Author : Michael Blewett

Her father glanced down at the watch on his wrist. “How long?” she asked.

“Two minutes and thirty seven seconds,” he replied, gazing out the airlock window. The curtness was for her, she knew, but it was hard for her to hear – especially now.

The girl looked to her father with tears streaming down her face. In all of her lives, he had been her rock – the constant that wove the thread between centuries and tied them all together. What would she do without him?

“I know it’s hard for you to understand,” the old man offered, “but you should know that I’ve been thinking about this for a long, long time.”

“But,” she countered, “why now?”

“How long have you been with me?” he replied, his eyes still focused out the window, “Three cycles? Remember, there were five more before that. Five whole lives – five deaths; five rebirths – before I saw your beautiful face. Five lives of searching; never once did I find purpose.”

“But then you met mother, right?” she pleaded, “And then you had me. And then you found that purpose. I was that purpose, I am your purpose!”

“My star, my darling girl, if only you knew! You might, one day. Maybe you won’t, you were always more like your mother in that way.”

“You never told me why she did it,” she inquired, knowing it wasn’t the right time, “Why she refused to take the implant.”

Her father’s eyes confirmed her suspicion. It all comes back to mother; it always has.

“She hated me,” the old man said. “She didn’t always, but after you were born she… She saw me as a freak. An experiment of my own creation for one purpose and one purpose alone: to play god.”

“But, you can’t believe that!” the daughter exclaimed. “Look at what we’ve accomplished! We’ve colonized new worlds. We’ve saved countless species of life. We’ve given humanity the reason for progress; the power to accomplish!”

“And I don’t regret it,” he interjected, “I don’t regret a single thing. But what I’ve realized – what your mother realized all those years ago – is that there is no progression without an end.

“Life is not the process of living,” he continued, ”it’s the process of dying. Time without end is infinity; infinity is nothing.”

Thirty seconds.

She tried to speak, but could only cry.

He opened the airlock and stepped inside. The door shut with a hiss.

She heard the comm-link switch on. “Can you hear me?” his voice said.

Twenty seconds.

“On my desk you’ll find a large file,” he said to her through the glass, “Right now, it’s nothing but memories and thoughts, but in twenty seconds it will be my life. The work of all my lives.”

She placed her hand on the glass. He reciprocated.

Ten seconds.

“I love you,” his voice said, “my god I love you.”

She mouthed the words back.

“It was you, my star. I never knew how important it was – how important life was – until I created it. One day, maybe you’ll know what I mean.”

Five seconds.

“I only wish I could have been there to see them.”

Three seconds.

Their eyes met; nothing more needed to be said.

Two seconds.

She saw the tears welling in his eyes.

One second.

The airlock opened, ejecting him out into the end.

His face was calm as he suffocated. And, at that last moment, she saw the implant detach itself from behind his ear. Never to be uploaded into another clone – free from time, free from infinity.

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