April 11th, 2006
The crash was magnificent, heard three systems away and felt by half the galaxy. The other half were immediately informed via telepathy, televisapathy and tele-empathy, and felt as if they had felt it. Such was the impact.
The grand old captain himself, however, newly cloned and fresh from artificial endorphins and digitally inserted memories, shrugged off the whole thing. â€œEh,â€ he was quoted. â€œGood an end as any. Consider that the final voyage of Captain Shakespeare, then. Time enough I was through with the whole bit.â€
Time enough, everyone agreed with a sigh of relief. Time enough.
And so then did the immense interplanetary causeways of space and time breathe easy, free from Captain Shakespeareâ€™s impulsive reality bends and left-handed turns. The day the Captain hung his helmet and started to raise begonias, intergalactic travel safety numbers rose and deaths plummeted; no mass-murder in the history of the universe had the kill rate of Captain Shakespeare with a few bolts of Lighting Hopkins in him. Space was safe again.
But at what cost? Re-Clone stations from one solar system to another closed their doors, the demand for new bodies having plummeted so. Drastic measures needed to be taken. Heads of the Re-Clone Guild left to meet with the Captain at his home, waded through the waist-high begonias, and pleaded with the Once-Scourge of the Spaceways to again throw caution to the wind and ruin some bodies of spacetravelers.
The grand old captain met them with a perfunctory amount of grace and pleasantries, offering tea and scones. Once they had all sat down and unanimously decided upon the less than edible nature of the scones, Captain Shakespeare regaled them with the story of his original cloning. How he was asked to write more plays, and not just for the theatre he was accustomed to, but also for holo- and empath-theatres, which baffled his mind at the time.
â€œYou remember,â€ the Captain said, stroking his mustache. â€œThe Baconians put up such a fuss, claiming they were right all along. Such ridiculousness!â€ The members of the Re-Clone delegation all nodded, unsure where he was going with this. â€œIn any case, I didnâ€™t want to write any more plays. I mean, if you had lived in London when I did, what with the shit and filth andâ€¦well, I wonâ€™t go into it. But if you had, youâ€™d understand why I had to write. And why, as soon I as didnâ€™t live there and then anymore, why I wanted to take to the stars.â€
At this, the members of the delegation sat on the edge of their chairs. â€œSo, youâ€™ll be returning? To the stars?â€
â€œNo,â€ said Captain Shakespeare. â€œIâ€™ve had enough. Perhaps I shall write again. Or maybe I will continue to develop begonias. If you gentlemen would care, I have a new genus in the back, cross-bred with a venus fly-trap. Managed to get it simply enormous in stature. Itâ€™s really quite breath-taking.â€
The delegation declined, in no small amount due to the gleam in the Captainâ€™s eye. Waving them off, Captain Shakespeare suggested convincing the clone of Samuel Clemmons to take up space travel.
The delegation, who had come all this way, who had waded through begonias and munched upon scones of solid rock, sagged their shoulders futher.
They would never be able convince Clemmons.