By Ryan Matejka
Based on the writing prompt: For centuries mankind has searched for a planet suitable for supporting life like earth does. They have finally reached such a planet, but upon their arrival, they find the planet is an exact duplicate of earth.
As we orbited the planet, I imagine that all of us were overcome with a certain amount of fear.
It was like something out of the Twilight Zone. Both familiar and alien. Nostalgic and mysterious. Beautiful and terrifying.
Our initial data from back home showed the impossible; this planet in a solar system so far from our own was an exact replica of ours. Yet even as we gazed upon it with our own eyes and identified the familiar shapes of our respective homelands, we still could not believe it.
Erin was the first to speak.
"This is fucking unreal."
Silently, each of us agreed with her. There were no other words for what we were seeing. Closer analysis as we approached the planet were even more alarming than those from back home; the finer details on the surface were also replicated to perfection. Buildings, roads, signs, and vehicles littered the surface in the exact locations they had been back home. I looked down through our telescope myself; even the lawn decorations my wife had picked out decorated the front of a house that looked exactly like ours in a neighborhood and city that was just the same.
But all the similarities weren't what was most eerie about the newfound planet. The most disturbing thing was the one and only difference we had so far been able to identify in the mirrored world; there was no sign of animal life anywhere.
It was as if someone had built a perfect three dimensional copy of our planet and had stopped just before adding us.
"Alright, enough staring. You know what our orders are," Yoshirou said, pushing away from the viewing panes and floating back toward the bridge. "Yulia, send a status update. We start our approach in ten minutes."
The rest of the crew exchanged concerned looks.
Back home, our world just wanted answers.
They could have never imagined the cost.