[Allow me to explain the abrupt end to this story. Originally, my intent was to write another sci-fi novel but I simply ran out of time. So it sat for a couple of years on the hard drive, waiting. Then one day I decided to end it. So I wrote the following epilogue, which is almost more of an epitaph, but what the hell. At least, I got closure from these characters who haunted me to give them purpose and get them out of limbo. So now they are free to travel space for eternity and no mere Earthian with some half-baked idea she can write a book may interfere with their adventures. Of course, it’s possible that out there, i.e., here, there may be another writer courageous enough to pick up the gauntlet so casually thrown, take this story and build it up to a proper denouement. If you’re in the mood for it, if you have ideas firing off in that direction, by all means, go for it!!! 🙂 ]
I could easily go on with this story.
I could, for example, describe the bonding ceremony, the excitement and cheering from the entire crew. I could describe the dress Thane wore, designed by computer and put together by Ship’s droids. So perfect, it resembled an extension of the beautiful Thane. I could write quite a few chapters on the party that followed the bonding. I swear, even the droids got drunk.
I could go on to describe the changes Thane’s love for the men wrought aboard Blue. Some were paternal towards her, some brotherly, some just warm and friendly and some expressed their romantic and sexual interests. She engaged each one impeccably, a beautiful healthy reed bending freely with the changing emotional currents she naturally set in motion aboard Blue.
I could write several chapters on encounters with deep space privateers, the space battles, the attacks, the dodging, the effects caused by Blue splitting into her separate modules. I would then have to describe the terrible loss of her medical module, number four, with sixteen members of her crew lost in its fiery destruction. Then I’d have to explain how Thane replaced the loss by winning over the medical staff of the captured pirate vessel that had killed Blue’s.
I could go on with the amazing tale of Zelleus’ past, how he revealed to Thane that he had found a kind of “fountain of youth” for lack of a better word, on a desert planet that had been abandoned because nothing of value was found there. How he described the changes he had seen in the twenty-six hundred years he had been a spacer. What happened to Thane when he took her there and she too partook of this substance.
I could write several chapters on Thane’s own exploits when she gained command of her own ship, the “Encore” and how she and Zelleus attacked the Van Dradden’s mining empire to find her long-lost “brother” whom, it turns out, was a family cast-out because he voiced opinions on business reforms. He was also the donor of the sperm, making him her biological father and her, heiress to a vast fortune. How she took over the Van Dradden Trade House with a single intent: to free all the slaves kept by that House, humans, Borgs, machines and worlds, and how she destroyed its trade monopoly, using the various laws in existence across the galaxy to do this legally, thus avoiding yet another trade war.
I could then go on with the cat and mouse game they played, skirting the Earthian blockade looking for an opening into uncharted territory and what happened when they did, in fact, break out into free space.
I could then write one chapter on how she and Zelleus gave up their ships to their faithful crews; how they used the Van Dradden fortune to re-structure Pallarti and make it a flower of culture and commerce before they disappeared forever from Earthian controlled space.
But I don’t have to do this because in some three thousand years you will be able to interact with these stories in your holovids. When you find this story, and you will, try to use judgment as to what is documented data and what is fabrication. Beware of the documented stuff – it’s quite untrustworthy. The so-called fabrications (what you now refer to as ‘fiction’), those, you’ll see, are priceless.
You ask why I say that? How primitive the Earthian mind remains! It’s simple: if history can be recorded as fiction, anyone recording it is free to tell it as it is, to speak the truth. Conversely, if it is “official” history, there is little truth there beyond mere statistics; what the “System” permits to be told and what information it permits to be disseminated through official channels. Hasn’t it always been so?
I am returning to my time now, to rejoin Zelleus and Thane, my biological parents, on our replica of the Blue Dragon.
“Over the neural tap he felt a soft brush of presence. ‘Listening in again, my darling?’ he projected.
‘Yes, my love. You might as well get used to it. We’re in this together, for the long stretch.’
[Saul] smiled. For when this body he wore was long gone, his memories would ride another clone… and continue loving Virginia. The Wandering Jew and the Lady in the Machine… they would be a resource for the people, serving for as long as anyone wanted them around.
‘Immortality is service’, he thought.
They held each other in cool electron arms. And both of them imagined that they heard, faint and ghostly, in the distance, low confirming laughter.”
(from: Heart of the Comet by Gregory Benford and David Brin)