3LBE #7
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To Our Brothers

by H. David Blalock

 

One can say it is the turn of a millennium: a millennium of generations, a millennium of thoughts, a millennium of despair.

The end is finally coming. Humanity, which had stood on the brink of destruction, greatness, and even magnificence, is winding down. Billions of generations have taken man from the savagery of its dim beginnings to the beauty and splendor of its pinnacle. Man has reached out across its own planetary system, mined the asteroids, colonized the terrestrials, reached into the hearts of the giants and extracted their essences for fuel. Humans have walked the molten surface of Mercury and frozen wastes of Pluto, lived out lives on Io and Charon, sang songs on Mars and Ganymede. And when the solar system had given up her secrets, mankind jumped to the nearest stars to do it all over again, in a cycle that repeated until humanity stretched from one end of the Milky Way to the other, a community beyond imagination.

In the same manner as the mathematical progression that doubles the number one through thirty iterations to end in the millions, mankind’s numbers progressed geometrically into the trillions of trillions. Every conceivable genetic pattern at one time existed somewhere in the galaxy, still human, but sometimes only in name. Humans had wings, multifaceted eyes, shared traits with their animal and insect cousins, but behind all those differences in appearance lie the intelligence that differentiated mankind from the rest of the creatures in the galaxy.

We had almost despaired of finding other life in the galaxy until suddenly dozens of races appeared as if from nowhere. Some speculated that the very existence of humanity itself precipitated the beginnings of those races. Others denied the influence of humanity as anything but a tutor for the newcomers. In the end, as the end approached, it made little difference. We became revered by the child races as The Fathers, held in superstitious awe and esteem. As time went on, the old disputes over the child races’ origins were forgotten and we accepted our role as the parent.

At some point in that progression, our own iterations began to repeat. Even infinity, it seems, has a limit when faced with itself. Billions of solar years passed and we struggled to reach beyond the Milky Way, sending out expeditions to Andromeda and all the other galaxies. Perhaps, after humanity has long been forgotten in the memories of the other races of the Milky Way as anything other than a legend, one of those exploratory ships, built the size of planetary systems themselves, will once again carry our children into the misty heights of greatness within the confines of a galaxy millions of light-years away.

For those of us who stayed behind there is little left undone except for the tending of the child races. And even that is soon to be unnecessary.

It is the end of a millennium. Our charges are children no more. They have reached out into their own systems and stretch themselves into their neighbor stars. Our role as parents is nearing an end.

If you should return, brothers, from your far wanderings, and find these child races indulging themselves in the foolishness we indulged ourselves in during our own youth, remember not to judge too harshly. In spite of our mistakes, in spite of our ignorance, in spite of our internal hatred of ourselves, we eventually reached out to touch the edges of the universe. We felt the life force of suns and nurtured the beginnings of our successors in time. We took our place in the skein of destiny and executed our duties with dignity.

Can you do any differently?

 

 

H. David Blalock has, for the last 25 years, been a writer of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror whose works can be seen today on the web at Aphelion, Alternate Realities, Tandra, Pathway to Darkness, Dark Moon Rising, and many other webzines. In print since 1990, his works have appeared in The Boston Freethinker Newsletter, Devachan Magazine, numerous poetry collections, and two short story anthologies (Monsters From Memphis and More Monsters From Memphis). He is currently working on two novels and expects his contribution to the newest Monsters anthology to appear shortly. David lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with his wife, computer, and dog.


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ISSUE #7

October 2000

FICTION

ART