Thứ Tư, 29 tháng 5, 2019

The caretaker of a generation ship was on his death bed

Many years before Jacques had helped place all his friends and family into cryogenic sleep. He was a young man then and they all knew that he would likely be long dead by the time they reached their destination. They said their tearful goodbyes and drifted off to sleep.

In the years he spent alone on the ship, he became adept at building small robots to help him complete his tasks. He formed relationships with the little bots, but he found he missed the companionship of real humans. He would take small stints in the cryogenic chambers in order to prolong his life, so as to complete his mission of getting his friends and family to their new home. But a long life with no one real to talk to is lacking.

With his knowledge of robotics, he took it upon himself to build an artificial human. Something that looked real. Something that felt real. Something that would make the unbearable loneliness go away.

He didn’t feel right copying the likeness of any members of the sleeping crew, so he modeled the robot on himself. By the time he was done, there “he” was, a perfect replica of Jacques himself. He named the robot Jacques 2.0, because who else was there to get confused? And as he grew older, it would be easier to remember his own name, he figured.

Well, years passed as they are want to do. He grew old and frail on the journey, but Jacques 2.0 remained as lively and youthful as ever, helping his creator to complete the tasks the old man’s bones could no longer handle.

As the old man lay dying, he asked his robotic companion to do him a favor. He wanted his remains to be scattered among the stars, the asteroids, and the comets they passed. He did not want to be buried on a planet he would never see, but instead live on in the vastness of space that had become his home. So when the day finally came, Jacques 2.0 sent his creator’s ashes out of the airlock and into the universe.

But the journey was not over. Jacques 2.0 carried on his creator’s duties for years and helped the crew arrive on their new home. As the ship grew close to the planet, he pulled the switch to wake the crew. One by one they woke from their long sleep and travelled to the observation deck to see their new home. When they arrived, though, they found themselves in complete shock. There was Jacques, as lively and youthful as ever, waiting for them.

“How can this be?” They asked. “Surely you would at the very least be an old, old man by now. It has been so long since we left Earth.”

Jacques 2.0 raised his hands slightly in a calming gesture and said, “Do not worry. I am here to send you a message of love and care from Jacques. I was created to help him complete his mission. I may look like him, but in truth, I am not him. For you see,” and with this he gestured towards the stars and space above their heads, “the real Jacques is in the comets.”

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