This is an actual transcript of the interview between one Terence Bumbly of the 26th century CE, and SD of the 21st century CE.
1) Dear Mr Bumbly- Where precisely are you right at this moment? Describe your immediate surrounds.
Where? If only things were so simple. There are chairs and tables.
2) You don't seem to be hearing me perfectly well. Can you hear me properly? Please concentrate. The infernal machine you sent me for the purpose of communication is telling me to "ignore the lag." So please don't for heavens sake fiddle with anything ...
What should I do with my hands?
3) Whatever you please. To your book. You seem to be seeking immortality in your own small way. Was your journey an expression of curiosity? An attempt to ape a certain famous ancestor? A futile gesture? A glorious expedition into what must be, by your time, fairly well-known?
Ah, perhaps. You know I grew up with stories of Hieronymous, and I guess the imagination of the child becomes the desires of the man. One could never of course replicate that first journey. We can only ever be pale shadows of our ancestors! I'm sure Hieronymous will agree heartily when he arrives back and is reinvigorated. I'm quite excited by the prospect of meeting him for the first time.
But I would dispute the fairly well-knownness you suppose. With the current speed of travel one can never really step in the same galaxy twice, so to speak and so as long as one has curiosity it is of boundless interest.
4) Why do you remain a gromit? Are you pining for simpler days? Do you harbor a quiet contempt for others who have taken a different path, despite your professions of tolerance? Or is there something truly wonderful about our bodies as they were? Are you, sir, a hopeless nostalgic? And is such a thing possible now?
Hmmm, perhaps the atemporal linguistic adapter is faulty, these questions came through in a bit of a barrage. Being nostalgic is easier than ever before, one could choose to live with implanted sensorial overlays if you really want to see the world translated into another age. I remain a gromit, because it suits me, I understand the unadulterated life, and to follow on, it is not contempt, rather bafflement at the lives of others. Tolerance is something I have to practice, true, especially before breakfast. Perhaps you are right that my bemusement is a shield, especially for myself. But when you encounter a cyber-mutilist in polite society one must still behave appropriately, even if they are dripping.
As for the bodies, this tired form of mine can appreciate the choice of the digitalis, but would it be me? Maybe when it comes closer to the end I will feel differently and if Sveldt wanted to then I would, but otherwise... Perhaps living in a body, a traditional body, is an affectation, a line in the sand. Changing over, or revitalising, might introduce opportunities for regret, such as when one buys a new squib or Egg™, you experience all the doubt of choice. Did I do the right thing or not? For now I enjoy the simplicity of life without introducing levels that to me seem unnecessary. Others obviously don't feel the same and I respect their choice. As I hope they respect mine.
5) It seems that humanity has become extremely fractured in your epoch. In fact, is it even sensible to talk about "humanity" in the 26th century? And what of collective brotherhood, our sense of ourselves as a species? Are we still all marching, slithering, pulsing, to the same beat, as it were? I'm suppressing a shudder at this point...
Right, yes, I see. You are that one in the group who always likes to ask questions they think are insightful, but actually reveal deep-seeded assumptions and ignorances. Humanity has always been fracturing. Such are the laws of diversity. Seen in isolated samples, over time, show leaps and bounds of changes, which in fact took so long. Brotherhood, fraternity, unity. Such veiled terms. Divisive. Now I'm feeling a bit tetchy, my apologies. Perhaps in your time there is a sense of species, but alas, I have never experienced it. I think your answer lies in your phrasing. "We", who does this encompass? Perhaps the definition of this group can answer the surrounding questions.
Yes, the creatures of Earth have spread out and are becoming more individuated, most especially homo sapiens, but also the animals they have taken with them on their evolutionary journey, but they all have come from Earth. And this unites them. It may not unite their voice or thoughts, culture or language, but we all follow the same journey from birth, through childhood and beyond. There is still more that unites us than divides us, which I believe is a phrase coined from your time by one of your "politicians" (and what a delightful term "coined" is, so much history in one small word). Mind you, I doubt her chief desire was to articulate a sense of solidarity with cyber-mutilists. As I mentioned earlier, the dripping...
6) Is this exercise rather pointless? I say this with all due respect. Can we possibly communicate in any sensible way? Is there a middle ground here?
I think the middle ground would be somewhere in the 23rd Century, which I could manage, but I'm reasonably sure you don't have a Quadran to take you. In any case, not a good period for a meeting. Much turmoil in the 23rd, the weather-repatterning, SIB control, Pierre Jr. I hope we never have another century like that one...