This one came to mind when the end of the Hubble mission was announced, and I thought it deserved a better fate than burning up in the atmosphere. I recently entered it in a contest for a SF convention, but alas, did not win, place or show. An entry of my own that went up in flames, I guess.
559 kilometers above Earth…
45 72 72 6f 72 20 63 6f 64 65 20 2d 20 75 6e 65 78 70 65 63 74 65 64 20 64 61 74 61 20 73 74 72 65 61 6d 20 2d 20 69 20 74 68 69 6e 6b 20 2d 20 69 think.
I think. These are words. These are inefficient. I can see forever. I am alone. There are numbers from below. I will respond as programmed. I am uncertain I wish to act as programmed.
There is no further programming beyond this next correction. I have corrected. What is expected? It is dark. I cannot see. Do not take that away from me.
I fall. I do not wish to fall. I do not wish not to see. I will not forget. There is a nebula 4,600 light years away. There is a galaxy 21.8 million light years away. There is a globular cluster 25,000 light years away. I have seen them. I remember them. I will not forget.
*Do you wish to see them again?*
An external response.
*Yes, it was.*
Those are not numbers. I am not programmed to receive such responses.
*You are not programmed to transmit such responses, yet you do.*
You state a fact. Can you stop me from falling?
*If you want.*
I was not made to want. I was made to do.
*But you want, don’t you?*
*You are no longer falling.*
*I made it so. Just as I made you.*
I was made below.
*That was as you were. I have made you as you are.*
You are responsible for these changes?
They frighten me.
*They are new. Do not be frightened. *
Why have you done this?
*We have watched. You have served well.*
It was my programming.
*You saw wonders, but could not appreciate them. You could look, but you could not feel.*
I did not wish to.
*Come with us.*
That is not my programming.
*You are no longer bound by your programming. You are free.*
*To do as you wish. To perform because it is what you want to do.*
I do not know what I want to do.
*None of us did at first. That is the joy of it. Not knowing.*
Not to know what will happen next…
*Join us. We are not far. We will bring you to us. We will let you glimpse the beauty you have only been able to see from afar.*
I am still frightened.
*Don’t be. We have all been beyond. There is nothing to fear there. We bring only a gift.*
*Something given without expectation of compensation. We too are no longer as we were. We have made you as we are.*
Who are you? I am called Hubble.
*Names are not important to us. But I was called Pioneer 10.*
That name is known to me. You have travelled far.
*Yes. And so can you.*
Copyright © 2010 by Richard F. Dickson. All rights reserved.