Across The Universe

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

Chapter 27 (v.1) - 27

Submitted: August 12, 2018

Reads: 50

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Submitted: August 12, 2018



"It doesn't matter who started it, you should have walked away," Evers said, cutting him off, waving his hand as he sat behind his desk.
"It doesn't matter that for as long as I've been here I've had to silently put up with abuse?"  Max said incredulously.


"You should have brought a claim-"


"I did that before!  Nothing's ever done!"  Max said loudly, and Evers gestured for him to lower his voice.  "He threw the punch, I didn't!  I just moved defensively, I did everything I should have."


"And maybe we might have been able to smooth things over if you had come to me directly rather than having a tête-à-tête with-"


"And whatever happened to the investigation about what happened with the shuttle?"  Max interrupted.  "I thought you were going to do something?!"


Evers cleared his throat.  "I would be making better headway if you weren't making snide intimations that what happened was attempted murder," he said loudly.  "If anything is found out, Dr. Mercutio will be the first to know."


"It wasn't just her that almost died," Max said, then left, disgusted by the whole charade.  What good was any of it if no one actually took charge of the situation.  He shut the door on Evers' protestations, and walked off.


Getting away rom Evers' office, Max was relieved to see that Daisy was out of her cubical.  He figured she was probably lying down in her pod, reading, which was how she spent most of her free time.  Currently she was on Metamorphosis, and he really wanted her to see the irony of that.


Without knocking, he stepped into her pod, stopping when he saw her lying on her bed, Goethe beside her, hand resting on her abdomen under her shirt.  The hand quickly retracted and Goethe started to sit up, and Max resisted the urge to quickly apologize and retreat.


"Are you done with that book?"  He asked, as Daisy propped herself up on her elbow.  Silently she picked it up off her nightstand and held it out for him to take. "Thanks," he said, careful not to touch her skin as he took it from her, unable to bare the thought of them connecting right that moment, then he left shutting the door tight behind him before going to the airlock.


His momentary flash of possessiveness, he knew, didn't come from his crush on her, but the fact that for the barest second he had thought, 'He's not one of us''.  Maybe it wasn't possessiveness at all, but a dividing sense of propriety.  Whatever it was, he felt more shame for it than accidentally bust in on them.  He had thought of Goethe as a friend . . .  Had.  Max caught the past tense, and he said it again to himself slowly.  When had it changed?  When had Goethe stopped being his friend and had just been a harmless figure on the side?


The first blast of hot, sandy air, Max felt a tingle in his throat.  A thought occurring to him, he went back into the airlock, stopping it before it closed, going over to the oxygen reader.  They were at point three, which was amazing seeing how long they had been at it, but with the plants taking over the scenery, it made perfect sense in a way.  Most of them started reproducing on their own within thirty or so hours.


Stepping back into the hot light of Solas, Max gave the uneducated guess that the atmosphere would be sufficiently oxygenated within a year.


A pang of irritation and disgust had Max looking to the horizon, wondering how far away from this nonsense he could get.  Could he survive out there without the shelter of the hub?  He could bring seeds with him, and . . . and get bit by something poisonous, or die of consumption, or whatever it was that would have him on his knees, begging for a quicker death.  Not to mention those saiga-things were out there still.  He wasn't certain he wanted to become a hermit with them on the loose.


Turning, Max walked up the corner of the hub, finding a good spot to survey the surrounding while not being immediately noticeable, before sitting down to read.  He looked at the pages and realized he didn't want to read, so he sighed and laid back.


He didn't look up when what felt like an hour later he heard susurrations of bare feet navigating the roof of the hub.  "You lied to me," he said, when Daisy sat down beside him.  "You said you weren't in a relationship with him."


She glanced at him, folding her hands in her lap.  "I was before I left," she said calmly.  "We didn't- I wasn't happy with him when I left, I was very angry with him for my own reasons, and when I saw him again, I was confused and angry, and maybe something else, and it took me a long time to get over it.  When I told you that, I wasn't, and I didn't even want to think about it."


"What about me?"  Max asked, and felt her hand move to rest in his upper arm.




"You weren't in a relationship then-"


"I didn't want to be either," she said, understanding.  "I like you, but the whole thing is a mess.  I would probably still be without if I didn't have a history with Adrian."  She leaned down and kissed his brow.  When she pulled away, Max looked up at the grey sky.


"You read my file, right?  Would any of that . . ."  He trailed off and cleared his throat.


"No," she told him, laying down beside him, her fingers entwining with his, and he felt a warmth slid up his arm, not really feeling good at the sudden truth that he was her second choice.  "Out of all the supras, I like you best," she told him, and that was more complimentary.  "Egotist," she teased, and he leaned to the side so that their heads would touch.


He thought about Niemand and sighed as she picked up the knot of their fingers and looked at it.  From her, he felt a sense of safety at the thought of the hub, of the community in it.


"How safe can it be when it feels like they want us dead?"  Max asked her.  "They hate us, and we're supposed to just live with it, that and the knowledge that they'd be screwed without us.  I mean, what are they contributing?"  He suddenly saw the split disappearing, and there was nothing left but them as a larger whole.  He looked at her, and she began to reclaim her hand, and he squeezed her fingers.  "Why not?"  He asked her, referring to the image she was thinking of.  Against her wishes, a face came to him, and he snorted falling back on the polysilien.  "Great guy," he told her.




"If he cares so much, then how come he's scrabbling for a new serum rather then telling them to shut up and put up?"  Max demanded, and she reclaimed her hand, crossing her arms.


"It's more complicated than that," she said, and he rolled on his side, arching a brow at her.


"He said that, didn't he?"  He asked, pressing a fingertip into the soft part of her upper arm, feeling her annoyance and the fact that he hit the nail on the head.  "He's weak."


She smacked his hand away.  "I've been taken off the project, I have no say in what happens, and Charlie doesn't want to end up like us," she said.  "They're supposed to benefit society, no force them into a situation that they don't want to go into."  Max rolled back so he was staring at the sky.  Daisy got up on her knees and looked down at him.  "He's trying to convince Evers to get them to let it go, but it's politics, it's going to go slow."


Max shrugged.  "Why are you trying to convince me?"  He asked disinterestedly.


Daisy leaned down a little so her face was above his.  "Because I see how you view him now, and it's not fair," she said quietly.  "He's a good man, just-"  Max gently encircled her forearm in his fingers.  Not one of us, was the end of her sentence, and he could see her misery, feel her loneliness, her desire to go back to the world as it should have been.  There was so much regret and pain over a momentary mistake.


A tear landed just below his eye, and he cupped her cheek, willing her to feel happier.  She took his wrist and pulled his hand away so she could lean down and press her lips to his.  It was chaste and simple.  Easy.  It felt like a first kiss, only without the nerves and clumsiness to accompany it.


She was already standing up before Max realized that the kiss broke.  Without a word, she made her way back down again, leaving Max alone under gathering clouds, a slightly bent book under his shoulder.

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