Author : Anthony Francis

Greed never dies. It had been forty years since my consciousness graced a human body, but the attraction is irresistible, universal, born of the survival instinct, an unquenchable desire to acquire the things needed for life — and so avarice was the only desire in my cold metal heart when I fought my partner to the death.

We were archeologists, prospecting the Kuiper Belt, mining the outermost edge of the solar system, when we struck gold in the ice: a vein of alien tech, embedded in a comet, valuable enough for a new body — for only one of us. Whichever one of us made it back to the ship first could end the other — and begin a new life.

When we realized our choice, we struck out for the ship, leaping from icy rock to icy rock, fighting the whole way. We tumbled towards the ship, his aging cybernetic body grappling with my obsolete robotic one, when I hit on a desperate chance. Aiming for the airlock, I kicked away — only he had the same thought, and kicked simultaneously. We flew apart, action and reaction, Newton’s Third Law.

The ship slid between us … and we slid into the dark.

Bullets, bodies and rockets exhausted, we drifted out into the Kuiper Belt, two new comets, bodies rich with heavy metals, technology preserved for future archaeologists, faces frozen in impotent rage. But Newton’s Universal Law is an irresistible attraction, stronger than loathing — and so, every forty thousand years, gravity brings our bodies back together, the extra pinprick of sunlight reflected off his visor briefly squeezing a trickle of juice out of my solar cells, triggering for a single instant in my mind that spark I see forever frozen in his eyes.

Because hate never dies.

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