“The Street” was what we called the long, porthole-lined corridor commonly used by the crew and passengers to go between opposite ends of the ship, where the majority of habitable spaces were. Lately there wasn’t as much traffic here as there had been at the start of the trip; the ships ferrying refugees from below had long since canceled service, and nearly everyone had settled into whatever place would have them. All told, there were perhaps several thousand souls on board, from all walks of life. Rich, poor, religious—well, not so many of those, these days—basically all who had been within commuting distance of the port with the big, shiny, silver rockets two days ago, when the sirens started.
The asteroid hove into view not long after we left orbit. It didn’t look especially menacing, just another rock left over from when the planets formed. It slowly tumbled about on an irregular axis, alternating between light and dark as it rotated into view. Oblong and several hundred kilometers from end to end, it seemed stately; a perfectly proper thing to exist. We lost sight of it against the backdrop of clouds and ocean just before we reached the moon’s orbit.
The impact was nearly imperceptible at first, as far out as we were, and we were already well past the moon when the first signs of debris began to stream silently by. And there, on the other side of the porthole, among the rocks and the dirt and all the other detritus of a dying planet, there it was. Sailing against the backdrop of stars, coldly staring back at me, I saw a cat in a tree.