Day 6: June 6, 2106
Since dawn I have been unable to sleep. The heat wave has grown worse (the temperature fell only to 38 Celsius and the humidity remains at nearly 85%!) Yet is is not the heat that bothers me.
I can't sleep because I am afraid.
Peter and the others disappeared into the interior of Antarctica. I knew stories about such endurance and courage: I grew up on those stories, about Shakleton and the Endurance, about Scott and Amundsen and the others, brave, sometimes foolish men who dared explore places beyond the end of the world.
I had always wanted to be one of them, to join that long tradition. It is the reason I proposed the 61 Cygni mission, the reason I volunteered - no, that's the wrong word, I didn't volunteer, I insisted. Without me there would have been no 61 Cygni mission.
Intercorp wanted to develop long-range plans. It was evident to many people even as early as the 1980s that most so-called strategic thinking until then was in fact extremely short-sighted, looking only five, ten or twenty years into the future. 61 Cygni was an opportunity to demonstrate some truly long-range, creative planning. Results of the mission would not be known for a generation or two.
Intercorp wanted to prove that it could plan and execute benign control of the world's economic and political life better than any previous government. Governments had acquired an unsavory reputation for management: all governments. Intercorp offered an alternative, and by default established itself as the de facto ruling body of the world.
This had not happened when I left, of course. But Intercorp, in the late 1990s and early 21st century, was the major civilian body to sponsor research and development, to provide goods and services, to back and promote the arts, and it was growing very rapidly.
Obviously it succeeded in taking over. It was successful in running the world.
Yet everyone is gone now. Peter and the others, they did something to cause the Migration. And all I know about is their courage, their endurance. It is difficult not to admire such tenacity.
I will never join the explorers. My own mission was a failure. Perhaps, if I had come out of the cryofield orbiting the double star at 61 Cygni, or one of the planets known to be there. If I had stayed my full year, perhaps landing and exploring, perhaps finding alien life, then I would have been a true explorer, like those who endured the hardships of Antarctica. But that will never happen now.
There is no one here, and I realized how much support explorers need. Gyges could never fly again without extensive refurbishing, not only of her computers, her cryofields, but of the axion ramscoop as well. I do not have the expertise, the experience or the power to do such work myself.
I am trapped on earth, alone.
And so I am afraid. I am afraid the world is empty forever, that no one is coming back to find me.
So I could not sleep this morning. I feel the end of this story approaching, and I fear for what I will learn.
Everyone left, and they are not coming back. Homer and I will be alone as long as I live.
Finally I forced myself back into the cool underground hospital, back to the terminal.
After all, Homer is my only friend.
Keywords: world, will, intercorp, mission, cygni, long, about, perhaps, never, would, wanted, endurance, such, others, afraid, sleep, homer, coming, alone, myself, explorers, their, everyone, body, governments, life, known, early, range, without, reason, join, end, who, those, courage, stories, antarctica, peter, heat
All text © 1986 Rob Swiggart. "Portal : A Dataspace Retrieval" is available courtesy of the Author's Guild Backprint Programme. ISBN: 0595197841All programming and software © 2002 Salim Fadhley. Released under the GPL. Code available on request.
Updated: Sun Apr 14 2002
Privacy Note: This site uses Hitbox and Webtrends Live to track activity, this is so the author and myself know how many people are viewing the site. The ads below pay for the tracking service.
We collect 'aggregate' statistical information about the use of this site. We do not collect or store information about individual users and we do not sell the information we collect onto any other company or individual.
You can prevent tracking by switching off cookies, or by rejecting cookies from the tracking companies. All new web-browsers (IE6 or Mozilla) have options to do this.(Sal)