eHectra Solaris maneuvered her vehicle, looked out the window and saw the planet turning gently, casting alternating regions in shadow and light. It was dawning on the highest regions of the Central Continent, at the mountain peaks always covered with snow. Soon the light would reach the valleys. She imagined the rising buzz coming from the east along the diffuse line that opened the day and awakened the cities. Alone, inside her cabin, she thought of millions of people who were, right now, flying above the surface. “A population equivalent to that of a midsize city,” she thought to herself. “More than enough to start a new humanity should any problem exterminate all living things on the ground.” It was far more people than the tribal populations that generated all of the early humanity. But this resource would probably not be used. Like most meckos in service, eHectra kept part of her ancient memory disabled, a measure not sufficient to prevent her from admiring the earthly experience and its transformations.
From high orbit she looked at Earth and thought, in an objective and dettached way, of the billions of births, the struggle for survival and death of large groups and individuals. But it was impossible not to grieve or worry over the near future, the problems that were coming, foreseen or unexpected. “The future haunts even those who know the past!” Once again the community was kept alive and working well for a long and satisfying period. Despite her displeasure for destruction and tumult, and knowing the difficulty of rebuilding, she took a deep breath and felt relieved to be doing her duty.
eHectra turned off all monitors on the panel, relaxed in the chair, closed her eyes and focused on her built-in augmented reality devices. Then she ran a scan of the functional communication frequencies looking for a channel with signal intense enough to overcome the turbulence of the invisible but devastating solar winds and attempted to initiate a connection with an interlocutor on Earth. Unable to get what she was looking for, she sent a request to leave the high orbit and get down to a region where contact was possible.
It has been many years since she last came to the planet’s surface and had a close look at it. Never, during the time she had been away, she longed so much as now to step once more on the green and damp grounds of her country of origin. She thought of many places to visit, the falls, the trails inside the dense forest, the crowded cities loaded with tourists carrying huge shopping bags. Still, she knew, wherever she goes, the memory of some dear and long-lost friends would obfuscate her joy.
Although hard to acknowledge, she was aware of how close the final moments where and how difficult it would be to let go of the control over her own memories. Yet she was decided. When time comes, she would go with dignity and hand over her position and experience to a new generation of servants. At dusk the sun, now seen from afar, exhibited a friendly aspect of itself. The radiation spread pleasant waves of warmth all over her skin. Light, dazzled by the highest mountains and clouds on the horizon, shed a spectacle of pastel colors, easy on the eyes and soft to the psyche.
Something moved at the surface in a deserted area, unnoticed to anyone. The ground was turnning over with deep grave sounding and rhythmic beats. A thunder followed each beat, movind the dirt and growing a bump where nothing was before. A crack opened in the ground and from inside emerged a person or something that looked like it. It moved slowly at first, breaking out of a protective bag it was buried with. It then faced towards the direction where some sunlight could still be seen. It wiped itself of the dirt, stretched out its limbs in sluggish gestures and departed quickly toward the nearest village.