Septemus 69

Discovering My Source

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“Baxin’ivre is your source,” Xirra told me the next time we sat together.

“And Pabatuotuo?”

“Came from Baxini’vre’s brother, Batuotuo.”

The Kfvico’kyastorr created me, she told me, but the rebels created Pabatuotuo.

“When we found out they were keeping Batuotuo’s tissue sample, we knew we had to get it. Situ’s man is amazing–he could get into anywhere, and recover anything. He brought Batuotuo’s sample back to us, and we created him.”

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“What for?” I asked. “I know–or at least I think I do–why I was created by the Kfvico’kyastorr. But why Pabatuotuo? What purpose did you have for him?”

She looked at Octavius. “We wanted you to have a brother,” she said.

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“I the brother,” said Octy.

“Indeed you are!” she said. Then she looked back at me. “We also wanted your brother to have you.”

She told me that Situ had been a rebel plant in the Kfvico’kyastorr lab. Once they’d found out about the acquisition of Baxin’ivre’s sample and the plans to clone him for harvesting, the rebels knew they had to prevent this.

Situ had training as a bizaapgotojo, and she and Xirra came from an influential, privileged family, who had kept their liberal leanings to themselves. It was easy for Situ to get the job.

They thought they’d have more time. The original plan was to carefully orchestrate the escape and then to reunite Pabatuotuo and me on the rebel base on Doxnivre. But it went wrong. They had to rush when Situ learned that my scheduled harvest date was just a few months out.

It feels so odd to write this. I use euphemisms because the truth is harsh: “Harvest” means murder. I was created so that my brain would be surgically removed and planted into the skull of the Premier’s daughter. He wanted an intelligent daughter. These eyes were to go to the highest bidder. Those whom the Premier owed favors were to get these hearts, livers, and lungs.

I know why I shudder. The fate I escaped lingers like a shadow you see even after your eyes are closed.

“We wanted you and Pabatuotuo to play in the meadows, like you did a thousand years ago, when your originals were but boys,” she said. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “That’s why he was on the ship with you. If we had to abandon our careful plans and rush the escape, we wanted him to come, too. And Whisper. Situ needed her daughter with her. We were all to join you at Haven. Shésti and I manned the escort ship. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.”

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We sat quietly.

The Freezer Bunny movie repeated for the tenth time. Xirra wept softly while the harmonium played.

“Don’t cry, Mommy,” Octy said. “Sept good brother! Mommy good mommy. Everybody happy, Mommy.”

I’m really going to have to teach my brother about verbs.

Xirra heard me think that and she started laughing.

“Don’t worry!” she said, inside. “Teach him Vingihoplo! No verb ‘to be!'”

We both cracked up.

“See?” said Octy. “Freezer Bunny IS very good bunny!”

“And no articles!” Xirra said inside, and we laughed some more.

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Octy toddled off, repeating, “The, a, an, the, a, an–the bunny, a bunny, an bunny.”

Xirra told me she’d had her seasons of grief. “Years and more!” she said. “Really, I keep thinking I’m healed.”

“I am not so sure that such a thing requires healing,” I said. “It isn’t a wound–it’s a part of us. My life, and my brother’s, will always be entwined with Situ and the crash. That is part of the fabric of who we are.”

I pulled out my list. “Remember when you asked me to write down all-the-good-things?” I asked.

Of course she did.

I started reading:

Grilled cheese.

Blue skies and white clouds.

One silver moon.

One golden sun.

Smiles that light up from the inside and make eyes shine.

To know what it is we share, whether we are blue or purple or brown. 

To love, even if that love is not returned.

She handed me a book. “You aren’t the first one to make a list. You have list-making in your cells.”

I took her gift into the bedroom and began to read. It was Baxin’ivre’s Book of Lists, and the first list in the book was “Naa  Bairadekakir,” literally, “all big beautiful” which translates into “all-the-good-things.”

Byu jisu – sweet food

Ti kiya – one sun

Fi karika – seven moons

Tharistei shésti – purple wind

What is good, what is beautiful, now is the same as what was good, what was beautiful, then.

In bringing us answers, my Xirra brought us joy.

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Septemus 65

A Very Long List

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“We’ll have plenty of time to talk,” Xirra said. “Let’s take it slow.”

Somehow, though I felt I’d been waiting my whole life to talk with her, I trusted her. I could feel my body vibrating at a very high frequency–too much more input, and I wouldn’t be able to process it.

We went inside so that she could become acquainted with her son, my mopagoto.

Octavius watched his mom dance, with a big grin.

Then he started dancing, singing inside the whole time.

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Mommy!
Momo here!

Mommy come!
Momo here!

Xirra sang with him, saying “Mogoto here! Octy here!” And I joined in, singing “We’re family. We’re kin,” in three-part harmony.

Not since the pool party have I been with so many who can talk-inside. It felt natural, like this is the form of communication I am made for. Inside, we can sing things it might be hard to talk about, outside. Inside, we don’t mind if we get happy-squishy!

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Octavius showed Xirra around the house. She seemed to approve of everything, especially Dino.

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We were still awake when we heard the singing that signaled the return of the ship. I went outside to make sure Pops was fine.

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He seemed all right, only a little dazed.

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He went straight to bed. I followed him.

“She wants to stay,” I told him. “That’s OK, right?” It was. “Where will she sleep?” I asked. He shook his head and crawled into bed.

I guessed we’d figure it out.

But she didn’t sleep that night. She stayed up all night, and when I woke before dawn for my morning run, she was finishing cleaning the house.

“You’re the guest!” I said. “You don’t have to!”

“I’m family,” she replied. “I do.”

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Pops seemed really happy she was there.

“It’s been a long time, Xirra,” he said.

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“Only if you measure time in units!” she replied. “If you measure in waves, it was now!”

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Pops didn’t get it, but Xirra and I found her answer hysterical.

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“I like having someone here with my sense of humor,” I said, only not aloud.

“I like dancing!” said Octy, also not aloud.

“Your quiche smells delicious!” said Xirra, very much out loud. “Have you got any more?”

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Xirra loves to eat. A few hours later, after she’d finished the quiche, she joined me at the table where I was writing. She brought a big bowl of fruit salad.

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“I wish we had sweet peaches and mangos at home,” she said with her mouth full. “So juicy!”

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“Are you ready to talk?” she said inside.

“I am,” I replied, also inside.

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She told me she wouldn’t reveal everything at once. There was too much that I had to know. And some of it was too painful.

We wouldn’t start with the painful stuff.

We would start–and we would end–with happiness.

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“We are very proud of you,” she said.

She told me they were proud of all of us. They hadn’t yet found all toui, but they had found enough to know that, while what had happened was never the plan, it had been for good.

“You have a role to play, each of you,” she said inside. “You would never have been able to assume your part if you hadn’t ended up here. It’s something bigger than us, but it’s also something that depends, very much, on each of us, individually.”

She told me to take a moment to list all the things I have gained by living with Pops, all the benefits, strengths, skills, and attributes I’d be missing if I hadn’t grown up right here.

“It’s going to be a very long list,” I told her inside.

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“That’s all right,” she said. “I’ve got a little boy who could use some Mommy-time.”

And she joined Octavius on the loveseat, where they watched a Freezer Bunny movie together while I got started on my very long list.

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