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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Microstory 1748: My Future as a Hare

Everyone in the galaxy has a right to immortality, unless they lose it by committing a severe enough crime, but not all forms of immortality are created equal. We’re all ageless, but how old you look—and feel—when you stop aging, is dependent upon a number of factors. You can be awarded lagomorphic status, as they call it, upon your own merits. Good people lead infinite lives, unless they become bad, in which case their lagomorphicity can be removed from them. Some buy their way into status, often worried that they won’t be worthy of achieving it on their own, or because they’re children whose parents don’t have confidence in them. But again, just because you’ve been accepted into the program, doesn’t mean you’re going to be young and healthy forever. There are three primary classes of lagomorphic immortals. Pikas appear as children, which could mean they were children when they underwent the procedure, or because their age was sufficiently reversed. They may not have been the one to make this choice. The most common of the lagomorphs are Rabbits, who look like adults. The last class are the Hares, which is what I have recently become. They’re not constantly on the brink of death, but they’re not super healthy either. I suppose I should be saying we at this point. I would rather be a Rabbit. Pikas are often not taken seriously, because they look so young, but at least they’re healthy. Hares, like me now, apparently, are riddled with general aging problems, which can’t really be treated. We suffer for eternity. There is one upside in that we’re the ones who run the government. We make decisions about who receives the gift, and what kind. We can even transition people at will. I know what you’re thinking, but no, we can’t later choose to change ourselves into Rabbits or Pikas. That would be a conflict of interest, and a gross abuse of power.

Most of the time, a Hare has become that way because they have spent a lifetime proving themselves to be up to the challenge, and have kept themselves on track. They have usually refused to be turned into Rabbits specifically so they might one day be entrusted with the ongoing prosperity of our culture. Occasionally—and it is incredibly rare, according to everything I have ever heard about Hares—someone will be aged forward so that they become an elder after having only lived a relatively low number of mortal years. Why this happens is a closely guarded secret. It’s happened to me, and I still don’t know whether someone did it on purpose, or if my body reacted to the treatment in a unique way. I don’t know why I’m like this. As I said, I’ve always just wanted to be a normal Rabbit. I have no interest in making decisions, or in wearing a diaper until the end of time. I don’t think all Hares have to do that, but it’s not unheard of, and no thank you. Right now, I’m waiting in The Great Hall for someone to retrieve me, and give me some sort of assignment. I’m sure most people understand the process at this point, but I don’t pay much attention to politics, so I don’t know how the distribution of power works. It’s been two hours. I would complain about them making an old man wait this long, but they’re old too, so they’re probably pretty slow. Finally, the gargantuan doors open, and I just get the feeling that I’m meant to step in. I walk up to the Grand Council, and stand before them patiently. I have never even seen their faces before. Honestly, it’s a huge honor. “Welcome. The sad news is that a member of our council has chosen to die after centuries of service. The bad news is...you were selected to replace her.”

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