She had prided herself on her looks once, centuries ago when the world wasn’t a maze of metal and plastic. Bedecked in kohl and udju, adorned with gold, she had danced on the edge of royalty’s notice. On her worst days she was flawless, on her best no words could quite capture the memory. But it hadn’t been enough.
He had come to her then, in the midst of her despair, with the lure of immortality and adoration. Eternal youth and vigor, with a thousand lifetimes to enjoy them. Why dance for kings when you could be a queen?
He hadn’t lied, that nameless stranger. She’d lived each of those thousand lifetimes to the fullest. She’d courted kings and emperors, danced with presidents and dictators, spun years away in luxury and grace. She lived for every moment, reveling in the stranger’s gift. Except.
He hadn’t told her how lonely it would be, at the end. When humanity itself fell prey to the ravages of time. For a short span she wandered the spinning tomb of a world, dancing with the memories. But it wasn’t enough. The computers didn’t really care, even though she programmed them too.
Cocooned in a ship of ceramic and steel, she drifted through the emptiness between the stars, in desperate search of life. In search of an audience. She found them, one by one, and danced for them while they died.
But it wasn’t enough.