O1 Commentary: Immortality

In O1. The Egg with 1000 Yolks Akayama meets with her Hurricane Planet. The planet gives her an egg which will hatch into enough humans for each of the Hurricane’s pilots to possess one. It also gives her centipedes which will make those humans immortal, so the Hurricane’s pilots will be safe in their private people.

Immortality is a mixed bag, especially if indestructibility is part of the deal. On one hand, you get to live forever. On the other hand, you have to live forever. You’ll see the rise and fall of civilizations, but long before then, all your friends will die. You’ll watch the landscape wrinkle into mountains, but eventually the sun will explode and you’ll be stuck in it.

Remember that episode of Doctor Who, the Family of Blood? A family (of blood) wants to steal the alien doctor’s immortality. Eventually, says wikipedia,

the Doctor captures them and issues each member an eternal punishment. He pushes the mother out of the TARDIS into the event horizon of a collapsing galaxy, wraps the father in unbreakable chains forged in the heart of a dwarf star, traps their daughter in every mirror everywhere in existence, and suspends their son in time before putting him to work as a scarecrow.

In fiction, immortality is often like a genie’s wish: you wish for immortality but eventually you wish you could wish to die.

In Akayama DanJay the universe-sized cosmic horror called the Hurricane is immortal. Even if a whole Hurricane Planet is destroyed, it’s just one cell of the entire Hurricane, and each cell is identical. Each planet contains a copy of their pilots’ consciousnesses, blended into a mind seeking only self-preservation. They swallow any being they encounter, adding them to their roster of pilots and preserving them for eternity.

The only Hurricane Planet which goes against this is Akayama’s. She appealed to its ego to preserve her individuality, which, even if only a temporary solution, has split her Hurricane Planet from the others. Her planet wants to separate its pilots to regain its humanity. But even so, it demands immortality.

Akayama correctly observes humans aren’t immortal; you can’t learn humanity from anything indestructible. She’s a bit naive, though, in telling the Hurricane to make the egg so the humans born from it represent all skin-colors and genders. She says this will show the Hurricane the “full gamut of humanity” but you can’t understand races and genders just by inhabiting bodies with different qualities. Their human vessels will live light-years from any notion of racism or sexism. Professor Akayama’s mindset has been warped by the Hurricane even if she hasn’t noticed: she thinks humanity can be recreated in full just by reproducing its superficial characteristics.

Perhaps to prove a point about mortality, the Hurricane Planet deletes the copy of Akayama it’s stored aboard. Akayama is crushed by the death of her copy, the only sympathetic consciousness in light-years. Eventually, though, she’ll be relieved. The Hurricane will one day regret attaining immortality. Its hubris will be repaid in full.

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