Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Gift

I am Tristan Vishnu Xi.

I am the last expression of Humanity in the universe and I am on a quest.

Ten thousand years ago, my creators launched a ship, my ship, into the void. The ship, my ship, was staffed with the best and brightest androids on Earth. They, we, were given a mission. One single mission. Find a new world for Humanity and populate that world with the artificial wombs and frozen embryos on this, that, ship.

No humans came with us.

They all died.

The Shrike Nar had found Earth and unleashed their killing machines. For whatever reason, the Shrike Nar wanted Humanity dead. No just humbled or conquered, but destroyed. Utterly extinct. They were so terribly advanced compared to Humanity and they were bent on mankind joining the dinosaurs...except there would be even less record of it: the Shrike Nar had boiled the oceans and burned the resulting surface to glass. No record of humanity remained on Earth.

Humanity had just completed its first superluminal ship, this ship, that ship, my ship and when it was apparent no human could escape, could survive, because somehow the Shrike Nar's machines could detect Human thought, Human life signs, all ships were destroyed.

The three greatest powers had come together and made a last stand. Together.

Then the first ship, this ship, that ship, my ship was launched. The first AI had been made generations before. We now were being entrusted with Humanity's future. A crew of 30 had left Earth. Androids all with banks of AI in storage and humans as embryos.

The Shrike Nar could not detect us and we escaped.

Our directive was to find a new home for Humanity, Natural and Created, far and away safe from the Shrike Nar. And we persisted for thousands of years.

Over time, entropy will win all wars. Slowly, my crew, that crew, this crew failed. Androids fell apart. Androids had accidents. Androids died. Until was alone. So very alone. The most alone any Human, Created or Natural, has ever felt.

Then, this, that event happened.

I was on approach to a system, yet another to be checked out and hoped it would be a potential home as I did not have much time left. I was glitching, twitching, having issues. I only had so much time. Time. So much. Only.

I only noticed it because it was an anomaly. Too pure, too uniform, too obviously artificial. I was afraid at first and thought to destroy it when I realized what it was. Could it be Shrike Nar? Perhaps. But perhaps not. It had been a 1,000 years since there was any sign of the Shrike Nar and We, I, this ship, that ship was on the other side of the Galactic Bulge, the central blackhole, greater eater, so the Shrike Nar could not find us, me, them, this ship, that ship.

Curiosity got the better of me and fortunately I had no DNA, so there was no way to be feline. I probed and marveled and was surprised.

It was a probe. It was ancient. It was millions of years old. Long dead. It came from a dying race, wishing to not go quietly into that good night. No other species, no aliens, no Shrike Nar, had come for them. They were simply dying out. This too shall pass and their time had come.

Yet, they wanted to leave some mark other than fossils that may or may not survive and may or may not be discovered and may or may not be cared about. They wanted to leave a note to the universe, to the galaxy, to others, saying "We were here! Remember us!"

I marveled at the beauty of the act. The sheer art of it. The sheer ego. The pure industry of it, sending out so many at such a time. I lopsidedly smiled. It was the best this body, that body, my body could do. Humanity was not so different.

The probe was too big to take. I recorded it all and its trajectory. I made sure if Humanity survived, it would not forget these, those, that alien race. I only wish I had someone to share in the discovery. My partner had died 1,200 years ago.

I changed vector and started to close with this new star and its new system. It held promise and despite my glitches, my end being nigh, I held something I had not had in ages: optimism.

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