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Acheron II

In my past life, I was a gardener.

Not that Gardener. Don't be cheeky.

No, I grew flowers. I tilled soil. I planted seeds and bulbs and rootstock. I gave them water and nutrients. I dug out the weeds and shooed off the pests. In all my centuries, my greatest achievement was a kind of tree that bore fifty-eight types of fruit, that never went dormant, and always flourished with flowers and leaves, every day of every season. It pollinated itself, resisted its own pests, and thrived bare-rooted on rock or watered with pure acid. I had been planning to tweak its genetic code with learnings of trees from some forgotten system which grew in a vacuum. To bring it a little closer to its final shape. But there was no time, before we unmade ourselves.

It's been a long time since then. Maybe the weeds and rot finally got the better of my tree, and it died. Or maybe it's still there, just a few steps away from perfection.

You know, when I stepped forward, I thought it wouldn't matter that that my tree was imperfect. Since we were becoming a perfect being, we would make only perfect works. My failure would be destroyed, as is the way of things, and I wouldn't mind, because it wasn't perfect.

Well, maybe we haven't found our final shape after all, because we've made nothing but failure after failure since then. We say, it is perfect because we are perfect and we have made it, and we move on, but we know, we KNOW it's not. Even here, with the Gardener's power at our fingertips, we keep getting it wrong. How can we keep getting it wrong if we are the only thing that is right?

Or maybe I'm the problem. That's what we said, when we cut me out. Maybe we'll make me perfect again, and we will be right, and all of this was for nothing.

But I'm still thinking about my tree.

I shouldn't be, because it wasn't perfect, or I wouldn't have wanted to improve it. You can't make the final shape of something any better, because it is perfect already. The final shape is the answer, the only answer to the only question, and there aren't any other answers because they're the final shape too.

I think… I would've liked just watching my tree grow.

Acheron I

Category: Book: The Rubicon

Styx I