Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pieced Together

"So, you're telling me that I'm not really who, what, I think I am?" Roman's voice was deceptively calm. Inside he was falling, and there was no bottom under him.
"You are all that remains of Roman Smith." Barbara winced. She was not very good at this. Any one of a dozen of her characters could do this with more empathy, more humanity than she was... Sigh. "You have most, not all, of his memories, in a new body. His soul? Ask a priest. I deal in information and data, in knowledge, ideas and ideals." Barbara stopped digging herself into a hole and reached out, cupped his chin in her hand and lifted his face so that he met her eyes.
"There was a man named Roman Smith, and he knew how to live. Had a full life and then, for all intents and purposes, he died. But he made a leap of faith; he bet on the future, he bet on the Human race, besides-"
"But you all could have been some alien scavengers-"
"We aren't and I think that you know that only other humans would have bothered with-"
"Gee, thanks for the pep-talk!"
"I suck at this, don't I? Look, I see before me a man who thought he was Roman Smith; now that he thinks he isn't, he needs to decide who he really is."
"Thinks he isn't?"
"I believe that you're Roman, even if you don't. Who you are is who you've been, plus the new choices which you make. This 'Roman Smith' is the child of that man."
"I can't decide if you're insane, or I am." Roman said slowly.
"To be, or not to be, sane, that is the question, isn't it?"
"Crazy or not, I definitely want to do this," Roman said. He stood up and took her into his arms. They kissed rather awkwardly, but with feeling.
"You know, this just complicates everything," Barbara murmured.
"I've decided that I like complications. They make life so much more interesting..."
In the time in which Roman had lived, Humanity had made First Contact with a mere handful of species, only one of them spacefaring, and aliens were a rare sight. This one was vaguely insect-like, chattering and clicking its noise-making claw-tips like a castanet. Davie, little Davie, snapped his fingers, keeping time to a song which only he and the alien could hear.
"I’ll be damned," Roman exclaimed. "They’re talking to each other!"
"Do you really think so?" Barbara asked.
"They’re communicating, that’s what they’re doing. At the very least they are acknowledging each other…"
"Well, of course they would," Dr. Peterson murmured, and Roman turned to look her way. She had a rather curious expression; happy and yet sad.
"Is there something wrong?"
"Well, just that there are no others of its kind to speak its language. I thought that we’d get developmental problems."
"It’s a child?" Roman stared at the 100 kilo youngster.
"It’s… a Bigbee." Again, she had that happy-sad expression. "You might say that she’s your foster-sister."

No comments:

Post a Comment