The Human Project

Waking in an unknown room is always a jarring experience. Waking in an unknown room that has a distinct surgical feel, surrounded by odd artefacts and gadgets from ancient civilisations from all across the world, is even stranger. To push it past strange into the completely insane, there is what can only be described as a varied assortment of aliens staring from a viewing hallway, now it’s reached a sense of pure dread. Suddenly the very air in front of the aliens seems to shimmer and vibrate as multiple forms of communication occur at once. The air is alive with electricity and meaning. An intense searing pain begins at the base of your skull, and then everything goes dark.

Waking groggily, a small machine is removed from your forehead as you glimpse the gown of yet another alien disappearing away past the far wall. For the first time you can move your limbs and struggle into a sitting position. Everything aches, you clearly haven’t moved in a long time given the screams of your body at even the slightest movement. You look around at all the varied signs and artefacts in the room you occupy. There is writing and glyphs strewn across it all, but nothing you can read. A few seem familiar, like something from a half remembered dream, but the meaning slides away like fog above a calm lake.

Slowly over time you begin regaining strength. Gradually you become accustomed to your new surroundings and the constant stream of beings coming to view your tiny “exhibit” becomes tolerable. Any time you try to communicate with the Custodians that are the only beings to actually enter your small domain, there is only a stony silence though it seems more they are waiting for you to attempt communication in a non-verbal form more than from any form of malice or lack of interest in you.

Eventually left with nothing to take up the monotony of being stuck and viewed for simply existing, you slowly start learning from the great tomes and books strewn around. You gradually learn about all the civilizations of humanity and it’s inexorable march out to amongst the stars. The first fledgling steps to explore their immediate solar system and then those close systems nearby. The horrifying period of conquer and slaughter as humans lumbered through the cosmos like a belligerent child smashes through a toy room, without much thought of what other types of life forms may inhabit that space, which they only saw as ripe for the taking. Then finally of the enlightened and compassionate humans that brought knowledge and improvement to every corner of the galaxies they explored, even as their numbers dwindled. The Custodians watch your progress as you absorb every book and text, they stay aloof but always present. As you tinker and fix some of the more exotic looking gadgets they seem pleased with your progress and the bonus of having these trinkets restored.

As you awake one day, a small group of the Custodians are quite close to your cot and one appears to be offering a strange cube like container. As you stretch out your hand to inspect the box the lid rises slowly on unseen hinges to reveal a gadget fashioned in the style of a human watch nestled next to a bag of shimmering material which unfurls into a shirt. You smile and bow your head slightly as you take the gifts putting both on reverently. The watch appears to illuminate from within and a voice echoes from all around you, “Greetings! It is good to finally communicate with you.” The shock of the voice in your mind, an external voice other than your own after so long, is like a bolt of lightning causing you to shrink back to the cot instinctively. “Apologies for startlingly you. I couldn’t help but have some small communication, especially after 40 earth years of observation, before you journey off.” apologizes the Custodian closest to you, moving slightly as the voice echoes through your mind. The perplexed look on your face must have been question enough as the Custodian answered before you could voice my question, “Yes, you are to leave this place. Your time here is at an end. We have immensely enjoyed watching you absorb the knowledge of your race. It is now time for you to decide your own path.”, the voice intoned almost sadly. “A ship has been prepared for you which will take you anywhere you might want. The full knowledge of the cosmos is accessible at any time via the ships computer, you are free to roam the cosmos as your forebears did.”

Astronaut floating through cosmos

“40 years? How have I not aged?”, a voice rasps past your lips and the smallness of the whisper shows the true anxiety of leaving the safety & comfort of the only environment you know. “We use the same technologies your species created a millennia ago to sustain and maintain you. This same technology was the basis of the new process that was used to revive you.” explained the Custodian. Slowly a small spark of fear begins to line the pit of your stomach as several realizations start to coalesce into a thought. The Custodians elation and apparent amazement when you fixed some of the relics, the feeling of sheer amazement and sometimes even fear you could sense from the many beings in the viewing corridor at your simple existence.

“The ship has the same technology and will keep you alive for several human centuries, you are always welcome to return here and we can help extend that indefinitely. We presumed you would first want to journey to Sol Prime and see Terra Earth for yourself?” The Custodian’s question seemed to hang in the air between you. “Is that where the remaining humans are?” you ask, as relief floods through you. “Remaining? You are the last. You are the only one to have been preserved so well that it was even possible to attempt the process of revival…”