To be sure, space travel sure is a lot easier, now that humans don’t need food, water, or even air. Immortality means precisely that – not dying, no matter what. But space travel being easier doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily something to look forward to.
I still remember the day I returned to life, when I got this body that never needs and, as a result, never dies. Truth be told, I was hesitant about returning to life. I didn’t have such a good run, my first time around. Lots of regrets in that life, even if I didn’t experience those regrets until after I returned to life. I wasn’t a good person in my mortal life, not by a long shot. But, still, they found a way to give me that so-called great gift that everyone else received. And now I’m here.
Artificial intelligence isn’t necessary if a human intelligence can be surrounded by a form-fitting capsule and then launched into space, that great deficit of matter and time. My perfect recall is now the new instrumentation array for this space probe, and it’s all free of charge to the powers that be. The only mechanism is the radiation filter. And what does it do? Why, it filters the visible light from distant stars, all of it, so that if there is any visible light to be seen in this void, I will know of it.
There is no light in my capsule, not a flicker. Frozen but unable to die, the cold pierces my bones, but I am beyond physical pain. I am conscious, however, and the mental pain… I never got used to that. How long have I been traversing the Great Void? My mortal self would have forgotten long before perishing. My immortal self knows exactly the time spent here: but the years and days of my home on earth mean nothing in this emptiness. I am somewhere between the beginning and the end of time, and I have eternity to search for light. In the meantime, I have only my memories as companions.
And I thought it was dark before I entered the void… pinpricks of starlight growing fainter and farther as I plunged ahead into this absence of matter and time. Anything further than 10 megaparsecs, that light I do not see. I’m told that this void is close to 400 million parsecs in diameter, and I get to cross the whole of it. There’s supposed to be a small bubble of 17 galactic clusters in a 50 million parsec area somewhere in this void, but I don’t think my trajectory will be within 10 million parsecs of any of them.
They knew who I was when they brought me back to life. My victims were alive before me. Dead men tell no tales until they’re resurrected, and then it truly is Judgment Day. I couldn’t argue, not with them there before me, those innocents… those little innocents… It’s like I’d already been convicted before being brought back to deathlessness, and my punishment decided upon.
They’re fairly certain I won’t find anything out here. I’ll be here for billions of years – and then what? I don’t know. And what if I do see something? How do I let anyone know? Why would they want to hear anything from the likes of me?
My perfect eyes never shut, and I never sleep. I am always at rest. My perfect mind never hallucinates or delves into delusion, so I always have my reality before me and within me. I do wonder about the end of time, where that would place me. Will I even know when time ends? Or will I eventually move beyond the gravity of any other body in the universe, and rip away, my matter to never again participate in the fabric of life?
I guess I’m already in such a state. I am rejected by the human family for my crimes, and I now exist outside that vibrant, joyous community. My victims didn’t hate me, but I couldn’t stand being around them. I suppose I can’t really be around anything alive, such is my punishment. Dead, my spirit still knew the earth and its haunts. Alive once again, and I am the lord of all that I survey, for 10 million parsecs all around me. There is nothing to oppose me, nothing to stop me, nothing to impede me in any way. I can reach for the stars, but they shall forever be beyond my grasp.
I am ruler over the darkness outside the universe, and I would never know if any other being laid claim to the radius of nothing that extends from my person. My infinite, timeless kingdom is also my prison cell where I face the darkness to equal the light I once extinguished. If I could live my life over differently, I would, but I am the only matter for 10 megaparsecs because I did not live my life the way I should have.
If only I did not have a perfect ability to experience regret, perhaps I could rejoice somehow in being master of the void!