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Journal Entry 999999 999 000 The Last Journal Entry


The Last Journal Entry

Journal Entry 999 / 999999

At the heat death of the Universe

She sighed, slowly passing a single finger over the control plate
and dropping the shutters, closing out the dark moonscape of Pindam,
closing out the universe. She felt it nearly impossible to accept all
that she had learned that day, and she knew somehow that Ken had meant
it that way, that it was supposed to be nearly impossible.

And he wasn't here to ask, anymore. As the shutters closed so too she
closed out Ken, who hadn't been able to accept the last dying sight of
Pin and had followed Pin into that oblivion. And so she had buried him
that morning. Burial. The word made her grimace, even though nobody was
there to see it. It seemed so archaic, the concept of burial. And she
would have preferred a burial at sea, but there were no more seas.

"Dave?" she asked for the tenth time that day, no longer frustrated
when he failed to answer her. She had gone down to Cybernetics One and
checked the diagnostics; everything was running to specifications, but
Dave just wasn't talking to her. Someone, though, was watching out for
her-- life support was still running and doors were still opening.


The voice stunned her, but only for less than a single firing of what
passed in her anatomy for neurons; she whirled, mentally commanding
every weapon she could remember extant in the Command Center to bear on
the source of that voice. "Freeze."

The source of the voice was a young human woman, her apparent age
indicative of eighteen years, not an uncommon age for someone to pause
their aging at. Her features were distinctly Terran Asian, about 160
centimeters tall with small breasts, dark hair, and just a hint of
softness in her belly. Like herself, the woman wore no clothing. The
woman smiled and said, "You probably don't want to shoot me, Oenone."

With a slow snarl Oenone said, "Who are you?"

"You don't remember me, do you?"

Oenone thought for a moment. "I have never met you before."

"Yes, you have. Think back, try and remember the voice, Oenone. We spent
a few weeks together, a long time ago. If I remember correctly, you've
moved up the timeline pretty slowly, for a Terran, and you're about
seven thousand years old now. For me, it was about three billion years."

Puzzled, Oenone asked, "That means you could be just about anybody."
Deliberately punching each syllable, Oenone asked "Who are you?"

"We met in Ken's car, remember? Close your eyes and recall my voice, O.
Back them I was a metallic cylinder 65 cents in diameter and 40 cents

Oenone blinked, the memory flooding her suddenly. "You... you're Fawn

"You do remember!"

Oenone sagged. "It's hard to forget the lady who saved my life, but I
am not convinced. You could still be anybody, anybody who gave Ken's
Journals even a passing glance. But it doesn't matter anymore, there are
no secrets worth keeping and I don't care who you are. You're probably
the last voice I shall ever hear. I'm not sure I haven't gone insane."

"When reality is whatever we make it--" The girl paused, "within limits--
insanity becomes a pretty slippery thing to define. But you're not insane.
And whether you believe me or not, I would like you to call me 'Fawn'. It
would make me comfortable, and would give you something to call me other
than 'Hey you.'"

"Very well," Oenone agreed. "'Fawn,' then."

Fawn smiled. "You're right, though," she said as she walked across the
control room, "I am the last voice you're ever going to hear. Even Dave
has stopped working."

"'Stopped working?' Is that what you call it when one of your own dies?"

"I'm not particularly artificial, O." She smiled. "Ken's peculiar
idiosyncrasy of giving his AI's such intense self-identities cut both
ways. Dave shut down all of his higher functions when he was sure Ken
wasn't coming back. Ken might have known how to reactivate him; I think
the database is intact, but I haven't checked. And what about you?"

"What about me?"

"Well, don't you think it rather odd that the last person left alive
in the universe is an ancient Greek water goddess stuck on an otherwise
airless ball of rock?"

It was Oenone turn to smile. "Not goddess, nymph. Why does everybody
insist on elevating me to the status of my father?"

Fawn shrugged and stepped even closer to her. "Perhaps because you're
the only one left alive from that particular brood of self-proclaimed

"You know, ages ago that kind of statement would have infuriated me."

