Click, click. Click, click.
"The last of the lights going off. Power cutting out, circuit by circuit. Or, less accurate, but more poetic, soft shoes, walking on graves.
Those of the ones that died in space. Or the ones who built, even if they could never go out past the atmosphere. Even the people who only kept on dreaming of the future, writing of it, inspiring those that flew, and created the ships that took us out.
We've been told that the task is finished. But nearly everyone - those that flew out into space, the people who hoped, one day, to do so, - knows it isn't. The ones that don't have chosen, since there's no changing things, to accept the lie, so that their broken dreams, with no hope of repair, don't haunt them."
I don't think I shook my head, though the urge was there. But, as both of us knew from experience, going out in space, living in a ship the size of a single room, or a station with as much room as a one man apartment, and having to share it with three other people for months at a time... You have to learn how to read the subtlest bits of body language, so you can defuse or avoid tensions, or you'll end by killing each other, and I could see in his expression that he knew I disagreed somewhere, and wanted to know how.
"Surely no hope of repair is a bit dramatic... Eventually, things will settle, won't they?"
He laughed, then, though there was little enough humor in it, if any, and set a hand on my shoulder.
"Look... Say there are a million people that need to be fed now, or that each plane in the war costs as much as a launch, though the actual numbers are much higher, in both cases. People keep breeding, making more mouths; research continues on better weapons, making them cost more. No matter what gets cut, and how fast, the need grows past what can be paid for, in an exponential progression. You'll never catch up with it, much less get something back. So we've chosen to trap ourselves on this world, and we can't take that back. Nor can we hope that some other country will keep trying for space - after all, with all the increased spending on war we're doing, they have to pay more to keep their defenses up. And I suppose, that, in the end, what we get from making such a choice is fitting - a society dedicated to nothing but feeding its hordes and finding new ways to kill off the rest of the planet."
The conversation pretty much cut off there. The last of the lights had just cut off, and neither of us felt like talking too much anyway. Especially not since the air system went down with them.