The globe is visibly smaller after two hundred years of core mining. The oceans and atmosphere were stripped away a long time ago. A shimmering ring of matter, mostly steel, fans around the equator assembling O'Neils, and innumerable other bits and bobbles from the planet.
"You going to miss it when it's gone?"
"Nah, the Earth we began disassembling was so different from the Earth I was born in I lost any attachment. Controlled weather and carefully curated ecosystems just aren't that different in a Bishop Ring rather than a planet surface. Also, deep gravity wells are a bitch."
I hear the coffee maker gurgle as the last few drops drain down into the carafe.
"Creme, sugar, flavored syrup."
I pour a cup and hand it to him before adding cream and sugar to another and pouring the coffee over it.
"Great way to ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee."
"I bought this coffee, I roasted this coffee, I brewed this coffee, I'll adulterate it however I damn well please and your next cup too if I feel like it," I say with overacted contempt.
"No, please, spare me. Mea culpa-"
He broke off snickering before we lapse into a moment of companionable silence.
"You ever think about how many people didn't make it out of the twentieth century?" he asks.
"Man, I think of how many didn't make it out of the twenty first. We had so many close calls; so much dicking around when people were dying and starving and losing their minds. Twenty Second century wasn't a walk in the park either but at least people weren't dropping like flies just because they got old. I won't lie, I was very surprised that biological immortality got people thinking long term ... well longer term anyway. Gave me hope."
"Did anyone else from our graduating class make it into the Methuselah Club?"
"Three others. I contacted one, she declined to meet. Realized I didn't really care about the others. You'd think more people would be trying to do millennial reunions."
"Oh, is that what this is, a school reunion?"
"Yeah, no, kinda ... I dig through my social history; because, well, it's not like I can actually remember anything from more than four hundred years ago, and I found an old post where I said we should meet for coffee a thousand years from now when the world was disintegrating. It was one hundred fifty years ago that I stumbled on the post but I put a reminder on my calendar. Wanted to make good on it."
"Lot of effort just to have coffee," he said looking at the surrounding yacht.
"Well I said for coffee and swapping stories."
"Oh wow, I've got some good ones, just let me bring them up," he put his cup on the floor and began wildly gesticulating commands to the yacht. Our window becomes a screen and a scene in of him in a virtual environment plays.
"I was actually hoping to have you tell the story not just watch life logs of it."
"This 'life log,'" he threw air quotes around the term, "represents like seventy hours of editing and splices together thirty one points of view. I work my ass off on this to make sure that the full comedic and spiritual significance is as transparent and impactful as possible!" he says pouring every gram of conviction he can muster into his words.
"O-okay, cripes," I respond. It occurs to me that I wasn't terribly happy in high school if my posts were anything to go by. I'd chalked that up to the educational methods of the day but now ... I'm not so sure. I recline back in my chair and mentally commit myself to putting an obnoxious amount of cream and sugar in his next cup if this is anything less than he's hyped it to be.
IRON NODER X: XTREME XCELLENCE