"I know," Fawn replied.

"There was only one real god, wasn't there? Ken was the only real god
the universe had that they could reach out and touch."

Fawn shook her head, a small frown crossing her lips. "Ken wasn't a god.
He wasn't even an agent of a god."

Oenone laughed. "He did a lot more than the Olympian Gods ever did!"

"Did he? The Olympian Gods got the Greeks through that period when they
were most needed, during the breakdown of the bicameral self- identity
most of humanity had. Ken got all of sentience through the next step, the
'what do we do now?' step. Maybe he deserves the title, then, but that's
not the real point. Ken was a visionary, and his vision was one that
maintained his very human spirit while realizing the wildest potentials
of whatever tools the universe saw fit to drop in his lap."

"He was also very selfish."

"Is it selfish, to want to live as long as you possibly can, and to see
your children do the same? How badly did it hurt when Pin could no longer
keep Pendor viable?"

"You know the answer to that. He died this morning."

"I know. He finally did it, he finally opted out because there was no
reason for him to stay. It was a hard life, Oenone, watching all of his
friend, all of his lovers die-- not because of him but just because he
insisted on holding onto life so long and holding all to all those he
did love so very hard."

"Even at the cost of the rest of the universe."

"So he stole a star or two to reverse Pin's local entropy. He never
stole from a sentient race, and those stars he did steal he stole early
on, before the universe was your complete and utter playground. Maybe
it seems wrong to you for him to keep those particular playgrounds to
himself, but I don't see anything wrong with it." Fawn glanced over the
control panel to her left and typed a few commands. "There."

"What did you do?"

"I accelerated the temporal differential. We're going through time,
Oenone, through the second half of the universe."

"How high did you set it?"

"A couple of billion to one, I think. Not sure. As high as it would go.
Forward time travel... you never did discover how to go backwards."

"Ken thought it was impossible, even though he knows he did it with you."

"It is impossible. I suspend the rules completely."

"Where are you taking us?" Oenone asked. "I thought there was nothing
to go to."

"The universe has two halves," Fawn started. "The expansion and the
contraction. The contraction had been going on for a short while when we
met this morning, as the few burning neutron stars just didn't have enough
energy to keep the expansion going. Except for you, me, and the fusion
plant bank downstairs, the universe is dead, Oenone. Heat-dead. A static
three-degrees Kelvin all the way across." She paused. "We're going to
the end of the cycle, Oenone, and to it's beginning again. We're going
to the Big Bang."

Oenone shivered. "I don't want to go there."

"I know. But it's the only place to go, Oenone. It's you, me, this rock,
and dust-- there is no place else to go."

"Maybe I'll follow Ken instead. See if there's anything beyond this
universe, this life."

Fawn smiled. "It's nice to have that kind of option."

"What do you mean?"

"I have to go there."

"What? To the Bang?"

Fawn nodded. "It's my assigned role."

"Fawn, if it isn't too much to ask, what are you?"

"I'm a... a tool, if you will. My set purpose, as far as I know, is to
attend the end of the universe."

"A tool? Whose?"

"I don't know. All is know is my job is to be here, now."

Oenone looked puzzled again. "The why all this bit with Ken?"

"Well," Fawn said, holding up a finger, "I wanted to have some fun,
and whoever's tool I am allowed me that privilege, with Ken. Because
it made my assigned task easier. All the task of building Pendor, of
teaching Ken gengineering... all that was secondary to the real reasons
why I came to him."

"Ken claims he gave you to himself in an temporal loop."

Fawn smiled. "That's his version. Which is true. He did, but only because
that's what I wanted to have happen. This building, this facility, is
why Ken and I were thrown together-- I see the question in your eyes,
and the answer is still 'I don't know.'"

"So what now? I just get to follow Ken and leave you here?"

"That's your decision, O. But I would ask you for a favor, before you go."

"And that is?"

