For Dinner: Fixed it myself, to impress them. Clam
cakes with chili sauce, beef braised in red wine (natch!), squash with
sour cream and chopped dill, avocado with watercress and black-walnut kernels,
and Liederkranz. Lady Godiva complained the nanoprocessors were overloaded
fixing all that, but I heard no complaints from the four who actually do
eat around here, but only compliments. Cetawayo, who can remember when
he had to eat, looked appreciative. I may be stuck with being
cook for the rest of the voyage.
Mood: Questioning and curious.
Written in the Year of our Lord 3580, March 9th, Saturday night.
Location: the good ship Earth's Memory en route from the Kami system to the Frost Giant System, at the mercy of the Edenite drive in otherspace.
Today there was some mid-course correction changes, and several times we dropped out of otherspace to make sure of our direction and that we were still aimed straight for Surtur, Loki's sun. There were some very minor changes made, but again, I was more in the way than a help, so I spent much of the day looking at various previous early encounters between Lokiites and humans. I also spent some time in conversation with Cetawayo. As I mentioned, I rarely speak with "ghosts" and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.
"It's nice to have you here to talk to, Father....even though I don't share your faith."
"Quite all right. Are you religious at all?"' I asked.
"I am a Buddhist."
I mulled that over a few seconds, and then said, "Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn't becoming a ghost---a recording of a living personality, captured in a computer, a virtual self, to virtually live forever in this life---isn't that a little hard to reconcile with trying to free yourself from the wheel of Karma, and the illusion that is this life?"
"Instead of freeing myself from the illusion that is this life, I have become even more of an illusion myself? Too true. The paradox often bothers me. But then....the real ' I ', the one I am just an extended memory, or echo, or continuance of, did die. Although, I do not think the--other I?---reached Nirvana. My branch of Buddhism believes in reincarnation."
"You think your soul was reborn?"
"I'm sure of it. I once met my next incarnation."
"Oh?" The word was inadequate....which is perhaps the understatement of the millenium. But I'm of a religion that believes in miracles, in a dead Man dusting Himself off and going on to eat some boiled fish. I can hardly in good taste call him mistaken without hearing him out. Actually, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away. I was fascinated.
"My home world is Fa. My family was among the pioneers there, of Zulu ancestry. Three centuries after my funeral--and not everyone can say that, can they?-- a little girl was having dreams, disturbingly vidid dreams....and under hypnosis, recalled details about the life of a male Fa native who was an interstellar Bussard ramjet astronaut, who seemed to recall bits and pieces of ...my life. She was also a native of Fa, and in the research by the psychiatrist did on what the girl recalled about the dreams, made a guess on who I was, did some research on my family....and found that this 'aspect' of the man I was---was still alive.
"I was sceptical at first. Just like you believe in the Resurrection, but would not credit a report of the last Emperor being raised from the dead, so I thought it was very silly that someone might be my next incarnation. It was a very odd feeling---a reminder of how illusory I am. But I was present at one of the hypnotic sessions, by invitation. It was uncanny. She described things about my past life that I thought only I knew. I was convinced. I think my true essence was being carried by that little girl."
"Can you think of other explanations?"
"Dozens, probably. I was fairly famous in the Fellowship, and on my planet while I was alive. She might have accidentally come across accounts of my life. Also, I had family and children on Fa. I have sometimes shown up for family gatherings as the forefather-in-honor."
"Like William the Conqueror showing up at gatherings for the British Royal Family---? I see. Or rather I don't. What does this girl's memories have to do with--?"
"Two things: she might have been around some descendants of mine who were discussing me, when she was a small child, and absorbed it in her subconscious that way. Or---if there is anything in "genetic" memory ....perhaps the little girl is a descendent of mine. Everybody tells us genetic memory is not possible, but that's what they said about the Edenite drive My children and grandchildren aren't perfect, and one of them might have had an affair that resulted in a child that was not acknowledged as being of my line, but really was---an illegitimate child that was throught to have another father. If there is anything in genetic memory---a big if--that might explain it."
"But you don't believe it."
"No. That little girl grew up to become a stately woman, and a mayor of a township. I still keep in touch with her descendants, and regard them as of my line too. Maybe she was my last incarnation...perhaps there is another 'me' somewhere. It's an odd feeling. You might be 'me', or Hawkins---"
Then Cetawayo grinned. "If Hawkins is another incarnation of me, I obviously did something pretty bad in my last lifetime."
We laughed. I got the feeling he had also been the victim of Hawkins' odd sense of humor.
"Very interesting, Cetawayo. Not laughing at your beliefs or your experiences....reincarnation isn't part of my world-view, but first-hand testimony is always persuasive. Maybe later I can ask you about some of your earlier days with the Fellowship."
"Anytime, Father. Take care." Then he disappeared.
Let's see now, we have a Buddhist ghost who's met his own reincarnation, a nudist artificial intelligence with interest in the Christian religion, a werewolf who plays chess...
Just your typical crew.
Return to Redwine at Dinner.