-Despite my age and my knowledge, I have to admit you do surprise me. There’s something childish in the way you approach these new circumstances… and I can’t tell whether it is a good or a bad thing. Perhaps this is what happens to any person that goes through massive change in life: innocence.-
-I think that facing upsetting truths and situations can make us vulnerable to the point we become innocent. Curiosity and fear… but let’s go back to what we were talking about, I’m wandering off. Daisuke, you asked whether I like more this era or yours. First of all, I have to say that for all intents and purposes this time is your time as much as the past one, if not even more. For this is the time you’re living in now, and only the present matters.-
He coughed and took a deep breath. They were in the place where the nine of them “rebirthed”. The old man laid one of his hands on the cryogenic capsules and was looking at it both fascinated and melancholic, as if he was drawing memories directly from the capsule just but touching it.
-It may sound strange to you, maybe even cruel, but as soon as you get to have a normal life here during your preparation… assuming that you will, obviously… I think you will understand that everything that happened had to. Not only it had to happen, it was the best thing that could happen.-
-Dr. Wise, are you saying that seven billion people dying was right? That humanity needed to be forced down here like some kind of pariah species, like…- Charlotte paused for a second, thinking while everybody was looking at here. Everybody but the old mand. -…like dirty rats in a sewer?-
-Exactly, Mrs. Baudin.-
-This is shocking. You must be kidding us.- Viktoria couldn’t believe it. They were all sitting down around him on the cold metal floor, and their attention was completely directed to that old men in the dim light. They felt uneasy in that place, and what Wise said didn’t help.
-The old man’s nuts.- Decided Gabriel, standing up and walking away. Vladimir followed silently.
-Risen Ones!- Anger made the elder’s voice so deep and strong that the room seemed to vibrate with it, and for a moment he sounded at least fifty years younger. The two men that stood up now stood still, shivering, and it took them just one look to their friends to understand they weren’t the only ones feeling that way.
Now Wise had their attention.
-Don’t you dare talking to me like that. Never again.- Now he was hissing and breathing heavily because of an anger that his aging body could barely bear. He looked them in the eyes, one by one. -Don’t you spit on my intellect. You are mistaking my kindness for stupidity and weakness, for compliance. Just like during the time you come from, in this world and in this life the secret of leadership is having people around you respect you and fear you at the same time. That’s how I did it my whole life, and that’s how I will do it until I die.-
-Being “the Risen Ones” means jack shit. You were the ones to ask for hours of my time, and I’m in no obligation to give you my time. I could just walk away and forget about your mission and humanity, because it is very likely that I won’t even live long enough to see the world outside of this shithole. So show some respect or I’m out of here like nothing ever happened.-
Gabriel e Vladimir sat down, humbled, and started staring at the floor like the others were doing.
-Go on, doctor. And forgive us.- Said Jake, looking in the old man’s eyes for a few seconds before lowering his gaze again. Now they all nodded.
-Perfect..- Wise coughed again, then he relaxed and started drumming his fingers on his EMFP special chair.
When all of them were looking up again, he nodded. -I was never a religious king of guy… but there’s plenty of room for reflection when you get to live as long as I did and when the world’s hectic life comes down to the intimacy of a narrow, restricted space.-
-I had the rare chance to go beyond science, that same science that (together with Christianity and Islam) was one of the most popular religions of your time… And by studying several cultures and tens of philosophical schools, by expanding my mental horizons, I eventually understood that everything happens for a reason…- He paused. -You see, more than seven billion died. And every single one of those lives was important. But we were stuck in the mud of our “progress”, stuck in economy and war. And to answer your question, the best time is right now: we have no politics, we live without money and are more culturally and technologically advanced than we could have even dreamed in your XXI century. But nonetheless, we are still a bunch of mediocre cavemen compared to the ones that the Universe chose to bring us our final fate.-
-So you think it was necessary?- Veronicas was hesitant.
-Not even a single doubt about it. Even your attitude is proof of it… what makes us that much better than sewer rats, Mrs. Baudin? They communicate as well, in their way. The reproduce, live and die. And we are nothing more that monkeys who were given a good hand from the Universe, a hand that included an opposable thumb, a mind suited for elaborated languages and a somewhat complex neuronal system-
Charlotte said nothing, looking down again.
-But that, right there, was the problem. In the XXI century people never understood that, as a species, we had nothing so special and unique, and therefore we had no right to destroy a world that belonged to itself and its rules, and that could go on with or without us. Just like it’s happening right now above our heads.- Now his hands were joined on his lap. – Every individual living down here is paying for what his or her ancestors did, and this isn’t quite fair, but it actually is fair if you take into consideration the fact that we would have brought ourselves and the world to extinction if something didn’t force us into exile.-
-Then what makes today’s people so different from us? It is impossible that they changed this much in just a century.- Leòn still felt doubtful.
-The fact that they’re not as arrogant as you were. In the end we’re just animals, we have our instincts and our needs… but now we vent them differently. We still have sports, competition is still a thing, people fuck and have fun. We stopped killing each other, except for some rare cases. Every person here had to cope with the truth that all lives are worthless, because that’s what they were taught from the very beginning of their life. That’s the undeniable reality of things their parents and grandparents had to acknowledge from the moment they found out how fragile and defenseless they were when all they loved and knew was taken away from them.-
YOU ARE READING
Kepler 452-BScience Fiction
Earth, 2021. They came down from the Sky to give us progress like we've never seen before. We thought we were ready, but we weren't: a nuclear war divided mankind, so once again we were on the edge of destruction and when they tried to help us we re...