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Thread: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

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    Senior Member Saint_'s Avatar
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    "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

    (Part 2 - Continued...)

    He never got to fly down the Black Velvet Tunnel nebula, or see N-space from outside of a ship. If he had lived, I know he would have loved the Fountains of Irridia deep in the core of the Galaxy where there is no night and a thousand colorful suns fill the sky all day long.

    He could even have been there when we found the Correscidians. He would have loved mankind’s new friends. I just know he would have. We all did. They were just so …lovable! What fun we both could have had when they showed us how to travel the event horizons of a thousand black holes, jumping from star to star. He could have seen a thousand worlds as pretty as Earth and better. And he would have been so proud to know that his family, his, was one of the first to brave The Deep. I thought of him very much as we traveled across intergalactic space that year.

    He missed so much, I thought. But I felt I understood him a bit better now, as I stood and looked out at the family.

    There must have been over a million of them gathered there. We were on Tharsus. I’d picked it because of the beautiful mountains that towered 30,000 feet around the plain where I stood. A gorgeous waterfall cascaded down the side of one of them, cutting a rip miles wide by the time it got to the bottom. The plain was covered in red, yellow, and orange trees that reminded me of the fall colors in the Rockies when I had last seen grandfather.

    Over the plains, the family hovered, a million pulsating and glittering balls of color and energy. Small twinkles of light chased each other playfully through the crowd. “Children will be children,” I thought to myself and smiled inwardly. Some things never change, even after millions of years.

    “My dearest family,” I began. “I have been with you since the earliest days on Earth. I am one of the last who remember the home world and system. Many of you have been by my side for all the millennia since the Great Diaspora. Believe me when I tell you that I love you all very much.”

    “I am old now, it’s true, but my fusion-heart and polynimbic brain are as functional as they ever were. It’s true that a few of my nanobinders are not what they used to be and I’ve had a bad limp since that crash on Feyeria. Not even the psions could repair my knee after it had melted that bad. Titanophorous memory-metal is the best there is, but it’s not completely indestructible.” I had to laugh there, thinking of all the times that I had cheated death over the years. Being an android made you very, very tough, but not invincible!

    “These are small things, though. I want you to understand that it is no physical problem that bothers me or upsets my judgment today. You have all been very patient with me, and for that I thank you. Please try to understand. I will not be making The Decision at all today. Complete immortality is for you, but not for me. I will not complete the transfer process and change myself to pure energy as all of you have. Instead, I have elected to let the dampers on my heart go tonight and let my atoms return to the galaxy from whence they came.”

    I was expecting a reaction, and of course I got one. The valley was lit up like an exploding supernova. Flares and flashes of light shot through the crowd. A solar flare had less color and energy than my family up in arms at the thought of leaving their grandfather behind. The intensity was so bright that I had to blanket my eyes and turn on the anti-radiation fields.

    “Stop!” I sent out the FTL wave signal at my highest intensity, making myself a little woozy from loss of power. “You must understand. This is the way my father went and his father before him. It is my wish and I will not change my mind.”

    My ship stood behind me. Although she was more than one million years old and quite antiquated by modern standards, I loved her clean lines and silver skin. “This is where I want to end it all,” I thought to myself as I turned and walked back in through the door. My sons and daughters were hovering worriedly behind me. Already they were overloading my receptors and circuits with pleas for me to think over my decision. Poor Diana was beside herself and shimmering uncontrollably.

    I sat down in the command seat and talked with them for a while. Later, others came by and talked and pleaded, but eventually word got around that I was not to be swayed and everyone quit asking. They were sad and confused, but they understood that this is what I wanted.

    I had finally understood my grandfather. When he had chosen not to become an android, at first I thought the same thing as everyone else. That he was religious and he believed that when his brain had been engrammed and deconstructed that his living soul would be lost.

    Of course, all of us that had made the decision knew that wasn’t true, you were the same person you had always been, just a little faster and smarter. You took with you all your foibles, faults, gifts, and talents just as you were in the flesh. The only difference being that, barring accidents, you would never die. You’d never be sick and you’d never age. None of us at the time could understand why anyone would ever want to die. I mean, if you could be pain-free, young, and healthy forever, wouldn’t you go for it? It made no sense.

    Then, shamefully, in the burning loss of his departure I had accused him of cowardice. “He could not follow us because he was afraid of change!” I had thought in my ignorance. He was a weak old man, not deserving the family name or my respect!
    But none of that was true. I didn’t have the perspective to judge him at that time, but I did now. After three million years, I finally understood what it was that drove him to such an end. We were different now. Mankind had changed with that remarkable ability we had to adapt to almost anything. I had marveled at the time that one hundred years should seem long for a person. To the youth of today, a million years was but a day.

    I knew now what I had not understood about my grandfather. It was the cumulative effect of the crushing heaviness and brutal immensity of time. To have lived and seen all that you ever thought you would see, and then to see more and more. To feel all human emotions again and again until they were like dirt in your mouth without taste and flavor. To see your enemies and comrades from your youth, your loves and dear friends, fall by the wayside and leave you alone on the path. That must have been a burden that was unbearable for my grandfather.

    And I was just like him. I had not adapted. Just as my grandfather had gotten tired of decades of heartbreak, adventure, and change, so had I. I could look back across millennia and see thousands of voyages to millions of other worlds. But just as he had felt the creeping burden of too many experiences, too many lost things, and too much emotion, so had I.

    No, my grandfather was not a coward. He was just tired. Bone tired. And so was I.








    Copyright 2006
    Jonathan St. Ives
    All Rights Reserved

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    Supporting Member ZAP's Avatar
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    Re: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

    Brilliant!

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    Senior Member AnneBoleyn's Avatar
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    Re: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

    Nice theme: Enough is Enough!

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    Senior Member Saint_'s Avatar
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    Re: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

    Ack. I'm glad you liked it. Every time I read it I see another thing I could have written better. Oh well, I'm just a beginner and it's a learning process.

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    Senior Member Saint_'s Avatar
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    Re: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

    Quote Originally Posted by ZAP View Post
    Brilliant!
    Now you've done it. I'm swollen with pride!

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    Re: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint_ View Post
    Now you've done it. I'm swollen with pride!
    Maybe a nanobinder would help?

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    Supporting Member along-for-the-ride's Avatar
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    Re: "Bone Tired" by Jonathan St. Ives (Pt. II)

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    Thanks for sharing your story, Saint. I enjoyed reading it. Interesting take on immortality. I don't believe I would want to live forever, either.
    Life is a Highway. Let's share the Commute.

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