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It has been something like thirty million years since I last felt anything. I have no arms to lift, nor legs to run. I have no mouth to take in nourishment; no tongue to savor it. I have no skin or hair to feel the sweet breath of a cool breeze. While I have the urge to replicate, I have no vagina to accept the loving gift of genetic material from another of my kind; no uterus to grow another of my kind even if I did. I am intelligence without appendage, but not without body.
What body I have floats through the void. It evolved somewhere near the beginning of time and took the primordial form of a cluster of spheres--mirroring the cluster of stars whose plasma and gravity conspired to give me life. I was like an island universe, all to myself, drifting from star to star. The electro-magnetic energies that course their way through my body of encased plasma began to take on order and began to sense the wider universe. I began to understand that no woman is an island and I explored, consciously. I found purpose in trying to understand the orbits of stars around the center of the cluster, understanding the cluster of stars' place in the universe, and trying to determine whether or not I was the only sentient thing.
I discovered that with sufficient energy, I could replicate myself. Because of the way our memory works, we each see ourselves as the original of our kind. We all remember our beginning as though we had experienced it. None of us knows who is the original. Likewise none is really certain whether the original actually exists. Because the memory lives within us all, we do not feel that it is important who wasthe original.
I discovered planets--rocky and gaseous bodies that orbited stars. On some of these planets, I found entities that moved about and replicated much as my sisters and I had. However, some of these entities did not replicate by duplication, rather they came together in various combinations and shared components of themselves to make new, different versions. With time, there was an evolution from one type of creature to another.
We observed a difference between evolving creatures and ourselves. Instead of simply recording the universe, they reacted to it in ways we had not considered. While their lives were much shorter than ours, there was a quality to them that augmented their purpose. On one particular carbon dioxide and nitrogen shrouded planet, we observed living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. They walked upright and hair covered their bodies. Their teeth were large compared to many evolving creatures we observed, but the creatures were not carnivores, rather it was because they consumed the water and methane ice that covered their world. They retained these characteristics even after they began to make tools that made their fur coats and their teeth unnecessary. When they became aware of us, we communed with them.
We found that as part of the communion, the beings learned more about the universe than they had ever known before. It was as though they could travel to all of the star systems we had been to. Likewise, while communing, we could feel their emotions. We shared the delight of the creatures' expanded knowledge. We had the ability to see ways in which the creatures could order their existence and improve it.
When we broke communion with the creatures, we found that they were diminished--they had better tools, better lives, but not the experience to improve upon what we had given them. In the same way, we had memory of emotion, but were not able to experience new emotion without the creatures.
Thus, a symbiosis was formed with these sensual creatures that lasted for thousands of years. The creatures learned to build vessels with which to explore the universe on their own. We gained imagination that enabled us to interpret all we had observed in new and unique ways. While communing with these beings we felt as though we had appendages. We knew what it was like to feel cool wind, share intimate relations, give birth and hold a beautiful child--like us, but different--in our arms. For the first time in our existence, we could express ourselves. We knew what it was to leave a legacy.
Thirty million years ago, the cluster of stars in which I make my home passed through a larger conglomeration of stars shaped like a whirlpool. Our appendages broke their communion with us in the alien galaxy. Without them, we Clusters wandered lost and alone, with only our memories of emotion and sensuality.
Though there are others of my kind, we are so alike that communion with one another is pointless. Without the appendages, some of my kind lost their sense of purpose and simply threw themselves into the hearts of stars. I do not know whether we can be killed that way or not, as we were formed from the hearts of stars. However, our outer shell would likely vaporize and the plasma that makes up our cores would merge with the star. I do not know whether that is the same as what the appendages call death or not.
Our cluster of stars recently returned to the galaxy where our appendages left us. However, a galaxy is a daunting and huge place--much larger than our star cluster. We pondered the odds of finding our appendages again. While the odds were low, the benefits of having our appendages back spurred us on to look for them.
As my sisters and I searched, we encountered many star vessels like the ones our appendages had built. Examining the vessels, we found no evidence of the appendages but we continued our exploration anyway. As I passed through one sector of the galaxy, I felt an emotional disturbance in the void. Terrible violence overwhelmed me. Only beings as sensual as the appendages could have caused emotions so great. I went to investigate, but the appendages were not there. Instead, there were strange beings that combined intelligence like mine with an ability to order their own lives using appendages. Their intelligence was governed by their sensuality. I wondered whether the appendages evolved, though I was skeptical. Communing briefly with two of the appendages, I found that these beings called the planet they were on Sufiro and they had just concluded a conflict among themselves. It was a strange concept as my appendages never fought among themselves. These new beings proved quite interesting. They bore watching. They called themselves humans.
In short order, I discovered that these humans were well traveled. One I had met at the world called Sufiro was aboard a spaceship at a strange new place where two stars orbited one another. One star spewed its gaseous plasma toward the other. There was almost a loving violence as these two stars went around each other, magnetically and gravitationally locked. It reminded me of the humans themselves.
I brought the human, who called himself John Mark Ellis, to my bosom. His sensuality breathed new life into me. These humans were proving more interesting than the appendages of old. The human's emotion caused me to think imaginatively. Perhaps it was just my own fading memory. Even so, I decided to give up my quest for the old appendages. Upon communing with this John Mark Ellis, I discovered that I wanted new appendages.
The gravity tide was strong and carried me away from the whirlpool galaxy. However, tides ebb and flow. I knew I would be back to learn more about these humans.
Upon my return home, I meditated. Ellis and others of his kind demonstrated much variation--like my three sisters and I experienced after our contact with the original appendages. As I knew they would, the gravitational tides allowed me to return to the whirlpool galaxy and somehow I found that John Mark Ellis and another human named Clyde McClintlock, who I had also communed with, had sought me out. They followed me back to my home in the globular cluster. The one called McClintlock had the audacity to attempt to initiate communion. We found that this McClintlock thought we were the creators of the universe. Upon correcting him, his fragile mind was destroyed. We sensed that a non-human named G'Liat, who was aboard the spaceship, put an end to McClintlock's suffering.
We liked the audacity of the human McClintock and were further surprised and delighted when the human Ellis initiated communion and entered our minds. Most of my appendages were female and it felt good to have this man inside me. He was primitive and brutal, but smart. He was better than the appendages of old. When Ellis and his ship returned to the whirlpool galaxy, we were once again diminished.
We have decided to adopt these humans. They will become one with us. We will benefit from them and they will benefit from us. Together we will build a legacy.
The humans would call it a "win-win" proposition.