"Mom!" Tilla Dryden's exasperated voice rung down the halls of the Moth.
"No! No! No!" Came Seli's terse reply. "You are not getting on my ship as my observer. As a visitor yes. Stopping by for my birthday maybe. But as my observer? Hell no!"
The two women, when they broke out of the hallway into main airlock, looked very much alike. Both had Seli's blue eyes, narrow nose, and thin build. Tilla's hair was wavy brown and her skin fuller, but otherwise, very much the child of her mother. Tilla's traveling bag was slung over Seli's shoulder. Saul and one of this crew members waited in the anti-chamber to the airlock with Dicer and Jane.
"Here." Seli said, flipping the bag to Saul. "My DNA was just leaving."
"She can't leave." Saul said. "She's genetically keyed to the lock on your engine. Only she can keep you flying."
Seli was steaming. "This is a rim job Saul and you know it!"
"It's the best I could do."
"The best you could do? Sending my own daughter to spy on me is the best you could do?"
"Well, the council wanted to send Parker."
"Parker? That stooge! I could dynamite a planet right out from under his ass and he'd never know what hit him. He..."
"Yes." Saul broke in. "That's why I convinced them that young Ms. Dryden here, was both responsible to the IDF and close enough to you to be in no immediate danger of getting dynamited."
"Immediate danger! Immediate danger!" Seli sputtered unable to think of a strong enough response.
"It'll be okay mom." Tilla put her hand on Seli's shoulder. "You've always said we need more time together. Remember? You wanted to know what you would have been like if the European hadn't scrambled your DNA. Well, here's your chance."
Seli grumbled. "Well, when I paid Dr. Hammersmith half my life savings to pick out a clean copy of my DNA, I didn't plan to have the result following me around the galaxy like some spook reporting back to my boss."
"It won't be like that mom. Come on. We'll cook together. Remember when you taught me to cook Tilla Nuts?"
Seli was silent for a moment. "This is dirty pool Saul. You know I can't tell her no."
"And you know you'll lose your ship if I have you arrested again. Just be nice and don't blow up any more unauthorized targets."
"There are no authorized targets any more. You won't authorize any of the targets I want."
"Enjoy the cooking." Saul said, tossing the bag back to Tilla and turning back to the airlock.
"Thanks Saul." Tilla chimed in quickly and turned back up the hallway.
In a second, Seli was alone with Dicer and Jane.
Seli looked from where Saul's man was securing the airlock to the hallways Tilla had disappeared into then to her two crewmen. "Well?"
Dicer cleared her throat. "Your daughter is very...charming."
"Yeah, well, if you ever get the idea that you'd like like to spread your DNA around, do yourself a favor and keep your genes in your jeans if you know what I mean."
Dicer nodded. "I understand. I will remember that." She said to Seli's back as Seli set off up the corridor. Once Seli was out of ear shot, she turned to Jane. "What does, 'keep your genes in your jeans, mean?"
"To most people it would mean 'don't have a baby.'"
"That's not what it means to Captain Dryden?"
"No. Dryden never had that baby. She's a clone."
Dicer shivered. "A clone? On our ship? Is it safe."
"Oh yes." Jane assured her. "Clones are safe. As long as the original DNA was good."
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Seli hung in the vast dark. She was naked but not cold or warm. The space was vast, infinite maybe, and she hung motionlessly in it. She was not alone. She knew that in a moment, a great awareness would turn toward her. She held her breath as the first tingle of its attention turned toward her. The presence was warm and loving and massive, like a God, or the perfect lover.
"Hello, Dr. Dryden." It thought massively.
Seli opened her eyes. She was lying on her side between the blankets strung in her glass sphere. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the hull of the Moth. Without the Kirov's radiation or the lights of the beacon, the ship was dark, a golden shadow against the sea of stars.
She could feel Saul Alinsky's warm body behind her in the bed. He was on his back. She could tell by his breathing that he was awake.
"You used to be better."
"Better?" Saul seemed lost in the contemplation of the stars before him.
"Better in bed. You used to really rock the sack."
Saul chuckled. Well, you used to have stirrups on the poles. I could hook my feet into them."
"You used to visit often enough to make it worth keeping the stirrups up."
"You're just old. How old are you now?"
"A hundred and twelve."
"Lord have mercy. I remember when I swore off any man over eighty."
Saul chuckled again. "Yeah, I remember that too. I had just turned eighty."
There was a long pause. "So what's it like to age Saul?"
"You tell me, you're almost two hundred."
Seli glanced over her shoulder. "Yes, but I'm not aging. Not like you are. I can see it in your skin. You're taking Regenix."
"They say Regenix will give me another thirty years."
"So what's it like?"
"I hate it. Everyone is very jealous of you. They say you'll live forever."
Seli grunted. "Oh no. I'll die...When he's done with me."
"Does he still visit you."
Seli didn't answer. "Why are you here Saul? You're too old and valuable for the IDF to send out for no reason."
Saul sighed. "I'm here to reign you in. Do you know how long it is since you last checked in."
"We're guerilla warriors Saul. We're supposed to act on our own. Do you remember the Charter?"
"The Charter was a long time ago Seli. No one follows the Charter any more."
"Yes and Timbel and few of the others but you're a dying breed. Do you know that the IDF has a chamber in the League of Planets?"
"No it isn't Seli. There's a real interest in the protection of species in the League now. I've spoken there twice now myself."
Seli grunted. "No Saul. The League of Planets is Bullshit. They are paid for and bought and sold by corporations that rape life bearing planets. Talking to them is pointless."
"Seli, people change. Corporations change. We have a real opportunity too..." Seli sighed loudly and Saul fell silent.
"Why are you here Saul?"
"I'm here to give you an observer."
Seli shot to a sitting position. "An observer? Are you nuts?"
"There's been a pax in the IDF council. My hands are tied. I've got instructions to lock the engine on the Moth if you refuse to comply."
"A pax?" Seli fell back on the bed. "Will you do it?"
"I already have. The engines on the Moth will stay locked. Only the observer can unlock them."
"How did I get a pax? I'm a founding member."
"well, we tried arresting you..."
Seli crossed her arms across her narrow chest. "Great, who's the observer?"
"That's the other thing I needed to tell you."