Author : Bob Newbell

“This time we’re done for. This is finally the end, I think,” said Triana. Of course, she didn’t really “say” anything. She communicated her thoughts to her husband, Loret, by modulating the zero-point energy that comprised her being.

“You say that every time something like this comes up. ‘This is it. This is the end,'” replied Loret. “We’ve been through worse than this. Remember posthumanism?”

“Posthumanism was nothing. That never worried me,” she responded with a submodulation of annoyance.

“That’s not how I remember it. You were concerned we wouldn’t really be the same people. Our consciousnesses transferred to organic metaprocessors. Synthesized bodies. You thought it would be two impostors waking up from the procedure with our memories. But, no, it was still us.”

“That didn’t bother me that much. The transition to full machine-beings was a little worrisome,” she said.

“I thought you’d liked being a machine,” replied Loret. “You used to love exploring the galaxy. Ah, those were the days, weren’t they? Spend a few years exploring a solar system, hibernate on the journey between stars, wake up a few subjective minutes later and explore another system.”

“We were little more than kids then. Less than 10,000 years old. When you’re that young it’s easy to think you’re immortal and indestructible,” said Triana. “But now…”

“There you go again, the eternal pessimist. You haven’t been this worried since the Plasma Revolution,” said Loret.

“We lost quite a few people going from machine to plasmatic beings,” said Triana. “It took them a few thousand years to get it right. Swapping your mind between brain tissue and metaprocessor tissue and molecular computer blocks is one thing. Mapping a personality and a hundred thousand years of memories into a plasma and keeping it stable is something else entirely. If more people had been concerned, maybe we would have lost fewer…”

Loret was no longer listening. He’d have rolled his eyes if he still had them. After several trillion years of marriage, you’d think I’d have learned not to have this argument, he thought to himself.

“Well,” Loret said, “here it comes. Get ready.”

“I’m scared,” said Triana. “A vacuum metastability event isn’t like anything we’ve ever encountered. The laws of physics themselves will be different once the false vacuum collapses. Life in any form might not even be possible.”

“If it’s not, we’ve had a good, long life. If it is, we’ll adapt as we always have.”

Loret modulated his zero-point energy field in synchronization with hers — the rough analog of an embrace for their current state — as they awaited the end of the universe.

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