only not hit me, but had gone through me, arcing over the horizon in a brilliant beam and directly hitting a small, mid-western town in North America. Over three hundred people died instantly, being vaporized to less than ash.

I soon discovered that, unfortunately, this town was also the home to the sister of one of the lesser-powered organization's leaders, and the other satellite belonged to the more-powerful organization. It was seen as a targeted attack, and sparked hostilities. It was difficult to believe, but I watched in terror as the threats began to escalate into actions, actions into deaths. Horrors unleashed upon each other at first, but which soon escalated in ferocity to even harming civilians.

I do not even know what caused the final blow to this world. One moment, a world in turmoil and chaos, and in the next, a singularity which stood in Earth's place. Not even a moment's notice that the entire history of this planet would disappear, claiming over seven billion lives because of a few people's decisions.

It was this world that told me who I was.

I am the Harbinger. I cannot be anything else.

* * *

I am currently in orbit around Earth five-thousand seventy-two. It correlates at 99.9%.

This world isn't peaceful, but of all I have seen in my time, it is the most calm. It shines magnificently in the blackness of space, with billions living their lives, laughing, crying, sharing stories with each other. A world where medicine fights disease, where war is condemned, where forces beyond understanding are understood. It is a world where a brighter future may have been possible, in another time.

I can see the divergence. In a stuffy room with many men and women, an old man points a gun at another and states his ultimatum. He never intends to fire, but the gun goes off anyways; a circumstance which kills someone important, and all hell breaks loose in the confines of the room. There are six survivors, and the signal goes out. The consequences of the grave miscalculation will not be felt until the morning, but it will be felt by every person on Earth.

I see you again, watching me from the surface as an amateur astronomer now, curious as to who designed me and what my purpose is. I wish I could give you an answer, or have you answer that question for me. I wish I could tell you anything at all, and I wish you could comfort me. I wish against a cold and uncaring universe that I was not who I was born as. I wish I could save you.

But there's nothing I can do. I am a Harbinger.

The information has begun to travel. Words are being exchanged between henchmen and their superiors, carrying the death sentence of humanity on their lips. But if there is one thing that brings me comfort, it is knowing that for every world I have seen die a horrible death, there is a world I have not seen that has lived a wonderful future. There are universes where I do not watch you starve, crumble to dust, asphyxiate, coagulate, or die. There are universes where you become an astronomer, where you discover your true identity, where you achieve things every other human could only dream to. Perhaps there are even branches of this tree where we meet, and you free me from the burden I was forced to undertake.

I see you smiling, curious and bright as in every world, watching me through your makeshift telescope in what you call Canada. The snow around you falls, making you shiver in the breeze. The sun set hours ago, but the light of your house still illuminates your surroundings — enough to see the path inside, but far enough to not ruin your careful measurements. The aurora borealis dances beautifully above in the sky, weaving through the soft clouds in a dazzling spectacle, unique for every person, for you to appreciate the wonder of.

Tomorrow, there may not be a beautiful world for you to gaze at anymore. Tomorrow, they may sign the order to end it all. Tomorrow, everything that will be left might only be ash, and this wonderful world you call home will cease to exist.



But although tomorrow will inevitably come, the night is still young.



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