Monday, January 30, 2012

281/365 --Playlist Story-- inspired by "Yes I'm Cold" by Chris Bathgate

It was early spring when he died numbly in his sleep, on a mountain pass during a blizzard. He had a broken femur and the layers of fur, reeds, and skins didn't deter the onset of hypothermia.

He was unearthed from a melting glacier five thousand years later, his thin frame still intact. Careful hands thawed and preserved him. He was scanned with electrons and his form was stored in a database. His sweat could be smelled once again, briefly, during this process. One hand once caressed his hair back. He was stored in the dark and cold, occasionally rolled out for sample taking and other study.

He remained in his vault for five centuries, until he was bought by a collector. He was removed and vacuum packed and placed on a bed of packing peanuts. He was shipped to Mars and displayed in a glass sarcophagus filled with helium. He passed another century quietly although many bodies in vivid colors danced around him, and at the close of one night his silence was interrupted when a man crashed through the glass membrane and died gurgling his blood upon the furs.

A rescue was mounted by some concerned scientists, and he was purchased again, his damage repaired by careful gloves, and packed away again in cold and dark. Three hundred and twenty six years later he was exchanged again, and shipped forty three lightyears away and displayed in a museum of terran antiquities, several feet away from a faded Van Gogh. Many generations of human children shuffled by and gazed at him with glazed boredom. He was carted away and stored in coldness and a sealed helium chamber for several thousand years, completely forgotten.

The museum fell to ruin, with no humans to care for it. The chamber remained sealed, and became covered in many layers of sediment. An earthquake uprighted the chamber, and he stood for the first time in many millennia.

A laser from a satellite mapped the ruins, and the chamber was discovered. A hole was bored down to it, and the chamber was extracted. It was shipped off-planet and stored again for another decade. Then it was carefully opened by the non-corporeal descendants of humans who lived as minds in a ship that was a solid quantum computer.

His DNA was sequenced. The femur was repaired. His furs were removed. His body was slowly hydrated. An engineered fungus was applied that repaired the muscles and organs and killed off hostile microbes. The brain was regrown based on a model that was stored at the beginning of ancient memory. The structure they used was endowed with the skills he would need to survive. When the brain was complete, it was given a shock in the brainstem.

He finally awoke in a alpine meadow.

"You are the only human," said the descendants, in one voice, in the language they implanted into the man.

"I am," said the man.

"Go forth and live, and do no harm," said the descendants, for they wanted to see if he deviated from their recorded model of their ancestors' behavior. "This world is yours."

"And who are you to tell me this?" asked the man, sitting up, slightly dizzy with his ears ringing.

The descendants hesitated.

"We are your creator--" there was a pause for there was an argument about this, if 'and your children' should be added, but it was resolved, almost instantly, that it would remain unsaid so as not to confuse the man, as simple an organism as he was. There was a further discussion about how to keep him healthy during the experiment. "And obey my command and you will be well."

"You are one...and many?" asked the man, furrowing his brow.

There was another flurry of thought then, "um, yes. We are one and many," for they thought it was of grammatical irrelevance.

"Oh," said the man, his mind heaving. "And you are everywhere and nowhere at the same time?"

"Yes," said the descendants.

The man sighed, breathed in the scent of the meadow, and gazed at the brilliant star light in the sky, grinning.

"I don't think he understands," said some of the descendants collectively to themselves.

"Lets let this play out," responded some others. "Maybe we'll need to make him some companions eventually."

There was a long silence as the man explored his immediate surroundings.

"This is so much faster when we model it," said one of the descendants.

"Agreed," said some more. "But else were we going to do with the body?"

No comments: