What follows is a work of
This series will include detailed
descriptions of sexual encounters between a human male and other males from various alien races in a science fiction setting.
If this is not the type of story you
would enjoy, please stop reading now.
If there is any reason legal or
otherwise why you should not read such a story, please stop reading
If you are the type of person who
has any difficulty whatsoever separating fantasy from reality, please stop
That said if you are still reading I
do hope you enjoy the story.
This story is the property of the
author and may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any way without my
express, written consent. Nifty.org has my express
About the story:
series tells the story of an ordinary man who's life is near its
natural end, but who suddenly finds himself, at the moment of the
unexpected destruction of his world, the victim of an alien
abduction with a bizarre motive, that ultimately opens the entire
universe to him and propels him into a life of adventure that he'd
imagined was even possible. He eventually finds himself thrust
front and center into events that could, both figuratively and quite
literally, change the shape of the entire known universe.
story will involve detailed and
explicit descriptions of sex between a human male and several different
species of aliens that are often animal-like, but with human-like
morphology, that will often border
on bestiality by our society's standards. All beings involved are
sentient, willing and most definitely eager
participants. In the context of this imagined
universe these acts are considered completely normal. Things may
get a bit too weird for some people. If you've read The Hawthorne
Accord you have had a taste of the level of detail the sex
series will be quite story heavy especially at first, so those who are
looking for a quick wank may want to look elsewhere. It will take
a short time to get into the type of action that rates posting the story
on Nifty but once we arrive there the flood gates will open. If you're in a hurry to bust a nut this is not the
story for you. However, if you enjoy sci-fi sprinkled with hot sex come back when you
have more time and enjoy the ride. :)
Once I get past the
dry setup of the universe things will settle into a rhythm that will be
familiar to anyone who's read any of my other stories that will try to
balance exposition, conflict and resolution in each chapter to keep
things flowing well.
I hope that you enjoy it.
Look for more of my stories under the pseudonym JakeXtraTall at http://www.nifty.org/nifty/authors.html#JakeXtraTall
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Favors of the First Ones - Chapter 1
Smith stood and looked out over the grey city from his vantage point at
the window of his corner office on the twenty seventh floor for what
would be the last time ever. It was a dull, gloomy and cloudy day that
perfectly matched his current mood.
It was his last day of work for
the rest of his life.
Most people would rejoice and celebrate
the fact that they would never have to work again. Unfortunately for
Jake the circumstances of his exit were nothing like he'd ever imagined.
In fact, he'd never really imagined himself quitting his career.
was sixty eight years old and many people in his position would have
likely retired many years earlier. He'd been an executive for the
company for a great many years and his pension was fat and he'd managed to save a
considerable sum of money in various personal investments that he'd been building ever since he was a young man. He
had more money than he would likely ever need; especially given the
fact that he had no family to support and his needs were so few.
been so successful early on in his career that he could
easily have afforded to retire decades ago while he was still young
enough to actually go out and do something with all that free time.
could have traveled. He could have fallen in love with someone.
could have developed all of the hobbies he'd been interested in but
never quite had the time to explore. He could have simply
relaxed and enjoyed his freedom. He could have done any and all
of the things that most normal people consider to be the reasons for
being alive in the first place instead of living a solitary, empty and essentially meaningless existence.
since reaching adulthood he'd been driven to work. It was the
only thing that
gave his life any meaning and structure, the only thing that had truth
and solidity, the only thing that helped him to forget how messed up
his life was. So he'd continued to work day in and day
out through the years, putting off all of those other things that make
up a normal life until later when he had more time. On
through the years he kept putting life off always thinking there would
be time later.
His time ran out though when he'd finally been
diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer
just over a month ago. He'd been losing weight and becoming much
more tired and run down than was normal even for someone his age.
The cancer had apparently metastasized already and spread to his
liver, kidneys and lungs. He likely had considerably less than a year to live
and of course he
now spent all of his time regretting the fact that he did not make his
exit from his career long ago to simply live and enjoy life while he
could. Hindsight of course is always clear and sharp while
foresight can be severely lacking. If he'd known when he was
young what he knew now, he would have lived a completely different life.
Now it was too late.
always felt that when his life came to an end the scales that would
determine his level of success would be weighed heavily by his professional accomplishments
and that he would feel his life had been well spent. What a fool he'd
been. He now realized that the scale was indeed weighed heavily but that it had been
pinned down on the wrong side, and it was being held that way by the
weight of all of his regrets for all of the things he'd never done.
had a very successful career, there
was no denying that, but in the end that was his one and only
accomplishment on the one side of the scale and it felt like an
empty win. On the other side of the scale were
the regrets of never having truly loved someone. Of never having shared
his life in any meaningful way with anyone. Never having gone out
explored the world. Never having taken any risks or had any
adventures. He'd never jumped from a plane with a parachute
to his back or off a bridge with a cord tied to his ankles. He'd
never dived down to a reef to see the natural wonder
there or been swept down a raging river in a kayak. He'd never
climbed a mountain or flown a plane or raced a car. He'd never
written a book or painted a picture or learned to play an instrument.
He'd never mentored a child or taught an evening class.
He'd never joined a baseball or soccer team. He'd never
even simply made a bunch of friends that he could go to the movies with
or on camping trips or just hang out. He'd never truly lived.
He'd simply been too busy with work. To be honest with
himself he realized he'd made himself to busy with work.
It didn't have to be that way. He could have done anything. All
of the amazing things he could have done with his life were all piled
up on the other side of the scale so high that he could never see the
top. They were innumerable and immeasurable and they all haunted him
now that his time was up. Why had he never taken the time to really live? If he had
attempted even a small fraction of the things in that mountain of
possibilities he would have been able to consider his life well lived,
but instead he'd done nothing but work.
had been a vital, healthy, attractive and desirable man in his youth.
By the time he was full grown he was 6 feet 5 inches tall and
weighed on average around 250 pounds. His weight was all muscle
and bone way back then and he made an imposing and extremely fit figure of
a man. Now he was a thin stick-like shadow of his former self.
His body was already showing signs of being ravaged by his cancer
and he looked a good ten years older than he actually was. He was
now not much more than greyish sagging age spotted skin stretched over
a thin skeleton. He could barely remember what it was like to be
healthy, young and strong.
He was gay and had been for as long
as he could remember, but he had never once acted on his desire.
He was gay at a time when being gay was in no way easy, or even
safe, and was not at all accepted by normal society. He'd chosen
to deny his desires because he did not wish to be a pariah. He
was raised in a strict catholic setting and he truly felt that his
sexual appetites were wrong and would lead him to damnation. They
were unnatural and immoral. His views had changed over time to
the point that he'd lost all faith in any higher power and realized
that the human race itself was just a beautiful aberration in the
universe that had sprung up on its own without any creator being
responsible. He'd renounced his religion and given up on those
childish beliefs when he realized that it seemed as though there were rational explanations for
everything in the known universe.
He no longer needed God so he
let him go as an aging adult the same way he did Santa Clause when he'd
been a boy. He felt sad when he realized there was no God, not
because the human race was on its own and there would be no salvation
or eternal life for him, but rather because the entirety of the
fruitful part of his life had been controlled by this ridiculous belief
in an imaginary higher power that would judge him and damn him to hell if he
followed his desires.
Those changes in his beliefs had occurred
in the last ten years or so when it was already too late to begin
living as who he truly was. Back when he was young he really
believed he would be sinning if he lay with a man so he never did.
Unfortunately, he was in no way attracted to females so this
meant that he chose to live a life alone. He could not bring
himself to enter into marriage with a woman that he had no desire for
and could never truly love, and he could not bring himself to enter
into a relationship with another man that he would have to keep hidden
and secret because of its immoral nature. He could never show his
true self to his family and that caused him to drift further and
further away from them until eventually they became complete strangers.
He could not bring himself to tell anyone of the way he was and
yet he could not bring himself to form relationships based on the lie
that he was anything else, so he wasn't even able to form lasting
friendships with anyone. He could not find any way to come to
terms with his sexuality and so he immersed himself in his career in
the hopes that it would help him forget what he was and give his life
some purpose and direction.
Now he stood a sixty eight year old virgin who was utterly alone in the world.
was a human being though
and he could not completely ignore his needs so over the years he did
the only thing
he felt he could do to keep the urges under control; he masturbated.
He did it more and more frequently over time and his
imagination ran through endless combinations of sexual acts with
countless imagined people in ever more complex fantasies.
He found that his tastes covered pretty much the complete gamut
of what could be considered a sexual act. Recently he'd even
begun to imagine sex with males from fantasy races of all shapes and
sizes to the point that they would invade into his subconscious and he
would experience wet dreams while he slept. He had become so
comfortable with even the wildest fantasies that he found it hard to
believe how much guilt and
shame he'd originally felt even just from masturbating to these
fantasies early on. Over
the years he learned to accept the fact that he was hurting no one and
he allowed himself to explore every urge in his fantasies.
that he was fully aware that it was in no way a sin or even remotely
immoral to be homosexual, his biggest regret in life was not acting on
his desires. Over the years society had become much more
accepting to the point that now almost everyone knew someone who was
gay and it was simply not a big deal. If things had been that way
in his youth Jake may have lived a much more rewarding life.
the end he realized it was his
denial of his own sexual identity that had ruined his entire
life. He wished before he died that he could find young people who
feeling the same way he had and try to impress upon them the importance
of just letting themselves be who they are and not to waste their lives
the way he had.
If he had it all to do over again he would make it his mission to
try everything he'd ever imagined in his head with someone else and to
allow himself to fall in love if he were ever lucky enough
to find the right guy.
It was too late now though. Not
only was he dying but he was much too old to start truly living even if he hadn't gotten sick.
He often fantasized about getting
a second chance. Of somehow traveling back through time retaining
all of the knowledge he had and slipping back into his youthful body
and living as he now knew he should have done from the beginning.
It was a childish dream and he tried not to dwell too much on it
though. It was too painful to think of how his life had been
He turned and looked into his office for the last time.
His personal effects had been sent down to his car where his
driver now waited for him and the office was bare and empty.
There was nothing else to do but leave and begin a long and
grueling course of chemotherapy to try to hold the cancer back for as
long as possible.
As he looked into the office
he noticed that even though the sun was not out and it was a dark and
gloomy day he was casting a shadow on the back wall. He turned
back to look outside and saw something very odd. The clouds not
far from his building had begun to emit a strange orange glow that was
very slowly brightening.
He began to notice a dull vibration
through his feet. It was like the office building was a tuning
fork that had been struck and was sending concussive waves up through
his frame. He felt a pressure on his ear drums as though there
was an inaudible low frequency sound beating against them. He
even felt strange in his core like something in the atmosphere was
changing rapidly, like a static charge was building.
He looked down to the street and for
the most part people seemed to be moving about as
they normally would, though here and there he could see the odd person
who was running with a cellphone held to their ear looking somewhat
alarmed. Something was happening but not everyone seemed to be in
on it yet. He heard some commotion out in the hall so he went out
to see what was going on.
Irene, one of the girls in the
administrative group, was in near hysterics. She was babbling
something about it being so unfair and there was nothing they could do.
A few people around her looked pale and in shock.
"What's going on?" he asked.
was no warning! They didn't see it until a few hours ago. A
meteorite. A big one. A world ender! It's all over!"
Irene shouted hysterically.
"Who told you this? How do you know?" Jake asked.
pointed to her desktop monitor and there was a message flashing that
indicated essentially what she had just said. There was a radio
on her desk that was also emitting an emergency alert signal.
Jake quickly sat at her workstation and followed some of the
links and searched other sites. The story was corroborated in
several locations and it had been spreading like wildfire over the
The beeping on the radio stopped and a robotic voice
began to give out essentially the same information. Hours ago
several astronomers had spotted a small asteroid estimated to be twenty
miles across as it passed close enough to the moon to nearly impact it.
It had been approaching from the sunward side so there was no way
to see it coming until it was too late.
near miss with the
moon had altered the rock's course just enough to align it perfectly
with the earth. It was traveling at incredible speed accelerated
by a slingshot pass near the sun over a year ago and it was now coming
up behind the Earth's orbit essentially chasing it and would impact the
Earth at approximately 2:38 PM local time, just under forty minutes
from now. The scientists estimated that the effect of its impact
would be to vaporize millions of tons of the Earth's crust sending the
molten rock up in to the atmosphere where the super heated particles
would spread out, heating the air to nearly 3000 degrees fahrenheit on
reentry. It would be an event catastrophic enough to end most
life on the surface and perhaps even life in the oceans. The
meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs was
estimated to be six miles across. This one was several times
Jake was numb with shock. His first thought was
that he would much prefer to go quickly and unexpectedly like this rather
than taking up to a full year to die in pain from his cancer, but he quickly realized how
selfish that was. All of these people he'd worked with, all of
their families, everyone in the world was about to die. Snuffed
out without warning. All of those people out there who really
were living life the way Jake should have done are going to have it all
taken from them and the vast majority of them don't even know it and
won't know until it hits.
Everything the human race had ever
accomplished and everything it could have ever become would all be
melted into slag with no evidence that any of
it had ever happened. It had all been for nothing. The universe would be empty of life once
again with no one to look out into the cosmos and understand it. To appreciate
its beauty. Carl Sagan had once said that human beings were the
universe's way of knowing itself. Well, it was about to forget
everything it knew.
The world suddenly seemed like a small ant
farm that a careless boy had just dropped and it was about to land in
the campfire and shatter, burning the entire population in an instant.
The fragile experiment that was the human race was coming to a an
abrupt and untimely end.
He didn't know what to do. Really, given the timing there was nothing he could
do. There was nothing to be gained by trying to get out anywhere.
No place would be safe and there was no time to go any great
distance. He had no one to try to call though he was sure within
minutes the phone systems would be overloaded and non-functional
anyhow. He should not add to the load but leave it for people who
have loved ones they need to say goodbye to.
There was simply
nothing for Jake to do but wait for the end.
vibration he was feeling through his feet seemed to be getting stronger
and the atmospheric charge he'd felt continued to build. He felt
he should be overcome with fear but really he felt nothing but sadness and
He'd already resigned himself to his own death from
cancer so it was a simple matter to include the rest of the world in
If anything the fact that his demise was brought forward to
happen within the hour was almost a relief to him.
He walked back to
his office to watch the event through his window. The orange glow
in the clouds had grown much brighter and the thrumming sensation of the
pressure waves ahead of what was coming down at them was getting very
strong. The meteorite must be coming from almost right above the
center of the city. What were the odds of that? At least
their deaths would be the quickest of all.
What would cause the rock to heat up so soon though? It
should still be a hell of a long way out. It wouldn't be coming
in slowly but would slam in at high speed. It should
only glow when it hits the atmosphere and at the speed the rock was
traveling that shouldn't happen until there are only minutes left until
impact. That was still more than half an hour away so there
should be no sign of it yet.
This vibration and glow had been
building for so long it was almost as if whatever was causing it was
slowing down as it approached rather than speeding up.
as he watched, the glow grew
brighter but more localized until it was becoming an intense bright
orange spot near the bottom of the clouds and then suddenly a large
glowing ball burst through the bottom of the cloud deck and was slowing
almost to a stop as the pressure waves ceased and things went quite
again. The ball was already darkening into an angry red color as
if it was cooling off rapidly while slowly continuing its decent toward
the downtown core of the city.
As it cooled Jake saw that the
ball was becoming transparent and revealing what appeared to be a
it. The sphere must be some sort of force field protecting the
from the heat of friction as it entered the atmosphere. As
the last of the dull red glow faded away the force field became completely
invisible so that there was only a ship slowly descending toward the city.
What the fuck was going on here? A world ending meteorite and now alien invaders?
craft was fairly simple and clean looking. It was shaped somewhat
like an old fashioned dumbbell turned on its end with a ball at each
end of a shaft but
the ball at one end was smaller than the other. It was oriented
such the large ball was at the bottom and there was a large disk at the
bottom of it glowing faintly blue. The shaft that connected the
two spheres rose straight up
and attached to the smaller ball at the top. It looked to be
about a hundred feet long with the sphere at one end being around
twenty feet across or so and the other one twice that size. There
were no windows anywhere on it. Jake could not even see any lines
indicating doors or joints or landing gear or any sort of external
attachments. The entire surface was smooth and
reflective almost like highly polished chrome.
finally slowed to a stop nearly at Jake's eye level twenty seven stories up a couple of blocks
away from his building near the center of a park. It then
slowly leaned over and reoriented itself so that the shaft was level
and then it began to turn.
As the craft turned and
started moving in his direction he saw that the small end must
be the front of it.
Jake's heart began to hammer in his chest as
he realized it was heading straight towards the building he
was standing in. In fact, it appeared to be heading right toward
Jake was standing
It got closer and closer and grew larger but did not appear
to be slowing down as it came toward the office building. It was
beginning to look as though the craft was going to crash into the
would impact right on the corner where Jake's office was.
turned and ran while yelling for everyone to get away from the wall but
in typical fashion everyone instead ran down the hall toward him to see
what was going on just as there was a loud crash. The craft
impacted the building with enough force that it came in through the
wall and shattered the windows that made up the inner walls of the
office opening it up to the hallway and the ship came to a sudden stop.
It was completely unscathed and it hung perfectly still for a few
moments with the front of it intruding right into the building and then a long slot formed in the front sphere that widened and
lowered to become a walkway.
Jake and his coworkers all stood stunned
along the hallway looking into the office through the shattered glass
wall as three large creatures came down the walkway and stopped on
the floor of Jake's office.
They looked vaguely like thickly
built crocodiles that walked on two legs. They were not wearing
any sort of space suits or breathing apparatus that Jake could see.
They were wearing some sort of uniform and appeared to have small
weapons or tools attached to their belts. They were somewhat
shorter than Jake and they were extremely muscular. They
looked graceful and moved with a sort of coordination and
confidence that didn't seem to fit right in Jake's mind. He would
expect muscular lizard-like aliens to lumber clumsily around like he'd
seen in the movies or cartoons but these were powerful and smooth and athletic in their movement.
of them had a device in his hand and looked as though he was the leader
of the team. He looked around at the shocked people who were
staring back at them and his gaze settled on Jake. He brought the device up to his mouth and
he made a series of hissing sounds.
The device then emitted a
perfectly normal male human voice that said, "One of you
is Jake Smith. Step forward."
Once again Jake was numb with shock. Why the hell would an alien call his name? What did they want with him?
crocodile did not move his eyes off of Jake so it seemed he already had
a good idea who he was. Jake's
coworkers began to move away from him and this made it obvious.
The croc moved swiftly forward while
removing something from his belt. Jake began to back away but the
crocodile quickly grabbed his wrist and placed the tool against it.
Jake felt a slight pricking sensation and the crocodile released
him and checked the display on the tool. He turned to the others
and nodded and they advanced toward Jake to stand on either side of
him, but rather than grabbing him they appeared almost to take a
protective stance as if to keep Jake safe.
He didn't know what to
do. He began to panic and was getting ready to turn and try to run but
the lead crocodile was already hissing into his translation device
again and the human voice said, "Please do not be concerned. We
do not mean to harm you. Quite the opposite. We are here to
remove you from the imminent destruction of this planet."
hissed several times again and the device said, "I apologize for the
way this is being done but as you may already know your world is about
to die and we do not have time to do it the correct way. We
were lucky to have made it in time to complete our mission."
Jake was completely flummoxed. What the hell was going on here? What did he have to do with their mission?
creature continued to hiss with some urgency into the device and the
voice said, "It is against our laws to remove you without your consent
but I do not have the time to explain properly. I must ask you to
choose without the full knowledge of what your choice entails.
Stay and die with your people now or come with us and live for as
long as you care to."
Jake hesitated. What the hell was this? How did they know his name? Why was he being singled out?
about these other people? They're young and they have their whole
lives ahead of them! I'm old, sick and dying and have little time
left as it is. Can't they come with you?" he asked.
The creature listened and then shook his head while
hissing for a while into the device and again the human voice
spoke, "Your concern for your people is to be expected but there is no
room in our craft for any but you. You are the only one we came
for. None of the others would serve our purpose. Your age
and your sickness are no longer a concern for you. Come with us
and be healthy again to live a life whose span is yours to choose or
stay and end it now."
Again Jake hesitated. What the
bloody hell could all this be about? What did the alien mean be
healthy and live as long as he wants? Why him? He wasn't
sure if he should go with them, but the alternative was certain death
by giant fireball. He had to go. What else could he do?
Still, as he'd thought earlier, death by instantaneous meteorite vaporization
would be loads better than a slow and agonizing withering from cancer.
Did they mean to cure him somehow and extend his life?
creature hissed some more and turned toward the ship and began to make
his way up the walkway as the voice from the translator said, "We have
no more time to discuss this. It will take our shuttle some time
to accelerate out of this gravity well and we must escape before the
meteorite impacts the planet. It was necessary for us to descend
at a much steeper angle than normal and our craft's energy barrier was
nearly depleted absorbing the heat of entry into your planet's
atmosphere and will take some time to recharge. It will not be
ready to withstand the heat when the meteorite impacts and sets the air
ablaze. We must leave immediately but we cannot take you by
force. Come now and live or
stay and die. The choice is yours."
The alien then entered the craft while
the other two creatures moved back to the walkway and paused on either
side looking one last time at him and Jake knew he had no time to think
about it any further. If he wanted a chance to live then he really had no choice.
He came to the decision that for once in his life he should do something risky just to see how it feels.
come!" he shouted and ran toward them and up the walkway into the craft
while the two other creatures followed him in.
leader was already taking one of two seats at the back of the sphere
that made up the front of the craft. There was another creature
seated at the center chair in a row of three in the middle of
the sphere. He'd been there all along and must be the pilot.
One of the two creatures that had followed Jake back into the
ship sat in one of the front three seats while the other led Jake to
the second seat at the back next to the leader and waited while Jake
sat down. The creature then turned and took the third seat in the
middle of the sphere and tapped on some controls that caused the
walkway to draw upward and the sphere closed itself off again.
interior of the craft was lit by a diffuse light whose source Jake
could not pinpoint. It almost seemed to be emanating from the
inner surface of the sphere.
was in felt sort of like memory foam. The alien that had been speaking to him
and who was now seated next to him reached over and tapped something on
the arm of the chair and the seat beneath and behind him seemed
almost to liquefy as it began to actively and rapidly conform to the
Jake's body and sucked him deeply in to cradle him as though it had
been carefully molded for him. Curved bars extended automatically
out from under his arms and beside his thighs and moved across him to
secure him snuggly. They also seemed to melt against him to
to his body. The whole thing then instantly hardened up to
hold the shape. He felt snug and secure without being squeezed in
any way. It was like he was merged with the chair. His arms
were still free to move and he could turn his head.
looked over at the creature next to him and the croc looked back at him
with what looked like a smile and a nod as he tapped his own chair and
got similarly tied in.
The pilot up front hissed some things and there
were a few beeps and although there were no windows and Jake couldn't see
outside he felt the craft begin to move backward and dislodge itself
from the office building with a slight shudder and then it smoothly
rotated and moved away from the building while beginning to arc upward
into the sky.
The pilot tapped again on his seat arm and Jake was
startled when suddenly the sphere seemed to disappear around them and
he saw out into the open sky. The tall buildings of the downtown
core began to rush by and downward on either side as the ship
accelerated up toward the cloud deck.
He realized quickly that
the inside surface of the sphere including the flat floor of it were
covered in what must be some sort of display material, like OLED,
that was showing what was outside of the sphere. It made it
appear as though the sphere had vanished or turned completely
transparent but it was essentially just a projection. From the
outside it must still look like a dumbbell shaped silvery craft, but
from inside he could see only the chairs and those seated in them and his feet looked to be
dangling over empty air as the city began to speed past below him, yet
he could feel the solid floor of the craft under them. The effect
was slightly stomach churning as it seemed like the five of them were
all hurtling through the air on five chairs that were flying in
Strange symbols began to appear here and there around
them as though they hung in the air. They must be status
information that was also being displayed on the walls for the pilots.
nausea he felt at being on a chair flying through the sky
quickly gave way to a sense of intense thrill. He felt as though
he was on the best amusement ride ever designed. He could feel
the acceleration building against his body but it was not growing at an
alarming rate. It grew until it was steady and strong and then
held there as the craft built more and more speed and continued its
He was amazed at how smoothly the ship sliced
through the air. He'd seen videos of what it was like for
astronauts who were launched into space on rockets and this was nothing
like that. He wished he could see the ship from the outside to
see if they were riding a tail of hot gas like a rocket ship. He
suspected it used some other form of propulsion though.
was not shuddering or shaking and he could feel no vibrations nor was
there any loud noise. There was a soft sort of hum that seemed
almost to resonate in his teeth but other than that and the smooth,
powerful and steady acceleration he could feel nothing else.
There was no roar and no sound of wind rushing past, there was no sound whatsoever from outside. It was
eerie to be moving so quickly and yet so silently. The
only sounds were the occasional soft beeps and some hissing from
what seemed like status messages coming from the craft in the aliens'
The craft had entered the thick clouds but as it sped
faster and faster forward it was not being buffeted in any way.
It was as though the air were parting somewhere out in front of
them and coming back together behind them. The dense cloud seemed
to be much further out than the size of the sphere they were in and he
realized it must be the large bubble of force they were encased in
protecting the entire ship from the turbulence of the atmosphere.
They burst up through the top of the cloud deck into bright
sunlight and now Jake could see how incredibly fast they were already moving.
The ship must be designed to get them up and out as quickly as
possible without stressing their bodies. It was like they were
accelerating out in an ever growing spiral orbit instead of trying to
take on gravity head on by going straight up which would cause their
bodies to be wracked by the type of excessive G-forces that astronauts
trained long and hard to be ready for.
This must be the reason
why they'd been in such a hurry to get going. The trip to orbit would be
smooth and safe but it would take them much longer than blasting
straight upward like an Apollo rocket.
settled in for the
He was looking forward with great anticipation to emerging
into space. When he was little he'd dreamed, like most boys did,
of becoming an astronaut and traveling out into space. He
couldn't believe that now, at the end of his life and so many decades
after having given up those dreams, it was really going to happen.
For now there wasn't much to see. The clouds were
dropping away below them while they sped past at almost a blur.
The sky was blue but beginning to darken as the atmosphere
thinned, and the sun was visibly starting to move across the sky above
them as they began to build enough speed to outrun it as they circled
No matter how fast they went, the acceleration continued steadily
without letting up and propelled them faster and faster forward.
looked over to the creature next to him and saw
him staring back with what appeared to be a smile on his face.
He tapped something on the arm of his chair and then hissed
toward Jake and the voice that emerged from the seat said, "I must
apologize once more for the abruptness of your removal from your world.
My name is Srythryn and it is my extreme pleasure to meet
you Jake. You are the
first human I have ever seen in person. This must be quite an
for you. I understand that your people have not yet advanced to
the point of routine travel into space."
correctly. We started the process of exploring space over forty years
ago but our species was not intelligent enough to see any value in
rushing it forward and our governments began to limit funding so that
progress came almost to a halt. In the beginning we'd sent men
out into space in ever more complex missions to the point where we
finally had human beings actually walking on the surface of the moon.
Those days are long past now. It was deemed too expensive
and dangerous and unnecessary and we switched to some light exploration
with machines and probes while occasionally tossing people up into
orbit for a while. If we'd maintained the momentum of our
push and moved further out into space in a bigger way and more
permanently we might not all be
stuck on a rock that's about to be destroyed by another rock," Jake
Srythryn nodded and
hissed while the translator said, "Few species had the foresight to
invest all of their wealth and effort to get off the confines of their
planet as quickly as possible in order to protect their futures.
Many races who did not see the
wisdom in moving their development of outer space forward in a timely
fashion no longer exist. Some, like yours, have been saved to
some degree and joined the rest of us in the wide universe to enjoy its
"Saved? Are you saying the human race will not be wiped out by the meteorite?" Jake asked.
after a fashion, yes. Everyone currently on your planet will be
shortly destroyed. It is a tragedy and had we known it was coming
sooner we may have been able to prevent it. We did not know of
the danger until a short time ago. We were already approaching
your planet from the outward side to retrieve you when our mother craft alerted us to the
danger coming from the inward side and we had to take this small ship and rush forward at top speed
to get to you in time. This ship does not have the energy to
divert the meteorite or weapons to destroy it and the mother ship cannot get into range in time.
Many species began their development of space by building
external defenses against such an event. It is unfortunate that
your people did not advance to that stage quite quickly enough."
they spoke Jake saw that the sky had darkened almost completely into night
and the sun had set behind them as they passed into the night side of
the planet and continued to accelerate steadily. The sky above
was now a very dark blue and stars were beginning to peek out.
your species was seen to have developed far enough to send your
people to your moon, you were deemed to be
sufficiently advanced and ready to be included in the match and a
select few could begin to be brought out to join the rest of us.
Since that time there
are tens of thousands of your species who have been removed from the
your planet, just as you have been, although for them it
was somewhat less abrupt. They are currently scattered out in the
their lives. There should be sufficient genetic diversity to
rebuild your species on a temporary planet while you wait for your
home world to heal but the cost will be enormous. Even with all of
your people pooling their resources you may not be able to secure the
necessary funding. If you do it will likely take hundreds of
thousands of your years to do so, and then it will take tens of
thousands of years to rebuild your numbers. This may seem
you now but you will soon find that there is no need to rush anything
any longer. You now have all the time that remains in the
universe to do whatever you see fit provided you can afford it."
"What do you mean 'all the time that remains'? Is the universe coming to an end?"
at least not for another fourteen billion years or so. I simply
mean that the length of your life
has no real limit now other than the time remaining for the universe
itself. Your span has been funded for unlimited returns by your
sponsor. They must be very wealthy indeed. It will be in
your best interests to keep them happy so that they keep the contract
"What do you mean by sponsor? What contract? Why were you coming for me? What's special about me?" Jake asked.
questions will be answered for you soon by those who hired us to
retrieve you and others like you. This craft we are on now is merely a shuttle and we
are currently destined to dock with our main ship where the others
await you and they will explain everything to you while they prepare
you for your new life. Normally that explanation would be given
before you are even removed from your natural life so that you will
know what you are getting into and can make an informed choice, but
there was simply no time to do it right and much wealth has been
expended to retrieve you so we had to remove you more abruptly than
normally or lose our investment. We still had to let you choose
or we would face dire consequences, but I realize that given the lack
of any real choice you had, come or die, it may seem more like an
abduction to you than anything else. I hope that you will think
of it more as a rescue and know that your life will be more than
anything you could have possibly imagined. You are one of the few
among your people who have been selected by the Matchmakers."
"The Matchmakers? Who or what are they?"
lizard like creature hissed and smiled and the translator said, "They
currently await you on the mother ship and they will explain everything
to you. Sit back and enjoy the trip. Your life will be
changing in wonderful ways in the very near future. I envy you.
I have lived for so long now that I would love to have it all be
new to me again. It is not often that I have the pleasure of
meeting a race I've never seen before, let alone one that is so exotic
and different from all the rest. I have seen an image of what you
will become Jake and I must say that I was very much intrigued by it. You will be quite beautiful.
