Friday, July 20, 2012

Those Who Laugh - Part Two

There were, of course, dozens if not hundreds of theories about why this was, and many of them were entirely probable. At least one of them was almost surely right. But it didn’t matter; the truth was, when humans found out that they were now alone in the universe, they need to see why. In person.

Well, some of them did. Somebody should be there, someone real, to look at what remained of their galactic neighbors. Someone should bear witness. Which is why Tucker Wells was so very far from his home.

He wasn’t alone. There were actually another eleven people that were under right now, and Tucker could instruct Bob to bring them up anytime. They wouldn’t mind. Twelve was determined by some sociology minded personality to be the optimum number for long term missions. Less, and the group could descend into group think in ways that would make the trip miserable for all involved. More, and they fractured into something resembling tribalism. Or so the idea went. Tucker, for his part, had his doubts.

But the protocol was that when they reached a new world in the survey, one person would be woken up first to observe first before everyone was awakened, and it was Tuckers turn in the rotation. He liked it. He enjoyed being able to think about what he saw and drawing his own conclusions.

And, frankly, it was just nice to spend sometime by himself. Tucker, like everyone else aboard, had the sort of personality that could be sent on a mission like this, where he wouldn’t get home for millennia, if ever, which meant he needed alone time.

The ship had started out much smaller than it was now. Since Bob could scavenge raw material as he went, there was no reason to wait for the ship to be full constructed before they started. When Tucker went under for the first time, the ship was basically a sleeper core with an engine attached. The first time he was brought up, it had expanded. Significantly.

Bob, being a personality created specifically for the purpose of spending centuries at a time looking at nothing but the void, was not supposed to be able to get board. Nevertheless, there was no good explanation for what Bob had done to the ship aside from boredom.

Last time, the ship looked like a chrysanthemum that has in the process of exploding. It included a gym, an artificial mountain, and an exact replica of the Oval office. Tucker wasn’t sure why, and Bob’s answers had been unfulfilling.

The ship still looked like it had more dimensions than were strictly necessary but Tucker noted that the entire ship’s corridors had been covered in rugs that appeared to depict, and Tucker was not a historian, the history of Argentina in visual form. He was pretty sure he could feel Bob waiting for him to ask about that. Tucker didn’t give him the satisfaction.

Eventually, pondering whether the personality that was responsible for their survival had gone insane or, worse, hadn’t, got old and Tucker figured it was time to actually do his job.

“Show me” he said.

And Bob did.

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