Two decades had passed since a mother and father had comforted each other at the bedside of their son. Only a few days earlier everything had been so different as two parents delighted in the wonder in their child’s eyes as he celebrated his fifth birthday. The uncontainable excitement as they had boarded the Earthship Tycho, a pleasure vessel that orbited the earth, a perfect first space flight for a child.
The accident was a fluke, of course. An energy surge the investigators said. It had left their son lifeless and barely breathing. On returning to Earth the boy had been had been rushed to intensive care and just five days later his life was over.
Now twenty years later as the family gathered for the annual remembrance dinner for their son it didn’t seem so long ago. In the beginning, the annual dinner had helped them cope with their loss, now it was a family tradition that kept the memories alive.
This year it was just after the main course had been served that there was a knock at the door. Jona, the father, answered it. Stood before him was a young woman. In her arms a small baby. ‘Can I help you?’
‘My husband said I should come here’
‘Your husband … who would that be, my dear?’
‘Your son, Raphael, he said to give you this letter’
‘Raphael died twenty years ago’
‘On Earth, yes, please read the letter’
Jona read. He couldn’t believe what he was reading. The story of a child whose essence of life had been transferred to a passing spaceship as it had entered warp speed. The crew hadn’t seen the little tourist ship until it was too late. The life essence had been picked up immediately but there was no way to transfer it back. Instead, the crew created a clone child so Raphael could live. Now as a 25-year-old fleet lieutenant he would be returning to Earth for the first time in the next few months and had asked his wife to travel ahead to his family.
Jona looked at the woman. ‘I can’t believe this’
Handing Jona another envelope, ‘this is my son’s DNA test result, I hope it is enough.’
Jona had no words, the results clearly showed his own family line.
©JG Farmer 2018