Septemus 65

A Very Long List


“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.


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!


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


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.


He seemed all right, only a little dazed.


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.”


Pops seemed really happy she was there.

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


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


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


“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?”


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.


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


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

“I am,” I replied, also inside.


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.


“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.


“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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Septemus 64

Only My Entire Life


Tonight, something happened I’ve only been waiting for my entire life.

We heard the singing. Octy ran out first. He looked up at the light.

Then, by the time Pops and I joined him, she beamed down. It was Xirra.


“Ah! Mommy! Hi!” said Octavius, and he marched inside. That simple! His meeting with his mom was that simple.

Pops seemed flustered and bashful. He looked like a shy kid as he hung back while Xirra introduced herself to me.


I felt with her the way I felt when I first met Whisper. I know her!

“Have we met?” I knew we had. I could feel it.


Pops went inside, leaving the two of us to find our ways through the years and back to this present moment.

“I saw you once,” she said, “when you were about the size that Octavius is now. But I think it isn’t me who you remember.”

A door opened into darkness, into fire, past screams and shrieks, and I fought my way through the crashing debris and blocked corridors and back, back, into a quiet nursery and the faintest songs of wind and meadow. I followed it back to the touch of Blue Roses.


“Think,” she said. “Feel. Let it come back to you, Baxin’ivre.”

With her voice, the fear melted, the grief softened.

And when she said my name, it all came back. She spoke in the voice of my bizaabgotojo.


“How is it that you sound like her?” I asked.

“Situ was my sister,” she said.



“That was her name! We were Xirra and Situ!”

Life and Spirit.

“She was a brave warrior, sure. But she was also funny! Oh, the things we used to do back in the camp! Once we put syu corn in the jisu! Oh! You should have seen their faces when they took a sip!”


We heard the singing from the ship again. I looked up and there was the big eye, hovering above the house.

“You don’t have to go already, do you? I just met you!” I felt panicked that she’d leave before I had a chance to get to know her, before I had a chance to ask my questions, to learn my fate.


She laughed. I will never tire of her laughter! It’s a sound that’s wrapped up with all my memories of my first experiences of happiness, of love.

“It’s not for me!” she said. “I’m on leave for a few days. If you’ll let me, I’ll stay. This ship came back for your father!”


We didn’t even watch as Pops got carried up by the beam of light.


We heard him call, “Watch after Octy until I come back!”


But we were too busy drinking in the sight of each other to raise our eyes to the sky.


My brother’s mom has come to visit, Whisper’s aunt, and the sister of the one who first taught me to love.

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Author’s note: This beautiful extra-terrestrial woman really is Octy’s mom! She’s Pollination Technician #3, and, thanks to a tip from RainyDayz, we used the Teleporter Mod to bring her for a visit. We love her!

Septemus 63


Dear Sept,

I’m sorry I can’t remember more about my trip with your people or about the night I met them at the pub. When I’m with them, every moment is full of… buzz. That’s the only word I know to describe it.

I know something’s coded in there, but I don’t know how to get it out. You say it’s data, but it’s data at a level that I just cannot process. I try. Believe me. But it’s like trying to distinguish words within deafening white noise.

I have the feeling they’ll stay in touch. I don’t know why they haven’t contacted you in any manner except telepathically.

I know Octavius wants his mom. I hear him ask about her. I can see how sad he looks when he’s missing her. How does he miss her when he’s never met her?

Do you think she’s singing to him?


You seem to know what to say when he asks, though. You never fail to cheer him up.


When I was on the ship, they gave me that package from her. That much, at least, I remember: “It is for Octavius, from Xirra. She sends her love.”

“From Mommy!” Octavius said when I handed it to him. We opened it together, and he took out a plush toy of a many-tentacled something.

Pahoto!” he said, cradling it.


He seemed to be listening.

“Mommy coming,” Octavius said.


I wasn’t sure what to say back. What if I say she isn’t, and she does? What if I say she is, and she doesn’t?

