Across The Universe

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Chapter 19 (v.1) - 19

Submitted: July 01, 2018

Reads: 84

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Submitted: July 01, 2018



For an impossibly long time, they floated through space.  It wasn't uncommon to see someone strapped to something to feel the reassuring fixed position of the faux gravity.


Tempers ran high, and even Adrian found his fuse shortened.  There was not a enough room, not enough, ironically, space for them all.


When finally the station came in view, there was much celebration, even though it was still days away.  Looking at the speck besides the yellow planet, Adrian was attacked by sudden self-doubt.Three years had passed since he last saw Daisy, a lot could change in that time.  Maybe she was even in a relationship.  They hadn't exactly separated on good terms.  In fact, the way she had left him, he wasn't sure in that moment that she hadn't broken up with him then.


Distractedly, he passed the next few days on broken glass.  People had get his attention a few times before their words filtered through, so after awhile, they just gave up.  Max stuck with him, though, and one time Adrian was looking out the window, Max smacked him in the back.  "I know how you feel," he assured, misinterpreting Adrian's apprehension.  "This is huge.  I can't wait 'till it's over."


When the shuttle docked, the excited chatter pulled him out of his own thoughts and he instantly felt like he was going to have a heart attack.  In less than an hour, he'd know if what he feared was true or not.


After decompression, Adrian was the last to leave, pretending it was the disorientating shift from weightlessness to gravity, but the truth was that as much as he wanted to see her again, he didn't think he could stomach her rejecting him again.  Somehow, pining on Earth had been better than being faced with this.


He was ushered through the station by a woman who was named Karin.  He was sorry that he only heard about a third of what she said, he was too busy looking around for a familiar face.


As he looked, a scientific part of him pondered whether her activated evolutionary process had changed her physiognomy further.  Would she still be recognized as human?  He shook his head at the thought.  He'd still be in love with her if she looked like the creature from the black lagoon... it just might take some getting used to.


Thinking along those lines, that was when he heard her name.  "What, sorry?"  He said, and Karin gestured ahead of them, and there she was, talking to a group of supras, dutifully telling them about things they could look forward to.  She hadn't changed a bit, except her hair was longer, now it touched her shoulders.  She was still beautiful to him, and he forced himself to stay at Karin's side.


"You worked with Dr. Mercutio, didn't you?"  Karin repeated as they walked on.  Belatedly, he realized that Karin was walking him to Daisy, and as his frantic pulse told him, he was not ready for this.


"Yes, we put the serum together," he said nodding, keeping his head bent.


Karin stopped him with a hand on his arm.  "Does it hurt as badly as they say?"  She asked quietly, and he paused.


"It does," he informed her, and she shuddered.  "But, it only lasts for thirty hours."


"I think even an hour is too much," she informed him, and they were suddenly there.  Daisy dismissed her last inquiry, and she turned to see who was there, pulling back in surprise when she saw who it was.  Karin smiled at her.  "I'm sure you two would like to get reacquainted... you were on good terms right?"  She asked, suddenly worried that she had screwed up.


"Pleasant enough," Daisy said briskly, holding out her hand.  Adrian looked at it a moment to long, his focus on her thumb, and she started to lower it, her attitude becoming chillier.  He swiftly grabbed it, shaking her hand too vigorously.


"It's nice to see you again, Darian," he told her, staring into her eyes.


"Well, I'll leave you to it," Karin said, sounding a little awkward about the encounter.  Daisy let go of his hand, walking in the opposite direction.


Jogging after her, Adrian felt a flash of anger.  After all this time...  After all this time, and she was still acting like that, like it was all his fault, even though she was the one with the bright idea to shoot herself up with the serum.  He had been willing, but, oh no, she had to be like that.


"How was the trip?"  She asked flatly, when he caught up, refusing to stop.  "I am under the impression that you're the last one to join, because it was your-"


"Could you just stop?"  He asked sharply, and she stepped into a room.  He glanced at the words above the door, not really bothering to read them.


"Stop what?  Talking or moving?"  She asked, turning on a laser keyboard and typing something in it blindly, deigning not to use a screen.


Adrian touched her back.  "Do you know how long it's been?"  He asked her, and she studied him a moment, saying nothing.  "I didn't come here because of the project, I came for you."


"It's been years, why didn't you move on?"  She asked carelessly, but he noticed the way she was refusing to look at him.  She may be acting cool and distant, but she was nervous and uncomfortable.  His arrival might have refreshed her own pains, but him being there had to account for something, had to remind her of something better, didn't it?