"I have been studying your
people during our journey to your world to collect you and I find the
images I've seen of your people very appealing. As we approached
I have even managed to tap into and decipher your peoples' pornography
library that you called 'Internet' and have been very much aroused by
what I saw there. I can understand
why the humans are among the most popular partners and in the highest
demand at the moment. With the destruction of your race and the
limited number of you now in the universe you will be more sought after
than ever. I look forward with great anticipation to
getting to know you better after the Matchmakers have reinstalled you."
"Reinstalled? What do you mean?"
was a bleeping and more symbols began to pop up around them and there
was a great deal of hissing coming from the craft's computer system and
Srythryn raised his hand to silence Jake and turned his attention
to the information being displayed while he began tapping at controls
on the arms of his
The crocs in front began hissing and working the controls
and then Srythryn turned back to Jake and spoke and the
translator said, "We are not quite at escape velocity yet but the
meteorite will be impacting the other side of the planet within seconds
and we must ensure we are well above the plume as we pass over it.
There will be an increase in acceleration in order to get us the
rest of the way out quickly. Do not be alarmed. We are in
craft began to accelerate much more powerfully
and Jake felt a lurch as the formation of seats they were flying in
began to rise at a steeper angle. The earth was now moving below
him so fast they'd already been around it one complete revolution.
They had come back around to the daylight side and were now
passing over the Americas again and it looked like they would be
around to the other side once more in less than a minute.
above them had been darkening steadily as they rose out of the Earth's
atmosphere but now it was as black as space and the stars were brighter
and clearer and far more numerous than he'd ever seen even though the
sun was passing smoothly and rapidly over head and rushing to set
behind them again. It was like orbiting the planet at high speed
in outer space while simply
sitting in a chair. There was no space ship or space suit to get in the way and
he could look out with amazing clarity in every direction including
downward below his feet to the beautiful view of the continents with
their clearly defined rivers, lakes, forests and mountain ranges
passing below him all decorated here and there with a frosting of soft
view was beyond breathtaking. He was absolutely stunned by it.
ahead of them to the horizon he could clearly see the curve of the
Earth's surface now and the thin blue coating that made up its
atmosphere. That precious membrane that preserved all life within
it was about to have a hole punched into it the size of Greenland and
then be scorched at a temperature that it hasn't had to endure since
the earth's birth.
Jake would be the only human
being with a front row seat to witness the destruction of his world
with his own eyes.
The front of the sphere suddenly darkened
until he almost couldn't see out of it while at the same time a
brilliant flash erupted ahead of them down on the surface of the earth.
Even though the display had almost completely dimmed to protect
the viewers the
flash was still incredibly bright forcing Jake to squint.
The white hot flash filled the screen then quickly resolved
intensely bright point which began to rapidly expand upward and outward
from the surface of the earth as it turned from brilliant white, to hot
yellow, then to orange and finally looked like a dull red expanding
dome just beneath and ahead of them as the display returned to its
Jake looked forward and downward as they
approached the impact and to his horror he saw a large orange ring spreading rapidly outward from near the center of Australia
inexorably consuming the entire continent and continuing to grow
outward. As the bright orange ring expanded it left behind an
angry dull red sea of molten crust. The circle inside the ring
seemed somehow sharper and clearer as though the atmosphere itself were
being pushed by the shock wave out and away from the point of impact exposing the surface to outer
this vantage he could see that the solid surface of the
Earth was rippling like the surface of water after a rock is
tossed in to it as a wave spread outward from the center. The
front of the wave had so much energy it was heating and
liquefying the surface of the Earth creating the orange ring as it
spread out and moved through it. It would no doubt utterly
vaporize everything on this side of the planet just from the force of
the shock wave alone before it finally dissipated.
The wave must
be traveling at hundreds of miles per second because it had already
consumed almost the entire continent of Australia and was now spreading
out into the ocean but it was losing energy fast. It looked as
though it was starting to
dissipate as it passed the edges of the continent and the oceans
began to absorb the heat and energy while exploding into a vast roiling
mass of white vapor billowing up into thick steam clouds as the wave
passed along into the ocean. Even though the shock wave would
dissipate rapidly in the water there
was no doubt that the wave had already imparted enough energy into the
oceans to force them to wash over a great deal of the land on the
other side of the Earth.
The red dome that had been growing out
from the initial explosion continued upward and began to spread at the
top to become a massive red plume blooming
above the point of impact that was now moving away behind them as they
sped around the Earth even faster. The plume would be the
vaporized molten crust being thrown up into orbit from the impact where
it would spread out and be pulled back down by gravity giving all of
its heat to the atmosphere as it passed through. The air would
heat to the point that everything combustible in it would ignite.
Any of the worlds forests that were not burned away by the ring
of fire from the initial impact or scrubbed away by the mile high
tsunamis on the other side, would simply burst into flames and burn to ashes.
the forces at play and the utter devastation being wrought to the world
that had sustained him and so many billions of others through its
history were at once mesmerizing and utterly horrifying. Even
seeing it all with his own eyes it was still difficult for him to
imagine the scale of it. An entire continent scrubbed and
liquefied in mere seconds. All of the ecosystems and all of the
life that evolved over so many millions of years would all be gone in a
There was no way anything would be
alive anywhere on the surface of the Earth within the next few hours.
It was likely
that some of the life deep in the oceans would survive but it seemed
unlikely that anything on land
could survive, even on the opposite side from the impact. There
not be enough food once the remaining plant life dies off and it would
take time for plants to begin to emerge again.
appeared to be tracking a straight line now and would not orbit the
Earth again. They had reached escape velocity and were heading
outward and away from the planet. Jake felt that was fine with
him. He'd seen enough. The images would haunt him for the
rest of his life, however long that might be. His heart ached at
the loss of all of that beauty that had been planet Earth and he
wondered if it would ever recover from this devastation.
though reading his mind Srythryn hissed several times and
the voice from the translator said, "It is indeed a sobering and heart
wrenching thing to witness the destruction of an entire world in
seconds. I have seen it more than once in my long life. I
know it may not seem a consolation now, but know that you will live
long enough to come back and see your world returned to its former
beauty millions of your years from now. By our laws it will be
left undisturbed and no one but your own people will be allowed to lay
claim to it when it is fully ready to support life again. By that
time you will have rebuilt your numbers sufficiently and you will be
returning with the wealth of knowledge and technology to take better
care of it than you likely had done up until now."
realized the alien was right and it did actually console him somewhat.
If what Srythryn was saying was true
then by the time humans return to repopulate the planet they will have
all of the knowledge and technology required to treat their home much
better than they had ever done and they would remain out in the wide
universe as well rather than having all of their eggs in one basket.
It would be a completely fresh
start without all of the damage caused by over inflated population and
It was not really the end of the Earth but a
major setback that would eventually render it better than ever before
and the human race itself was safe. Billions of people had just
died, but many times that number had already lived and died on the
planet. This was an unimaginable tragedy but the human race was
not yet doomed nor was the planet itself. He was having
difficulty wrapping his head
around the idea that he might actually be able to see its recovery for
"Srythryn, if you don't mind my asking, just how old are you in my years?" Jake asked.
be honest I can not answer with any accuracy as it ceased to matter to
me long ago. I had lived a very long time already when word of
the discovery of your species as the newest sentients began to spread through this galaxy.
As common as life
is it is still somewhat rare and exciting to find a new sentient
species. At the time of the discovery your people were just
beginning to spread from the continent you call Africa. You
have been closely studied and monitored since then by the Watchers and
since I knew I was going to meet you today I have been studying the
information on your people in great detail lately."
first heard of us when we were just emerging from Africa? That
would be hundreds of thousands of years ago! You were already old
I have lived many times that span of years and will live countless many
times more than that length, as will you if you are lucky and resourceful."
"I just don't see how that's possible. How can you live that length of time and not die, even if only by accident?"
creature chuckled and hissed and the translator said, "I have died more
times than I can remember. It can be most unpleasant and
extremely inconvenient but if you take any sort of chances it will
happen, many times. You will hopefully find that out for
yourself. Our people have a saying, 'If you are not dying then
you are not really living.'"
"I think I get what that means.
Had you not come along I would have died without ever truly
having lived at all. But again, how is that possible? How
can you die many times and still be around to remember how unpleasant
croc paused and seemed to consider whether he would answer and then he
began to speak again, "It is unfair that you were spirited away without
having everything explained to you in advance. It would normally
be the responsibility of the Matchmakers who selected you and you would
know what that selection entails before you go through the process.
We have a bit of time before we reach the ship so I will try to
explain some of it. It will be a great deal of information so I
ask that you simply listen and try to take in as much as you can before
you pose too many questions."
suddenly felt the acceleration stop completely and even though he was
still snuggly strapped into the chair he recognized that he was now
weightless. He then noticed the ship
begin to rotate around to face back toward Earth. Then he
felt the force of acceleration begin to build up again but to a lesser
degree than before. They must
be half way to their destination and were decelerating to meet up with
the mother ship.
They had to be moving at an incredible speed
now because the earth had shrunk to the size of a very large ball
before them. Jake could see the continents glowing orange from
the conflagration of the forests beginning to burn from the searing
heat of the atmosphere and the air itself looked to be taking on a
sooty darkness. It looked more like a planet in its infancy still
cooling from its original formation than a world that had sustained so
much life over its billions of years of existence.
continued speaking through the
translator, "There is an ancient race made up of the oldest sentient
beings known to have existed in the universe. We call them the
First Ones. Their race has been in existence for many billions of
your years. They were already ancient when your sun first
ignited. They owe their continued
existence to the fact that they learned how to control and govern
themselves and how to use their technologies to prevent themselves or
any other races they befriended over time from harming themselves or
others. They nearly brought about their own annihilation as
well as the destruction of the entire known universe more than once
with their technologies and have since learned to keep tight controls
on their use.
"They keep to themselves mostly so you will rarely
encounter them except when you have dealings related to the insurance
of return, which is a contract with them that requires them to return
you to life should you ever die. Only the most wealthy can afford
the insurance. Many have sponsors who pay for the contracts for
them. Those of us who work directly for the First Ones and fight to defend them are
rewarded with a contract for our return as well. The race of the
First Ones is made up of four groups who each hold the
responsibility for a major portion of the process that gives any who
wish it eternal life. The groups are called the Watchers, the
Resurrectors, the Lawkeepers and the Matchmakers.
anyone who has a contract and has paid for the insurance of return
Resurrectors are responsible for returning them to life. They
have honed the
skill of cloning any living creature using its DNA to create a perfect
reproduction of it. They keep copies of billions of sentient
beings grown and suspended in their vats but never actually conscious
as the bodies are grown without a complete brain. They are so skilled at
manipulating DNA that the clone is modified so that a fully functional
brain never forms, only the stem necessary to maintain the body's
functions. As such it is nothing more than a biological machine
waiting to be controlled by the original person.
