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Search Search. Log In; Register · efycymepodor.tk Original you do, when you can do anything? [Read “Last Son of Tomorrow” by Greg van Eekhout].
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- The Stories: Five Years of Original Fiction on efycymepodor.tk by Gregory Benford
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He could outrace a galloping horse. But his life was not a trading card with a heroic-looking photograph on one side and a convenient list of his abilities on the other. He had to discover himself for himself. It took him years to realize he could fire laser beams from his eyes. That he could force his lungs to expel nearly frozen carbon dioxide.
His mother drank, and when she did, she got mean. His father had affairs. They taught themselves to be better people, and then they conveyed those hard-won lessons to their son. They were as good as they could be. When they died while John was away at college, he decided if he could be half as wise, as kind, as generous as they were, then he could be proud of himself. There was a commuter train derailment, a bad one, with a fully occupied car dangling off the Utopia Street Bridge, sixty feet above the Tomorrow River.
John got out of his car and left it behind on the clogged highway. Fully visible in bright daylight, he leaped into the sky, and moments later, he had the train car resting safely on the bridge. He freed passengers from twisted metal. He flew those who needed immediate emergency care to the hospital, and then he returned to the scene of the accident. He thought it might be necessary to file a report of some kind with the police.
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He wished he could turn and walk back to his car and drive to his dorm, maybe go out for beers with his friends. Actually, he had many enemies, from the flamboyant nuts who were simply desperate for his attention, to the well-funded organizations who felt John threatened their political, financial, or ideological interests. But there was one man who devoted his entire life to vexing John. He called himself Teeter-Totter, of all the goofy things, and he wore an outfit not dissimilar to the jumpsuit John wore, made of a flexible composite material that could withstand the wear and tear of everyday battles and rescues and adventures.
Teeter-Totter had no powers. Their relationship, such as it was, got worse. Teeter-Totter graduated beyond bank jobs and jewelry heists and began committing acts that were downright heinous. He brought down skyscrapers. He drove a robot-controlled truck into Hoover Dam. And he made John feel responsible for all of it. There would be a catastrophic crop failure that year, and not even John would be able to prevent starvation. What did I ever do to you? Is any of this getting through?
Forty years later, John felt he was proven right when Teeter-Totter died of old age. But then he realized something. If his every act of heroism was countered by an act of evil, then how were the two any different? John gave Teeter-Totter a respectful burial. After that, John still helped people whenever things happened right in front of him, but he stopped seeking trouble out.
He reasoned that he might be an alien. Without a doubt the orphan would rule Earth before he reached puberty, and then go on to conquer the surrounding space sector, the quadrant, and at least half the Milky Way galaxy. After Teeter-Totter died, John began flirting with space. He was merely lonely. He hoped he might find someone like himself out there. It was like being a small child again. Everything was vast and scary, and he exulted in it. He climbed Olympus Mons.
The Stories: Five Years of Original Fiction on efycymepodor.tk by Gregory Benford
He showered in the sulfur geysers of Io. He let himself go limp and be battered about inside the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. It was an amazing ride. No amount of gravity or kind of radiation or absence of it could harm him. He learned to fly faster than the speed of light, and he explored.
For a while he named every new planet he discovered.
He named one for each of the astronauts. He named a pair of moons for his parents, and he named a spectacular ringed gas giant for Teeter-Totter. In all the places he traveled to he found no one like himself. The closest he came to encountering intelligent life was on a small, rocky world where he came upon what someone had left behind. They—whoever they were—had worked out the mathematics to predict the position of every particle coming from Earth out to sixty-two light years.
They had made a copy of each and every one of those particles and reassembled them into coherent signals, which they filtered out to leave only television broadcasts from to When the children decided everything. The Life and Times of Mr Grimez. Mama Joy's Rap Songs. Memories of the Skin. The World Beneath The Waves. The Little Book of More Abuse.
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