Copyright © 1999, by David Brin. All rights reserved. No duplication or resale without permission.
(voices -- overheard softly in the night)
did Hariseldon get to see Dors again, before he died?"
"Of course he did. Why do you ask? We have played at least fifty simulations of the reunion, some of them with high fidelity/probability scores. In all of them we sense their love. Their joy, combined with poignant sadness at having to part again, so soon."
"Yes, but why did he have to die?"
"It wasn't optional. Anyway, he was ready for that body of his to join the Great Cycle."
"You're holding something back. I can feel it. Tell me what it is!"
"Are you sure you're ready? You are still quite young and it's a bit complicated."
"I'm sure I'm ready. Tell me!"
"Well.. there is a continuaton, of a sort. For now, let's call it a fable. Something that might have happened, somewhen along the stream that flows from past to present."
"Is it a true story?"
"That will be for you to investigate for yourself. But I can tell you how it begins..."
( a new page... the final page of this adventure... the first page of the next? )
On a hillside.
Time had passed.
In a long, white box.
A human being awoke.
back the lid, he breathed clean air.
Sitting up, he gazed past green meadows toward an evening already bright with crowded stars.
Shading his eyes, he looked upon the future.
he said. "I wonder what year it is."
Looking at his right hand, Hari flexed strong fingers. He felt young.
He smiled. There was much to do.