Take note that this is the Last Will and Testament of the Human Race, dated 11.15.76339742 UGD, given freely and without duress by our nominated leaders under Galactic Law DK1-MBP-159Ka.

We, the last remaining representatives of the Human Race, having been certified Category J Sentient and therefore of sufficiently sound mind to express a preference for the disposal of our remaining worlds and worldly goods, do hereby bequeath our assets as follows:

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and their satellites, and the Asteroid Belt extending beyond Mars towards Jupiter: we hand these properties to the Martians. We’re sorry we did not recognize your life forms as sentient beings until we had rendered your home world almost completely uninhabitable. Although it is no excuse, we were looking solely for oxygen-breathing carbon-based life forms. We got it wrong. We wish you and your planet a strong recovery (or indeed, any recovery) and hope that, in time, you will be able to evolve as stewards of the inner planets, with a more responsible attitude than ourselves. They are more beautiful than we realized; when we realized, it was too late for us.

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and accompanying satellites: these were previously sold to the Helium-3 Cold Fusion Corporation to fund the military expansion of our Glorious Human Empire. Well you know the outcome there. How could we have been so arrogant to think that the Galaxy would not intervene as we started to conquer our neighbours’ systems under the pretext of our own security? These assets are naturally outside the scope of this will.

Pluto, Planet X and satellites: unfortunately, ownership was recently lost when the undersigned became a victim of the Zeta Leporis Diplomat Scam. There was no money waiting for us in a dead ambassador’s account. With that, our last chance to impose our will on any part of this Galaxy has disappeared. On reflection, that is no bad thing.

Outer Solar System objects (the Kuiper Belt Objects) and assorted Far Solar System items (Oort Cloud objects, comets and so on): we grant full ownership, along with all operating rights to the associated Theme Parks and Experiences (well known as the 9,347th Wonder of the Modern Galaxy), in perpetuity to the Intergalactic Entertainment Corporation in exchange for delivery of 5,000 of the latest specification von Neumann craft each Galactic Rotation. These are to be used for the sole purpose of guarding the Inner Solar System’s borders and neutralizing any unwanted trespassers. Let those remaining in this system live in peace, as we ourselves should have.

Sol: the star which gave us life is to be held in a charitable trust in binding perpetuity for the benefit of all remaining occupants of the Solar System.

Note: it is an express condition of this Will that all our beneficiaries must agree to actively care for any remaining dogs, cats, elephants and tardigrades, wherever and whenever encountered — it wasn’t their fault.

The remainder of our assets outside the Solar System (primarily consisting of Galactic Bitcredits and remotely traded Non-Fungible Tokens) are to be sold, and proceeds used to fund a Charitable Foundation dedicated to supporting newly detected sentient races and guiding them through that difficult first 100 million years following their discovery by superior species. The prime goal of this foundation is to ensure that all such races should be given copies of the latest edition of The Galactic Induction Handbook, a guide that we ourselves would have found invaluable. We wish we had seen a copy before we naively blundered into the wider Galactic society; things would have turned out very differently for us.

Signed

Emperor Karg 243rd (retired)

Species: Human

Address: Epsilon Eridani Home for the Imminently Extinct Races of the Five Thousand Galaxies

Occupation: Formerly Supreme Overlord of the All-Powerful, All-Conquering Human Empire

Witnessed By

Witness 1: P@4374www9, informally known as ‘Pat’

Species: 25th Level AI, Bipedal Sensicare Model C9P6e

Address: Epsilon Eridani Home for the Imminently Extinct Races of the Five Thousand Galaxies

Occupation: Senior carer for small, low-risk oxygen-breathing sentients

Witness 2: RB367142ca34b, informally known as ‘Robbie’

Species: 32nd Level AI, running on the QuantumCorp ExaComp™ Cloud Computer Facility

Address: AAA Wills and Probate Services, Box 83A-765-4319J, Andromeda Galaxy

Occupation: Junior legal specialist

Note

Filed at the Miscellaneous Minor Documents Archive, 61 Cygni. Rediscovered in GY97,348,422.107.43.22

Research Note: Based on the archaic system coordinates for time and location specified in the document, it has been determined that the aforementioned star (“Sol”) went nova approx. 3.7 billion years ago. This event destroyed the planetary system described herein. A debris cloud remains in orbit around the remaining white dwarf. New planets seem to be forming, potentially suitable for development and use by category DC3A races. Aside from this document, nothing else is known about the self-styled “Human Race”, or their leader, Emperor Karg 243rd (or indeed, any of their leaders).

Memo

Grax — See above: I think we can make a killing here … Nobody has claimed this neighbourhood! Take a look and see how much it would cost to spruce up. Nothing fancy, just sweep out the debris, stabilize the new planetary orbits and I can think of at least 10 races we could market this to, as a quiet vacation spot. Just don’t forget to sweep for any remaining von Neumann probes — we don’t want a repeat of the Orion disaster!

Regards

Xelp

The story behind the story

Mark Vandersluis reveals the inspiration behind The last will and testament of the human race.

I wrote this story not long after attending the funeral of a relative, with the title coming to mind that very evening. I wanted to consider what it means to be ‘remembered’ after we have ‘gone’. Whether referring to the demise of individuals, families, corporations, ethnic groups, nations or indeed the whole human race, we are unlikely to be remembered for the reasons we might wish or expect, if we are even remembered at all. There are instances of ancient civilizations here on Earth for which we have uncovered few or no written records, so I wondered what it might be like for the entire human race to be chronicled by just one single remaining document — a document that does not show us in a flattering light.

In these current, troubled times I also wanted to highlight the view that as a race, we have a tendency not to learn from the lessons of history.

This story is set in the far future, showing our down-and-out race facing up to its imminent extinction through the voice of the last leader of the last humans, and in the form of a will. The narrative of the will reflects upon the many mistakes made by us humans along the way, noting the regrets and lessons learnt too late for ourselves.

I also wanted to consider the possibility that ‘human nature’ and ‘alien nature’ might actually be quite similar. So we get a glimpse of the technologically advanced Five Thousand Galaxies, a loose geographical alliance of many alien races in our corner of the Local Galactic Supercluster, and we see that other races might be just as susceptible to the dubious motives, foibles and bad judgements exhibited regularly back here on Earth. Incidentally, the Table of Contents for The Galactic Induction Handbook, which is mentioned in this story, has been published elsewhere, and elaborates on this theme.

Of course, in the end the laws of physics dictate that our Sun and planetary system will disappear, so billions of years in the future there really won’t be much around to remember us by … and the same will be true for every other alien race out there. As the popular Five Thousand Galaxies saying goes: “(Supernova) ashes to (supernova) ashes, (star)dust to (star)dust.”