The Lifters

I’ll keep this brief. In cosmic terms, our species was here but for a short time, and as individuals our time was shorter still; too short to measure from such a perspective. This is the way it was meant to be. As the last of us, I can say that with certainty.

The Lifters, as we called them, have been conquering in this way for eons. There was no need to destroy us; just lift up a few who can then hold down the rest. I was one of the few.

Their ambassadors came from the stars and presented us with gifts, technological treasures beyond our comprehension. It was a golden age. We terraformed the inner planets and the outer moons. We harvested energy from the vacuum to power our hungry machines. We relished out magnified capacity for decadence.

For reasons that are only clear now, the Lifters would not permit us access to the stars. Not yet, they said. Distracted by our inherited vanity, we soon forgot and moved on, as was our nature.

Then they attacked. Not with armies, or ships, or even with destruction. They attacked us with life. The end of senescence, of natural death.

Life eternal.

As with their other gifts, we had not the vision nor the desire to deconstruct them. We only wished to wield them.

By then, our numbers had swelled to one hundred billion. But eternal life was granted to a mere one hundred thousand. The Lifters had no need to destroy us, which would have come at a considerable expense. No. They allowed us to destroy ourselves.

It took only 250 years. We who were granted life suppressed those doomed to die, and they, in return, hunted us down, making sure to leave not even a single cell left from which we might survive.

I am the last human. The Lifters have now offered to open up the stars to me but I will stay on Earth.

They must have gone through a similar revolution, the Lifters, when they first engineered their own immortality. I wonder how they managed to survive. I suppose they earned it.

Natural death is no longer available to me. But unnatural… It’s funny; we come from a world of water, and yet I never learned to swim. We called it the Indian Ocean once. Today, I will walk along its floor until I walk no longer. The last human, like the species, will find its conclusion by its own hand.

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