"Because I love you," he said simply, and she moved away, her hands fumbling for things to busy themselves with so she didn't have to face him.


"You sent me away," she muttered, turning away from him so her back was to him.


Taking a step towards her, Adrian touched her shoulder.  "You know I-"


"Three years!"  She exploded, whipping around to face him.  "I never wanted to be here, and...!"  She stopped, hiding her face in her hands.


"It's over now, we just have to move past it," he said quietly, keeping a respectful distance.  "To a point, I can understand your unhappiness with me, but this was never my fault, it was just a mess that we fell in.  Darian, I came here only for you, that's it."  He sighed and leaned against the desk, his joinst suffering under his own weight.  He felt old as all hell.  "Maybe you don't care, maybe you don't want to hear it, but it's the truth."


"I don't want to hear it," she said emphatically.


"It's still true."


"Why don't you go away?"


"You're still beautiful," he told her, and she got the nerve to glare at him.


"Do you think you can just come back here- come here and things will be fine, as if everything hasn't changed?"  She demanded, stomping around the office, still trying to find some make-work project to distract herself.


"No," he answered honestly, and she paused in front of a bank of drawers.  "It depends on how you feel about me, about us.  That's it, Darian, you see?  We both know how I feel, but you're the only one who knows what you're about."


Running her hand down a row of drawers, Daisy shook her head, and he felt his heart stop.  "I'm not happy with you, regardless of whose fault it is that-" she cut herself off and dropped her head.  "Give me time.  There's too much I have to do, that I have to catch up on, and you want me to just fall in love with you all over again."


There was a shadow in the doorway, and they both saw Max standing there.  They acknowledged him, but Adrian wasn't willing to walk away just yet.  Besides he didn't feel like he had the physical strength to limp away.  "When did you stop?"  He asked her, and Max began to unobtrusively look at the shelves, politely standing with his back to them.


"I wish you'd stop," Daisy said, crossing her arms and giving him a look.


"No, tell me."


"Stop," she said firmly.  "You're not here five minutes... you don't even know if I gave up and moved on.  Maybe I have a new life now."


Adrian closed his eyes, feeling his temperature plunge.  "Who is he?"  He asked, and she shrugged.


"No one," she answered.




Daisy tipped her head at Max.  "I think he wants to ask me questions," she said.  "Privately, most likely, since he had an option earlier and he walked."


"This is you dismissing me?"


"This is me telling you politely to leave, yes."


Pushing away from the desk, Adrian left in search of Charlie.  He needed a friend that he could actually speak to, but seeing Charlie  through the polysilien that was separating him from the rec room where Charlie was playing air hockey with someone, Adrian was attacked by a sudden worry that maybe he was the one that Daisy went to for comfort.  He was the logical choice, wasn't he?  She had always been close with him, their shared love for sarcasm had brought them together, and when she was probably feeling the most alone, he had been there, not Adrian.


Swallowing his nerves, he went into the room, and Charlie stopped what he was doing to come over and give him a vicious hug that risked breaking Adrian's brittle bones.  In zero, despite supplements, bone mass depleted.


"I didn't see you," Charlie said, letting him go.  "I figured they pushed you back to second phase.  What, you're avoiding me?"


Adrian sighed, sinking into a chair.  "No, sorry, I just had things-"


"You had to find her first," Charlie nodded knowingly.  Adrian looked at him for a moment.  He had never told Charlie about their relationship, but he guessed Daisy must have at some point.


"She, um, she-"


"She's different," Charlie nodded again.


Holding up a hand, Adrian disagreed.  "She didn't seem that much different to me," he said, and Charlie shrugged.


"Give it time, there are little things that stick out," he told him.  "She's more adventurous now, so that's something."


It was hard to imagine Daisy as anything but nervous, anxious and overly cautious.  Her being adventurous seemed as likely as her being spontaneous.  It just wasn't possible for Adrian to think of it.


"We didn't speak much," Adrian said.  "She had other things to see too..." he felt guilty, he was seeing Charlie for the first time in ages, and he was just focusing on Daisy.  "How is she?"  He asked, unable to stop himself.


Charlie considered him a moment, then leaned back in his chair.  "She's a little like she used to be, y'know, not talking to people much, but that's because to the rest of them she's some sort of a freak," he said quietly.  "I'm not saying who, but one of the guys made a grab at her, saying she didn't count because she wasn't human.  She dislocated his shoulder and slammed his head into the wall."




