Septemus 76

Spoiler Alert: This chapter contains spoilers for AllySimBuild’s Alienated and Ny’s Whisper.  Before reading this chapter, I suggest catching up on those two stories first, in particular, this chapter from Alienated, “Jogging Isn’t An Escape.”

Roots and Sprouts

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This afternoon, our home was filled with family: Octy’s mother, Xirra; her niece, Whisper; my genetic brother, Emmanuel; his genetic great, great, and etc. granddaughter, Shésti; and Pops and Octy. My sprouts and my roots.

Whisper and Batuotuo just left. Xirra and Shésti left a few hours ago. Octy is sleeping, and Pops is lying on his bed with his eyes open. Being around Xirra and  Shésti tends to do him in–all that emotional input.

I know how he feels.

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I’ll be processing this for days, weeks, months. Maybe all my life. It was… amazing. My family. I am left with snippets and scenes and the tired feeling of too much happiness to contain in a moment.

When Whisper and Batuotuo arrived, I could feel their anticipation.

I have people for you to meet, I said to them both, inside. Family.

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My voice choked when I went to introduce Xirra to Whisper.

“Have you ever felt that you’ve walked into an echo?” Xirra laughed. “That’s how I feel! Genes are incomparable data-storage devices!”

“It’s great to finally meet you. Unless you knew me as a baby,” Whisper said through a smile. “In which case, it’s nice to meet you again.”

“Of course I knew you as a baby, silly!” Xirra said. “I was Situ’s doula, like any good sister. I watched you emerge!”

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I wasn’t sure how to tell Emmanuel about Shésti, so I just blurted it out the first opportunity I had.

“Another guest is here. Another of my pops’… what-do-you-call-it. Another one of those… She’s… well, she’s related to your sko, your original. She’s like a great, great, times-a-hundred, granddaughter. Or, something. This is weird. I know. Anyway, she’s here.”

“Related to Batuotuo? Legitimately a derivative?”

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I explained, as best I could, that Batuotuo was her lineage.

“She’s eager to meet you.” That was putting it mildly. She was like a groupie about to meet the lead guitarist. “Get ready,” I warned. “Shésti is a little intense.”

Emmanuel and Shésti talked for a long time. Xirra joined them, too.

When I went up to make sure everything was going OK (Shésti can be a bit much.), they were in the middle of one of those earnest conversations that Xirra, and my brother, too, for that matter, are so fond of.

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I left them to it.

Downstairs, Pops was getting acquainted with Whisper. I’ve discovered Pops’ Achilles’ heel. He has zero resistance to the charms of a beautiful woman. Shésti, Panda, and now Whisper–He’s completely overtaken.

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“I love all the cozy nooks you have in this house!”

“I’m glad you like it,” Pops said. “It’s called Pauper’s Style! We were so broke until Xirra helped us out that we never had funds for anything more than little couches, little corners! But I think it’s become our aesthetic.”

Octy got up from his nap.

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“People!” he said. “Hi, peoples! Hello.”

“Octy, this is your cousin,” I told him.

“Hi, Whisper,” he said. We had been talking about her for weeks.

“Hi, Octy!” She smiled warmly at him. “You’re a lovely indigo color.”

“I’m a grape,” he replied. “You’re berry pretty!”

Whisper giggled. “Why thank you! You’re a cute one, Octy. Berry cute.”

“Uh-uh. Grapey cute.”

When Emmanuel joined us downstairs, he had that brow-furrowed look. I suggested he join me for a walk along the river path.

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We walked in silence.

“What did you think of your great, great, great granddaughter?” I asked when we reached the plaza.

“Intense was an understatement. You could have better prepared me,” he said, grinning.

“She is beautiful, though,” I said. “She looks like you. Pops is quite smitten.”

I told him about the baby that wasn’t. “It was pfura,” I said. “It prevented the baby from coming to term. I would have liked to have had a genetic sibling that had come from my pops.”

Emmanuel nodded. “That’s an interesting idea, to have a sibling that genetically ties you to your dad.” He seemed lost in thought, but immediately resurfaced. “If he’s taken with her, will he not ask her to stay with him? If so, there is a possibility…”

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“Oh, heavens no!” I laughed. Clearly, my mogoto had not yet gotten to know Pops. “He and I are different that way,” I explained. “He has no need for a soul-mate and hardly even knows what to make of the champagne feelings inside of him!”

“In that case, is what I’ve suggested offensive? I apologize, if so. My intention was anything but!”

“Not at all, brother!” I laughed. His earnestness is endearing. “Do you have anyone you can talk to, mogoto?” I asked. He seems so inexperienced with the easy exchange of hearts and minds.

He shook his head. “Other than Mom, and recently Whisper, no. I do not have time. I’m studying as much as mentally possible. I have goals and dreams and plans!”

We took a selfie: “To Dreams and Plans!” we yelled.

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Octy pounced on Emmanuel the moment we got back home.

“Are you my brother?” he asked as Emmanuel lifted him up.

“Relatively,” he laughed. “And essentially so!”

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In a quiet moment before supper, Emmanuel joined me in the reading nook.

He sighed and began speaking softly. “I want to know, what do you do with the bubbles inside you? I find them intimidating. Immobilizing.”

“You mean the champagne feelings? Like what my pops feels around Shésti?”

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He nodded quickly.

“I look longingly at a beautiful man with hair that is pleading to be messed up, who would look absolutely adorable in a checkered apron, but who is, alas, both oblivious and entirely unavailable, and when it gets to be too much, I shout, ‘YOBASKA!’ at the top of my lungs, and then I go for a jog. So. Maybe Pops’ approach isn’t so bad after all! Do you have someone who makes you feel bubbly?”

