"At the far end of a wormhole, two hundred light-years distant in real space, coherent photons begin to dance a story of human identity before the sensoria of those who watch." — Accelerando
Nothing’s immortal on a road trip of a billion years. The universe runs down in stop-motion around you, your backups’ backups’ backups need backups. Not even the error-correcting replication strategies cadged from biology can keep the mutations at bay forever. — The Freeze Frame Revolution
Dead fin and fluttering gill, the tremor disembodied, the slap-crawl of something meant for four legs that had two. Little curling shrimp creatures trapped in puddles that hatched and died, hatched and died perpetual, the same organism over and over, its own procreation. Toxic. A closed vessel. A piece of genetic material dovetailing, perpetual and never ending, and never really living, either. - Borne
“Rachel, what happens when we die? Where do we go?”
“Nowhere, Borne. We go into the ground and we don’t come back out.”
“I don’t think that’s true, Rachel. I think we go somewhere. Not to heaven or to hell, but we go somewhere. I know we must go somewhere.”
“Because I came to you to say that I know how to make everything right again. I can see it so clearly, and I can do it now. I can do it. I’ll make things right. You’ll see—and you’ll know I was telling the truth.”
“I won’t abandon you, Rachel,” he said.
“You think you’ve abandoned me, but I know you haven’t. Not really. And I won’t abandon you. Ever. You’ll see. You’ll understand.”
“I like the Mord proxies more now, though,” Borne said.
“I’m hunting them down because they want to kill you. They’re hard to kill, but I am trying. If they were all gone, the Balcony Cliffs would be safe again, Rachel. You wouldn’t have to hide as much. Maybe I could see you more and we could talk more. You could come down with me to the river. You could go with me lots of places.”
“Rachel … will I die someday?”
“Yes. Everything dies.”
He knew the answer already. Call-and-response. We had done this.
“What about the people inside of me? The animals?”
“They’re already dead,” I said. No matter how many times I said it, Borne would never understand.
“No, they’re not dead, Rachel. I killed them but they’re not dead. You’re wrong. I don’t think they will ever die.”
“In whatever way was important to them, Borne, they are dead.”
“Who was he? Your body?”
“Just a scavenger, like yourself.”
“And what did you do to him?”
“Nothing. Nothing much. When I came across him, he was dying. He had no family. He had no friends.”
“Did you kill him?”
“Everything dies, Rachel. He was already dying. Would you rather I hadn’t turned back into him? You seem upset.”
“How ‘dying’ was he?”
“Pretty dying, I’d say.”
“You haven’t stopped killing.”
“He was pretty dying,” Borne repeated.
That’s the problem with people who are not human. You can’t tell how badly they’re hurt, or how much they need your help, and until you ask, they don’t always know how to tell you. - Borne
There were five of them, and four had traded their eyes for green-gold wasps that curled into their sockets and compounded their vision. Claws graced their hands like sharp commas. Scales at their throats burned red when they breathed. One wing sighed bellows-like out of the naked back of the shortest, the one who still had slate-gray human eyes. After a while, I wished he’d had wasps instead. - Borne