What I Write
OF COMETS AND GODS IN THE MAKING
Asferit had not grown up; she didn’t know where she came from; could not conceive of childhood. No memories of parents, no recollection of family. On the vast empty world that served as her lab, she built the probes and put a little bit of herself in each one.
Her machine-form, ancient, slow and sputtering came to life, wheezing through the long corridors of the silent lab, its darkness masking the distant empty spaces which Asferi imagined were once filled with life.
She looked through her thoughts and realized she had lost any hope of memory, that part of her was already circling a distant star aborning with life. She looked in on those places when she woke to see the results of her work; on so many worlds life spawned.
With the next launch, she would lose the memory of those places, there was so little of her remaining. Enough for three, no four probes. Then she would cease to remember why she was, what she was. She would forget how to exist. But not yet.
She completed the next probe, winding the engine and orienting it along the galactic plane; her sensor array aligning the probe with a wandering comet; she planned to deposit herself within the life-giving molecules within its frozen mass.
She knew little about her past, but knew that she must not be able to be found. This was the only memory that remained; hide from the Darkness.
As she loaded the last probe, she considered the first probe she ever sent, millennia ago; there were monuments within the halls of the lab in her hubris then, she considered them a successful reincarnation of her people.
Each representation was filled with the temporal signature of that once great race; a temporal residue of failure. It spoke of a great race, masters of time and space; they flourished in the dark between the stars. Then the Darkness came. She was overconfident. She slept assured of their success her mission completed.
In the time between sleeping and waking, her cycle of regeneration before attempting to seed again, the great race was gone.
Found. They did not heed the warnings she sent in those early days. She gave far more of herself then. She came to them in visions, taught them secrets to harness the hidden nature of matter; revealed to them the nature of energies, both planetary and interstellar. They would worship her, revere her and believe her to be a god.
In the end, it was not enough. They were consumed, their greatness undone. She sent less and less of herself from then on. Godhood failed them. Perhaps obscurity would serve them better.
She sent less each time, only tiny packages of micromachines capable of changing matter, capable of modifying genomes, empowering the creatures spawned of her with abilities even greater than the First Race. Psychometric representations of them were all that remained, echoes in the timestream of history. In their hubris, they ruptured time and space and like the world her lab hung above, cracked the crust of their world and were lost in a temporal vortex of their own making. They had such potential. Squandered.
Then she began sending only the memory of what she was, embedded within complex epigentic echoes. No longer would she shape the universe for them, they would have to work for their survival, perhaps they would be stronger for it. She appeared to her descendents only in dreams; visions of what they were, memories of who she was, memories she no longer possessed.
Her memory was great once and she seeded thousands of worlds with it. But like the ephemeral nature of memory, so few knew what they saw. Many went mad. Most dreamed of demiurges, mad deva whose powers ravaged worlds. These memories destroyed half of them before they could achieve spaceflight and reach for the stars themselves. Religions they spawned consumed them.
Now, she sent only cells and precellular matter. The very least of herself, the essence of who she was, the final matter of her being; hidden in comets, cloaked in meteor swarms, hidden on the boots of other starfarers.
Time had taught her patience, though she had lost her memories, she was confident of this final strategy. To hide herself on millions of worlds, her final probe-ships would leave a legacy on millions of worlds. She found the last star she would use and loaded the final probe-ship with the hardiest constructions she had ever made. She deconstructed the worldship; her lab, her home for millenia of millenia, breaking down every part of it, reforging it for a final effort.
The planet below was also consumed, her last effort would require everything. It was a long dead world lost to antiquity when the universe was young. Of the Darkness, she could not remember, but she knew this: as long as there was light, her people would survive.
The final instructions to her probeship would have her descending into her planet’s unstable star. It’s final fluctuations revealed what she knew was the inevitable outcome; and she planned to use it to her advantage. Her final self would not be aware of the result. The final cells of her body were distributed within millions of pieces of her world and her lab. Each calibrated to arrive at a star somewhere in her galaxy. Each single cell would find a world ready for life.
She could no longer coerce planets into life. She could no longer force matter or energy to take the shape she deemed. She was now only able to influence the tiniest aspects. Asferit would only be able to nudge a planet toward Life. The Darkness would always be ready to claim her people but now they would be scattered; to worlds within the galaxy and without.
She seeded the galactic wind and waited for a supernova to blow them where it would. Her starseeds hardened against the impending blastwave, they would, with the tiniest bit of her final design, travel faster than light toward their final destinations.
As the star which lit her world, gave her people life, watched them die and patiently waited until they could be reborn, exploded, Asferit now waited in turn.
In those last seconds as the waves of radiation and coronal debris swept over the remnants of her cannibalized world, she subsumed herself within the starseeds and the near-immortal being Asferit, last of her kind, was no more.
And yet now she was pure purpose, no ambitions, no plan, no dreams of godhood, no longer a radiant harbingers of dooms lighting the skies of primitive worlds.
She would be the essence of Life itself; the Darkness be damned.
Of Comets and Gods in the Making © Thaddeus Howze 2013, All Rights Reserved
|What I Write||
Thaddeus is a California-based technologist and author whose non-fiction work has appeared in magazines: Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, the Good Men Project, Examiner.com, and Astronaut.com
He maintains a diverse collection of non-fiction at his blog, A Matter of Scale (http://bitly.com/matterofscale). He is a moderator and senior contributor to the Scifi.Stackexchange.com with over a fourteen hundred articles.
His science fiction and fantasy has appeared in blogs such as Medium.com, the Magill Review, ScifiIdeas.com, and the Au Courant Press Journal. He has a wide collection of his work on his website, Hub City Blues (http://hubcityblues.com/).
His speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: The Future is Short (2014, 2015), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (2012), and Possibilities (2012).
He has two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach (2011) and an e-book novella called Broken Glass (2013).