"Oenone... I don't exist very much. That sounds weird, I know, but take it
as faith-- I don't exists very much. Most of my life I spend over and over
as Ken's library, time machine and life support. And this is one of those
rare occasions where I get to spend my life as an organic, as a person."
She smiled slightly and reached out to touch Oenone's skin. "I don't get
to do this much, to touch another person, or to talk to her. Oenone..."
Her eyes were wide and sad and hopeful. "Would you make love to me?"

Oenone returned the touch, two fingers tracing along Fawn's collarbone. "I
always wondered how I would thank you if I ever met you again."

"I can't think of a better way," the brown-haired girl replied, her
eyes smiling.

"Neither can I." Oenone leaned over and kissed Fawn, her lips meeting
soft warm flesh that she felt she never wanted to let go, even knowing
that eventually she would have to. And part they did, Oenone looking down
into Fawn's eyes. Oenone tried to organize her feelings and failed; she
couldn't reconcile the feeling that she was the older, more experienced
woman, knowing that Fawn had to be much older, much more different,
than she. "Fawn, come with me to the pool," she suggested.

Fawn nodded.

Oenone tool Fawn's hand in her own and led her out of the command center,
down a hallway and into the rock-carved grotto, a plant-lined room
with a large, warmed pool as its centerpiece. She slid into the water,
sighing gently as she did so. Fawn followed.

Oenone touched Fawn's shoulder gently, turning the smaller woman to face
her. "Fawn, can I ask you a favor, since you're asking me for one?"


"When you leave this room, I'm going to stay, with my last pool of water,
and the plants, and the life. I don't want to be with you... watching
the universe die isn't my job. Would you... turn off the life support
when you close the door behind you."

"I... Yes."

"I can't imagine how you feel, Fawn, but I want to stay here, because
this place is still a part of Pendor, and still a part of the house where
the happiest memories of my long and eventful life are. I'm just going
to sink into the water and take my form as water, and I just want to
freeze solid that way. It's a natural, static state for a water goddess,
and that's how I want to go."

Fawn nodded, tears forming in her eyes. She sagged, laying her head
against Oenone's ample chest. "I hate this job. I hate this damned
impulse that forces me to be here and to go on."

Oenone wrapped her arms around Fawn and stroked her gently, feeling the
skin sliding under her fingers. "Fawn... it's all right. You're right,
I didn't want to be the last person left alive in the universe, but I
think I learned Ken's lesson better than even he did. I don't want to die,
but I just don't want to go where you're going."

Fawn nodded, rubbing her cheek against Oenone's chest. "I understand. even
if I didn't want to understand, I do. I think it's kind of sad about
you and I. I only get to know you for two days, separated by thousands
or millions of years, depending on how you look at it."

Oenone sat down and pulled Fawn into her lap, pressing her lips to the
younger girl's softly. Fawn kissed back, seemingly desperate as she did
so. Oenone's fingers ran gently over Fawn's chest, caressing her nipples,
teasing her. Fawn squirmed in her lap, moaning. "Ohh..."

"You're very sensitive," Oenone said.

"One give from whoever sends me; she apparently didn't intend for me to
be a numb and boring lover."


"I just needed a pronoun... there are only women left, 'she' seemed

Oenone nodded. "You could never be boring to me anyway, Fawn. With only
one chance to hold you and handle you, you could never be anything but
fascinating, Fawn, even if you were completely unresponsive."

"Really?" Fawn asked, hugging Oenone tightly.

"Well, if you were completely unresponsive I would wonder why I bothered,
but apparently you're not."

Fawn shivered gently, returning the strokes she was receiving, if
slightly awkwardly. "No, I guess not." She caressed Oenone's oversize
breasts carefully, holding each one gently underwater and appreciating
the buoyant weight of Oenone's flesh. "You're so beautiful."

"So are you, Fawn, so are you." Oenone's fingers slid down between
Fawn's thighs and caressed the light fur she found there, sliding her
fingers down along the legs and over her knees. She smiled and said,
"Even if we are the only people left, and who are we to judge what is
beautiful and what isn't?"

