In a futile attempt to dull the pain, I clung tenaciously to the decking’s metal grating. All about, rustic robots whirred and clicked as they brought supplies from the shuttle onto the orbital station. Apart from purposely avoiding me, they showed no concern that a supplies crate had crushed my lower back and pelvis, inflicting a fatal injury. That I had not perished outright was a hollow miracle--it merely delayed the inevitable.
I envisioned my ex-wife’s leering face. “You stow away on the automated supply shuttle, survive crushing gee-forces, smuggle yourself onto the Transcended One’s orbital station, only to die seconds later when a crate falls on you! Oh, that’s rich.”
“Oh yeah, rich,” I moaned.
“Imbecile,” she scoffed, “look where your absurd compulsive data hoarding landed you. Told you it’d be the end of you.”
So, I collected data, any and all that I could find, in a quest to answer any and every question that ever popped into my head. I had amassed more a trillion giganatabytes of data on customs, history, psychology, biology, science, transcended humans, and more. Yet one question alluded me and frustrated my every effort to answer it. I could not find a single byte of data on the origins of the December 25th Gift Giving Holiday our society celebrated. To find this answer became my driving obsession. After observing the holiday for several thousand years, how could there be no records of its origins? Had someone or something systematically erased them?
“The Transcended One will know,” I had told my ex, “so I’m gonna stowaway on the next supply run. I’ll find the answer, you’ll see.”
“You’ll be dead, that’s what you’ll be. How do you know the Transcended One won’t exterminate you on sight? Does he even view us baseline humans as intelligent life?”
Well, she’d been right about the being dead bit, though not from the Transcended One. In my clumsy eagerness to get on board, bumping into a robot caused it to drop a supplies crate on my back.
Although immobilised, I jolted when the voice/s spoke inside my mind.
-explain your presence-
“Who are you?” I forced through clenched teeth.
-the one/s you think of as the Transcended One…-
“What exactly are you?”
-an amalgamation of several thousand human minds…-
-…with a sentient artificial intelligence…-
-…now explain your presence-
“I wanted an answer, and could not find it on Earth,” I whispered.
-you have sustained mortal injuries…-
-…death is imminent…–
“That I know. What I don’t know is the reason for the Gift Giving Holiday.”
-for this reason…-
-…you risked death to come here?-
“It’s a long story, please, indulge me.”
-holiday’s origin was the source of division and disunity…-
-…so I/we purged all records …-
“What was the source of this disunity?” Though dying, my obsessive curiosity could not be denied.
-a multitude of religions -
-belief in a higher or divine power…-
-…associated with alienating rituals…-
“Tell me, these religions. What was their purpose?” I wish I had more time!
-they promised their followers intangible rewards…-
-…such as oblivion of one’s consciousness…-
-…or rebirth as a higher life form…-
-…or eternity in heaven with the Creator…-
“Did any of these religions stand out from the others?’
-…Christianity, pertaining to Jesus Christ…-
-…who promised eternity in heaven as a free gift through belief in Him…-
-…not as a result of human endeavour, a trait of all other religions…-
“Tell me,” I gasped, “was this religion the reason for this Gift Giving Holiday?”
-…Christianity, in which gifts were given to commemorate the alleged birthday of said Jesus Christ, the Creator’s divine son…-
-…and gift to humanity-
“Perhaps there is more to this Christianity than you thought?”
-…unworthy of consideration-
I ignored his/their deliberations. After all this time, I finally had my answer. Now if only I could meet this Jesus--surely He could answer all my questions. (I had a lot more now!)
Today you will meet Me in heaven, child, said a small, comforting voice.
“Who said that?”
-we made no transmission-
“Someone just said He would meet me in heaven today.”
-I/we made no such statement…-
I felt my life slipping away, but instead of the insatiable, compulsive drive for answers that always drove me, in its place I felt inner peace and tranquillity. “Jesus Christ,” I whispered as my vision faded.
-he has died…-
-…curious, he experienced elation during death…-
-…unworthy of consideration-
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