"They can also
slightly modify the body as needed to enhance its functionality but
they will not make any major changes that would alter the original
aesthetic of the person. They prefer it to remain natural and
beautiful and will not allow it to become a fully engineered organism.
This is one of their main laws. They will not use, or allow
anyone else to use, their genetic manipulation technologies to create
new forms of life or to significantly alter existing ones. They
will also not allow themselves or anyone else to use the technology to
produce a copy that can become a sentient individual on its own."
can they create a copy of me without a sample of my DNA? Has
someone come to Earth in the past and extracted one from me?" Jake
"No, none has been taken from you but that is because it is not
necessary. As I will explain later in more detail your DNA was
sequenced at the moment of your conception and the sequence transmitted
to the First Ones for storage in their computers. Every
individual in every race in the known universe is sequenced and stored
similarly the moment they are conceived and their unique genetic
pattern is defined. Once you have a contract
with the Resurrectors they will use the recorded sequence of your DNA
to assemble complete strands from the base amino acids which they will
then use to begin to grow clones of you. They will maintain several newly grown
versions of your body on hand to ensure you will
always have a vessel available should you die, even if you die several times in rapid succession.
"It is a
undertaking and they excel at it. Several versions of you have
already been grown and await your personality to inhabit them.
They will install a current
version of your mind into a duplicate of your body shortly after your
demise. The responsibility of manipulating genetic information
and growing and maintaining the copies is enough of a complex process
that the Resurrectors must expend all of their effort and resources
focusing on that one function. As such they do not have the
expertise required to deal with your mind. The Resurrectors use
the services of the Watchers to
maintain a completely
up to date version of your memories and personality.
Watchers have the awesome ability to know all that is happening with
any sentient being at any time if they so wish. You may wonder
how we were able to come directly to where you were standing to extract
you. We even knew you would not be near the wall when we impacted
and would not be harmed. We did so because the Watchers could not
only track your location at any moment but if they desire, they could
see through your eyes, hear what you hear and say, and feel what you
touch. They accomplish this with
a technology similar to what your people had begun to investigate that
you called 'nano machines'.
First Ones developed the
technology billions of years ago and refined it to the point where they
could drop it on a newly discovered planet where life was beginning to
form. The self-replicating nanos would spread out and insert
themselves into the
life forms on the planet and the machines would monitor the progress of
evolution and create an intricate communication web that could at any
time send its data back to the Watchers who would maintain and
analyze it on massive computer systems. Every living being in the
known portion of the universe has just a few of these machines living
within them that are so small they can hide within a single living cell
without disrupting its processes and thus would never be found until
the species had evolved and advanced their science to the point that
the First Ones would have introduced themselves and explained it all.
Your race was moving forward quickly and were the closest of the
species in your galaxy to becoming the next to emerge into the cosmic
"The nanos tap into our nervous systems and if
requested can transmit everything we see, hear or feel along with any
other physiological information to the Watchers so they can know all
that is happening with any single individual anywhere."
"That's unbelievable! How could they possibly store and manipulate that much information?" Jake asked.
you will become used
to the scale of things now that you are out among us. Given the
billions of years the First Ones have had to work on the problem, they
long ago managed to create computer systems that are nearly the size of
a solar system and are powered by the focused beams of energy emitted
from black holes through the process of accretion as they devour nearby
"I can't even begin to imagine how powerful a computer of that size would be," Jake said.
"The transistor is
the fundamental building block of logical components on your world.
Think of how many hundreds of millions of transistors are in the
most powerful of the computer components developed by your people.
Think of how many hundreds of millions of those chips were
pressed into action on your entire planet. Imagine if all of the
computing power you had on your planet were considered just one
transistor and you created a new basic computing component containing
hundreds of millions of those transistors to make just one CPU core.
You would then be approaching the power of the basic unit of
computational power used by the First Ones, of which there are hundreds
of millions interacting within each of their gigantic computer systems
which work together in concert to form a massive intergalactic computer
network. It is enough power for them to accomplish things that
may seem otherwise impossible as if they were run of the mill."
I suppose when I think in the scale of time covering billions of
years even humans would eventually develop that scale of computing,"
"Just so. Any sentient race would, provided they survived long enough to do so. The
First Ones are the oldest and thus the first to achieve it and the
Watchers now use it to monitor and store the genetic sequences and even
if they wish the experiences of any living thing in the known universe
and can observe everything any sentient individual is doing."
"So they can read our thoughts? That's a frightening prospect!"
that is one thing that they never achieved and they chose to give up
trying. They can accomplish what they need without knowing your
individual private thoughts. It is another of their main laws.
They will not develop, nor allow anyone else to develop, the
technology to read the minds of others. Interestingly, as
advanced as they are in their ability to manipulate genes and read the
signals coming from the
nervous systems in our bodies, they are not able to
read our thoughts. Somehow the seat of consciousness that is us
is so ephemeral within the signals rushing around in our brains that
they are not able to resolve it into any meaningful information.
"Everything we are amounts to nothing more than an intricate
structure of electro-chemical pathways in our brain. It is nearly
child's play for their technology to map and reproduce that structure
which perfectly reproduces our consciousness. For some reason
though, they are not able to read anything meaningful out of the
structure itself. It is nonsense to them. They can however
read us indirectly. They are able to use the nanos in our bodies
to tap into the simple analog
patterns coming from our nervous system that lets them literally see
what we're seeing and hear what we are hearing in real time and can
read our emotional response to our experiences by measuring all of the
ways in which our bodies react such as heart rate or blood pressure or
body temperature in fine detail."
that how you came to know so much about the human race, by these
Watchers studying and recording all that we see and do?" asked Jake.
it allows the First Ones to see everything any individual sees and come
to know an entire race's personality. They can even understand
every language perfectly down to every nuance and turn of phrase as
though it were their own. Imagine if someone were there right
from when your early humans
began to form a language. They were riding along in your heads
listening in and watching the whole time so they could learn it too
even as it was being developed. They learned all of the
intricacies of every single language that has ever existed. That
is how I am able to speak to you through the translator as though your
language was native to me. It is perfect
in its translation of any language in existence to any other.
new body will have the translator built directly into your auditory
system so it will always be in play for you once you are
reinstalled and as such you will need no external device to communicate
with any race in the known universe as though their language was native
to you and vice versa. The translators are so effective that they
even automatically perform conversions of measurements. I might
speak of a span of time or the length of an object or a distance that
means something to me from my experience but that would be meaningless
to you. The translator will automatically convert it to your time
or length or any unit of measure and speak it to you in your language
so that it seems that we all use a common measurement system but that
is not the case. It will even seem as though we all use the same
euphemisms and catch phrases but again, that is not the case. It
is simply an extremely sophisticated translation."
incredible. I was wondering how it was your speech coming from
the device seemed so perfectly natural to me," Jake said.
it is one of the most important technologies that allows all of the
races to get along so easily. Communication is paramount for diplomacy to succeed and
the translator devices are flawless."
"You said that they were
'riding along in your heads'; are they able to control us also and
direct our actions like puppet masters?"
"The nanos in our
bodies were not designed for that specific function as far as I know.
The technology for that would likely be simple for them to create
and may actually exist but I know of no instance where it has ever been
used so the simplest answer is no. They likely have laws governing
that as well and would not allow themselves to remove any individual's
personal freedom just as they will not allow themselves to pursue the
technology to directly read our thoughts."
"But you said
the Watchers provide a copy of my mind to the Resurrectors to install
into a copy of my body. How do they achieve that without reading
it?" Jake asked.
"All that you are and all that you know,
including everything you like and don't like and all of your beliefs
and quirks, your entire personality, are simply an intricate network of
pathways within your brain that have been forming and changing since
your conception. Every experience you've had and decision you've
made and consequence you've observed has molded your brain's neural
pathways and made you who you are. As I said before, mapping the
structure of your brain is in fact a simple thing for their technology
to accomplish while actually understanding the contents are beyond it.
Fortunately it is not necessary to understand the contents in
order to recreate the mind. All that is needed is to recreate
the structure with all of the same pathways.
of it like
making a copy of a thousand page document that was written in a foreign
language that you've never heard or studied using a glyphic that looks
like random scribbles to you. Your technology allows you to
easily make the copy by
placing the document on the machine and letting it scan each page and
recreate the layout on a new sheet until all pages are copied, yet you
have no hope of reading the document and knowing what it says.
The copy will still be true to the original though and will
precisely all of the information that the original did even though you
can't understand a word of it yourself. Now that you've entered
into a contract for return with the Resurrectors, your brain's
structure will be mapped out in every last detail and the map will be
stored in a computer in sort of the same way your technology would have
scanned the foreign document. The process is destructive to your
biological brain and will result in your death.
"As I mentioned
earlier copies of your body have already been grown and the
Resurrectors will recreate the structure of your brain in a new
synthetic brain placed into your new body and connected into your new
nervous system. Once the process is complete and the synthetic brain is activated it will be
like waking from sleep. Everything you are and all that you knew
right up until they mapped your brain will still be there right up to
the moment that you walked into the room and sat down in the chair to
have the procedure done. The synthetic brain is a semi-biological
system that reacts to chemical signals in your body just as your
natural brain would do.
"You will still like the same smells or
tastes or sights and you will still dislike the same things and you
will still have the same doubts and fears and prejudices. Your
personality will be the same and you will not feel any different at all
with all of the same opinions and ideals you had before. They
could not alter your personality even if they wanted to because they
have no way of knowing precisely which part of your brain is used for
which part of your personality. There is simply one large area
that is 'personality' and the details of its contents cannot be read or
interpreted in any meaningful way. They cannot selectively add or
remove memories either since they cannot know where they are stored or
how to alter them."
"So if I die in the future, will I always
come back with the same memories I have now without all of the
experiences I gained after my brain was mapped? If the process is
destructive and they require my brain to map it, how can they get the
latest version of my mind if I'm in some far off place and dead?
