The Tesserene Imperative - Deleted Scenes:

Epilogue

Originally, I wrote the following epilogue (less some pieces I ended up using in the body of the novel) for The Tesserene Imperative when I thought it would be a stand-alone book. Then I decided to write a sequel to tie the stories and characters of The Mars Imperative and The Tesserene Imperative together. At that point the epilogue (set many years after the sequel) was no longer needed; in fact, it gave away some details that I would later use in Book 3 of The Imperative Chronicles (still in progress). I think it's interesting material, even if later events may obviate some of the events mentioned in the epilogue. Also, even though I wrote Timmy out of the story in The Tesserene Imperative, there's no reason Swede and Helga couldn't have married and had Timmy after the events of this story, so the portion of the Epilogue that pertains to Timmy may yet occur. :) 

 

WARNING: The following contains spoilers. I recommend reading only after you finish reading The Tesserene Impertaive. (Do you really want to know which characters live or die before you start reading?)

Epilogue

 

That’s the end of our tale. Most of the details of that mission have been made public over the years, but I thought it was high time I completed the record of events. After all, I’m approaching the century mark. Once upon a time, that milestone would have been considered a great achievement. But today, between nanobots and the medical technology acquired from the Progenitors, I’m barely approaching middle age.

 

Still, it’s been nearly sixty-six years since that mission and a lot has happened to humanity as a direct result.

 

Once both portal technology and high-speed, high-efficiency tesserene-powered ship technology were ready, our colonization effort really took hold. In the last sixty-six years we have gone from having only two colonies with a few thousand people living on them to colonizing our eighty-ninth world last month, with many more planned. Also, with some of the technology acquired from the Seat of Power, planets that used to take centuries to terraform now can be made ready to colonize in but a decade or two. As a result, there are now 2.2 billion colonists on those worlds, more than twenty percent of them native-born. Of course, even that large a number did little to ease Earth’s overcrowding. Today there are more than eighty-two billion of us on this small ball of mud, but conditions are a far cry from what they were when we set out on our mission. The forty-three billion souls back then lived in crowded, dirty cities, suffering from air, water and noise pollution, ozone depletion, global warming, starvation, myriad illnesses—despite medical technology that could cure many of them—and all the other conditions that exist in overcrowded environments.

 

Today, few of those problems exist. Much of Earth’s food production has been moved off-world to the colonies, which have plenty of rich, fertile land. The new high-efficiency starflight drive allows us to ship food to Earth from our colonies in mere hours. This freed up huge tracts of land on Earth to be used for housing. The technology we brought home with us included solutions for all the forms of pollution Earth had been suffering from. Clean power, using tesserene “lenses” to capture as much solar energy as we need, has replaced all forms of fossil fuels as energy producers. Eliminating the need for mining coal and drilling for oil and gas has improved numerous wildlife habitats; few creatures are on the endangered species list anymore, although we can’t bring back those that perished before. Excess greenhouse gasses have been absorbed or converted into less harmful forms.

 

Earth is hardly a paradise—there are far too many people living on far too small a planet for that—but we’re working on it. For example, there is talk of building floating sky cities, like those on Celentis. If nothing else, as people become comfortable with the idea of space travel and colonizing other worlds, we’ll have more and more people volunteering to pack up and settle other planets.

 

Sure, we had our share of growing pains trying to absorb all that technology; but we got through it. Then it was time to step out onto the galactic stage and introduce ourselves formally. At first, we were viewed as the newcomers we were and largely ignored. We met hundreds of friendly, peaceful races; but a few were antagonistic, if not openly hostile. However, once word spread that we were among the races that possessed “the bomb,” (the tesserene bomb) we were treated with grudging respect. To mix metaphors, we now trade on an even playing field in the galactic marketplace.

 

With the advent of newer, smaller, cheaper and more powerful starflight drives, spaceflight went from being the province of governments and major corporations to being affordable enough that wealthy individuals and even small businesses could buy their own ships. Soon commercial sightseeing ventures sprang up. Sure, portals allowed people to visit many more planets, and more quickly, than they could by spaceflight, but it did so by eliminating the travel experience. Just as people take sea cruises for the experience of being on the open sea, space cruises offered the experience of being able to fly through Saturn’s rings, or land on a distant moon, or pass by a comet “up close and personal.” For this reason, many space cruises became popular tourist attractions.

 

As anyone with a passing familiarity with current events knows, Saleya Intergalactic grew from the third largest exploration and mining company into the largest corporation of any type on Earth—nothing like a few hundred billion worth of tesserene in the coffers to fuel expansion.