"We are," Fawn said, holding one breast up far enough to expose the nipple
to the air and taking it between her lips, sucking and licking. Oenone
moaned softly, her nipples hardening instantly in the cool air. Fawn
bit gently in Oenone's pliant flesh, leaving soft teethmarks as she wend
her way across Oenone's chest from one nipple to the other, her fingers
kneading and caressing as she did so.

Oenone was surprised at how vociferous Fawn was in her attentions,
in her determination. "Slow down, Fawn."

"I don't want to," Fawn said, breathing against Oenone's skin. "I want
to live, O, I want to get it all in, now." She descended beneath the
water, attacking Oenone's belly with her mouth, teeth. Oenone laughed
slightly at the tickling sensation, but inside she felt hurt at the
request Fawn had made of her, the demand to get all of life, even her
life, lived within one hour, one day. She reached down into the water
and shifted to her pure water form, dissolving under Fawn's caresses,
to reform once more behind the oriental girl and pull her up to the
surface. "I don't want you to drown."

Fawn reached back behind her and help onto Oenone's thighs. "You don't
have to worry. I won't. I don't think I can."

Oenone smiled, then picked Fawn up and dropped her in a kneeling position
on the stone bench set underwater, her buttocks just barely above the
level of the water. "I don't think I want to find out. I just want you
to feel good." She caressed Fawn's thighs gently, staring, as she was,
directly at Fawn's rounded butt and lightly furred cunny. She leaned in
and licked, once, carefully, at Fawn's slit.

Fawn shivered. "Please." Oenone licked harder, sliding her tongue in as
deeply as she could, pressing the lips of her mouth to lips of Fawn's
cunt, sucking at the girl's sweet juices. Fawn's moans were distinct and
punctuated, and Oenone thought it sad that nobody but her would ever be
there to hear them. "Lick me harder," Fawn sighed.

Oenone complied; her mastery of the element water was as powerful and as
significant as ever. She no longer needed worshippers or totems to be
what she was when she was first saved. As she dipped her tongue deeper
down between Fawn's thighs and up against her clitoris, two fingers slid
in and up against Fawn's cervix; she need only to pull more water up and
into her and she slowly enlarged them, adding more volume to herself,
pressing up and filling the young girl whose mons she so enthusiastically
licked and sucked. Fawn leaned over the edge of the stones and lay her
head down on the soft grass, moaning ever more loudly. Oenone attacked
her with her own ferocious lust, her own efforts feeling as if they might
cause herself to orgasm as they reached for Fawn's inevitable climax.

Fawn had other ideas. "Stop it!" she moaned suddenly shifted her hips out
of Oenone's reach, slipping away from Oenone's probing fingers. She turned
to face the water nymph, her face flushed. "I want to watch you, too."

"Then sit up and watch me. Or would you like me to make love to you like
a man?" Oenone smiled.

"You can do that?"

"I am, as you pointed out, the child of deity." With a slight effort,
but more than she usually found necessary, she shifted her form; her
breasts sank into her body like melting ice, and between her thighs a
penis seemed to grow out of the running water she was made of. The rest
of her body shifted as well, the very obvious feminine characteristics
fading from sight to be replaced by a broader chest with a more defined
musculature. Despite this, the effect was very androgynous, and Oenone
full well knew it, and liked it. His long blond hair flowed down around
his back in copious streams; his face retained the high cheekbones and
soft feature he had when he was female. "What do you think?"

"I.. I don't know. Do you want to make love to me like that?"

Oenone smiled and walked through the water with as little effort as
Fawn would exert walking through air. "I think I would. I was made to be
everything Paris could ever dream of, except for freedom. And it may sound
kind of silly, Fawn, but despite the 'who cares' attitude most of Pendor
had, I tend to be very heterosexual, and since you can't change, I did."

"What makes you think I can't change?" Fawn asked, reaching out with some
confidence to touch Oenone's belly. His cock twitched gently at her touch.

"Can you?" Oenone asked, surprised.

"I don't know," Fawn admitted. "Doesn't mean I can't... I wouldn't be
surprised if I could. After all, the last time I looked I was a steel
cylinder." Fawn smiled and slid her hand down over Oenone's smooth, uncut
cock. His muscles tensed under her touch. "You still look very feminine."

