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Star Dust

It is said space is the final frontier. Ever since man, that curious creature living on its lonely blue and green orb first looked up at the starlit sky they always dreamed about the undiscovered curiosities waiting in the infinite. It wasn't until late into the homo sapiens history that it became aware that the answers they sough in the cosmos lay within the very foundation of their form. When man discovered the atom, it discovered the building block of all matter. No matter how the forces of the universe shaped and sculpted those same tiny units were everywhere, and they were everything. It soon became apparent the destiny of the species was entwined with that of the subatomic, and those who realized it first dedicated their lives to understanding, manipulating and interacting with the invisible and mysterious atom. It was in the middle of the 21st century when particle physicist Anton Barristar took a giant leap forward toward that goal. Him and his team developed the first ever atomic tracking computer. A microchip so small that it could actually be attached to a single atom and as long as it functioned it could tell its users what form the atom was currently apart of. It was a way for the finite to learn about the eternal. The physicist decided the first atomic tracking computer in history would be attached to his mother. “Will it hurt” the old woman asked. “No, not at all.” Anton assured her. “I still don't quite understand what the point of this." She said. Anton smiled happy to be given the opportunity to explain it all over again. “This computer is a way for us to monitor an individual atom. See even after we die, and our biological form breaks down the atoms, units of matter so small that they....”Yeah, I know what an atom is more or less.” She interrupted. He chuckled. “Well this is a way for us to track how atoms interact, what forces drive them to become matter. This is a giant step towards learning not just where we came from, but where EVERYTHING came from.” “Ok, I guess, but I've heard that one before. Whatever became of all that 'God Particle' stuff”? Anton only grunted. He didn't have an answer for that... So it was the atomic computer chip was merged with a solitary atom somewhere among the matter that made the woman part of physical reality. The experiment went forward and was a success. The chip told the computers in the lab exactly where the atom was at all times, and for several years there was very little need to pay too much attention to it. It was until Anton's mother died that the team became interested again. Anton and his colleagues watched on their monitors as his mother's body broke down into the base elements which had made her possible. As they watched the electronic instruments tell the story of her returning to dust, they were all a little bit humbled. The experiment would go on far longer than Anton's tenure at the lab and would even outlast him by several lifetimes. Over the course of the experiment the atom became part of a dandelion, a Caterpillar, the leaf on a tree, it even became part of a human once more, but mostly it spent its time as dust. During the atom's incarnation as another human, some of the researchers considered telling the child an unimaginable tiny part of her used to be part of a woman who had died many decades ago, but eventually they decided against the idea. Before long that child had run through the cycle of life and was too returned to the dust. Eventually, circumstances forced the experiment to an end. The old lab where they monitored the atom lay dark and empty for many years, before it was eventually reclaimed by the Earth, but the atom remained. There was no one left to monitor its existence, in fact, there were no people left for the atom to become a part of. Instead, it mingled in the dust that contained the remains of the human race. That all too finite creature that had endeavored to understand all the secrets it held. They learned much by their standards, but in truth they had barely scratched the surface and in the end they had been reabsorbed into the singular and what was once the particles that made homo sapiens were scattered into the wind. Some billions of years before the last proton decayed, in a small apartment on the north side of Chicago a writer in the prime of his mid twenties was pondering the eternal chaos of the universe. Of course, his musings went explored without the assistance of high-tech equipment, a laboratory, any education, or for that matter any knowledge on the subject whatsoever. He stared at the word processors flickering cursor and puffed away at his cigarette. "What are you working on"? Asked the young writer's friend. "Oh, here check it out I'm just about done its about a computer that follows an atom as it becomes one thing after another." The writer answered. The writer's friend leaned in and silently read the words on the screen and after a few minutes shook his head. "You're really high aren't you?" He said, "So it would seem" the red eyed writer answered. "so it would seem."


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