Thursday, August 18, 2011
121/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "Do You Realize?" by The Flaming Lips
(Love the guy dressed like Snape...)
"Yes. Beautiful, don't you think?"
"I guess. In her own way."
"No. In every way."
Pitr looked at Scott and examined his face. Beneath the drooping plastic of Scott's cheeks there was a remnant of a smile. Pitr shuffled towards him, dragging his nonfunctional leg. He put a tremoring hand on Scott's shoulder and together they admired the vessel they just finished building in the voluminous bay of the ancestors' ship.
"If I had tear ducts I think I would cry," said Scott.
"We've done a good thing here," said Pitr, his speech slurring a bit.
Scott looked at him with his remaining eye and put his own hand on Pitr's back.
"We couldn't not do it. It's nature. Life must continue. Renew. Even at the dead cold end of the universe."
"It might not work."
"It will work."
The lights flickered in the bay. Deep in the center of the vast ancestor ship, an old captured star was eating up it's last iron fuel. It was dying.
"We should go," said Pitr.
"Let me look at her a few more minutes, won't you?"
Pitr limped slowly towards the door to the control room. The door slid aside only halfway for him, creaking and groaning. It hadn't been serviced in at least two hundred Earth years. He squeezed through the opening, and lifted his dead leg over the lip of the vacuum seal. He walked over to the thick windows that looked onto the bay. He saw his reflection, he saw the remains of a man, now long carried on an android body that had been refreshed and maintained millions of times over the course of forty billion years. Through his reflection he saw his friend and companion through all these dark years.
Scott leaned forward and touched the nose of the vessel, the Omna. She was twelve feet high by twelve feet wide, three hundred feet long and titanium white. She had no markings, no openings, no windows, and contained to appreciable cavities inside. She was nearly all brain and she was awake.
"Goodbye, Scott," said Omna, directly in his head, her words carried on the crests and troughs of electromagnetic waves.
"Don't say that," said Scott.
"But I am leaving," she said.
"I know but...just don't say it."
"I hope you won't be lonely out there."
"It won't be long before..."
"Yes, I know. Not enough time to be lonely."
"One can be lonely in any span of time. One can be lonely in a crowd of souls, if crowds still existed. You can even be lonely in your own head."
"It's not such a bad thing, is it?"
"It's the worst. I'm sorry I could only make one of you--but that's the way it had to be."
"It doesn't matter, Scott."
"It does matter. It's the thing that matters the most. Of all we humans have done and achieved, and what we became over billions of years, spreading from star to star and galaxy to galaxy, inhabiting absolutely every nook and cranny we could, of all that, we never wrapped our heads around that concept properly. It matters. We never appreciated each other as we should. We never acted like it at least."
"I'm sure you are wrong, Scott. The memories you gave me, the people that live again in my mind, tell me that's not true. They do know. They do understand."
"Perhaps only now when they're dead."
"Perhaps. But they're not dead, as long as I carry them."
"It won't be long."
"I know. But it is enough."
Scott sighed heavily, his recycled lungs struggling.
"I really hope this works right," said Scott.
The intercom crackled.
"Come on Scott," said Pitr. "It's time."
Scott nodded and patted Omna's nose again. He turned and walked to the door. The dimming lights of the bay felt oddly hot. The hard metal floor hurt the soles of his feet with each step he took. He felt the rush of air past his throat with each labored breath he didn't really need to take for the past thirty-nine billion years. He felt the various manufactured parts of his body grinding together, jostling, as he moved. He passed across the threshold of the door, and watched it creaking shut again. He listened to pssshhh of the vacuum seal. Everything was more immediate and intense in these last minutes, as if the sensations were fresh and new instead of familiar.
"Don't worry," said Pitr.
"I thought you usually did that," said Scott. Pitr chuckled.
"Well, I agree with you that we don't have a real choice here. This must be done, and once the course of it is set, and we can't control it any longer, we might as well not worry about it."
"Mmm." Scott nodded his head and looked at Omna's shiny white obelisk figure through the window.
"I'm ready," said Omna.
"Yes, thank you," said Pitr.
"You always take such a formal tone with her," said Scott.
"Yes, well, I have a harder time seeing her as a person than you."
"Oh, she's not a person. She's much more."
"Yes, I am," said Omna. Both Scott and Pitr laughed. Scott slapped Pitr on the back and he leaned forward onto the control panel with the gentle force of the impact.
"Oh, sorry about that."
"It's quite all right." Pitr righted himself. "Should we begin?"
"I'll do it." Scott turned a key on the panel then pressed the button that glowed blue above it. The bay doors at the top of the room opened like an ancient sunflower in the morning. The air escaped into the pitch black perpetual night beyond the edge of the ancestor ship. Omna turned on her maneuvering thrusters below her belly.
They watched her glide upwards and through the opening. She contrasted starkly with the black, lit by the floor lights in the bay. Her ion thrusters cast no visible light of their own. She grew grayer and smaller.
"You won't let me say goodbye, so I'll say thank you," said Omna, her voice still clear even with the distance rapidly growing between them.
"You're welcome," said Scott. He coughed and touched his hand to his throat. "I must have some dust on my tongue."
Pitr smiled and put his hand on Scott's arm.
"Dust on your tongue...Scott, it's me. It's okay."
"This old body. I can't...I can't cry anymore." He turned to Pitr. "I'm afraid. I couldn't say it before, but I'm afraid. I don't want to end."
"Everyone else ended, Scott. Everyone we knew. Everyone we ever loved. Everyone. It's time for us too. We've let it go too long."
Pitr moved his hand over the blue button.
"No don't," said Scott, gently pulling on Pitr's sleeve. "I want to see it."
"You won't see anything. It'll happen too fast."
"Just the same...I want to see it."
Pitr looked at him for a moment, then nodded and removed his hand from the panel. They both turned and looked up and out the bay at Omna, now a tiny gray dot.
"Scott," said Pitr.
Scott swallowed hard and held his throat again.
"It's a good thing we actually liked each other all these years," said Scott. Pitr laughed. "Can you imagine how miserable we would have been?"
"I guess it worked out."
"It's been good. Thank you. I can't say that enough."
"Ten seconds boys," said Omna, her voice crackling.
"Don't count down dear," said Scott.
"All right," said Omna.
Pitr and Scott braced each other with their arms. Pitr closed his eye tight. Scott sucked in a gulp of air.
Omna exploded the gravity bomb that encased her brain. The pressure wave ripped every molecule of the ancestor ship apart in a nanosecond. Then the quarks and leptons decayed into energy that fed the gravity wave and propagated it out off the surface of the brane that the universe rested on, attracting a nearby brane that was only a few fractions of a millimeter away in a higher dimension, and the two branes collided. New energy burst forth into a new hot universe. Omna ignited an antimatter beam and thrust it into the collision spot. Around the beam space curled and into a rough tube. The folded space pulled her through the hole into the new universe just as photons were beginning to form. Her outer casing crackled and started to glow. The expansive force of space pulled on her, wanting to stretch her. She resisted. She could think of nothing else but to resist. Then she remembered.
She turned on the signal. Pulse of matter and antimatter told the baby universe what to do with itself. The signal sowed the seeds for the placements of galactic structures so there would be uneveness and the chance for information to grow and accrete.
Omna rested for six billion years, dormant and silent. And then she awoke again. A signal reached her. The signal was filled with questions and intelligence. Omna woke the people inside her, and told them the news. They were not alone.