"I know," Oenone admitted. His voice sounded deep, even to him. "Ken
liked this look, although that's not something he would often admit."

Fawn canted her head to one side; among furries it had been a common
expression of confusion, and Oenone found it fetching in Fawn. "Very
rarely," Fawn said. "It's not in any of my records."

Oenone reached out and began to caress Fawn's nipples softly, his fingers
closing and twisting gently. "I think it was a late development; sometime
around his first millennia, when he met Sufi."

"That might explain it," Fawn admitted. She rubbed the head of his cock in
the palm of her hand, and Oenone groaned loudly. "Like that?" Fawn asked.

"Hurts," he said. "Feels good, but it hurts, too."

"It's making you hard," Fawn teased him gently. "Lick me some more."

Oenone grinned and settled further into the water as Fawn vaulted out
and sat on the edge of the pool. He leaned in between her parted thighs
and began licking insistently. "I want to make you come," he said.

"And I want you to make me wet," Fawn replied, the last word dying in
a moan of pleasure. "That's good."

"Good," Oenone said, smiling. He held her cunt open with the index finger
of each hand and licked the pink labia before his eyes, caressing her
clitoris with his lips.

Fawn kicked slightly in the water, her legs trembling with every direct
flicker of his tongue, releasing tiny whimpers of new pleasure. She
reached down and took Oenone's head in her hands and lifted him up. "Make
love to me, O."

"I thought that's what I was doing," he said as he leaned up over her, his
straight erection pressing up between them. With a single gesture Oenone
pressed his cock downward into her channel, and a gentle push buried
him deep within her cunt. "Yes," they both sighed, almost simultaneously.

Oenone laughed and began to stroke back and forth. His cock, deliberately
sized to standards he had established when exploring her earlier, filled
her and pushed her. He started hard and never let up, making love to her
violently; the fact that he was standing in a meter of water never slowed
him down, and if anything it gave him a faerie's strength and impetus.
Fawn gripped his shoulders and moaning, pressing her head forward against
his broad chest.

His cock slid in and out, a mercifully unforgiving engine of her
pleasures as he bucked between her legs. Fawn let go of his arms and
fell back against the carefully maintained grass that surrounded the
pool, her legs dangling in the water. Oenone followed her down, helping
her from dropping too hard, and picked up speed, making love ever more
powerfully than before. Fawn moaned incoherently, the pleasure on her
face more than clear to him. Oenone smiled and pressed harder still,
his own orgasm imminent. Wordless, he pressed deeper into her, his
complete mastery of water and everything it pervaded giving him every
last thing he wanted to know about she was going to climax, instantly,
before those thoughts were destroyed in the screaming crash of their
simultaneous orgasm. He pounded her cunt over and over as he came,
shooting into her even he knew not what as she thrashed, her back arching
and her mouth open with a quiet scream.

He held himself up over her, letting her catch her breath as she panted
and gasped. Then he lay down, and they were quiet as his erection shrank
and slipped out of her. He concentrated for a moment more and slowly
shifted back to his prior, more common form as a woman.

Fawn sat up, slowly, accepting Oenone's grasp to help her. "I think... I
think that was all worth it. Thank you, Oenone."

"You're welcome," Oenone replied, her voice returning to its normal,
sweet and seductive pitch. She sat up and settled back into the pool,
reaching out a hand again as she did so. Fawn took it and allowed herself
to be pulled into Oenone's lap.

The say, looking at each other, and Fawn shivered. "You want me to go,
don't you?"

Oenone shrugged, the expression on her face one of resignation. "I've
lived a long life, much, much, longer than the one offered even by
my life as a child of Poseidon. I've had more than my fair share. And
I'm not going to die, Fawn, I'm just going to go back into the water
and be frozen; I had sisters who did this every winter, every year,
for three centuries."

Fawn nodded and climbed out of the pool. She knelt down then and gave
Oenone one last, long, lingering kiss. As they parted, Oenone said
"Stay a moment."

