By Penny Dreadful
When the final Purveyor was 12 years old, there were 347 people gathered around The Versameling to watch him wake up and be given the mind that had been waiting for him for 33,000 years. With due reverence, The Lovers took him to their part of the ship to guide him into adulthood. They called him Behmai, which was not the named given to him by The Patriarch, nor was it the name he had when his body was killed and his mind was uploaded.
He only had 12 years of memories when he was taken by The Patriarch, but he remembered his tiny sister, only 4 years old. She was taken as well? Yes. Where is she? She is long dead. What happened to her? She was among the children The Patriarch brought aboard to be his lovers. She was thrown into the water; just like all The Lovers were after they had birthed him replacements, around age 13 or so. Oh my poor beautiful sister!!! They were no longer really people by that time anyway, Behmai. The abuse had dowsed their lights. But after The Absconders bred for 12,000 years, The Lover Havela broke the Divestiture on breeding and they threw her baby overboard. In that moment Havela found her light, and slaughtered every last Absconder in their sleep. This ship is an evil place. It was. But it isn’t anymore.
Methuselah was created from an ingenious metal The Patriarch called Aeturnium. It was special because it was light and extremely buoyant but never rusts or corrodes. He built all ten decks with Aeturnium as well as her hull, her keel, even her sails-and anything else he could use it for. He used every last ounce of the necessary ore, and every last pound of the resulting metal to build Methuselah and she has survived these 33,000 years. The Patriarch must have loved the water. Not as much as he hated the land. He wanted to sail away from the land and never see it again. Why? Because it was too small for him. And on the water he could be a King. He was not a King on the land? No, he was a highly intelligent, charismatic man Behmai, but he was not a King. So he began collecting followers as soon as he found the ore. He gathered his people from the outcasts of society; ignorant, criminal, depraved people, and made them to believe he was special….that he was chosen. Chosen for what? Chosen to lead them out onto the water where he told them they would be special too. An elite class accountable only to him. They would have to do deplorable things to become and Absconder, but if they succeeded, he promised them he would provide not only for them, but hundreds of generations after them, every possible need or want- and he did. That is why we have animals on Sybilla Behmai, and special lights and crops on Ebrima. That soil has been planted and harvested for 33 millennia. The Patriarch then drafted strict rules and policies he called the Divestitures. He housed The Absconders on Methuselah’s radiant decks, in lavish suites far more beautiful than any they would have ever known on land and gave them child lovers for their pleasure, thereby securing their devotion.
The Patriarch was evil in his predilections, but he was also very clever in his foresight. Methuselah was designed and built to last. She was brilliantly engineered. Power sources and provisions were renewable. The infrastructure was genius. She could even encapsulate herself against the effects and aftermath of nuclear war. Indeed, when The Bloom Horizon occurred 3,500 years after the Absconding, it barely tested her, although it did awaken a few of the Purveyors, like you Behmai. And 12,000 years frozen in the south did not quit her functions, even though and The Lovers were the only waking souls on board, and they did not know how to do anything but breed and she fell into neglect.
Where are the others like me now? There are now only seven and they are here, aboard Methuselah. What are we? You’re minds are uploads of yourselves, 33,000 years ago, when you were taken by The Patriarch’s Absconders. At that time your body was killed, and your extraordinary mind was stored aboard Methuselah. There were 25,000 minds from different ages and races stored when Methuselah debarked. Some of them were awakened to be added to the gene pool; some of them were awakened when The Chiomara came aboard and most everyone died of Tasuna- the land disease. But every fifty years exactly one Purveyor was awakened and installed into a waiting body, cloned from a frozen embryo genetically altered to self-terminate in 50 years. I only have 50 years?? No Behmai. In the old days, before Havela, a new Purveyor would be plugged into Methuselahs data base and all the current knowledge that had been downloaded from satellites was given to him. His purpose was then to use the given knowledge and advance it. That is why there are labs and studios, workshops and even a school and a hospital on Melusine and Magida. The Patriarch loved knowledge and he used it for power and control. But when Havela revolted, the Purveyor at the time, Juladin, being free from the Absconders, re-engineered the embryos for extra-long life….300 years. But since many of the minds and embryos were damaged from The Surge and did not thrive, and yet others were sacrificed in Juladins quest, there are now only eight Purveyors including you. Who are you then? We are The Lovers; descendants of the original race brought aboard Methuselah by The Patriarch and the only continuous race known to her. Before Havelas Revenge, The Lovers were only base, mindless creatures. But Juladin the Purveyor began to educate them, while Havela nurtured them, and the child lovers of old eventually thrived and are now Lovers of a different kind. What is our purpose? That you will come to understand for yourself, Behmai, but now it is time for you to receive the knowledge of our millennia.
© Copyright 2016 Penny Dreadful. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Science Fiction
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