DATE: OCTOBER 12, 2038
THREE SECONDS AFTER EMERGENCY MEETING
“CHARLI, WAKE UP!” Lance shook the girl’s body once more. After she closed her eyes, he immediately went to the emergency button, flipped the cover, and slammed it as hard as he could. There was no signal whether she was alive or not. Not even a stir. He checked for her pulse once more. For a split second, he felt it, but it started to slow down. Then it stopped. Their conversation played through his head over and over again. How am I even supposed to tell them I’m fine, that I love them when I’m not even there to say it? With a yell, he threw his helmet across the floor. If he had just stayed with her during the oxygen sabotage. She wouldn’t have been dead. She wouldn’t have experienced so much pain. “No…”
“Lance?” He looked up to find the voice. It was Darla. She had splotches of blood all over her, coating her shoes and hands. Putting two and two together, Lance figured out what Charli was trying to tell him. He brought himself off the ground and clenched his fist.
“You’re the impostor,” he scoffed, leveling his eyes with hers. “Aren’t you?”
Darla acted all surprised. “What? Now you’re accusing me of killing Charli? Well, that’s pretty pitiful. You’re the one near her dead body and-”
“How did you even know she’s dead?” Lance questioned while holding himself back, proving to be very challenging. “She was just about to tell me who it was when a knife came at lightning speed, coming from the hallway you just left from and stabbed her in the back. Literally. And no one was around to see it but me. In fact, she still looks alive, but she’s gone. So how in the world do you know she’s dead? You should be helping me out here, not turning against me! You’re the impostor, Darla. Or should I even call you that anymore?”
Her shoulders stiffened. Her breathing had stopped for a few seconds. “Fine!” She threw her hands up as if she had surrendered to him. “But who will your friends believe? Someone who accused Jenny AND Charli of being the impostor in the last meeting, or someone who said to Jenny it was going to be fine, and also said she knew that it wasn’t her fault, but Tom’s?” Darla’s laughs echoed through the Cafe. He stepped back startled. “It looks like the odds are against you, Lance. Might as well throw yourself off the ship now, before your crew will have to do the dirty work for you.” Some footsteps were coming from the entrances. Lance turned around to see his other crewmates coming from the right. When they The only sound that escaped the deafening silence was the fast rhythm of heartbeats. Jenny covered a hand over her mouth. Alex dropped down next to Charli’s body, attempting to wake her up. James raked a hand through his hair, while the rest stood watching in silence.
Everyone finally calmed down when the body and blood were removed. They all sat in their designated spots. Each crewmate took a turn to say their side of the story. Jenny claimed she was with Alex after the last meeting, and Aaron stayed by himself, but he occasionally saw Rosaline and Darla chatting and completing their tasks together.
“WHY WON’T YOU GUYS LISTEN! IT’S DARLA, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” Lance screamed. “SHE KILLED CHARLI AND TOM!”
“Did you even see her kill Charli, Lance?” James looked at him cautiously.
“Um… no, but the knife that stabbed Charli came from there! Check the security cams! It might’ve gotten recorded there!”
“Well, I was with Henry the entire time, so it isn’t him or me,” James vouched sternly. “That means if everyone saw each other, the only people we didn’t see were Charli and Lance.”
The crew looked at Lance with question marks for eyes. He laughed aloud to fill the space. “C’mon guys... seriously? Me killing Charli? That’s absurd.”
“Excuse me. What?” Darla tilted her head in his direction. “You were the one next to Charli’s body. You were the one that accused the poor girl. You were the one we last saw with Charli. Need any more reasons why we should believe you’re not the impostor?” Lance stared in disbelief as some heads shook in disappointment.
His confidence that once soared began to plummet. “I...” He tried to explain himself. “I swear I’d never kill anyone! Please, you have to believe me! That’s something the impostor would do! It’s Darla! Charli told me it was a girl! And it just so happened that Darla walked up from right where the knife got thrown from!”
“Lance…” Henry backed away from his friend slowly. Others followed suit. “I know you. You hate Charli’s guts and everything as much as me, but the real Lance would never kill anyone, let alone Charli. And that would mean you’re the impostor. It’s Lance. He’s the impostor. Everyone, let’s vote.” The beep noises that once were comforting for Lance turned into a nightmare. He watched helplessly as the results appeared on every crewmate’s screen:
Lance - Seven votes: Darla, Henry, James, Aaron, Rosaline, Jenny, Alex
Darla - One vote: Lance
Deceased - Tom, Charli
The crew looked up from their screens to Lance, who held his shaking hands in front of him for defense. “Guys, you’ve got the wrong person. I-it isn’t me!” He tried to escape, but they were too quick, grabbing him by the arms and pulling him towards his doom.
“NO, PLEASE!” Lance wrestled with his captors as Rosaline and Darla brought the computer from Comms, while Aaron readied the trash chute. He looked at his friends one last time. There was no point now. They were already sure it was him. But as everything was finally in place, he saw Aaron and Alex kept on nodding at each other, like their plan was about to commence.
Henry threw a confused look at the two. “Uh, what are you guys doing? Why do you keep on looking at each other like something’s gonna happen?”
“Guys, what if there’s no impostor?” Alex asked the crew. “What if there’s just some serial killer that’s not an alien? This could be some kind of ritual thing that-”
“What are you talking about? There’s no serial killer, it’s an alien! And that alien’s Lance!”
She bit her lip. “There is no alien. Just some crazy crewmate that needs to vent out their anger by killing us. Let’s all just kill ourselves now, so that we won’t have to experience the pain later on. Right, Aaron?” Alex turned to Aaron, who grabbed her hand and went inside the chute.
Jenny tried to reason with them. “Alex, Aaron, you have no idea how wrong you are. Please, just step out of there, and we can talk about this.”
“This is the right thing to do, Jenny.” With a smile, Alex pressed a button on her tablet, and the doors closed.
“ALEX, NO!” The crew peered through the glass, seeing the bodies float through space. Only Lance noticed the computer’s results. On the computer, it read Alex was not The Impostor. Aaron was not The Impostor.