The Last Day – Part II
“You’re not paying attention! There is no equation. This is the end. No future is possible. I can’t travel to a place that no longer exists.”
“Find my mother then. She can help you with it, surely.”
By this point, Simar looked like he could do anything to be anywhere in the world but with hir.
“You think that wasn’t the first thing that I tried to do? I have spent months looking for your mother, or any other scientist who could have heard of her work. There is no word of her anywhere after the day that she left you at your aunt’s place.”
“I know you want to spin this into a narrative of helplessness and what not but Hir, my mother did not leave me because a time traveller from the future took away her research. My grandma confessed on her death-bed that her daughter never wanted a child in the first place. She had no love for me. That was the way it was, and she had been talking of leaving me in my aunt’s care for months. It was not the work of a super-villain.”
Hir had always prided hirself on hir ability to connect with people. Hir was a storyteller; it was hir business to be familiar with people’s lives. So while hir had been expecting this outburst, hir still found hirself wishing there was another way around the deadlock.
“I’m not trying to say any of those things, Simar. Roshnara had no child in the future that I visited; it is reasonable to assume that she abandoned you there too, and people simply don’t remember that because you never openly came out as her son. I don’t know what her reasons were, and I’m not here to accuse or defend her. I’m here to find her work and save a planet.”
“If you’re going to ask me if I remember what equations my Mom worked on when I was four, I’m not even sorry to tell you that I have no idea whatsoever. I have worked all my life to erase all my memories of her. I have retained nothing, and I am extremely happy about that. I don’t even remember what clothes she wore, let alone what she scribbled in her notebooks. I’m sorry I haven’t been of help in your silly adventure, now if you will please excuse me!”
“Actually, you’re the only person who does remember her work. I was told that she worked in private at home, and she obviously kept you in the same room so she could keep an eye on you. All those things are still buried in your brain, and I’m not even looking for exact mathematical equations because I’m very sure that she must have kept some of her journals in a safe place. Everyone does. Your brain would know that place.”
Hir could tell that Simar was taken aback. He did not speak for a whole minute. Then he slowly got up and retrieved a bottle of water and took a sip. His voice was ice cold when he finally spoke.
“So you want to experiment with my brain? Insert needles, inject me with colourful chemicals? That’s rich!”
He looked justifiably disgusted with the audacity of a complete stranger from an unfamiliar time asking him for the permission to probe his brain. Hir measured hir words even as hir spoke.
“There would be no need for any external object. I can access your memory through brain waves, Simar.”
This seemed to have further infuriated him.
“There must be a catch then. Why haven’t you downloaded me to your system already?”
It took all the strength inside hir for Hir to finally say what hir had been purposely delaying for weeks, pretending that there were still more ways that the research could be found.
“You would be present when we search through your memories. All that you have struggled so hard to forget, every bit of childhood trauma that you endured would be fresh as your most recent memories once we have retrieved the information. I couldn’t do that to you without your permission.”
“Well, thank you for being so considerate, time traveller. You know my answer of course, yes?”
Hir didn’t miss any part of the sarcasm thrown at hir but hir had to try. The stakes were too high to back off now.
“I want you to reconsider your decision. The future of the entire world is at stake. Your whole planet would be destroyed.”
“Yes, a few million years in the future. You really think I would care?”
“But we are talking about the death of 270 billion registered living organisms. Would you be able to live with the guilt?”
“You are so naïve, little stop sign! I will live with no regret or guilt. I am responsible for what I do in my time. I don’t even know if the time-travel tales you fed me are true. The bottom line is that they are not the reality of my time. Let those advanced monsters take care of themselves. I would not tax my own mental well-being for people I have no sympathy with.”
Hir looked as devastated as hir felt inside.
“It would be a quick death Hir. You can’t stop what’s inevitable. This planet should have been destroyed a long time back. You can’t convince me to save a species of monsters.”
Hir looked at the boy and felt lost. Was it the boy that was disillusioned, or was it hir? Hir opened hir mouth to give a final try, but Simar anticipated hir.
“Nobody was cruel to me Hir. My aunt and uncle were much better guardians than my mother could ever be. And frankly I don’t even blame my mother. She did the right thing leaving me with a better family. I am not a poster child of mental health, but I’m no more screwed than every other normal person around me. This decision doesn’t come from bitterness, I just have no desire to re-live my worst nightmares. I’m not that big a man. I could have given my life for one person or a hundred, but if it’s the whole planet going down, I do believe that it is best that we accept the end gracefully, like we should. I can’t sacrifice five or ten or fifteen more years of my life fighting my internal demons for a future that’s uncertain and a cause that I don’t believe in.”
There was no convincing him. There was no going back. 2800 million years into the future, Earth was about to breathe its last, and there was nothing Hir could do about it.