Authors: James P. Hogan
Tags: #Science Fiction
"Not just me, as I recall," Gina replied.
"Just as well you did," Hunt said to both of them. "I'll drink to curiosity every time. Remember, objectivity is what you make it."
The others who were boarding the Thurien surface lander had by now disappeared along the ramp, with the exception of Murray and Nixie. Murray had decided it was time to take his chances and straighten things out back home, and Nixie would get her chance to see Earth. But although they would no doubt stay in touch, their former association was over. With her unique psychology and abilities, Nixie would spend time working with Danchekker and others at Goddard, and after that would go to Thurien to assist Eesyan and his scientists with their further researches on the Entoverse.
Murray and Nixie disappeared into the ramp, and after a final round of waves and farewells, Hunt, Danchekker, and Gina turned and followed them. Soon afterward, the smooth, golden ovoid ascended from the surface of Jevlen and docked with the twenty-mile-long Thurien starship, hanging in orbit. Less than an hour later, the
was accelerating out of the star Athena's planetary system.
And of the Entoverse itself?
The Thurien position all along had been that it had to be kept running—which nobody else really objected to once the Thurien viewpoint was explained. For all anyone outside knew, many of the Ents might want to stay there, and nobody was going to disagree with their right do so.
But what of the many who wished to leave, which was another of the principles that the Thuriens had defended vigorously? Obviously they couldn't be permitted to take over the persons of any more Jevlenese, or anyone else who might be coupled into the system for whatever reason in times to come. And, as Danchekker had pointed out, that was just as well in any case, since there were evidently compatibility problems between Ent minds and human nervous systems, which he was beginning to suspect had caused most of the aberrant behavior exhibited by "possessed" individuals all through recorded history.
But then, why should any future emergent Ents be limited to unsuitable human hosts at all? The Ganymeans had always excelled as genetic engineers. Eesyan had suggested that maybe they could create a purpose-devised organism that would be an ideal vehicle for Ents wishing to transfer to the Exoverse—in effect, what visar had improvised in the form of its Ent-being surrogates, but working the other way around. Even more bizarre, perhaps, one day a regular traffic of visitors and immigrants going in both directions would develop out of it, and be thought as natural as holidaying in Australia or one of the lunar resorts.
In any case, the Thuriens had already commenced an intensive program of research into the matter, and whatever the precise form of the final answer, there seemed every chance that the Ents would come to put their unique abilities and nature to good use, and take their place in the Omniverse, alongside Terrans, Jevlenese, and Ganymeans.
About the Author
New York Times
best-selling author James P. Hogan was born in London in 1941 and studied general engineering at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, subsequently specializing in electronics and digital systems. His first novel,
Inherit the Stars
, which was also the first in his Giants series, was hailed as a major science fiction novel in the grand tradition, combining accurate cutting-edge science with living, breathing characters. Isaac Asimov raved that the novel was "Pure science fiction," and added "Arthur Clarke, move over." In 1979 he became a full-time writer, and the electronics field's loss is every science fiction reader's gain. He now lives full time in Ireland.