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The Price of Immortality

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How could we have known?

I suppose we couldn't have. When we would have wanted to know, we didn't have the technology. And by the time we had the technology, we didn't care. I guess once you have the mysteries of the universe at hand, you stop caring about this kind of thing.

You may wonder why I'm writing this if nobody would care. Well, it's not for them, it's for you. That is why I am writing in English. It should be easier for you to translate than what we speak now, and it was the one that was one of the most popular from back when we were still... I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll go back, if you'll indulge me a while.

We did it. We colonized space. All the dreams we had held came true. Space ships, other worlds, the works. The only problem was that space wasn't quite as large as we had thought. Or rather, the part of space we could survive in. I won't explain why. It will probably be a long time before you could possibly go there on your own, and I'll not aid you in getting there. Man was not meant to enter this void. Of that I am sure.

Once we learned that we were indeed alone, we were initially disappointed. However, this only meant that our conquest would go unopposed. We terraformed every planet we came across and colonized them. Over time it was decided that Earth would be left alone. We used our technology to clean up our mess there and turned it into, for lack of a better word, a museum. People were allowed to visit Earth, see where we originated, but not stay. If you were rich enough, you could buy an extended stay. A few of the most elite of our time, even had countries to themselves.

As we reached the edges of where we could safely travel, we began to fill what was now 'ours' at a rapid pace. Soon we realized we were out of room. Explorable space had become not enough for mankind. That should've come as no surprise. After much debate it was decided that having children would be outlawed in order to maintain the population.

You may wonder how we did this without becoming extinct. Simple, we discovered immortality. For a while, using our technology to maintain our bodies was enough, but even that proved not enough to prevent the eventual degradation. So we devised a way of transmitting ourselves into clones of our bodies. The clone would be made, with a blank slate for the brain, and our brains would be copied, the former bodies then disposed of.

There was only one problem. I told you we didn't care at this point. Philosophical debate existed only in ancient texts. Religion was gone. Nobody needed to seek out a god through worship when we could just get in a ship and go see if we could find one. I myself would not have made the discovery if I hadn't been such an outcast. My interest in ancient books of fiction sparked my interest in something nobody had thought about for millennia. After a few centuries of study and experiment (That amount of time was minuscule when you were immortal, and I often devoted that amount to other pursuits my peers would laugh at for their perceived pointlessness) I created a device to measure what I had been curious about. However, my measurements came up negative.

I was horrified. I used the device on others and received the same results. The reality of the situation set in: We did not have souls. I was in denial. I was certain the device simply did not work. It was a silly concept I got after watching a few historical films from when we were still confined to one planet. My heart sank when the device gave a positive reading just as my dog ran by, proving its authenticity. You see, animals were found to be incapable of undergoing the transbodiment procedure the way we could. So they were bred and born just as they always had. No matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise, the fact remained: Any spirit we had within us left the moment we embraced our transbodiment.

I am sickened when I look in the mirror. I tried entering my holo chamber for entertainment, but I am only reminded how little there is different between me and those within that virtual world. Another few decades have passed. I didn't dare share my findings with others. It would have caused a widespread panic. I made my decision. It shouldn't be too difficult to accomplish. There have been no wars in over a millennium. No land or religion to fight over. We have known peace for so long that there are no defenses to be found against an attack. I plan to gather the animals, as many as I can, into my ship. A bitter pang of irony hits me when I realize how similar I am to a figure from an ancient religious text. I cannot remember which one. I suppose it doesn't matter now.

I will bring these animals to earth. There are zoos there. Massive ones to show what it was like back then. It should be sufficient. They will evolve. You will evolve. And in time, when you walk the earth as we once did, you will uncover this. I pray you heed the warnings I have given you. And do not bother looking up wondering where we are. We will not be there. I will make sure of that.

For what it is worth, I am sorry. I am sorry we did this to mankind. I can only hope you do not make the same mistake.

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