Yesterday I watched some newly hatched spiderlings dispersing on the wind, each hanging from its own, fine thread, each looking for a home.
It made me think of Gaia II, launched seven years ago. Hardly believable now, that we could build that amazing biosphere, with its ecosystem designed to maintain itself for millenia, if necessary. And those uterine chambers, filled with embryos – human, of course, and larger animals, all waiting to be born into a brave new world.
We all waved the ship goodbye, and wished it well. We followed it on television and on the internet, bought apps to track its journey. Now it is silent. Signals take too long to return to us, and anyway, since the war it’s been hard to coordinate any kind of international effort.
So, yesterday was the first time in months I’d thought of it, and I’m one of the lucky ones. As well as my two daughters here, I have an embryonic son, sleeping in amniotic fluid in an artificial womb, somewhere out there. My chance at some kind of immortality. I wonder what his life will be like – the synth-mothers teaching him basic technology, and co-operative skills. I hope he helps to build a better world than this one.
I’ll never know. Nor will my daughters, or their children, or theirs. We won’t know how this story ends.
We have cast a bottle, with a message written in DNA, out into the dark ocean of space. All we can do now is pray for it.
Image by Makis Wilarmis. Prompt courtesy of Jane Dougherty. I am really looking forward to reading these stories…