There is the flat screen, the media, the engagement with the processes. The point is that we are all connected, plugged in, to this wider frame of matrix basics and science fiction crap. The trick is to disengage, to stop using terms like engage and disengage, to stop imagining such things as processes.
Odd things burning in the background there, in front of the three red suns that bob above the horizon. Behind the village, full of cloth-eared trolls and hairy beasts, there is the familiar collection of gleaming super structures and flying gizmos. Robots maybe. Maybe it’s a robot society. A hybrid human-robot society that frames the village below, in front, to get across the differences between the two modes of living. Which would you sooner be: a mud skimming, shit-kicking, flea-ridden pisser living off rats and peas, or a highly evolved future sentinel who has long since transcended all notions of perfection?
For instance, she said, we don’t do niggers up here, as our elevator descent carried us down, down through the stars. Below, before we could crush them, a collection of the outside trolls, brandishing banners, scattered into the open ducts, the airways and the gutters. As I said, she said, we don’t do niggers up here.
In the rockets, their blasts heard from even up here, great gangs of people out for some kind of salvation. A rocket ride wasn’t cheap, not even back then, and now, as they make their moves through space, they must surely be rueing the day they forked out. The society we have here is of monkeys, robots, ethereal wisp things, life forms that can only be understood as thoughts, spider-like encasements, blobs of energy, organic tree forms, rays of desire, computer codes, gender-free humanoids, little fat possessors of wisdom, birds, splashes of water, giant rocks and small torches of hatred. Those people in the rockets, we wouldn’t know what to do with them except, maybe, to eat them. Or, rather, to avail them of themselves and send them back empty, husks.
As envoy for StarFleet Extran-Plauno 7, it is my duty to report back at intervals that I deem to be timely. Ten thousand years or so, give or take a century. I am, it has to be said, showing signs of wear. And of weariness. There is something inside me, sometimes, that longs to be hairy. And I ache from a longing to breathe the air. Even though it would kill me. I have certain forbidden dreams of tomorrow.
Here is the story: I am an envoy from a distant planet that is distant in terms that are neither measured by time nor space but rather by attitude. My seven hundred thousand years here have so far been, relatively, short. I am here to study the differences between the two societies that sort of co-exist but only through various processes of ignorance. Neither society, until (relatively) recently, has engaged with the other. My mission, such as it is, is to bring them in contact with one another. It was I who smuggled in the trolls, who gave them an awareness of all they had been missing. I, if you like, gave them fire. And soon I will be punished for it. Yes, punished like Prometheus. But between myself and the trolls there is something more than scientific curiosity and cosmic meddling. And what do you think? I discover humanity, the last vestiges of it, outside, in the shit and the mud, lurking within these troll things, these dirt poolers, these wilderness grubbers. Not within, not inside with these silver robot types who pose as gods. Salvation comes to me, at the last moment. But is it too late? Will I regenerate?
My distant rocket, fashioned from the wires and bits surrounding the gleaming liquid towers, carries me out into the deepest of space. I have left behind the surrounds of protection. I have relinquished my immortality and have chosen to live with the troll things. With one in particular, my wife, who, as we see when we pull out into space, is radiant with our child. Within them both lies hope. And behind lies further hope in the shape of rockets full of blackies, glad now that they’d forked out for their fare.