Descendants and Emulations
1. Uneasy Lies the Head
All he wanted to do was stay dead.
“Leave me the hell alone,” were the first words out of the mouth of Menelaus I. Montrose when the lid of his coffin hissed open, and shrouds of mist unfurled in contact with the outer air.
“Greetings, High Ancestor, Highest and Highly-Evolved!” said a gaudily tattooed figure. It looked like a woman in a skintight wetsuit of glittering pictures, but then he realized, when he saw her nipples blinking, that she was nude.
She was covered from head to toe with a labyrinth of tattoos and body paints, some of it glowing as if with neon light, and there was a semicircular headdress of yard-wide ostrich feathers, looking like a cross between a warbonnet and a feather duster, spread out from a beehive of hair. He hoped this was just a revivification hallucination.
He rubbed his hand across his eyes, and blinked. On the inside of the coffin lid, conveniently near his eyes had it been closed, was the calendar. November, AD 2501. He looked at the date with dismay.
The women who was not his wife was talking, “The World you rule welcomes and adores you! Are you ready to receive the petitions and supplications of those who watch and guard you as you slumber?”
“Shuddup. I don’t want to be brought back to life. Waste of my time.”
His words were preceded and followed with a gush of nanotech medical fluid, dibbling into a beard spread across his chest like a damp bib. So they came out in more like a gargle than the commanding bellow the world’s first posthuman should possess.
”Abject apologies, High Ancestor. But in the eyes of the Law, persons in suspended animation are alive, and retain the privileges and immunities of life, as well as the duties.”
“Thought I had those damn laws fixed. You lot fix ‘em back whilst Greatgrandpa Meany was a-slumbering, eh?” He was not the great-grandfather of any here, of course, having been married only one day, and fathering no offspring. These were descendents of his long lost brothers and cousins.
The tattooed lady was still speaking. “I bear the greetings and praise of a grateful world, O Liberator, Defender of the Slumbering Dead, Shield against the Ghosts of Iron, Bridegroom of the Stars, and Firstfruits of the Humanity beyond Humanity!”
“Did you just call me a fruit?”
“While you slumbered serenely in suspended animation, you have been elected by the Advocate Authority to the following positions…”
“Skip the list. I resign.”
“Sire and Archon, I respectfully regret to inform you that certain of the Advocates of the Darwinian Translation have decreed that you may not foreswear the various duties that your status as a transhuman being, the Next Step of Evolution, imposes upon you. They have clearly decreed.”
“Fine. Leave the names and addresses of those guys who decreed all that, I’ll go find them and decree them a few broken bones, and then I can get back to being dead, like I wanted. Continue reading