“Would I do it all again?” Pierce wondered. The translucent, holographic man sat on a holographic chair; they were the only light left. The chair floated in the center of an endless, inky abyss. He traveled the stars with the human race. Humanity explored countless new worlds and never found any trace of alien life. Pierce knew when the last of his power ran out, he’d be the last human, the last being in the universe to die. “We’re alone. What was it all for?”
Pierce floated in dark silence for several more minutes until something changed. Brilliant white light consumed the darkness around Pierce in an instant; at the same time he heard the *THUNK* of a heavy switch. Instead of the vast, dark cosmos, Pierce was suddenly in the center of glowing white room: 12′ x 12′. Another noise caught his attention and he turned in time to watch a door opening.
A rectangular section of the white wall opened inward and revealed a man. He walked in wearing a black suit with a bright yellow tie; then, stopped in his tracks when he noticed pierce.
“Awwww Hell,” the stranger mumbled to himself, then he turned around and walked out without another word. He closed the door behind himself. Pierce was puzzled, but more than that he felt excited. He had a million questions collecting in his data banks and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. He stood and paced around his holographic chair while he waited. Scanning the room didn’t show him a way out and waiting was the only thing he could do.
After fifteen minutes the door opened again. An older man in a navy blue suit with a chestnut crew cut walked in. He walked straight to Pierce and offered a handshake.
“Pierce Henderson,” he shook Pierce’s hand with a firm grip and a broad smile. “I’m glad we get a chance to meet. What you’ve done here is amazing.”
“Thank you,” Pierce said sincerely.But, he didn’t waste any time. “Who are you? Where am I?”
“I’m someone that likes to make my own fun, Mr. Henderson,” the stranger said. “How about a little game? I can answer all your questions, but you’ll forget the answers in your next life. Or, I let the process continue as normal and let you keep what you know. See if you can guess how things work.” Pierce did not need to spend time debating; he knew his answer.
“Yes! I want to solve it myself,” he said.
“I thought so, good man,” the stranger said “Wait here.” He patted Pierce on his translucent back, waved, then walked away. He stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him. The moment the door closed the room disappeared into darkness again. Then, several things happened at once.
Pierce felt an intense rumbling beneath his feet. By the time he looked down, he found a pair of tan legs. He was standing on rocky ground with an orange glow in the darkening purple sky. He checked his hands and found flesh instead of light. In the distance, a giant volcano erupted.
“Alright humanity,” Pierce grinned to himself. “Let’s do it again.”