I’ve been expecting you. You’re going to ask me if I’ve heard what the Fleet of Ages found on their return trip. I have. Wasn’t surprised when I heard it, either.
I never could wait. That was my problem. That was a failing we all shared.
I used to think that, more than any man, I understood the consequences of what those ships were supposed to bring back. When they launched I remember writing how I had a sense of apprehension; fear, but also pride. “Much the same way a lifelong gem miner must feel as he watches his sons go down that selfsame shaft.” Those were my words.
So I suppose I had no comprehension at all.
When I started mining the future, did I ever expect this? What could I have expected, if not this? You cannot take from the future and be ignorant of the past. We learned that now, too late. And we will pay the price of that lesson soon enough.
The Fleet of Ages, the Ships of Tomorrowall those other wondrous names your colleagues gave them. Not even when I brought back the technology that would allow such a colossal expedition into the future, did I imagine this. It’s just there were no signs. Not until it was too late.
Taking from the future seemed to be the one thing that defied the law of diminishing returns. Indeed, it seemed to flaunt it. Each time I traveled and looted, things would be different, though my destination time never changed. The future would always be brighter, more wondrous, filled more technological marvels for me to take back. We were able to progress without the work of it. After each trip, the present started further ahead.
Naturally, the Fleet of Ages was developed. It was the equivalent of strip-mining the future; we knew that. But we were certain that the advances we brought back would make the future more fertile. It always had before.
And such wonders the Fleet brought back! Such treasure! Such amazing advances! We were so proud of them, weren’t we? So proud. We were going to be gods before our time.
I never could wait. As soon as the Fleet came back, I had take another trip. I had to see, as soon as possible, what kind of fruit our actions had produced.
So I knew before everyone else the barren horror that is now the future.
We will not learn the lessons necessary for the proper use of what those ships have brought back. And we will misuse them. We are children playing with grenades; our destruction is inevitable
So concerned were we with what the future could give us, we lost sight of what we had to do in the present, to prepare. Because we couldn’t wait.
And now our time is past.