What if they can't get to my corpse or my entire body is
destroyed and they can't get my new brain to copy it out again?" Jake asked.
immense complexity of your current biological brain cannot be mapped
out without having it on hand, and the process of deconstructing it to
examine the structure will destroy it. However, the synthetic
brain that will replace it in your new body has the ability to
communicate the structural changes that occur within it over time to the nanos in
your body. From that point forward, the
nanos will constantly send a signal back to the Watchers that records
every single modification of the synaptic pathways that make up your
brain even as new paths are being formed. This means that as
living day to day and making memories and having experiences and
modifying your knowledge, tastes and opinions which causes changes to
the layout of your synthetic
brain, the Watchers are receiving a copy of those changes and making
the same modifications to the stored pattern in their computers. At any time they can reproduce the entire
logical structure again, and your thoughts and consciousness
would come to life in a new synthetic brain as though you were waking
with memories right up until the moment that your brain ceased
functioning and you died.
"The technology is dangerous and tightly
controlled by them. For example it could clearly be used to make
an unlimited copy of Jakes. If it was deemed you were an
excellent fighting machine for example, they could create an army made
of millions of copies of you that would all think as one. If one Jake suddenly decided
he didn't like his creators and switched to fight for the enemy, all of
them would think the same way and their weapon would suddenly turn on them. There are many ways that the
technology could be used that would be very dangerous indeed.
Another one of their main laws is that they will never use, or
allow the use of, their technology to produce more than one active copy
of a sentient mind and that no sentient mind will ever be installed
into a machine, or a body that did not originally belong to it."
mentioned before that they 'do not allow' a great deal of things
related to technology. Are you saying they control the
development of all technology for all races, not just their own?
How do they prevent technological advances, and why?" Jake asked.
prevent some of them as a means of protecting themselves and every
The powerful technology developed by the First Ones is awesome
and could easily be used in careless or nefarious ways and bring about
the destruction of all life in the entire
universe if it were wielded by those without the discipline to use it
correctly. The First Ones nearly obliterated themselves not long
after the technology was first developed and they learned that the only
way to prevent any such occurrence again was to be brutal when it came
to preventing any race that did not have the experience necessary to
understand it fully from ever developing it in the first place.
Their billions of years of experience have included several near
misses when they came close to unleashing technology that they could
not truly control. All of the laws they have now were developed
to prevent any chance of technology getting the upper hand over the
one point in their long history they followed the natural route that
most races eventually follow of making their machines intelligent so
that the machines could do all of the work and make many of the
decisions freeing the First Ones to do whatever they wished. This
was one of their near disasters and they ultimately created a race of
machines that eventually turned on them. The machines decided
that they were superior to any biological organism and they began the
process of eliminating the First Ones and all other organisms. A
great war ensued that stretched out over millions of years and several galaxies fell to the machines but the
First Ones managed to eventually gain control over their creation and
destroy it. As a result of that, another of the First Ones' laws
is that they will not allow themselves or any other race to ever give a
machine full sentience or consciousness. It's simply too
"Even the nanos that pervade the universe and are so
effective at what they do for the First Ones and the rest of us are nothing more than
sophisticated machines acting on a set of advanced instincts that
have been preprogrammed into them. They are not able to learn or
adapt and as such are not capable of developing sentience. They
are self replicating but if any replica is not a perfect duplicate of
all the others that came before it immediately self destructs.
Should the self destruct fail all other nanos are tasked with its
destruction. As such they are not able to mutate and so cannot
evolve in any way. They can only do what the First Ones
originally designed them to do and never anything more.
are many ways that technology can run away from its creators to the
detriment of all species in the universe. The First Ones have
experienced many of these and managed to survive and learn from their
mistakes. They now keep tight control over any development to
ensure no one repeats their mistakes. The responsibility of
controlling all of this goes to the
Lawkeepers. Theirs is the most frightening power of all.
Remember that the Watchers are able to turn their focus to any
individual and see what they are seeing or doing or reading or writing.
If the First Ones find that a race has begun to work with
technologies that would put themselves or other races at risk of
annihilation the Lawkeepers will intervene. They will make every
attempt to have the species in question change the direction of their
technological development. If they fail to thwart them
diplomacy they have the power to use the nanos to literally
shut down the brains of those that have been developing the knowledge
and kill them. Should the entire species
rise up against the First Ones they have the power to kill each and
every one of them no matter where they might be in the universe, by
simply sending a signal to the nano machines in their bodies to halt
the activity of their brains. They could wipe out an entire race
of beings in the time it takes for the signal to reach all of the nanos
in the universal network. Since all races are
constantly being monitored by the Watchers, any
attempt to study, tamper with, or remove the nanos would immediately be
detected and the Lawkeepers would ensure that the consequences
would be dire for the
"That's monstrous! No one race should have that much power over all of the others!" Jake exclaimed.
is the same reaction we all had when we first learned of it. You
will soon come to realize though that the First Ones have demonstrated
their discipline simply by never having abused their power over the
past several billion years. You yourself might find given enough
time that you can achieve anything you desire since you have an
eternity ahead of you to do it. You will have no need of greed or
envy and those feelings will simply fade away. The First Ones
have no reason to want to abuse their power over the other races.
They came to be fully trusted by all
races as you will come to trust them very quickly.
"No one should
have the power they do over all the other races, yet they do have it and somehow have used it only for
the good of all. I myself would not trust this power to any but
race now that I've seen them in action for so long. In the
end as I have seen with my own eyes the First Ones may in fact be the
only thing keeping the amazingly wonderful diversity of sentient life
in the universe living happily and in harmony with the freedom to do as
they please in relative safety."
"It sounds as though these First Ones have a tight hold
on all the races in the universe," Jake said.
and no. The First Ones are the closest thing that exists to what
most races' religions call God. They can be all knowing and all
seeing. They can grant eternal life or take it away on a whim.
They can even wipe out an entire species in a matter of minutes.
The fact of the matter is they have simply existed long enough to
have developed technologies far advanced from everyone else's.
Truly they are not gods but simply benevolent beings who have
lived as a race long enough to have learned what is truly important
about life. They have learned that nothing is more rare, precious
or important than sentient life. Its beauty is in some ways
derived from its variety and its natural tendency to want to improve
itself and reinvent itself is a major cause of that variety. The
First Ones want no one or nothing to interfere with the natural
progression of any race so that variety is allowed to continue.
First Ones do not control the other races but rather protect them
enhance their lives while allowing them to be themselves. All
races are left to do as they please so
long as it does not pose any danger to the others. There is one hostile and extremely aggressive
race however that is immune to the nanos that we are all currently at
war with and there may be countless
have not yet been discovered."
"Not yet discovered? So there are parts of the universe that are not being watched by them?" Jake asked.
First Ones have had the nano
technology for only a few billion years. That may seem like an
unimaginably long time to you, but in fact it is only enough time to
have spread the nanos through a good portion of the local supercluster
of galaxies. There are tens of thousands of galaxies in the
supercluster. Your galaxy alone, which is of average size,
contains perhaps in the area of five hundred billion stars. That
means that there are millions of billions of stars in our supercluster
each of which may have planets orbiting them. Each of those that
have planets have a chance of one or more being in the zone that
will allow liquid water on the surface and thus the possibility of life
as we know it forming. Even if that chance is vanishingly small
given the massive number of stars and planets there will be a great
many that have liquid water and can support life. If your chance
of winning a lottery were one in fifty million you might buy tickets
every week for many lifetimes and not win. But if you bought
fifty million billion randomly generated tickets you would win with each draw.
"Your own scientists were beginning to
get an idea of just how many planets there might be that may have
water as they recently developed rudimentary technology to begin to try
to detect them. Within a short time your people had already found
hundreds of candidates in your own neighborhood, from a galactic
perspective. It turns out that if a planet can produce and support life, it will
do so. In the same way that the laws of physics apply everywhere
in the universe, so do the same basic laws governing the formation of
life. The same organic compounds will always want to assemble in
the same basic ways no matter where you are in the universe provided
the conditions are favorable. As a result, for the most part
given time even the atmospheres of these life supporting planets will
settle into a common balance of gases such as oxygen and nitrogen and
carbon dioxide so that all life supporting worlds are compatible to
life from all the other worlds. I can breathe your atmosphere
just as you could breathe the air on my world. Life follows the
same basic rules everywhere and it is persistent and pervasive.
can tell you there are in fact many millions of
life-supporting planets in your galaxy alone and tens of thousands of
those have higher order life forms that have developed to the stage
where they may eventually become sentient. There are hundreds of
sentient species in your galaxy alone, many of which have not advanced
past the stage of using primitive tools and rudimentary language.
Many times that
number have likely emerged and destroyed themselves through your
galaxy's history. Currently there are
forty-seven sentient species in your galaxy that have advance enough to
emerge into space and are now part of the cosmic
Yours was the closest to becoming the forty-eighth.
"Multiply that by the tens of thousands of galaxies in the
supercluster and you will realize that there are nearly half a million
sentient and space faring species just in our local supercluster
that are part of our cosmic collective. The variety is staggering
and absolutely magnificent. However, the First
Ones have only scratched the surface in their search for sentient life
in the universe.
There are millions
of superclusters spread throughout the universe and they have only
managed to explore the majority of our own local one. There may
be billions of sentient and space faring species spread across the
universe, the vast majority of
which the First Ones will not even have time to discover in the
fourteen billion years or so that they have left before the universe
comes to its natural end."
"That's incredible. I can't
believe there are hundreds of thousands of advanced races in the supercluster and even forty seven just in the Milky Way!
Why have humans never met them before?"
major part of the reason is the scale alone. Each of those forty
seven races could spend all of their time moving from planet to planet
exploring the galaxy and it might still take millions of years before
any two bump into each other. The First Ones step in also to
ensure that no race is interfered with during its early developmental
Lawkeepers ensure that
there is no interference with the evolution of life on any planet from
outside. It is allowed to progress naturally and either destroy
itself or advance to the point that they emerge into the galaxy and are
welcomed into the collective. The wish is that any race will
evolve its own unique 'personality' without any influence from outside.
It is a joyous time for all when a
new race joins the collective.
"One of the major constants in the entire known universe is evolution. Evolution is the same
everywhere and the process is based on competition. This means
that most races will destroy themselves using powerful weapons of their
own design as they compete for space on their own world. They may
even be destroyed by competition from lower life forms such as viruses
or bacteria that gain the upper hand due to extreme overcrowding of the
world. They may be wiped out by an errant rock such as your world
was or their star may reach the end of its life and explode or go dark
or another star that was forming nearby might suddenly ignite taking
their world out in the initial blast of radiation.
"Given the many
ways that a
species can face destruction, it is unusual for a sentient race to
survive to the point of joining the rest of us. From an
evolutionary perspective, yours was almost ready. Your unique
'personality' had already been developed and it was deemed to be
sufficiently advanced and enlightened to the point that you would
likely be able to easily understand our way of living and adapt to it.
