When they returned to the solar system, they carried with them the knowledge and insight of a million worlds. They passed through the unchanged orbits of Eris, Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn before pausing briefly to observe Jupiter and its mysterious companions. Here, two-thousand years ago, they had encountered the very vessel in which they now traversed the stars.
They looked back to the oceans of Europa, still teeming with life and it pleased them to find it relatively untouched by man.
They barely remembered the simple physical forms they had held when they journeyed through that same dark ocean, with discovery in their heart, for they had long since abandoned their mortal shells. The crystalline dimensions of the ship in which they travelled had long since become their body, and the dimensions of their existence were now just as multi-faceted.
Through such means they had learned to forego death. And with eternity came time. They used that time to touch every corner of the galaxy, and reveal its secrets. Now, after two millennia of seeking truth amongst the heavens, they were coming home.
But they had not considered the way time would still weigh heavily upon the human race, eroding it as wind against stone. They had not expected to return to Earth and find it a volatile wasteland, devoid of all life. Some catastrophe must have happened here. The blue-green marble that still shone like a beacon in their infinite thoughts, was no more.
With aching souls they turned away from humanity’s cradle and looked once again to the stars. For they were certain that the last children of mankind must still be out there somewhere, wandering as they had done, searching for truth with which to define themselves amongst the immensity of the cosmos.
And if they were not, then they were little more than a memory, committed to eternity…