Part II – Confabulation
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
“But the planet, the solar system, everything there died?” Alpha 8u understood the legends, he understood life on Gilgamesh, he knew how they got here, or he thought he did!
“The solar system didn't disappear, it just looked that way.” 6895 paced around the room, stopping, peering through the port holes of their apartment block.
“What do you mean looked that way?”
“A legend is a just that. It’s a story, something... made up, fiction.”
“You mean it’s not true?”
“It's not true. Exactly. It’s a history invented so no one would decide to go back. It’s a history invented by one man, Henry Gibson.”
“Should I believe you? Is this some kind of test? Why? Why are you telling me all this? Why would this man, this Henry Gibson invent a legend and how would anyone believe it?”
“You have a lot of questions, that’s normal, I expected you would. I will take each part piece by piece so you can begin to see the whole picture”
Alpha 8u was sixteen years old, he trusted 6895, they had always been together, but this was a lot for a teenager to understand.
“Henry Gibson was a powerful man on Earth, but he was not the most powerful person and he was up against some considerable opposition. There was a battle going on for the future of that planet, the planet we all came from. It was on the brink of destruction, but in a way it had to be there, at that precipice, about to destruct. It had to be there for Mr Gibson to succeed.”
“So the planet didn't get destroyed?”
“Oh no, it got destroyed, only later.”
“And the whole solar system?”
“That's still there.”
“No, no. Now I know you're lying. If we search the skies it doesn't exist, if you can’t see it with all our technology that can scan the distant universe, it’s not there.”
“Let me tell you a story.”
Alpha 8u smiled and raised his hand. “I’m not a little child. I won’t believe your fairy tales.”
“Just listen. Listen and learn.”
Alpha 8u relaxed, he thought it might at least be entertaining, but he was wondering why this was happening. He was a little anxious, something nagged at the back of his mind that was disturbing his calm and threatening his equilibrium.
“When Christopher Columbus discovered America the three sailing ships appeared on the horizon, growing ever bigger and easier to see the nearer they got to the shore. The local native Indians who lived on the land and walked along that beach, looked out to sea and they saw nothing. Even when the three tall ships with their white sails were anchored in the bay, they saw nothing!”
“That's not possible.”
“Oh, but it is. Because they could not imagine huge ships that sailed the oceans, they could not see them. Even though they were there, right in front of them. Their brains were programmed in such a fashion that they blanked out those ships. Those ships did not exist for them.”
“You’re saying our brains have been programmed not to see Earth and the solar system it is in. You’re saying it’s there, we could travel there, but we can't see it.”
“Perception. Exactly. You can’t see it. The planet is no longer habitable, it died, at least for humans, but it is still there, orbiting the sun. The same sun that was shining when we left.”
“It's not just perception. What happened?”
“All actions have consequences, predictable and otherwise. The eggs transported to start new human life on distant planets were genetically modified. Your DNA was played with.”
“You can’t change a person’s DNA so they don’t see something. You can cure disease, repair cells, but you can’t change selectively what we can see. You would have to make everyone blind.”
“Which is what happened. In a way. You see it, but you don’t know it’s there because you don’t register it’s there in you consciousness. Like programming people’s brains to see red as blue. Believe me, that's what happened. And it had other consequences.”
“Other consequences. Like what?”
“I cannot explain everything, it could be damaging. I will tell you that part of the DNA engineering resulted in only males being born. It was not a choice to have only males, it could just as well have been only females. What was relevant here was that there would be no natural reproduction of the species. No chance that human genes might evolve to eliminate the block put on seeing the Earth and its solar system.”
Alpha 8u felt uncertain, something had radically shifted in his world. What he thought was real, what everyone thought was real, was suddenly shown to be false.
“What else don’t we see?”
6895 smiled, he stretched out his arm and rested a hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“Nothing, don’t worry. There was only one purpose to this, that humanity would not return to Earth.”
“It’s too late anyway. Even if it exists, it’s a dead planet.”
“Yes, it’s too late.”
They were both woken by the sun shining through the huge glass window of the bedroom, which was another first.
“I could get used to this.” Grif stretched and sat up in bed, half pulling the duvet off Steve.
“Aw, why’d you have to wake me up?”
“Because it’s daytime dude. Look out there. God, I never imagined I'd be living in a world with proper daylight and sunshine.”
Steve dragged himself up next to Grif, ran his hands through his hair, and starred at the city beyond the glass.
“There's some weird stuff going on here.”
“Yeah, you're right, but who cares.”
Grif spread both his arms out wide. “Who cares, when we got all this.”
“Yeah well, I'd like to know what Henry is up to for one thing, but more important I wanna find out what happened with Mark, Joel and Jack. Even his mom and Charlie and Kado.”
“Oh man, that’s a whole lot of finding out. I could just lay here in this comfortable bed, in this fantastic apart, and chill.”
Grif rolled over half on top of Steve. “Grif!”
He looked up from kissing Steve's nipples. “What?”
“No sex. Not till we find out what’s going on.”
“You don’t mean that.” Grif’s hand slid across Steve’s belly and found his cock.
Steve moved, squirmed out from under him, brushing his hand aside and standing up.
“Jeez, you look real sexy naked with a hard on.”
“Whatever, I’m taking a shower.”
Grif watched him turn around and leave. He thought he would have to find Henry and ask him about what was really going on here, and see if they couldn't find some way to get in touch with the others.
Clement was standing next to Joseph, the boys were on the sofa and chairs, Joel had his arm around Charlie, his mom and Kado were standing by the fireplace.
“It seems like your Project Weatherman functioned?” Kado was the first to speak, addressing Clement.
“Actually no, Mr Surnam, it didn't.”
“We're all here,” Kado gestured with his hands. “No evacuation.”
“That’s not correct,” Joseph intervened. “The evacuation went ahead. If you'd got here before the storm you might well be on your way to a life in space.”
“Destiny,” Kado smiled.
“And some ingenious planning and subterfuge.”
“What exactly do you mean Professor?”
“Nearly every power station is up and running, every city is functioning. The hydro power has been superseded by solar and wind. That didn’t happen by accident.”
“You said Project Weatherman failed.”
Nobody else was joining in the conversation. The boys were listening, paying attention, except Charlie, who was fidgeting and looking bored.
“No one could have planned for some sort of survival alternative on the basis of a failed attempt to end the rain.” Kado stepped away from the chimney.
“It would seem there is always a bit of hazard and luck in anything, but I’m sure there was a plan. No doubt based on the success of the project, certainly not predicting the flood, but things were put in place for when the rain ceased.”
“And the evacuation of the planet would seem to point to a power play,” Joseph added.
“One huge gamble, a roll of the dice!” Kado was standing next to the boys, by the sofa.
“It was unpredictable. So yes, I suppose you could say, a roll of the dice,” Clement grinned.
“Why didn't you evacuate Professor. If you knew you had failed?”
“Good question, Mr Surnam.”
“Please Professor, call me Kado.”
“Well... Kado. I felt rather responsible for the failure. Joseph and I decided to stay to see what might be salvaged.”
“There's one person I know who loves to gamble for very high stakes, and funnily enough that same person also chose not to evacuate, but to stay behind. He told me that he was old enough to have already lived his life, but I didn't believe it for one minute.”
“And who might that person be?” The professor looked curious.