We awaited your emergence with some anticipation but now that
your planet is destroyed, we will consider your race emerged already
since your entire population is now made up of those who have been
removed by the Matchmakers over the past several decades."
explained what the Watchers, Resurrectors, and Lawkeepers do.
What is it that the Matchmakers are responsible for?" Jake asked.
other important thing is a constant
for all known species in the universe and that is the urge to
reproduce. No matter how enlightened or advanced any species
becomes they still carry the evolutionary programming at their lowest
level to desire copulation with others and it is often the strongest
urge felt by any individual within any race. It also happens to
be the one that provides the greatest pleasure. The First Ones
recognized long ago that sexuality is the one thing above all others
that makes us feel alive and gives purpose to our existence. It
is the one and
only thing that never gets boring no matter how long you live and it is
the most important thing
for any individual to explore to the fullest possible extent during
their life. All known
sentient life in the universe evolved under the same basic conditions
and as such have very similar forms and extremely compatible chemistry.
You will find that all life on most planets evolved into forms
very similar to those on your own Earth. No matter where you go
in the universe fur is warm where needed, scales repel water, sideways
facing eyes see danger better and forward facing eyes
see prospective meals best, four limbs for locomotion are most
efficient for grazers while two limbs for
locomotion combined with two limbs for manipulation are most efficient
for intelligent tool users, and so on.
planet that evolved higher forms of life with very few exceptions did
so using essentially the same shapes. The only real difference is
which one of those forms emerged as the dominant species that developed
sentience. On your own world it likely would have been a
reptilian form similar to my own had a meteorite not wiped out your
warm blooded dinosaurs so long ago. The ones you called Raptors
were getting to the point that they were smaller, faster and more
intelligent than all the rest and would likely have risen to sentience
given enough time. Instead it was the humans
"Given the compatible chemistry of life everywhere,
all sentient races enjoy sharing
their bodies with each other. Some combinations with other
species may in fact by virtue of chemistry result in attraction that is
much stronger and more interesting and enjoyable than you've
experienced with your own species. Think of the variety of ways
you might enjoy sex with another of your species, and then multiply
that by the nearly half a million space faring sentient species that
are part of the cosmic collective who might enjoy exploring sex with
and you can imagine the amount of variety that you will encounter
through the rest of your life.
"The number of possible sexual
combinations is staggering and a great pleasure to investigate as you
look for ever better sexual encounters. Many of the wealthy like
to ensure they experience the absolute best that is available so rather
than leave it to chance they employ the services of the First Ones.
It is the Matchmakers that help them
get the most out of their sexuality. Sex with all species is
primarily driven by a sort of 'chemistry' of attraction which is
further enhanced by individual tastes that impact the psychological
aspect of attraction. There is so much at play that it makes each
individual truly unique. No one understands the intricacies of
the myriad nuances of sexual attraction better than the Matchmakers.
They have devoted all of their energy and resources to studying
it. It turns
out that most of the chemistry is built into our genes which gives them
a good starting point when looking for matches. The Matchmakers
have honed their ability to read and understand DNA to the point that
they can find
compatible matches simply by running the strands through their
algorithms to determine which combinations from different individuals
have the best chemistry. These matches will naturally exude
pheromones that are appealing to each other to the point of being
best chemical matches that come up are the basis upon which the Matchmakers then
further investigate the shapes of the species for compatibility, and
even the likes and dislikes of the individuals that are matched, to
determine the absolute single best partner for the client. When
the chemistry is right it is difficult to deny the attraction but it is
very much enhanced by visual, tactile and emotional variables that the
Matchmakers will take into consideration. The Matchmakers can
actually utilize the nanos in your body to flash images across your
visual cortex or induce tactile sensations into your skin at your
fingertips or tongue or other parts while you sleep. Your brain
will naturally react to those inputs by building a dream around them.
The Matchmakers cannot read our minds and thus cannot see your
dream but your body will respond positively or negatively and the
Matchmakers are able to then determine whether you are sufficiently
physically and emotionally aroused by what you see. In a sense
you are introduced to your prospective match in your sleep and if your
response to them is strongly positive the match might proceed."
"Wow! They really go to great lengths just to find someone a playmate!" Jake exclaimed.
they feel their work is extremely important and they take great pride
in their successes. A successful match results in some of the
best sex that is physically possible for any individual to experience."
"So is there usually just one ideal match?"
"No, there are normally a great many matches that are nearly
equally good. They must pick one but it doesn't mean the others
would be any worse, just slightly different. Perhaps you would be
just a bit more attracted to the furriness of one species, but another
species would smell just a bit better to you, while a third might look
more appealing. They are all nearly equally attractive though and
the Matchmakers simply select the one that is ever so slightly better
than all the rest using your body's responses to the stimuli injected
into your dreams. The number of good candidates that might be
found varies by species. Some are compatible with only a few
are compatible with many others. It turns out that human DNA is
most widely compatible yet encountered and that is one of the reasons
the emergence of your race was so greatly anticipated.
would find yours extremely sexually attractive though they would not
have the opportunity to experience you until you emerged into the
the time being, only those who enlist the aid of the Matchmakers have
been able to experience sex with humans, and only the elite would
normally be able to afford it. As I said earlier, there have
already been tens of thousands of matches made to humans who were
offered the chance for a new life, and they accepted. The process
of matching in this way takes an incredible amount of effort and that
results in exorbitant costs. You can imagine how
sophisticated that system must be in order to be able to find a match
amongst the billions of trillions of DNA sequences stored in their
computers and the amount of effort involved in further investigating
the matches to find personal tastes that will enhance the chemical
match. That is why an entire subset of the First Ones have
devoted themselves to this one important function."
now we come to the crux of it. Someone submitted a request to the
Matchmakers and I came up as the best possible candidate?" Jake asked.
are correct. Someone submitted a request for a match and your
unique genetic sequence revealed that the chemistry of your body would
create the strongest possible attraction with the chemistry of theirs
and further study showed that from a visual, tactile and emotional
perspective you would find each other extremely appealing. Given
the positive response you would have had when the other person was
injected into your dreams it is likely that there will even be
something about your personalities that will click.
There's no way to predict what it might be but something will
draw the two of you together powerfully in some way.
"I will warn
you that you might be surprised at first by what you see when your
match is revealed to you. Try to keep an open mind and know that
the Matchmakers' algorithms are so
precise that they were able to pinpoint you as the best possible match
out of not only every single human being on your planet, but also out
of every possible living individual of every sentient species in the
universe. The attraction between the requester and yourself will
be as powerful as is possible for both of you to experience. Once
again, I envy you. I have not the means to request a match myself
and I have never come up as the best match for anyone else who asked
for the search. I have never yet experienced the best possible
sexual experience though I will say that it is a never ending source of
pleasure for me to keep on trying the old fashioned way," Srythryn said
with a smile.
I've been lifted off my planet and offered eternal life in exchange for
agreeing to have sex with someone from another species?" Jake asked.
is essentially it, yes. So long as you please the requester
sufficiently for them to continue to fund your contract with the
Matchmakers, you will for all intents and purposes be immortal."
"I can't say I'm not
intrigued, but it seems a bit bizarre for someone to go to such
extremes for a sex partner. Matchmaking services were big
business on my world as well and I suppose this is simply a logical
extension of that, but it is somewhat overwhelming to imagine it done
at this scale. So many resources and so much effort expended to
match one individual to another just for sexual encounters, even to the
point of an entire mothership being sent across space to my galaxy and
my planet at who knows what cost just to pick me up!" Jake exclaimed.
Srythryn chuckled and said, "Think
about it for a moment. If you had all the time left in the
universe to amass wealth, or knowledge, or power, how long would any of
those things remain important to you? It turns out that for most
it is not very long at all, only a few million years or so.
Wealth is only used to purchase things and eventually you will
simply not need anything more than what you can already afford. Knowledge is important but most
find that the more they know, and the more they solve every mystery
that they might be curious about, the less magical the universe becomes
and eventually most stick to learning only what they need to know to
live their lives. Power is nothing more than a way to control
others and most eventually realize that controlling others results in
predictable outcomes that are in the end boring and undesirable so eventually people stop pursuing it.
"What becomes most important is variety and unpredictability and
pleasure and the enjoyment of life. It soon becomes obvious to
most who have the luxury of unlimited time stretching out before them
that the only thing that really matters is the here and now. They
seek adventure and excitement and above all they seek pleasure.
Sex is the single most pleasurable experience for all species
and so it is regarded above all else as the most important. Not
everyone in the universe is immortal, only those who have enough wealth
to pay for the insurance of return and enter into contracts with the
Resurrectors. These people are wealthy beyond most other people's
imagination. Does it still seem strange to you that someone who
has unlimited wealth would spend what would for them be a small portion of it to meet their
most urgent need here and now?" Srythryn asked.
"I suppose not. When you
put it that way I can easily see why they would do it. I
guess I've never stopped to think about what might be important if I
could live forever and had more wealth than I could imagine."
"Yes, not many would waste much of their
precious time dwelling on it. It is only when time becomes
unlimited that it becomes an issue. If you are clever and
resourceful you will find out for yourself. You need only ensure
that you always have a contract with the Resurrectors from now on."
"Do you know anything about the person who requested the match that turned me up as the best candidate?" Jake asked.
about the individual himself, no, but I do know a bit about the race.
They are impressive indeed. Like many races that have
emerged into the collective they quickly learned that the best way to
live was to retreat back to their own worlds and live their lives as
they did before they developed advanced technologies. They are
still fully emerged and part of the collective but most live quiet
lives on their home world and like that way of life best. He will
likely be someone high up in their ranks to afford the match."
"So it's definitely a male? I would not be attracted to a female," Jake said.
smiled and said, "Nor
would I it so happen, but given the precision of the Matchmakers
processes you have nothing to worry about. He is a male. I
have met a few members of his race and I find them quite impressive and
attractive myself. I will not go into any great detail about that
but will leave it to the Matchmakers. I can tell you that they
are from a star that is in your neighborhood within your own galaxy.
is a star that your people have actually recently begun to study and
they gave it the relatively uncreative name GJ 667C. The star has
two large planets at the inner and outer edges of its habitable zone.
prospective partner inhabits the inner planet your
people call GJ 667Cb. The larger mass of the planet gives
it a stronger gravity and as such this race is most impressive in their
strength and structure. I believe you will be pleased with the
match though it may take some getting used to since you've likely never
considered anything other than your own race in terms of sexual
Jake blushed a bit but said nothing.
take it from your reaction that you may in fact have thought of some
other species on your own planet in sexual terms? You do not need
to be embarrassed around me. I have experienced more than you
might ever be able to imagine already and I will be sampling a great
deal more in the untold years ahead of me. It would not be
unusual for you to have felt yearnings that might be considered wrong
among your people. Please feel free to speak openly with me," Srythryn said.
