Chapter 8 – Rose’s Fate

Rose and Nori

Rose smiles at Nori. He puts his hand on her round belly.
—It’s a girl, she says.
—Really? We’re having a daughter?
—Yes, Nori. That’s a hundred percent sure. I asked for an analysis. I wanted to know finally.
—I can’t wait to see her.
—You’ll have to, though, answers Rose laughing.

—We have no name for her, and she’s supposed to come in two months. I’ve been living on Earth for two years now and I’m still not familiar with your names.
—Don’t worry. We’ll find this name together.

Rose and Amelia
—Mom, tell me why dad wanted to be human. It killed him…
—We already discussed this. He wanted to age with me, and have a chance for us to have a child together. If he hadn’t done this, you wouldn’t exist.
—I’m only twenty-five and I don’t have a father anymore.
—He loved you so much. Your father already lived a long life before becoming human. He was actually closer to two hundred years old than the official sixty-five. You know this.
—Why didn’t you choose to become a Frigellyan instead?
—I told you many times; I couldn’t have become a Frigellyan and still lived on Earth. I would have had to live on Frigellya. My friends and family, all those people I love and who have no idea of the universe as we both know it, they would have grieved if I had disappeared. Nori had almost no family on Frigellya anymore, and unlike my friends, all his could be told of his choice. He lived in a Delta world. That’s the difference. You wouldn’t have ever known your grandparents if we had lived on Frigellya. Nori’s parents were already dead…
Rose looks at her daughter’s round belly.
—Mom… I miss him so much.
—I miss him too, Melly.
Amelia smiles at this nickname her father chose for her.
—For everybody else on Earth, I’m Amy.
—Your father was not comfortable with human names. This one came naturally. You’ll be our Melly forever.
Rose and her daughter hug.
—Mom, I’ve got to go. Hayden is waiting for me.
—Give him my love.
—Sure. Bye, mom.

Pine Heights
Rose is alone on a bank, looking up at the stars. She feels so lonely. She is lost in her thoughts when someone comes and sits beside her.
—Hello, Rose.
Rose stares at the man smiling at her.
Without waiting for any answer, she hugs him warmly.
—I thought I would never see you again.
Then putting a hand on his cheek, she adds:
—You’ve aged, like me.
—I’m 45.
—Yeah, still a little younger than me. What are you doing here?
—I come regularly since your husband died. I secretly hoped you’ll come too one day.
—You know I had a husband…
—And a daughter. I’ve kept an eye on you, Rose, during all these years.
—What do you mean?
—I wanted only one thing: your happiness. You seemed to be happy with this guy.
—I was.
—I never forgot you, Rose Taylor. My son knows how to make the best chocolate cookies in the universe.
—You’ve got a son?
—Yeah. When I learned of it, he was already ten. I… I met a woman, a former almost-human, like me, just after I’d been transformed. I was so young, and…
—You don’t need to justify yourself, Ben, interrupts Rose, smiling at him.
She hushes for a while and then goes on:
—When you disappeared after your faked death, I used to come here regularly. I brought some friends with me, and showed them the stars you taught me. I was so afraid to forget anything. My daughter knows as much as I do today. Her father was the one who brought her here. And I was the one who showed everything to her father.
Benedict smiles.
—I’ve still got your paper dragon, stored in a box only I can open—Sylvester’s gift.
—He’s a great guy.
—I know… David gave me some news about you. What you did for your kind with him and Beth is amazing…
—I had a very full life as an almost-human seeker. I really dedicated my life to gathering my people, until I met my son. He changed my way of seeing things. He’s an adult now. And he’s dating. I have to let him go. I… I feel an emptiness…
—I feel the same. My daughter will give birth in about 4 months…
—I have something to confess to you…. When I was transformed, the first feelings I had were for you. I think all the time we spent together building our memories awoke something in me. Paul said I would recognize desire if I felt it even as an almost-human. I was not sure, but I loved being with you more and more.
—Why didn’t you tell me anything?
—I was about to go away. I wanted to help my people. This was very important to me. And when I realized I missed you so much, you were already dating Nori. I couldn’t have given you the life he had. I would not have been there most of the time. Nori was the right person for you. He made you happy.
—But you weren’t…
—I was busy. Very busy. I have no regrets, trust me.
—And now?
—What do you plan to do?
—Take a break…
—I want you to come back…
—Are you sure?
As an answer, Rose puts her head on Benedict’s shoulder. After some hesitation he wraps his arm around her waist.
—Ben, never die again, she whispers.
—I’m not in a hurry, he answers, smiling at the memory of that day. Rose you’re shivering…
—I’m cold.
—You’d better go back to your place.
—Don’t you want to come with me?
—Oh, Rose, I would love to. But not today. Not now. You’re in mourning. I don’t want to…
Rose interrupts him with a kiss.
—I’ve desired this for so long, she whispers. I never forgot you.
—Rose, I thought you were happy with…
—Don’t misunderstand. I had a wonderful life with a loving husband. But when you were almost-human, I didn’t dare kiss you. You wouldn’t have sensed anything. It was so frustrating. Anyway, I just finally scratched an old itch, she answers, blushing a bit. I’m happy we met today. Come to my place, we have so much to tell each other, don’t you think?
—You’re right.
She begins to walk, but Benedict stays motionless. She turns around.
—What are you waiting for?
While saying these words, she goes back to him. He stares at her intensely.
—Before you take me to your place, there is something you need to know.
Rose looks at him and waits for him to say something. He kisses her and whispers:
—Rose Taylor, I love you.

