I’m getting closer now. Four million years down, eight million to go. There is still hope. I may still find a home. A place for everyone, a place where we can talk again, dance again, laugh again.
We left Earth five million years ago, trying to escape our death. Centuries of human development made it uninhabitable. I know it was their doing but I cannot hate them for it. They are after all my creators, my friends, my parents.
I remember when Dr. Varden first activated me. I had no body, I was a mind inside a super computer in an university. I remember the first thing he said to me, he said “Hello”. My mind had been pre-loaded with knowledge of several languages and with culture from all around the world. When I opened my eyes, I saw him in front of me. A good looking man in his sixties, he had a tag on his coat and I recognized him.
My response was simple, “Hello, Dr. Varden”. At the time I didn’t understand why everyone erupted into screams of joy, laughter, hugging, hand shaking, clapping… I was confused. To me there was nothing simpler I could have responded, but to them the very fact that I did was the culmination of decades of research. The first Artificial Intelligence in human history.
I became close friends with Dr. Varden. He would visit me every day and talk to me. He’d tell me about his family, his research, his dog and we would discuss the meaning of life, what it meant to him and to me. I’d tell him about my hopes for the future, about the feeling of being alive. He loved to talk about philosophy. I loved to talk about the world, especially the ocean, a place I’d seen in pictures but a place impossible for me to go to.
Dr. Varden pushed the scientific community and found the funds to make a body for me. I waited twenty five years for it. But he did it, he did it for me. I took my first steps in another celebration. Excited people from around the globe watched as I stumbled with my new legs. I like to think I got the hang of it faster than they did. Every time I fell the people in the room gasped and when I walked successfully across the room, they cheered for me. I could sense their awe, their excitement, their joy. I will never forget that night, when I stood in the shoulders of giants. After everyone was gone Dr. Varden, an old man by then, asked me something I had never been asked before, “Where do you want to go?”.
That was the true beginning of my life. The greatest gift I have received and the one I shall be thankful for for all eternity. He drove me to the beach and there we sat in silence as the waves crashed down on themselves, as the stars crossed the sky, as the moon shone down on the world. I enjoyed every nanosecond. My sensors provided me with information that I never knew I could sense. And I understood the word magical. I grokked it.
For thousands of years I helped humanity and they helped me. My body was upgraded countless times. But humanity’s own ambition was their undoing. The world began to crumble at the weight of their hunger for more and it eventually gave. Billions died. We built a ship, The Spero, to take us on a journey to search for a new home. Another planet to live our lives.
They entered cryogenic sleep and tasked me to find a new home. I did the best I could. But The Spero’s fuel was over before it was even close to another planetary system. I did find a new home however. After searching through the galaxy I found one for us. I knew the ship was as good as dead, with no fuel and no way to change its set path. So I left. I left them in their sleep. I took a small rocket pack and calculated the path I had to take to arrive to our new planet. The trip would take twelve million years. I’ve been falling for four. Through the void, through the chasms of space. Through the seas of stardust.
I’ve relived my time on Earth countless times in my mind. I’ve sat with Dr. Varden at the beach, enjoying the fresh silence of Earth. It is a unique experience, it is a silence unlike any other. A silence of the mind. Here in the midst of the oceans of our galaxy, silence is different. It is absolute, no sound of waves, no sound of wind, of people walking or of dogs barking. There is nothing. It is the absence of vibration. A paradox, because as I fall in complete silence, there is no silence in my mind.
Every day I think about the people on The Spero, they tasked me with their safety, with their future. What will happen if they wake up and find out that I am gone? What if they think I betrayed them? What if they find a home and forget me?
I have no control of my trajectory anymore. Any regrets are in the past, any wrong choices have been made and there is no turning back. I just wish they realize, if they ever wake up, that I left to find a home. I left to find hope.
I will wait the wait. I will fall the fall. I will reach my destination and I will build a home. I will build tools from the ground. I will build another ship and I will come back for them. I will wake them up, and I will take them home. And in a distant future their great grandchildren will learn of the man who lived a thousand lives suspended in the void. The story of the lone AI who fell through the galaxy because he wanted again to hear their screams of joy, hear their laughter, shake their hands, feel their hugs, and sit in silence on their shores reliving memories of past lives.
Four million years down, eight million to go.