A Piece of Artificial Heaven

William Wall

 

Gottlob 746 would be the last to die.

After seven billion years of intergalactic travel and home-settling, the human race had come to its final resting place. Of course, not much of Gottlob could even be considered human anymore. What remained of his human-self pressed in on him with the weight of a thousand suns, swelling to the point of a gravitational singularity. The part of him that was not human also remained broken, shattered beyond repair, unable to respond to the demands of daily existence.   

He sat at his workplace in what would be the last memory lab to survive the end of everything. Where he was didn’t matter so much as the object he held in his hands. It was a simple gray box, five hundred million memories, more than a billion years of human history. It was a small sample, all time considered, but it was much longer than anything Gottlob had ever experienced. He stared at the small, seamless cube, turning it over in his hands just as the cogs and wheels of his own mind began to turn.

"Who'd have thought we would have made it this far," Gottlob mused to himself. It wasn’t a question, not exactly. He knew precisely how they had made it this far. The answers were in his hands.

He glanced over his shoulder to the console behind him, a relic of the past that would continue to survive even after the last light in the universe blinked out. It was a marvel of creation made by men with nothing better to do than produce entertainment for the starving masses. With it, a person could experience new worlds without the headache of star-travel, become someone entirely different without the pains of reconstruction. It had been an escape for those whose reality was too hard to face.

As he pondered both the machine behind him and the memories in his hands, the spark of an idea began form sequences of possibilities in Glottob’s mind.

He swiveled in his chair to face the console blinking behind him, simultaneously removing the upload chip from his spine and fastening it to the memory box in his hands. He set the cube in place, punched in the game sequence codes on the console and began a standard memory-transfer process. If his theory proved right, the human race wouldn’t have to end. Or at least not completely.

A screen appeared in front of him with a selection of game-types to choose from. He selected “MMORPG,” and “Fantasy.” Finally, he reached down to his ruined arm and pressed the release button. The world as he knew it faded into the background, too distant to warrant any care.