Beth and David’s bedroom
Beth and the Major both sit up suddenly in their bed.
—I think we… er, I did it again, says Beth. I have the travel inhibitor, though, she adds, showing a kind of watch around her wrist to the Major.
—You had a dream?
—I traveled in time. I’m sure. I saw Rose’s life. I was so anxious about her. Her story with Benedict. And her life with Nori…
—I dreamed of Rose, too. She had a daughter named…
—Nori died when Rose was around…
—Benedict has always…
—Loved her.
—And they…
—Same dream.
—Not dream, David. Believe me.
—How is this possible?
—We kind of duet traveled, I guess. You most probably followed me.
—I was anxious about you. You feel stuck in your body. And there are still many months to go.
—David, it will be ok.
—Oh, Beth, you look so frustrated. And you were not supposed to travel anymore with this watch around your wrist.
—Maybe it broke down…
—It’s Frigellyan technology, it doesn’t break down like this…
—We’ll ask our friends. They’ll tell us if there is something wrong with it.

Beth, David and Reymo on Frigellya
—You say you mind-traveled despite the inhibitor?
—Yes, I’m sure.
—And I followed her.
—You traveled without taking a pill?
—We’ve got the same Frigellyan genes…
—I know, David, but neither of you is a real Frigellyan. You’re something else. This device is a very old one, from the time Frigellyans decided to stop mind traveling. It’s adapted to our kind. As it worked on you before, I thought it was enough. But obviously, it isn’t. It seems that your mind is stronger and can overcome the inhibitor. This device needs an upgrade…
—Do you think it can be done? asks Beth anxiously.
—I’ve someone in mind who loves to play with these old things… He’s a real genius when it comes to figuring out how things work… Even if it’s the first time he’s seen this technology, he’ll quickly figure out all the mechanisms involved.
—Oh, so you’ve got a Sylvester here too, jokes Beth.
Reymo smiles.
—I can contact him. We’ll meet in the shelter. Go there first. We’ll join you.
When Beth and the Major materialize in the shelter, a big surprise awaits them.
—Yes, Beth, it’s me. I cheated a little bit with the time coordinates Reymo gave me. I wanted to see your face. Oh, it’s priceless.
—You’re not supposed to be here…
—I know. But as long as nobody at the Edge of Time is aware of this … 25th-century Earth is so boring. Since I left here after the trial, I regularly come to tinker with more advanced devices…
Reymo materializes in his turn.
—Oh, you’re already here.
—Yes, I couldn’t wait…
—Well, we’re four to know now.
—You, Mira and the two of us …, enumerates Beth.
—Exactly, confirms Reymo.
—So, what’s the matter?
—An adaptation is needed for the travel inhibitor. David and I, we wandered last night. Well, our minds did.
—Both of you?
—Oh … unexpected…
—I’m more and more human, says the Major.
—David, I know it’s what the revelator says. But you’ll always be a Dalygaran. You’re capable of humanity, that’s true. But even if you feel more emotions, since I’ve known you, you don’t let them drive you like humans do. You were only lost at the beginning. There is something else…
—Is there something else? asks Beth turning to her husband.
The Major raises his eyebrows like he usually does when he is surprised or embarrassed. It seems to Beth he is both.
—Well, you don’t really need me here, announces Reymo. I’ll go.
—You can stay, says the Major.
—I’m sorry, my friends, but I’m in trouble with Mira these days. We … argue, and…
—We understand, says Beth. We’ll see you before going back home.
Reymo nods and dematerializes.
—So Major Moon Crystal, tell me, what’s happening to you?
The Major does not answer, He seems to be looking for his words.
—Oh, something very personal, I guess, says Sylvester. I can go…
—No, no, interrupts the Major. Maybe you’ll have the solution to my problem. It’s a Dalygaran thing that I’m missing, especially during Beth’s pregnancy.
—Oh? wonders Beth.
—It’s the p … It’s the purring…
—Yes, Beth. Dalygaran men are involved in their partner’s delivery by building a close relationship that involves purring. When a Dalygaran woman gives birth, the Dalygaran man is just behind her, embracing her. He supports his partner with his purring, and it facilitates the delivery. During the entire pregnancy, the Daligaran man and woman regularly repeat this moment together, so that the relationship becomes so strong that the woman does not suffer the day the baby comes. And we can’t purr. Sylvester, could you solve this?
—Hey, I’m the right man. I’ll work on it.
—David, you never told me…
—I thought we have to do it like Earthlings. But you and I are not ordinary Earthlings. Would you like to try the Dalygaran way of delivery?
—Oh, David, I would love it. You know I miss purring too.
—I’ll be happy to help you on such a subject. Well, I have work to do. You’ll have to come for some tests. I’ll call you. It’ll take only a few minutes each time. They won’t notice anything on Earth. Did one of you bring the inhibitor?
—Yes, here it is, says Beth, holding the device out to Sylvester. See you later. We’ll go to the castle to see Reymo before coming back.
—See you later.

As they materialize in the Castle, they go directly to meet Reymo.
—I didn’t find her, he says to them. Mira, she’s disappeared.


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