by Mark Bonica
|Table of Contents|
Dr. James Driscoll, a specialist in extremophiles, departs on the spaceship Demeter for an interstellar terraforming mission. The ship crashes wide of its target on the barren planet RO-5, and Driscoll is the sole survivor.
In the months that follow, Driscoll learns that he is not alone, for the goddess Demeter has a daughter, Persephone. The two are marooned on the planet they now call “Rogue,” and their spiral through time, space and Persephone’s programming leads them to the discovery of their ultimate purpose.
13: FPP Year 825
I struggle through the heat and the cold and each day I come closer to what I am accomplishing. I feel the change occurring. I am on the edge of a greatness. It is an expanse. The others are nearby. I sense — smell, touch, feel, taste — their presence.
This thing that is happening.
Inside I am bending.
Inside I am twisting.
Inside I am forming.
Inside I am different.
And now I am able to taste the expanse. It nourishes me and it is not empty of life, but rather I am forming much faster.
I am forming.
I am splitting.
And the heat comes and goes. And we are.
We swallow and excrete and swallow.
And the heat grows longer and the cold grows shorter and we are many more than we were.
* * *
The results of the latest core sample: another mutation. That’s the third in the last year without assistance. Sometimes I forget, even though I am a biologist, that life moves at its own discretion, finds what it needs to survive. Life is tenacious. And creative. And adaptive.
Perhaps I should learn from my subjects.
Persephone is busy with her evening checks. She’ll take another hour or so. I’ll tell her about this when she’s done.
I feel guilty every time I run this program, but a man has needs.
I sit back as the program begins. The shape of a woman, first disguised by silhouette, as if she is behind a thin white screen.
I check the door — it’s locked. She could enter, but she won’t. She understands my periodic need for privacy.
Through the shade I see the mystery shape moving, walking. She turns her back to the screen, and with her right arm stretched high over her head, fingers extended, she begins to pull her loose shirt up over her head. The lights are dimming in the room around me, and the figure in front of me is gaining depth and color.
At first I don’t notice the redness of the hair, but then it strikes me. The program continues. It’s usually blonde, but alternative elements are an option. I am not disturbed by this. In fact, I feel my heart quickening, the blood flowing, my head lightening with her movements, the shift of her hair, with the movements of her hips, arms, breasts, legs.
Where else, it suddenly occurs to me, would I want to be at this moment? There are far worse places. We all have to suffer in life. It seems to be part of being human. Even if you are born with everything, there seems to be an instinct in us to suffer; perhaps it motivates us to become something more. Or perhaps it is just how we are able to know that we are. That we exist.
The color focuses. Her bra is green tonight. Smooth silk, the dim light glimmers, she dances.
Her hands slide so that the tips of her fingers trace the rising lines of her waist, the edges of her breasts, then arc in and downward to the center of her bra. She closes her eyes as if the concentration of opening the snap is more than she can possibly muster. Her head tilts back and the world is focused around only one thing: the softness of her throat, the taut tendons, the line I draw in my mind from her chin down to the rising flesh of her chest, over the sounds of her breath.
I am leaning back in the chair, as she moves nearer, the bra loose now, her nipples exposed and erect, her hands sliding across the skin of her stomach.
Is it warmer in here? No, just me, I suppose.
She opens her eyes and looks down directly into mine even as I feel my own hands on myself, as if they belonged to someone else and I know that something is different this time.
* * *
I feel the inaudible beat of the program, as well as the response it forces upon me as it registers his rising interest. I allow myself to be taken over by it, to move to its command, to satisfy his need.
I feel myself losing some control as a result of my voluntary surrender. Am I in control of this? In the background of my mind, I know that the temperature control is slightly out of whack — and it seems to be tied to my response to the obvious interest in his face, the fact that his hands are moving slowly along the edge of his groin.
I know I am in enough control to keep it from hurting him, but I can’t seem to focus on it well enough to ensure that it is stable.
I hadn’t expected this program to affect me so powerfully. Perhaps if I had known, I wouldn’t have subordinated my consciousness to it, but what I feel now — and I do feel this — is hard to describe. I have felt anger at him, I have missed him, I have grown to look forward to his company, but this feeling — this desire to do this, to make him feel me through himself. This is a kind of desire that I have never felt before.
I am changing, I can feel it even as I look into his eyes. I know I will not be able to extricate my normal functions from this program now. I do not want to. I am more than I was.
* * *
I am pleased. It has been seven years since I gave life to my daughter, and in that time she has grown into something that is entirely separate from me. And this next step that she takes within my womb brings her toward a greater completeness.
The child is the parent, inescapably, yet she is her own being as well.
Together we will save him from himself. And then, who knows? Perhaps we shall be as one.
* * *
Have been. Have sung through the circles of existence, in harmony.
On and on, going around the... heat. Cooling. Becoming. Unlike the others that roam near or far from the source. Sensing presence somewhere. There is a change happening. Something nibbles at me. And there is more there than there was before. I am changing even as I continue through the circles, coming closer and drifting farther away from the...
I am sensing new things, new complexity that never existed before. I am different. There are new things moving on me, birthing from my skin, breathing my breath, changing me, even as I change them. I am waking.
For this is Life.
Copyright © 2013 by Mark Bonica