Ansan looked over at Peacock, drinking his tea in the Florida chamber.
Right pinky finger extended, attention focused elsewhere, particularly
On the current edition of The Horse-Head Chronicles, vol.III
Scholarly interests aside, he inquired of his reading.
"Oh, this old thing! Yes, well, one must never forget his origins, you know."
Ansan nodded, replying, "Quite right. What year was the first printing?"
"Hm...see here, ah, it was 2020."
This disturbed Ansan, unexpectedly so.
"I suppose, that reminiscing on these quaint ideas of the past are...enlightening?" he asked, a trifle airily.
Peacock, as ever, was unperturbed by his companion's condescension, however conscious of it he may have been.
"I would say so, Ansan. 'For if we choose ignorance, a deathly slumber of the soul, shall we not become useless, a society of tired, old things with no reference, no vision, no past?' Or something of that sort."
"Apheneides Scalari, I presume?"
"Correct, sir. I used to quote him at length to my Honors Literature class at Holly-Dane."
A comfortable silence resumed again. The two men had been friends a very long time now, and such debates or differences of opinion would not result in harsh rhetoric or hurt feelings.
Still, Ansan felt compelled to delve deeper into his friend's interest in those ancient tomes. Wasn't he aware of the stupidity, the arrogance, the malevolent hubris which reached to the skies of those earlier times? Those men had elevated hatred to an art form, to the point where an insult could be set to music and aspired to.
At length, Ansan spoke up again. "Peacock, tell me, what interests you so about them? What intelligence they possessed was so muddied by their scheming, that it became their undoing."
The other man sighed good-naturedly as he placed the green satin ribbon at the page he was reading, and set the book down on the coffee table.
"I look to the past, because we must never forget that we were once men. Regardless of the fact that we now reside in tritium-phelane alloy bodies, and are no longer dependent on air to breath, does not nullify the need for truth."
Ansan smiled. "And that truth is?"
Peacock stood and walked over to the view-ports that allowed one to watch the cosmos passing by, hands clasped behind his back. His metallic feet, clad in kevlar-nD, a slip-proof traction surface guaranteed for 1000 years, made a "clocking" sound as he walked.
"That truth is that while we've advanced to heights beyond any that twentieth-century mankind dreamed of, we were once flesh and blood, like them. We built cities, made love, fought wars, climbed mountains and crossed oceans...we were valiant dreamers, stoic workers..."
"Faithless reprobates, cruel taskmasters, deceitful heretics, strident hypocrites and religious drunkards. You seem to forget those charming, nascent qualities. I however, do not."
Peacock remained at the view-port, looking at beautiful, iridescent green vapor trails, stretching at least eight-hundred thousand miles back from the direction they were travelling. He figured them to be remnants of a truly cataclysmic supernova, which had occurred unknowable eons ago.
"I never said that I am unaware of their shortcomings," he explained patiently. "But I choose to extract the cherrais from their lives."
Ansan said nothing. He had not heard that particular term in a very long time. When had that been coined, anyway? 2370 he thought. By Oschello Foursaci, the renowned author and Rhodes scholar.
It was a term derived from Old French that could be approximately translated as 'the juice of life.' It was pronounced SHA-ray, if he remembered correctly.
Nevertheless, he was intrigued by Peacock's diligent study of a doomed race. Of a society that encouraged each other to murder their unborn children. To commit their lives, fortunes and families to corporate promises of Avalon.
To readily accusing the quiet peacemakers of sedition against the governments of the day.
And why? Because peace does not allow control of the masses by the powers that be.
And further still, they paraded their heresies before God and man, vehemently insisting on, and defending their innocence, their compassion for others, and their willingness to be 'tolerant' of all beliefs.
Rubbish, Ansan thought. I'm glad we're rid of that diseased carnival to hell.