Posts Tagged immortality

Fortnightcap: …And Taxes

…And Taxes

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

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The cameras were on her again.

The cameras were almost always on her anymore, and she still wasn’t sure how she felt about it.  It was patronizing to be sure, but there was a certain honor in it as well.  She’d become, at least she supposed, a bit of an international celebrity in the last few days.  It wasn’t the way she ever wanted to be famous, but just one moment in the sun couldn’t be too bad.

Ah.  A moment in the sun.  That would be nice.  Perhaps she would ask for that this afternoon.  It was supposed to be nice out.  Then again, it was always nice out now that weather was scheduled rather than forecast.  And that was the part of it that made her uneasy, the part of it that made her wonder if she wasn’t getting out at just the right time.  Technology had made so many of the inconveniences of life so much less inconvenient.  Raw materials were now available at the flip of a switch.  Weather could be controlled so that nice picturesque snowfalls happened only with two weeks advance notice.  People didn’t have to work anymore to get the things they wanted, now they could devote more time to leisure.

Then they had gone after the certainties of life.  Taxes were abolished two decades earlier when everything became essentially free.  Was it any wonder they went after death next.

The nanobots were little miracle workers.  That’s what she’d been told.  By doctors, by the media, by her kids, by anyone who came in contact with them and suddenly lost any sign of cancer, of aging, of heart disease.  Hell, the damn little things even kept everyone’s muscles toned according to user defined settings, allowing everyone to be as fit as they wanted with no work.

But they couldn’t fix everything.  One by one they attempted to cure the other diseases, and they managed to cut many of them off at the path.  But some people were just too far gone for the cures, for the nanobots.  And in the end, a decision was made that they couldn’t save everyone.

She was cold.  She was always cold anymore.

She’d heard she was the last one left.  The last of the Uncurables.  There’d been two, a lady named Margaret down in Texas had been holding on for awhile.  It was a sort of rivalry, at least that’s the way they played it on the news.  Sick bastards, treating her death like it was some sort of sport.  Some sort of game.  She knew there’d be celebrations when she went, and that’s the part she hated.  That’s the part that kept her going, if just to spite them.  Want to be excited that death was conquered?  Well just pardon me while I keep going on living.

It would certainly be nice to go outside this afternoon.  She’d have to remember to ask her orderly when he came around again.

And so, the last of the mortals settled in for her mid morning nap, satisfied that the party would be held off at least one more day.

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.

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Fortnightcap: Heat Death

Heat Death

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

Implications.  People never think about implications.

Immortality was one of those things people talked about wanting, talked about needing.  Of course, who doesn’t want to live forever?  I’ll tell you exactly who: everyone who is living forever.  Sure, it seemed like a great idea for a few centuries, but then the ennui kicked in.  Eventually there’s only so many time you can do everything you always wanted to do.  And in the end there’s only so many people to do things with.  After everything else is exhausted, all you can do is wander, and hope to find something new.

We left earth.  Let it become what it wanted to be.  Let it heal, gave something else their turn.  I heard of someone who went back.  I guess that was several million years ago now if there still was an earth to go back to.  He said cuttlefish had taken over, filled all the spaces that we’d left behind.  Good for them, I suppose.  In the end, it was like learning that someone had repainted a bedroom in the house sold years ago.  Any sentimentality I had for that old place left longer ago than I could really say.  Anyway, after the first billion years, time feels rather immaterial anymore.

We wandered.  And we waited.  There were others out there, those who had made our mistake, and those who hadn’t.  At least not yet.  I tried to dissuade a few planets, told them what a mistake immortality had been.  They just called me unimaginative.  I guess there are some mistakes people have to make on their own.  Touching a stove hurts.  Falling in love leads to heartbreak.  Immortality leads to meaninglessness.

The universe continued on.  And we waited.

Finally, we congregated again.  We were brought together, those humans who hadn’t found a way out, those aliens who had joined us in folly.  We were brought together around the last star in a cold and unfeeling infinite.  The universe was running out of energy, running out of stuff.  All that remained were scattered molecules and this one star, burning hot and bright as it swelled towards a super nova.  It was something to do, and then there would finally be nothing.

And we waited.  Right up until the end.  I remembered a feeling, a sensation I’d left behind so long ago.  It was anticipation.  It was hopefulness.

The star burst forth with a magnificence that stunned us all, then rapidly contracted into a dead mass.  No energy.  No heat.

We were so hopeful that the universe would take us with it.  That heat death might finally give us release.

Now what?

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.  Picture of Kepler’s Supernova courtesy of NASA, released to public domain.

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