 

Earth’s first portal was opened with much fanfare, on the grounds of UN Plaza in New York, in 2206. It was the first newly built portal since the passing of the Progenitors. Other portals quickly followed in the world’s capital cities. Although Drelx’s people had taught themselves how to repair the portals, the secret ofbuilding them had been purged from the portal computer by the Progenitors and was stored only in the Seats of Power. This knowledge gave humanity much prestige across the galaxy, and provided us with a great potential source of revenue as the sole suppliers of new portals for the galaxy at large. Once word got out, thousands of worlds immediately clamored to finally get portals of their own. Entire industries sprang up on Earth to fulfill those orders. Soon active trade began between Earth and other cultures, primarily with us offering our cuisine and entertainment in return for technology. Evidently human forms of entertainment are highly prized by many races.

 

Thus began humanity’s revitalization.

 

On a more personal level, the first “outside” visitor to pass through Earth’s initial portal was none other than Drelx. As usual, he was following the developments on Earth and knew exactly when the portal would be ready. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Simon M’butu, received quite a shock when Drelx appeared without warning only seconds after the ribbon-cutting ceremony—Drelx still has a flair for the dramatic. He continues to maintain hundreds of portals across the galaxy; the rest of the crew and I visit him periodically. Drelx never fails to entertain us, no matter which planet he’s currently occupying.

 

As for the rest of us, a lot has happened. Everyone knows the senior senator from Alberta, the Hon. Jeremy J. Clinkscales—still “Sparks” to his friends. After he retired from spacefaring, with his gift of gab and the fame—or, some would say, notoriety—he gained from our mission, it was inevitable that he would turn to politics. He’s not far from reaching his fiftieth year in service to the congress of the North American Federation, with more than thirty years as chair of the prestigious Subcommittee on Alien Relations. He has been instrumental in the formulation of policies related to first contact and trade relations for the United Nations, and has personally met with delegations from hundreds of alien civilizations. Of course, not everything is a bed of roses. His fourth wife did just divorce him, after all. The rumor mill has it that he has his eye on number five, so we’ll have to keep tabs on that breaking story.

 

Cap was already far enough along in years that he was soon ready to retire to a life of peace and quiet. So he and his wife took a portion of his bonus money and bought themselves a small island in the South Pacific, whose name I swore not to divulge. He gave the bulk of his money to a number of charities devoted to wildlife causes. We speak occasionally, and I’m pleased to report that Cap is living the life he always dreamed of, among the palm trees and white sandy beaches, drinking in the sea breezes and walking hand in hand with his wife of more than ninety years.

 

Tomás García, geologist par excellence and hotshot pod pilot, went on to a long and successful career as an instructor in the naval academy—the space navy, of course. I don’t see him much these days because he’s constantly gallivanting around the galaxy going from one human colony to another, teaching the members of the various planetary defense forces.

 

Guido Verducci went home to his beloved wife and baby. He eventually used his riches to start the restaurant he always wanted in Sicily, thinking to run a small business to keep himself occupied. None of us ever imagined that it would turn first into a chain of popular seaside resort bistros and then somehow evolve into a major corporation, selling the international blockbuster line of Verducci’s Bestpasta and sauces. There’s even talk of a series of theme restaurants based on the cuisines of various planets Guido has visited over the decades.

 

As for me, I returned to my first love: engineering, and somehow found myself a professor emeritus and dean of the School of Space Engineering at my alma mater, Georgia Tech. Helga and I are still happily married.

 

Little Timmy grew to be a strapping young man, determined to follow his father into space. But unlike his old man, he took another route, enlisting in the recently created Terran Defense Force. Earth was determined not to be caught flatfooted by the Stromvik or anyone else. Through smarts and pig-headed determination Tim worked his way up through the ranks, finally achieving the captaincy of the heavy cruiser Richelieu’s Gambit at the ripe old age of thirty-eight. A career officer, he married late. Now Admiral and Mrs. Timothy Johansen are expecting their first child, a girl, in December. Somehow, I find the symmetry of my one-hundredthbirthday and my granddaughter’s birth day falling within weeks of one another entirely appropriate.

 

Because our lives, and indeed those of all humanity, changed so dramatically as a result of five men’s search for tesserene, Tim says they’re going to name their daughter Tessa Renée.

© 2015-2016 by Mark Terence Chapman. Proudly created with Wix.com

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