Astronomers have known for more than a hundred years that the largest, hottest stars, the O-type stars, burn out in less than a million years. 10,000 human generations. Yes, a long time, but by the Universe’s timescale, not even a twitch of an eyelid. But the O-type star performs its duties as it should: guide human sailors in search of glory across the great oceans, and then turn itself inside out to seed other stars and future worlds, homes of future alien sailors. But what happens to the star that realizes it was never destined to be an O-type star, that it’s burped away too much mass in the interplanetary womb, and that it’s more of a G-type or K-type star? Its fate to join the billions of other stars, the great cosmic masses engaged in the great cosmic dance orbiting a great cosmic null…
Achilles! Glory? Or long life?
What if Achilles had no choice?
Speechwriter #8, we would have never spotted you if we didn’t know you were going to be there in the first place. Now you’re some sort of diplomat or ambassador or emissary. (Hmph. A whole fiction created–putting you in a room with 300 other faceless heads–and then casually thrown away.) It’s a much quieter job. Not as much cachet when you’re on the scene in DC. So you moved to Baltimore, where no one cares about that sort of thing.
But here you are, in this one moment in time, baring witness to this new celestial body created in the crucible that was your failed ascension. Your brief occultation, already an astronomically-low-probability event, will go almost completely unknown. Time will march on. Then you will die. Eventually your children will die. Two human generations.
Then you will be forgotten.