I learned the price of life far longer than nature intended. I could probably live a good eight hundred years longer than I already had. However, I would alter my ability to have children. The computer wasn’t certain of course, but most likely I would only be fertile toward the very end of my life. Any child I had would only know me for a few short years before I died. “I’m not certain I’m fertile now, I am over forty.”
The computer responded as it always seemed to. “You are. If you were to do through this procedure it would alter you to a slightly younger state.”
I pondered that information. I never intended to have children. No man had ever interested me. Some I found to be attractive, but for anything long term they didn’t suit. Maybe in a few hundred years I would meet someone. Would I condemn a child to not even knowing its mother? A fear gripped my heart. “Would I pass on my long life?”
“There is a high chance. There is also a high chance it would only pass on to female offspring. Male offspring likely will age normally, or fail to be born.” The computer told me.
I sat on my bed. It seemed worse. By choosing this life, I would also be choosing any child I bore into it. On top of it, I would never have a son. Not that I particularly wanted a son, but it still seemed important to note.
Other costs ones that actually bothered me more. The report claimed I would emotionally shut down a touch, until I was able to have children again. I wouldn’t lose all emotion, but it might be harder to empathize with others and to feel the way I did now. The idea of it terrified me. “How high is the chance I’ll shut down all my emotions?”
That was something at least. The years I had left to live mocked me. Twenty years to live and thrive before death came for me. I would have been content with it before the Jirth, now it didn’t seem to be enough. Very few, if any of my people would be Mentals. And, none would be as powerful as me. For now I was their only protection. There would be no one to protect them if not for me.
The other problem remained. What if I gained the time to help them, but lost the emotions to care? I didn’t want to abandon my people. The agony of indecision hovered as I couldn’t make up my mind.
“Computer. How would I be able to free my people from slavery?” I never knew why I decided to ask a soulless machine.
“Most races do not like slavery. However, it is not forbidden by Intergalatic Law and therefore few would think to interfere. Go On Don arrangement to search your people for other potentials. Otherwise your people will likely linger as subservient race for quite some time.” The cold hard facts made my body feel chilled.
It did decide me. Even if I became unfeeling, or I grew to not care. I at least would have a reason to not have my people lanquish in sertivide to the Jirth. I climbed up onto the bed, and worked my way into a deep trance. In my mind I opened doorways to parts of myself; I would walk into them and turn a wheel until it felt right. How long I opened the doors, and turned dials I couldn’t tell you, I can’t even tell you how many. When my eyes opened, I looked at the date and time clock. Twenty-nine hours had passed. My stomach burned with hunger.
As I stood up I felt younger than I had in years. I glanced in the mirror and stepped back in surprise. Many of the wrinkles had lessened, but not disappeared. The blush of vitality and youth touched my cheeks. My deep blue eyes sparkled. “Computer can you can me, and tell me if the procedure worked.”
A few minutes later it chimed. “The procedure seems to fully integrated.” I ran out of the room to tell At, and Viirra my excitement bubbling over.