Record date 20660821
I am feeling under the weather, distinctly not myself, poorly even. It is probably a combination of the fitness regime, the hours in the weightless chamber, and the drugs they are making me take. I feel spaced-out, my head wrapped in some sort of alu-foil blanket, even my eyesight is becoming a bit blurry, I am actually having some difficulty in reading what I have just typed. Ah, that’s better – the screen has understood and increased the font and the resolution, fading the brilliant white ’paper’ to a duller, off white, almost ‘Egyptian Cotton’. Cathy and I once fell in love with ‘Egyptian Cotton’; the colour, not the fabric, and we painted our first flat in it, every room and the ceilings and skirting boards too. It was so restful, and seemed to take on whatever colour you put up against it. I haven’t decorated in years of course. The plaster finish they use today doesn’t require re-painting, and most screens can project any image or blank colour onto your walls, so the idea of actually dipping a brush in a tin of paint is as old-fashioned as using a Biro to write with (though actually I still used one, and a foolscap notepad to jot down references when I was screening numbers all day long). But in a funny way I enjoyed painting. Walls, that is – I was shit at Art, I could never even hold the brush right, let alone make my daubs look like anything on the backing-vid screen. But painting walls was so relaxing, just that very task of trying to smooth out the paint, and the repeated down-strokes getting lighter and lighter until you were brushing air and all the brush marks disappeared and you had a lovely even block of colour. That was a real achievement. There is absolutely no sense of achievement in the screen projecting colours on your walls for you. I would sometimes come home and find Blue walls all over the house and Cathy and I would fight about it, me gradually lightening the tone, and she darkening it. In the end I didn’t even notice the walls at all, or Cathy either I guess.
The medics say that my grogginess is just my body getting used to the new regime, and I should be better in a week or two. We are on a very tight schedule though, I have to be got fit enough to start the ‘conjoining’ process in a month’s time. Before that I have to build up both my muscles and my brain. Like the Astronauts of old, I am being prepared for my voyage into the unknown. Strange to think that so much hope was once invested in space exploration. By humans anyway. It took them about sixty years to realise that it was far wiser (and cheaper) to train computers to go into deep Space rather than try to adapt humans for it. The observations made by these machines are far more accurate than any person, wracked with space-sickness and blurred by emotions, would ever make. But disappointingly there is very little of interest out there. The Moon, Mars and even Venus and Mercury are just lumps of rock, bare and devoid of any signs of life – ever, and even the minerals they contain are almost impossible to mine and transport back here. To go much further just takes too long. Space colonies would just be too expensive to maintain, and even the Chinese have given up sending people up there. Space travel will just have to wait for another century or two. Maybe my great, great grandkids will get around to it one day.
And how many will I have by then too; I wonder what has happened to them, to that sperm? Well, of course, I know exactly what has happened to that sperm, and the next lot they took yesterday, and will carry on extracting (mining my body for genes, the new super-mining industry of the twenty-first century). I mean, I wonder what the kids will be like. Will they be super-intelligent already? Will there be discernible signs of evolution after just one or maybe two generations? They have told me that it would be unethical for me to actually ever contact them. They will never meet me, their biological father, how strange is that? But that would be, apparently, unethical.
Un-fucking-ethical? What is this whole programme if not unethical? Just what in Cosmos name are we doing? They with zealous excitement and an almost religious fervour and me with a mixture of sardonic resignation and scepticism; our joint endeavour is highly unethical. Even with their auto-trotted-out ‘for the greater good of mankind’ bollocks, I find it hard to accept. Not that I had any real choice. And if not me, then others would have been coerced into the programme. That’s the justification I have come up with anyway, because a part of me, maybe a part I should have long ago discarded, still feels guilty. Or not so much guilty as cowardly; I feel a coward for not saying no to William. But think about it, I had no choice. Really, I had no choice.