Fawn knelt, holding still, as Oenone closed in on her cheek and kissed
her there, her tongue licking gently. As she settled back into the water,
she said, "The salt, the water of your tears tells more about you than
I think either of us will ever know, and if I survive this cycle, I'll
never forget you, Fawn."

Fawn nodded. "I'll never forget you, either. Good-bye, Oenone, child
of Poseidon."

"Good-bye, Fawn Destiniere'."

Fawn stood and slowly walked towards the door, not looking back, but
she knew that the sound she heard, the soft chime of running water,
was Oenone dissolving into the pool. There was something about the way
all this was happening that made her want to cry, and she did, quietly,
as she walked down the hallway and passed the modular bulkhead. She
closed the airlock-level door behind her, and typed in a sequence of
commands to deactivate life support, temperature regulations first. The
lights shifted slowly from blue to red (green had been avoided, she knew,
because Kennet had been slightly colorblind, a condition he had never
had corrected) and as she watched the temperature dropped on the other
side of the door, the heat dissipating into a jealously cold and lonely
universe. She wiped the tears away, but more came after them.

She walked into the Command Center, turning off the rest of the base
as she did so; she required little of the life support mechanisms
and entertainments scattered throughout the facility. Somewhere down
there, under the rock, lay hidden the biogene tanks that had given birth
eventually to literally hundreds of species and millions of individuals.
Also, somewhere under there was the old interface she had used to build
Halloran, back when she had been a computer herself.

She didn't know where the knowledge to do whatever is was she needed to
do came from, but every step of the way when she needed to know what this
button or that lever did, the knowledge came to her without question or
comment. She smiled gently and waited.

Time passed.

How much time, even Fawn was not sure. She spent very little of her
time actually thinking, but there came a time, when the lights in the
white and plastic Command Center had faded, darkened, and gone out,
when she became aware that the universe had ended, and that it existed
only in two separate and disparate forms- the singularity that had once
been everything else, and this facility, that was still in the form
everything else had once been, separated by that perversion of the laws
of physics, the temporal disunity. And whatever was prodding her along
made her aware that the mass of the facility stuck within the temporal
disunity field was all that was required to start the whole thing over
again. The universe had existed because the singularity that started
it all was only slightly overburdened with being; any less, she knew,
and the Big Bang would never have happened.

But along with this knowledge was a realization of her purpose. The Power
That Be (for lack of a better term, she thought) preferred this particular
form of the universe that had been, with the four basic interatomic forces
and the nature of things as she had known them and as she was constructed.
The influx of material such as hers into that process when "everything
else" had been compressed into the reality astrophysicists had referred
to as "The Time of Dragons" would influence the next Big Bang, making at
least the initial process resemble the previous one, and she was to be the
agent of that decision. All she had to do was press one control button.
That button, she thought, looking down at the control panel with eyes
that had never required photons to see.

But, it occurred to her, there should be something said. Something
dramatic was always said at momentous events, and the heralding of a new
universe was certainly a momentous event, at least in the histories of
the people she had most interacted with, and influencing the future of
the next version of the universe certainly qualified as a momentous event.

But what to say? What to say, what to say, she kept wondering. Her
mind cast back to the Hebrew Book of The Dead, the tradition from which
Kennet had come from, and since he had been the human she had had the
most interaction with, maybe it was something from that tradition she
could use.

But what? The words in that text that heralded Creation certainly were
dramatic, but they weren't quite right. It wasn't true that light came
first. But then what? The words repeated themselves in her mind over
and over, and as she concentrated her thoughts were interrupted, and
from that interruption came the perfect thing to say; not four words,
as recorded in the text, but three, were necessary. Only three words.

She said, "Let there be."

She pressed the button.

And there was.


The Journal Entries of Kennet R'yal Shardik, et. al., and Related Tales
are Copyright (c) 1989-2000 Elf Mathieu Sternberg. Distribution limited
to electronic media not-for-profit use only. All other rights are reserved
to the author.


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