Rheingold had been in suspension as not much more than a protoplasmic blob retaining memories, but also being updated from Earth with advances as they occurred. He might as well have been a disembodied soul in sleep awaiting the second coming of Christ, fully programmed to recall his sins, pitch his virtues, and jockeying for position. But Rheingold as Rheingold was never to be. Past present and future were now online and being shaped by at least ten generations of earthlings progressing at ten to the second power with each lifetime. He’d awaken if all went well as a far better version of himself, a living repository of 500 years of updated information about the Mother Planet.
But now, it was resurrection time. Panels and monitors inside the capsule came to life, and systematically one organic system after another came online until his eyes opened, and his initial operating instructions became audible. It was as if no time had passed, and while he remembered all his days on earth, his 500 years of space travel and uploaded new memories were part of him, a whole drama he would share with this alien primitive race on a planet so nearly the twin of earth, but lacking any computing technology and only primitive means of communication. To them, he and his woman would be as gods.
Half a millennia ago, when asked why he would want to advance a distant civilization on the same terms that had failed so miserably on earth, the head of the Supreme United Earth Nations had glibly responded to an entire Galactic Assembly, “Why on Earth Not?” No one at the time thought the Supreme Leader’s off-hand response was just another empty trope. The earth was still radioactive, its landmasses mostly desert, with only small cities encapsulated against deadly ultraviolet rays.
As Rheingold came online, he turned to face the young woman still in her bio sac lying next to him. He and she were the Adam and Eve of a new civilization. Together, they and their descendants on this distant new earth would try to get it right this time.