I watched him play with his toy, so full of happiness. So content.


When I bathed him before bed, he sang a song about a mommy duck, a daddy duck, a brother duck, and a baby duck.

Sept, I think your brother wants the whole family to be together.


Can’t say that I blame him. Must be nice to have a mom and a dad in the same house, both alive and well. Must be nice to have a family that almost fits tradition. Well, at least we would be almost traditional, if three of us weren’t blue and the baby hadn’t popped out of the papa’s belly. But we’re almost traditional at heart, right, son? Or, in the case of you two-hearted family members, traditional at hearts.

So much love to you, son, and both your hearts,


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Author’s note: Octavius’s mom really did give him that plushy octopus toy! When Octy aged up to toddler, we received a notification from Pollination Technician #3, wishing him a happy birthday and saying she’d sent him something in the mail. This toy was what she sent!


Septemus 62



I was reading Octy a bedtime story when we heard them singing.

“Hear that, Octy?”

“Mommy song!”he said.

“Is your mom singing, too?”

“Think so,” he answered.

Oh, boy! Get ready, Pops! He was out working on the rocket, and I knew they were coming to pick him up!


I’m glad Pops likes spending time with our folks. Even if he never understands what they say, I think he gets it. He describes the feeling as a heaviness pressing down on his brain.

“That’s downloading,” I told him.

He said he understood that, but what he doesn’t know is how to make sense of what he’s downloaded, after he’s downloaded it.

“I can tell there’s information there,” he says,”But I just don’t know how to process it.”

Sometimes, I can help. I can pick up some of the bits and bytes from him and sort and sift them until suddenly, I know something that I didn’t know before.

I figure maybe our folks want to give him more practice. Either that, or they just really like spending time with him.


I glanced out the window to see the ship take off.  How I love that big eye looking down on us!

Octy had already fallen asleep.  I watched the ship rise. It’s funny–I’ve never even wondered why they don’t take me. I guess–when they come, it feels natural. It always feels right. If they wanted me, they’d pick me up. But they want Pops. So up he goes!


I hope he remembers something of what they tell him. He always asks me, “What do you think they said?” But how am I to know?

While Octy slept, and I waited for Pops to return, I sang to all my brothers and sisters–it feels so good to be doing that again:

The big eye came
and took my pops.

That’s OK,
he likes space-hops!

If your ma goes, or your dad
Just be happy
At all the fun
that’ll be had!


He was gone half the night. I waited up. I didn’t know how he’d be feeling when he returned. Maybe we’d have another little sibling, though I sort of hoped not–at least not this time. Octy is still very young, and Pops doesn’t yet seem completely recovered from the whole having-a-baby thing.

I hoped they were telling him more about the rebellion so that he’d be able to clue me in as to what I’m supposed to do. I’m feeling too old to just be going to school, singing silly songs to the pagotogo. I should be doing something!

I keep waiting for orders, and every time Pops has contact with them, I think he’ll be able to let me know what they are.

Or maybe, he’d need to talk. He always seems mildly confused when he returns.

Whatever it would be, I wanted to be awake when he got back, just in case I could help.


He came home happy, but he went right to bed.

“Not now, son,” he said. “Everything’s OK. I’m not pregnant. But I really just need to sleep, OK?”

I understand. He had a lot to process, and sleep’s the best way to do that.

“Sleep well, Pops,” I said. “Do your best to figure it out, OK? Maybe there’s a message for me? Or for Octy?”

He nodded and tumbled into bed. He was asleep immediately. I kept checking on him, making sure he was all right. He slept soundly, and he seemed comfortable enough.

The munchkin was up before Pops was, so I got him a snack and sat with him.

“Mommy?” he asked. “Where’s Mommy?”


I felt a dark lonely wind swirling deep within him.

“Did you think Mommy was coming?”

“She here. Where?”

I tuned into him, and I could feel a tendril of love. No words were attached. The only data was love. The wind died down. He breathed deeply.

“It’ll be OK,” I didn’t know what else to say.

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