Posted By: Mr Bill Jr V<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 1 May 2004, 9:36 PM
One name is both a single of two: a limitation and an expression. There is truth in that, if the matter is given some thought. There will be no more lies or deceit in our stories, for they being one, are mere failings. Question that: a lie as a failing- true? Consider a proposal and wonder on it, if for only a moment, if love means contending of the heart, then what death? What life? Physically, simple controls, bound by time and muscle. So what is death to a concept or idea which can know not an end? Now, give your name to an immortal concept, say, a star or planet. In that are you lesser for your name? Venus, her beauty, tainted by her own name upon a foreign world? Well, surely she is an immortal in a duel sense, yet caught as a restraint; bound to an earth. She, one whom lives amongst the farthest sphere lives still in our own sphere- as petty as it may be. Thus, should we offer forgiveness for restraining her so? Consider... never mind.
No more questions.
"I think they'll have our heads," replied the first man, a lower ranking officer but of moderate importance to the proceedings nevertheless. His cropped hair fell in a single vain, giving him a simple indifferent air. His face discerned far less emotion. Rather it was his military cap, naval issue, worn at a slant across his brow that surmised his character. The man with the cap.
Across from him, in endless ranks sat dozens of men, all irrelevant. This as well continued away to his opposing side, more of the same. Not a one of them was of any importance or relevance in the long run- just drones sent to fill tables, as only bureaucrats do best. At any rate, the meeting continued in its pointless goal until dismissal, time havening been easily forgotten and misused as the proceedings carried forth. The man with the cap was not the first to stand, but he quickly found himself milling about outside the conference room, still accompanied and surrounded by the lifeless corpses of the meeting's occupants. The meetings always lacked effort, or so it felt to one who'd seen them come and go, year in and day out.
Finally someone came by, tapping the man with the cap on his shoulder, and speaking in hushed tones. "Michael," she began, "how are you?"
Michael C. Burwell, United Nations Naval Commissar, starship Gettysburg, smiled warmly. "Good to see you again, Kate."
The two stood face to face, eyes matched in height.
"Can we talk?" asked the women.
Michael looked around for a moment, through the shaded suits of naval personal. "Yah," he started, then chewed at his lip in thought. "This you're first time in Singapore?"
Kate nodded, and absently ran her fingers through her short hair. Michael grinned in recollection.
"We'll get some noodles or something- the beer here isn't to bad."
The two made their ways towards the building's exit, Michael stopping only every moment or two the shake hands with another naval officer. He was about halfway out the large double doors and onto the night sidewalk, when he heard the voice of another friend behind him.
"Mike!" shouted Commander Nigel Lewis, running to catch the two before they left, "may I enquire where you're going this lovely evening?"
"Kate, meet Nigel- old friend," Michael paused as the two shared a glance and shook hands.
"Nigel Lewis, glad to meet you," responded the naval officer, grasping Kate's outstretched hand in a double hand shake.
"Kathleen Bing, and you can call me Kate."
"Glad to hear it," responded Nigel, his expression glowing. "So," he began, hands in his pockets, "where're we going?"
One of waiters kept trying to bring peanuts, and no matter how many times they told him off, he just came back- usually with more. Kate was on her fourth beer, and it was showing.
"It's hot out," Nigel started, rubbing his chin, "it always this hot here?"
Michael nodded, then paused to finish his third beer of the evening. "Tropical climate, Nigel. What'd you expect?"
"To be honest, I wasn't planning on coming anyway- but as I'm sure Kathleen will tell you, things are just getting to weird right now."
Michael raised his eyebrows in mock surprise. "That so?" he turned to Kate. "Tell me what?"
"Office of Naval Intelligence," responded Kate, slowly reading the name tag off the lapel of her suit.
"Hunh, well I hadn't seen that coming."
Kate blinked, eyes focusing on Michael for a moment. "That's what I was going to tell you, Mike..."
She trailed off as the waiter returned, a full bowl of peanuts in his hand. He was quickly sent off.
"Well what was it, Kate?" enquired Michael, his curiosity peaked.
"We need to get off Earth." She stopped, looking down into the empty bottom of her drained glass.
Nigel nodded, leaning forward onto the table. "When was the last time you were on the Gettysburg?"
Michael felt like he was being grilled, but felt inclined to indulge those around him nonetheless. "They sent me here, hmm," he turned to Kate, about to ask her a question, but seeing her gaze- still leveled on the empty beer glass- he changed his mind. "About a week before Reach. What was that? August twentieth?"
"Sounds about right," replied Nigel, counting back the days in his head. He looked briefly at his watch, then back at Michael.
"Fifteenth today? Hell, forget day, what time is it?"
Michael smiled, Nigel had always been the best at adapting to jet-lag. He simply never went to sleep. Nigel grinned.
"Anyway," he continued, "hard to imagine what can happen in a few weeks, isn't it."
"Kate, you still with us?"
The ONI officer mumbled something unintelligible, her head collapsed into her folded arms.
The two men smiled.
"I'm with her, Mike," started Nigel, "time to get some damned sleep."
Kate raised her head, and reached a hand towards Nigel.
"Good meeting you, Mr. Lewis," she spoke quietly.
"As you," responded Nigel, bowing courteously.
"You know my number?" asked Michael, still sitting.
"Yah- I'll call you tomorrow."
"It was good seeing you, Mike."
"You too, Nigel."
The naval commander paused only for a moment, to drop some coins onto their table. He nodded and left.
It was something he'd seen a thousand times before, but this time it seemed somehow different. In micro-gravity, yes, but still different.
Light glitter and reflection, turquoise blue blended white with air and vapor, crashing down upon planes of bleached sand and pebbled beach. And it stretched on forever, solidity. And still, above, shattered time and ice vanished far beyond the limit of thought. Still though, glare and glitter it did in equal with separation below: Light flooded through ink is still light, even when swallowed whole. An airy expanse it could be called, and then meaning would join both emptied heaven and teaming surface. One of a same birth; both placed just so, and left suspended amongst and around themselves. Oh, call it a blanket- call it envelopment- but such words fail justice.
No, it is rather a union of two fixtures; two perfect concepts of place. Spirals of air cleft and twist free, as one expects the weight of a thousand stars to fall oblong from sky. A fear not of a paradox, but of majestic harmony. So are they distinct- as one watches blue pearl sift through patched cloud, the same is seen backwards: endless time broached and embroidered with rivets of eyes; and of course a more desirable collection of deities, who's presence weighs not against terra but for her. How in wonder it is to stand still and indifferent against solid land, while all around and endlessly above the god's slow movements are eclipsed in light and shadow- knowing that in ignorance they all hinge on the ground's existence. Yes, given such reason it is not a belief of inequality, but an attempt at mimic- only in contrasted tones. Perfect stars for land, endless black for rolling oceans...
He'd looked upon Earth before- but knowing now what would unfold, as the darkness came to destroy her, she felt far more precious to him. Knowing the truth was such a curse. They'd be here soon.
Michael closed his eyes, thinking of the times before- of his life until now. In happiness one could always live, until one became aware of their own fate. That was the bitter sadness of it, as Michael saw it: knowing his demise before experiencing it. The shuttle rocked gently, its engines firing. The light filtering in through his window shadowed out and died, cast over by the bulk of a United Nations Star Command ship. That designation was a paradox of the worst order now, and the commissar knew it. Well, he'd wanted a commission, and they'd been kind enough to give him one, so his fate had been decided at least in part by himself.
Far below, Earth glowed through refracted sunlight. Great cities and billions of lights...