Thank you for babysitting Octy last night. I figure it was important that I went to the pub since I was invited, though I think you might have enjoyed it more than me.
You’d think, having lived 15 years with you, that I’d be relaxed around extraterrestrials. But I think I have some residue trauma. My time with Xirra was so peaceful, and my body has recovered from the birth, but being around so many extraterrestrials in a small, enclosed space, my cells felt nervous and jumpy and my scar itched. Does that make sense?
I also couldn’t tell who was extraterrestrial and who wasn’t. They all seemed to be listening to songs I couldn’t hear.
It was the same as when you’re listening and singing. Only amplify that by twelve.
Finally I decided to calm down. Take it easy. I told my body to relax. Five breaths helped. Everyone seemed happy. They kept talking with each other in that silent way. I couldn’t tune into their words. But eventually, I picked up on their feelings. They were happy. They were excited. They felt… proud. And these feelings were directed towards me. Son, they were proud of me.
Eventually, one of them beckoned me to join him.
“Do you need me to speak out loud?” he asked, in clear, if echoing, words.
“That would probably be useful,” I said. “My inside-talk is not that great, and my Vingihoplo is even worse!”
“I am a linguist,” he said. “I am fluent in many, many languages, including yours. At least you don’t speak Pu!’Re, eh? Have you heard that tongue?”
He began clicking, whistling, and grunting.
But he hadn’t come to speak foreign languages with me.
They’d all come together, as a delegation, to meet me.
“You are the one who has cared for Baxin’ivre,” he said. “You know, he and his brother Pabatuotuo are very important to us. We came to thank you.”
I think that my mind must have been affected by being surrounded by all their inside-talk, son, because it didn’t even occur to me ask questions. Who is Pabatuotuo? Why are you and your brother important? What does this even mean?
They began to sing, son. They sang inside, and I heard their song. Do you think that songs can carry pictures, feelings, memories? I saw fields, grass moving in the wind. If freedom has a picture, that is it. Son, I do not know why whenever I am with your people I cannot remember things in an organized, rational way. There is too much data, and I cannot process it. All I remember are the feelings, the images. Somehow, this means something.
Freedom, Septemus. These are freedom warriors. They are the ones who fight the good fight with love. And you, son. You and your brother, this Pabatuotuo, you are part of the fight.
I hesitate to share this with you. I want to keep you here, safe with me and Octavius always, but if it’s your destiny, son. I am not one to get in the way of destiny.
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