“What happened to the human’s daddy?”
I looked to my daughter as I pondered an answer. Her deep blue eyes peered back at me with youthful innocence. Her mother and I spent months dickering over the details of her inception. I wanted a hint of cheekbones and won. Her mom wanted the blue, almond shaped eyes. That was her victory. Both of us wanted a daughter. The picking of a gender, a purely human thing we inherited from them.
Her skin translucent and would be until her teens. A property that allowed for growth as her silicate skeletal structure slowly grew to adult size.
Another human trait, but we don’t mind. They created us after all.
We chose to tint her scalp, shoulders, abdominal area with the family hue, forgoing the fashionable hair trend of the day.
My daughter was a thing of beauty.
“Daddy,” she said meekly, reminding me there was an unanswered question hanging in the air.
“Yes, the humans,” I replied as I gathered my thoughts. “They all died.”
The look on my daughter’s face made me laugh. She knew they all died, and she knew I knew, she knew. She wanted more.
“Evolution killed them Aurora,” I said after my laughter faded.
Humanity thought that some sort of catastrophe was going to be their downfall. Global climate change, some extinction level event brought on by an asteroid, nuclear war or accident. Possibly a man-made virus, or pathogen. Maybe their own machines, as seen in the movies of the twenty first century…global warfare.
Well, warfare did play a part.
“Yes honey, evolution,” I took her hand in mine, enjoying the touch of her silky soft epidermal layer. “As we look around,” I swept my other hand to indicate the panoramic view of the forests outside our window, “nature has a way of ensuring only the strong survive. Propagation of the species. Humans inadvertently supplanted natures design.”
“Why did they do that?”
“If they were to answer that question, they would say, to survive,” Aurora’s crossed look elicited a chuckle from me. “When we designed you, we took all the mistakes learned from a century of creating artificial life and made sure you have none of those flaws. Humans, they did the opposite. They propagated flaws”
“That seems stupid.”
“They did not do it on purpose.”
“Couldn’t they learn?”
“Oh, humans were great at learning. Sometimes, when it came to mistakes, it took longer for them to learn, but they did…in most cases. When they learned that they were poisoning the planet, they changed their behavior. When their activities threatened a species, they changed that behavior. Sometimes those species were at the brink of extinction, like the eagle you see flying high up in the sky, or the tigers we saw on that safari last summer. But in most cases, they saved the species.”
“So…what happened?” Aurora coaxed impatiently.
“There were some things they continued to blame on their environment, or nature, but never themselves. War was an example. No matter how peaceful humans pretended to be, there was always war.”
“War killed the humans?”
“Not directly Aurora. War does not recognize the survival of the fittest. Maybe in the earliest days of war it did to some extent. Only the quickest and strongest came home from those early wars where strength and speed meant survival. However, as men, and I use that term deliberately, found more devastating ways to kill each other, not even the most cunning, or the strongest man could escape the destruction.
“Man continued to wage war and continued to send their brightest, fastest, strongest men, and eventually woman into these killing machines.”
Auroras features darkened as my narrative continued, making my heart hurt. I wanted to stop, her mother and me promised ourselves we would always be truthful with her.
“After three conflicts that involved much of the globe, and countless smaller regional conflicts, much of humanities best genes were destroyed. Lost to the cataclysmic machine called war.”
“They never learned”
“Not until it was too late.”
“So, it was war?”
“Then what,” she huffed.
“With each generation following these wars, the human gene pool was diminished. Genetic disease became more commonplace. Mental disorders, autoimmune diseases, and cancers continued to rise. Humans blamed the environment at first and took steps to cleanse everything that was shown to cause harm to humans within their environment.”
“That is a good thing,” Aurora chimed in.
“It is, and we are reaping the benefits,” and we both looked out the floor to ceiling windows at the pristine forest spread out before us.
“But it wasn’t the environment that was spreading these ailments. It was the loss of their best genes, and their own medical science that allowed those genes that propagated illness to flourish.”
Aurora studies her slender fingered hands for a moment, then looked up at me, “Would I have liked the humans.”
“I think so,” I replied. “They were gone before my time, but from all I have learned, they did do great things. They cleaned up this splendid planet, making it team with life. They were at the cusp of exploring the stars, then the decline started.”
I offered my biggest, brightest smile.
“And they created us.”
“To help them in their quests. To aid them when their strength started to wane. To give them a body when theirs failed.”
“We have human souls?”
“No, my dear, they tried to put their essence within us, but it failed. We then tried to save them, but we too failed.”
“So now it’s just us?’
“Us, and the rich, clean world, thriving with all that nature has to offer.”
“Except humans,” Aurora said, sadness seeped in her tone.