A doubled-over man sat in his thought-controlled wheelchair staring blankly with drooping eyes. His wrinkled face had lost its luster ages ago, but the help of oils and powder made him look a few hundred years younger. Wendell Bright, the last of the living humans, born unto the death of an old species, and the rise of a legion of offspring races. He sat alone without any human brethren, in front of a crowd of various races that gawked at the living archive of the human race. Their unearthly faces mocked him, making his soul cringe. He gazed deeper into their eyes, showing him the mystery of the universe. Some faces were too grotesque, some insect-like; one fellow in fact looked like a praying mantis; another looked like he or she wore a squid for a head. Its squirming tentacles made his eyebrows rise. Wendell didn't know if it was out of interest or just disgust.
The Galactic Science Committee made it imperative to preserve this creature for the entire galaxy to revel in the marvel that is the human race. Wendell, with his fixed arthritic hands, reached for his little picture device, studying the photos of his family. A smile tried to crack through his tiring muscles, reminiscing about the good old days.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the Galactic Science Committee, I welcome you all to witness the remainder of the Great Ancient Race," a lizard man said, stepping up to the podium. Wendell always heard them speak of him as a "living artifact" or "a breathing fossil". He never liked to be considered something of extreme age.
He looked down at his pictures again, fixed his thoughts on his memories, of his family that lived eons ago. He remembered back when he and his wife used to enjoy the walks in the parks on Mars, visit the erupting geysers of Telvetron, and fly on stellar cruises.
"The universe is our oyster," he'd always tell his wife. Soon came the kids, then the grandkids and the great-grand kids, the even greater-grand kids. He never knew that he would have started an entire lineage of children. He watched his sons and daughters grow up to get married and become very happy and successful people. However, he never saw the tragedies that followed the coming generations of his family. First his wife died, after which he thought he would never find happiness again. Then in his sons and daughters and their children and then their children, he saw the creation and death of his family come to pass.
His memories were interrupted when he heard the crowd clapping. He turned to see what was going on and remembered it was a presentation to the science community about the Human lineage and origins. A very peculiar looking fellow walked up to the podium; he was next, giving a speech on the various goals the human race had achieved over its history. He never heard so much about one race within an entire boring hour. Wendell didn't understand why he had even agreed to do this. Maybe it was for science or for the human spirit, trying to keep it alive; maybe it was for his family; or maybe pride took hold; or maybe it was to get the annoying media off him.
He took one last look at his wife, pretending to stroke her face on the screen.
"This is for you, Elisabeth!" he said, trying to steady his shaking hands and slowly pushing himself off the chair. As he rose, the crowd took notice.
"Enough!" Wendell shouts. "I may be old, 5,000 years as far as my memory tells me, but I will not be toyed with. For eons I have watched my loved ones wither away from my grasp," he said, with tears flooding his eyes and saliva filling his ancient mouth. "You can never understand the grief I went through. Never! I will not be looked at like some animal in a zoo. I am a human being, intelligent, well spirited, and strong at heart. I will…" His heart raced heavily; it couldn't keep up with his rage. The crowd just gazed in shock as Wendell clutched his chest. "I….I…." He gasped and collapsed to the floor. The paramedics on hand rushed over to the old man. He heard the faint voices of the scientists shouting at the paramedics, telling them it is crucial for the Galaxy to not let such a spectacle go to waste.
His vision began to fade fast, watching an orange-skinned human-like woman rip open his suit and assess his life status. She waved her biowand over him, only to find out that the tired old cells were merely dying. She tried desperately to explain this to the scientists, but they didn't listen. Holding back her tears, she turned away to hide her fear. The other paramedic frantically dove into his medical pouch, scrambling to find a cure to the drama.
"Listen to me," Wendell said in a soft tone. Only the two paramedics heard. Behind them the scientists just continued in their fussing over the patient. Soon the quarrel sprang up into a conflict of hands and legs. Blood of all colors spewed forth from the scientist's mouths.
"Listen to me!" Wendell said, pushing through his crippled breath. The room went quiet. "Do you all have the intelligence? Then if so, you can remember me for all eternity. Do you have a heart? Then if so, never let go the joy you shared with man." And with that he drew his last breath as his soul drifted away. The paramedic woman burst out into her sorrows. The male paramedic lowered his head as did the other scientists, mourning the ancient's death.