Charlie tipped an imaginary glass to her.  "The problem is that's she's barely tolerated here, and her withdrawing didn't help her case," he told him soberly.  "Though, with a bunch of new blood, maybe things will be better.  Now she's got people like her to keep her company."


Silently, Adrian balked at his turn of phrase, but he could understand what Charlie meant.  "She had you, though," he said in a off-hand way.


Charlie looked at him a moment, then smiled and shook his head.  "Nah, nah," he held up his hands up to ward off the thought.  "I don't think we'd ever see each other like that.  You should know that."


Conversation turned to lighter things, though Adrian wasn't sure how he felt about knowing that their captain was a blind man.


"It'll be at least a month before we're down," Charlie projected.  "And then who knows how long it'll take for the plants to take over."


Adrian thought about it.  "A couple years," he guessed.  "But there's still the problem of the sun.  With enough plants, the air might be difficult of us to breath.  But to make it safe for us we'll need to change the atmosphere."


"Actually, we, uh, we've been working on that," Charlie said in a low voice, moving forward in his seat.  "From what we've seen, people won't want to change as drastically as the supras, which, in ways, makes sense."


Adrian couldn't believe what he was hearing.  "But the point of the supras was to make people who could advance to any evolutionary stand point," he said, annoyed.


Clicking his tongue, Charlie shook his head, as if Adrian was missing the point.  "Buddy, we didn't just change people, we made the next step in evolution... Daisy's not human, nor are any of the others that went through that.  You're asking a lot to make people give up their humanity."


"I have seen humanity, it is not impressive," Adrian told him.  "Are you afraid of it?  This is bullshit, change on a genetic level will not change us in the way that it matters."  He tapped his temple.


Shrugging, Charlie ruffled his hair.  "Y'know, evolutionary process has nothing to do with morality," he said.




"In that I mean we're talking the morality of monkeys," Charlie corrected, ignoring the look on his friend's face.  "What changes the physical, can change the mental... remember the rats?  They became smarter, stealthier than the originals.  Then they saw that they outpaced them."


"Thank you, but I'm sure Daisy, even yet, has better morals than a rat," Adrian said shortly.


Charlie looked at his hands.  "Do you know that there's a popular theory that Homo Sapiens killed off the Neanderthals?"  He asked quietly.


"There's no proof of that," Adrian said quickly, not liking where this was going.  "In fact in some people there is living proof that the two crossbred."


"Then there's hope for you two yet," Charlie said, and Adrian glared at him.  "What I'm saying... is that I think a lot of people here are going to start feeling like the Neanderthals compared to the shiny and new people."


"Then maybe they should adapt too," Adrian said irritably.  "They want to change one aspect of themselves, and they could be made to conquer any negative-"


"It was only supposed to be two things," Charlie reminded him.  "In a way, that's great, but I can see a lot of people not being too keen on have extra joints or inner eyelids."




"Oh, I take it you didn't notice that," Charlie said with a nod.  "She's got another joint in her thumb."




"Oh, yeah, the eyelid.  It happened when she started exposing herself to the light," Charlie explained.  "Best she can figure is that it is to protect against the full glare.  Most of the time you can't notice it, but sometimes when she blinks it's there.  But since you're so indignant about the subject, why didn't you get the shot?  From where I'm sitting, you look pretty hypocritical."


"There wasn't enough time," Adrian told him.  "Either I was getting them ready, or I was getting in shape for the trip.  I didn't have time to take a few months to get where they are.  I'll do it when we land and everything's set up."  He paused.  "But why haven't you?  Are you one of the many who is going to cling to an ideal?"


Charlie grimaced and looked at his hands again.  "I don't remember you being this self-righteous," he remarked.


"You're not," Adrian said, vaguely surprised, leaning back in his chair.  "You're going to a planet that is pretty much designed to kill you, and you think that-"


"I will take the alter serum, which will make me immune to the rays of the sun," Charlie told him firmly.  "It's my choice, and if you want to change into something your not, that's fine, just don't be making yourself sound holier than thou because you've got this belief that the supras are actually better than the rest of us."


"I'm not saying that, I'm just saying that it might be more than the light you'll have to adapt to," Adrian argued.  "We don't know if there were things that the probes didn't register.  There could be something in the water that makes it toxic to us.  Are you just going to get altered piece-meal because you think that you are better than them?"


Charlie got up.  "I think I'll go and get some air," he said stiffly.  He patted Adrian's shoulder.  "Good to see you, man."

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