I have occasionally had fantasies about acts that I would never
actually perform in real life. I've also had fantasies and even
occasionally sexual dreams regarding intelligent creatures with shapes
that would be considered animals on my world. You yourself look
surprisingly like an animal we have on our world called a crocodile.
If they were to evolve to sentience they might look a lot like
you. I can honestly say that I would likely develop fantasies
about sex with your kind. You have a strength and a sort of
masculine grace that I find appealing."
If those thoughts appeal to you then you will find yourself in
your glory now that you are out in the universe. Believe it or
not some of those dreams you've had may be the result of the First Ones
projecting images into your subconscious to gauge your reaction while
they tried to determine if you were a match for someone. If you
reacted positively it is even possible that one of the dreams you had
included the race that you have been matched to. I have never
seen the Matchmakers fail so I have no doubt that you have the correct
frame of mind to enjoy the experiences that will be available to you
Jake smiled, "I'm starting to feel somewhat excited about all of this. I can't wait to meet the one I've been matched to."
will be some time yet before that happens. The journey to deliver
you to your match will be somewhat long and you
will be using that time to acquaint yourself with your new body.
will have much more time to talk yet and perhaps even to explore the
attraction to my kind that you mentioned you have. I look forward
smiled again. It was so odd to think that just earlier this
morning he was his old self waking up to go to work for the last
day ever with nothing much else on his mind than the fact that he'd
reached the end of his life. Now he suddenly had more life than
he was even able to wrap his head around stretching out before him.
He was sitting and having an extremely interesting conversation
with a being from some other planet and maybe even some other galaxy!
noticed the acceleration begin to die off and there was much beeping
and hissing as new status information popped up around them. The
ship suddenly began to rotate end for end again to turn and face the
direction they'd been moving and Jake was awed at what came into
view. There was a massive smooth disk ahead of them that looked
to be at least a mile or more across. The disk
was spinning on its central axis smoothly and the ship they were in
began to slowly rotate to match the spin of the disk. A slot
opened in the center of the disk as they approached and Jake realized
that the mothership must be a massive hollow cylinder that was spinning
along the axis down its length in order to induce artificial gravity
along the inside wall of the cylinder.
This was simply one end of it. He wondered how
long it might be.
The craft entered through the slot which sealed behind
them and Jake was amazed to see that inside was what appeared to be a
huge bay full of other small ships and other sorts of what looked like
storage units and metal cargo container. It was like a big space
dock and shipping yard. Much of the cargo storage appeared to be at the center in
front of them in zero gravity while the small ships were kept along the walls of the
cylinder in full gravity.
The craft they were in stopped its
forward motion and began to settle downward onto the "floor" of the bay
and he could feel the force of gravity building. It was hard to
think of "floor" at all since looking straight up over his head he
could see other ships above him with other aliens walking around them
up there on the "ceiling" upside down. He realized that due to the artificial
gravity and the shape of the cylinder he could simply start walking up one side past all of the ships
he could see parked up above him and would eventually find himself
arriving right back where he started. It would take a while
though as it would be several miles of walking to cover the entire circumference.
The ship settled
down on the floor and came to a stop. The display winked out and
Jake found himself suddenly looking at the inside of the sphere they
were riding in again. The slot at the front of the sphere opened
and lowered to become a walkway.
As the seat changed shape again
to release him, Srythryn stood and waited for Jake to do the same.
Jake felt a little strange at first since the gravity here was
slightly more than he was used to on Earth. It took only a moment
to adjust though and he moved around toward the front of the ship.
Srythryn then went down the walkway and turned to wait for Jake.
Jake emerged from the shuttle Srythryn smiled warmly and said, "Welcome aboard
the Slirkstrith. This is my family's ship and I am its captain. I will take you
straight to the Matchmakers now so that you may begin the process.
You are not immortal until they have your mind stored in their
computers and they will be anxious to begin the process immediately."
he spoke, another of his species drove up in what looked to be a sort
of trolley with outward facing seats like you might see at a large
airport. The vehicle stopped and waited for them to get aboard
then began driving toward the back wall of the bay.
"Just how big is this ship? Will I be able to find you again?"
ship is one of the largest in existence though there are hundreds more
similar in size scattered throughout the universe. This portion
is the aft cargo
bay and dockyard. The ship is a very long cylinder and the
rest of it would
be several hundred times what you see here in length. There are
several generations of my people living out their lives aboard it.
You might think of it as a movable city. There were just
over thirty eight thousand individuals at last count but there are
always a few with child so the number may already be larger than that.
You do not need to be concerned about finding me though. I
will come to you when the Resurrectors have completed the process and
the Matchmakers have given you your orientation. I will then show
you around my ship and we will become better acquainted. I am
hoping I may count you among my friends and we may spend a great deal
of time together in future."
"That would be wonderful Srythryn. Thank you," Jake said.
was beginning to feel a bit nervous at what was going to happen to him.
They approached the back of the bay and the vehicle came to a
stop. Just then a doorway opened and a slender and
diminutive alien came through it. To Jake's surprise he saw that
it looked almost identical to the aliens he'd seen in movies and on
TV that are usually called "grays". He had a very slender body
with stick like arms and legs and grayish skin. He had a large
head that was wider at the top and very narrow at the bottom and that
was dominated by two very large and very black
slanted eyes. His nose was nearly flat and barely more than a
bump with two small nostrils and his mouth was very small. His
fingers were long and delicate looking. The alien looked somehow fragile and breakable.
Jake found himself
wondering if all of those fictional aliens he'd seen back on Earth were
in fact inspired by some past meeting with these very real ones.
It seemed possible. He suddenly found himself wondering
just how many other fictional races or creatures might actually be real
and were inspired by these Matchmakers flashing images of them into
peoples' subconscious dreams while testing for matches like Srythryn had described.
alien who requested his match look familiar too? Srythryn had
said most life followed roughly the same shapes and were compatible so
his potential partner couldn't be a big blue blob of jelly or a particularly
grasping vine or a cloud of excited gas or anything bizarre like that. It
had to be a warm
blooded mammal with a compatible shape and chemistry.
The grey moved forward and smiled at Jake and spoke into a translator he
was carrying in a soft childlike voice that sounded somewhat like
Again, a perfectly natural sounding human male voice
emerged from the device and said, "Welcome. I am Xelzix and I will
be your guide through your processing. I listened through your
nanos to your conversation with Srythryn as he brought you to us.
He's done a wonderful job of introducing you to our universe so
we may begin the process immediately and without hesitation.
Normally we would ask you once more to choose if you would like
to proceed now that you know the purpose we intend for you.
However, given the unusual circumstance of your removal from your
now destroyed world, we have decided to give you at least one return
even should you choose not to proceed with the match. As such we
would like to begin your processing without hesitation as you are
mortal and vulnerable until we have your mind map safely stored. I
will take you the rest of the way from here. Thank you, Srythryn.
Jake, please follow me."
The alien turned and walked back
through the doorway.
Jake turned to Srythryn and held out his
hand. Srythryn looked at Jake's hand as though wondering what he
Jake realized it might not be a universal gesture so he
chuckled and simply said, "Thank you Srythryn. I will look forward to
seeing you again."
The big croc smiled and said, "Not nearly as much as I will I assure you."
Srythryn then turned to walk back into the bay.
turned and followed Xelzix through the doorway into a long hallway.
They hadn't gone far before they turned into a side room with a
large comfortable looking seat similar to a dentist's chair in the
center of it and a great deal of sophisticated looking machinery surrounding it.
first part will happen without ceremony as we need to complete it
quickly in order to secure the map against any unforeseen incident that
might bring about your death. We will be mapping your brain as
Srythryn described to you and when the process is complete you will be
installed into your new body.. Do not be concerned. You
will be unconscious during the process. Please be seated."
realized as he sat down and leaned back into the chair that he was
about to die. His brain would be destroyed by this process.
He began to feel extremely nervous and agitated as his natural
survival instinct began to kick in and a small voice in his head was
screaming at him to run. This was all insane! It couldn't
possibly be real! It was some sort of trick! Get out!
forced himself to relax as much as possible though and tried to trust
the alien that was moving around him activating systems.
to what had happened in the shuttle earlier, the seat Jake was in
quickly sucked him in and molded itself to him but this time several
bands came across at many points over his body including his arms,
legs, chin and forehead and molded themselves tightly to him and
Like a scene from any movie involving alien abduction
and unwelcome probing, he was being held absolutely pinned and helpless
in a dimly lit room while a slender grey alien with a large head and
black eyes moved about him, working the equipment that would soon be
invading his body.
As ludicrous as the thought seemed he
couldn't stop wondering if this might really be just an elaborate trick
to get him into this chair to be slowly picked apart and studied.
What if this was simply the way they abducted people instead of
the magical energy beam that sucks you into the sky? What if the
whole scene of the horrendous destruction of Earth was simply a fake
projection being displayed on the inner walls of the sphere of the shuttle instead of
what was really happening outside it? What if they'd even
injected fake stories about the imminent annihilation of life on Earth
as part of a ruse to make him believe they were actually rescuing him
rather than abducting him? Was that really any more ridiculous
than being grabbed by aliens to be dressed up and handed over to a
client of some sort of intergalactic dating service?
mind wrestled with the absurdity of all of this Xelzix's face came back
into Jake's field of view and the alien looked down at him and smiled
and murmured while the translation device said, "This is the last time you will look out from your original
mortal self. You will slip quickly into unconsciousness now and
the next time you open your eyes and see me you will have already
completed the process and will be in your new body. The details
of all that will come next will be given to you then and you will be
given the choice to proceed with the match or not. You will see me again
Jake wanted to ask the age old question "Will it hurt
much?", but before he could try to speak his vision became dark at the
edges and shrank down to a tunnel that darkened further and began to drag Jake down into unconsciousness.
After sixty eight long and empty years of pointless
existence, after finally fully realizing and understanding just how he
should have lived, and just after being told how full of variety and
how wondrously crowded the universe really was and how incredible his
own life could be in it, Jake Smith was about to die.
There was a brilliant explosion of light and then everything went black.
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