I am alone on an alien landscape. Above me, a distant moon glows dimly in a darkening sky as I walk along slowly, cautiously, scanning the terrain. Something catches my eye; I stoop down to examine it more closely. Running my thumb over its raddled surface, I suddenly realize the item had been created by someone. This stark place, seemingly devoid of life, might have been inhabited. Carrying the item with me, I move on even more watchful than before.
As time passes, I begin to question the initial assessment of what I found. Perhaps there’s no one here. Several times I’ve come across something that might have significance, but I’m feeling doubtful now. The terrain is beginning to slope upwards and then appears to drop off sharply. I come to the edge and gaze down into what was once a vast civilization. In the crescent moon’s pale light I can see the outlines of an immense city, its details still visible from the ambient glow of the sun that set some time ago. But from this place comes only an oppressive silence – it holds no evidence of life at all.
I hurry down toward the silent city, stopping near its edge. I can hear my transport coming. It slows to a stop nearby, and I get onboard. The craft rises as I navigate through narrow passages flanked by tall structures. I accelerate, and quickly ascend over the timeworn monoliths created by whomever lived here long ago. Higher and faster I fly up into the atmosphere; from this height the clouds seem to cling to the ground. The curvature of the horizon becomes visible now, and the dense blackness of space looms above me. Below, the lonely sentinel, Earth, pulls further and further away.