Thursday, April 14, 2011


In the darkness the room still felt enormous, but Alex found it much more tolerable with Carbon there. She rolled over and nestled her back against him, situated his arm over her waist and shifted her head around on the pillow. Her antenna landed on top of his head with a muted thump and they shifted down into the shared existence.

This is nice, Alex. Carbon’s mind felt smooth and hard, still prepared to deal with stresses beyond her control. There were little chips and cracks, though they seemed to be dissipating.

It is. We should do this more often. The Alex part warmed with mirth and cozied up to her.

Carbon began to shift, still smooth but less rigid as she relaxed. I would find that desirable. I have been thinking about our relationship, Alex.

He wasn’t sure what to make of that. He assumed it wasn’t bad, but he lacked the skill to successfully hide the burst of anxiety that it caused. Go on.

I wish to continue with this, but I fear you will be ostracised by your race if anyone finds out. Carbon tried to ease his fears and radiated a calm presence.

It actually worked very well, settling Alex down as he thought about his reply. I don’t know if ostracised is the right word. It’s new territory, I’ve never heard of anyone else having a relationship like ours. There have been a few instances in human history where parallels could be drawn.

Curiosity. How did those turn out?

In the long run or short term?

Followed immediately by disappointment. Oh. I had hoped that your race would be more accepting, you seem to deal with change well.

Really? Us? It takes decades before you see any social norms change... Two generations, minimum.

Carbon was quiet, ruminating and growing discouraged. I had hoped that there might be some refuge for us with one of our races.

The Tslao will not be accepting of this either, I take?

She gave a sort of short, sharp laugh, sarcastic and pained. No. We are very insular, Alex. We do not like change, I fear the reaction would likely be worse from my people.

You don’t seem to mind change.

Carbon shifted, softer but still pessimistic. I am an individual with an unusual upbringing. When I was a child, we were taught that humans were dangerous and unpredictable, like wild animals among the stars. Had I not seen them, interacted with them myself... I would have believed it.

No wonder we’ve always had cool political relations.

A pulse of agreement. Before the disaster, the number of my people who have met humans did not even number into the hundreds. Many were terrified at how quickly you expanded your borders.

Wow. Okay... Alex sat, silent and contemplative. I don’t think we will be entirely alone here. My mother already likes you quite a bit.

Carbon was very surprised at that. She does? I thought I had been rude the first time you passed a message from her to me?

Yeah, you snapped at me good for that and I, uh... I just started making up replies for you. Nothing crazy, I just didn’t want her to think you were mean.

Embarrassment and a curious type of admiration marbled her presence. Thank you for protecting my honor when I had done nothing to deserve it.

I figured you were having a hard time, just wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Alex warmed, unaware that he had been doing her a favor at the time. What about your father? Would he accept us?

Her answer came so quickly, Alex was sure she must have already been thinking about it. I do not think he would react well.

Oh. Your aunt?

Fear spiked in her, cold and crisp. No! No. She would never.

That was surprising. Okay. Well... At least we have my family.

Is that enough?

It’s a start.

Carbon thought on that awhile, bemused. It will have to do. I still think we should do our best to keep our relationship hidden, until we have better gauged reactions to it.

I agree. Are you going to keep coming over?

The answer was coy and practically laden with anticipation. No.


You are not the only one with a room, Alex.

He gave her that. I don’t know where yours is.

It is the next one down the hall.

So should we trade off nightly?

We will decide what to do when the time comes.

Alex did the closest thing he could do to grinning. So every other night?

That sounds fine. The Carbon part was amused by that, but quieted and became serious a moment later. Will you do something for me, Alex?

Sure, name it.

It has been a long week, will you show me a memory? An exciting one?


  1. Aww, :). I've got to admit, I'm going to miss these two when the story eventually finishes. Maybe you could do a whole series of books. As usual, wonderful work.

  2. Hah, yeah... I think I'm going to miss them too.

    Though, you know, I have been putting a lot of work into the history of this universe...