We had anticipated this moment for hours. Soon the Earth would give us a view of the North America. We could check to see if it looked normal; wispy clouds, greenish land, shaped the same.

We checked and re-checked our calculations, we should be able to see the whole continent. What we could see was sickening. An odd colored cloud covered the whole land area, sort of gray, and yellow; matching the pallid faces of my compatriots.

There was nothing for us to do but work. We planted seeds and monitored growth in the greenhouse, amused ourselves by dropping food from the tower under the presumption of testing the gravity simulator. But we were all drawn to the swirling clouds and quiet speakers.

At dinnertime the hypothesizing began.
“Well, I guess Korea did it, unleashed the big one.”
“No, that’s an ash cloud. It’s Pompei and Mount Vesuvius all over again! That super volcano near Yellowstone erupted!”
“Maybe they bombed Yellowstone and set off an eruption.”
“It’s Armageddon down there.”

We were silent.

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