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“I do,” Emmanuel replied through a laugh. “And we truly are mogotogo, as I jog when it’s too much for me as well! I don’t know if she reciprocates. I’ve been to afraid to ask. But is asking the best course of action? Have you asked this beautiful man about this checkered apron?”

“No. He wanted me to teach him inside-talk. He’s from here, you know, from this planet. And he learned so quickly, and I thought that all we exchanged was mutually understood. And then he got married. To not-me. Pops says on this planet, you need to say the words aloud. Inside-talk doesn’t cut it. So, if I had known, I would have said to him, long, long ago, that he had the cutest smile, and that… Ah, well. Waters and bridges!”

Mogoto, my hearts hurt for you!”

“Ah, it was ages ago! There are other floppy-haired cuties, right? But what about you? You could start slowly. Drop a little hint. Or even drop the whole enchilada! KaBOOM! See if your world explodes.”

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“I have to say, the two of you look quite good together. Something I’d paint if I had enough skill.” Whisper said as she came to pause in front of us.

“Thank you, darling,” I vamped. “I inherited the looks, and he the brains.” Emmanuel squinted at me.

“You’re very welcome.” She gave us a peculiar look. “I think I’ll go for a jog around the neighborhood.”

“Funny! We were just talking about jogging, weren’t we, mogoto?”

Emmanuel nodded. “We were. For the record, mogoto, you inherited everything.”

“Emmanuel, don’t sell yourself short,” she paused. “I’ll find you guys later.”

Emmanuel waited until Whisper left for her run, and then continued. “You are the positive-pull. I have no doubt you’ll draw someone to fulfill your standard of ‘floppy-haired male.’ I think I’ll drop the enchilada,” he said under his breath.

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Xirra came in to say it was time to wash up for supper. Emmanuel and I, like brothers, washed our hands in the same sink, sharing the bar of soap.

He spoke softly. “Why did you write only to Whisper? Why did you not write to me, to tell me I was cloned by the rebels? That we were supposed to live together again? To invite me for a visit? Hearing these things from her, and not you, wasn’t easy for me. The frustration has subsided, but I’d like to understand your logic.”

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I had to reflect. For me, there were no boundaries between the three of us. We were a triad, connected through Situ, Warrior, and the rebels’ plans. What one of us knew, the others would know.

“When I met Whisper at your pool party, I pledged that I would share everything that I learned that concerned her. My connection with her deepened when I met Octy’s mom. Much of what Xirra shared with me concerned Whisper directly, and so I felt it imperative to relay to her. To tell you the truth, it never occurred to me to write you. This all happened before I met Shésti, and you and I are so connected, mogoto, that everything I know feels to me like it is something that you know, too.”

He smiled as he listened.

I continued. “I’m unskilled. It’s like that problem with Mr. Gorgeous Apron. I assume that because I feel it all joined inside of me, it’s all joined outside, too. Forgive me. I need to learn how to do more than inside talk.”

“In my dreams, Batuotuo seeks Baxini’vre, so I think we have always been like this: you draw me in. I will do better to reach for you in the future as well. There’s no need to ask for forgiveness, you already have it in addition to my thanks. Whisper is around me, our parents are coupled, but we had become strangers. Your letter made her speak to me.” He glanced around and then spoke quietly. “She’s the enchilada, mogoto.”

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“Woot!” I shouted. “I totally ship it! Have lots and lots of little babies, OK?” I really said that. I am so rude! But chances are, I will never have children, and the idea of my brother’s beautiful genes blending with the genes of Situ was almost more than I could bear.

“Septemus,” Emmanuel scolded. “I’m confiding in you!”

“Sorry not sorry!” I laughed. “I made taco casserole for lunch. Now I’m wishing I’d made enchiladas!”

He sighed. “I regret everything that’s transpired in the past minute…”

I laughed so hard. “Clearly you’ve grown up an only child! But I will be a good brother. I will let you suffer your shyness and reticence, while I snicker in the background! Only don’t wait too long! You don’t want somebody named Raj to swoop in while you’re sitting in the corner picking at a fruit salad!”

“I eat fruit salad every day!” Emmanuel’s eyes widened. “You really think she’d be snatched while I construct the enchilada?”

“Look,” I said, “next to Shésti and Panda, she is likely the most beautiful person to walk this green earth. You’d be a fool not to make mad love to her on the train home.”

He nodded. “I hear your argument, mogoto. Though I’ve never met Pandora, I understand the point you’re proving. But I’m not sure I have it in me to ‘make mad love to her’ on the ride home… My biggest concern is this: do I care for her because she knew my story and remained sitting on the bench, or do I care for her because I am attracted to females and she’s the only one I bother to interact with?”

“Does it even matter? If you love someone, then all questions are silenced.”

“The other reason may be that she sees me as an original, not a copy. Not Batuotuo, but just Emmanuel’s soul. That’s how I feel as well, that I am not Batuotuo, just Emmanuel inside Batuotuo2.0’s body.”

“Ah. The enchilada has already been baked, and now, it needs only to be served. What is love, my brother? Love is looking into the eyes of the soul. Nothing more is needed, ever.”

“Love is looking into the eyes of the soul,” he repeated. “Nothing more is needed, ever. I understand. The third reason is the one I should value and base my decisions from.”

“OK,” I said. “Now, I have something very important to ask you.”

He hummed a calming tone. “I’m happy to provide an answer.”

“Take a look at this. Do I go with the purple theme or the tiger stripes?” I showed him two blog themes I was considering for my new secret project.

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Mogoto,” Emmanuel grinned. “You know I’m partial to purple.”

We carried our conversation back into the living room.

“What do you intend to do when you grow up?” he asked. “When you finish with school and become a man? I’ve been thinking about the future, myself, and I am curious to know what you intend to do, as Septemus.”

I explained how, up until very recently, this was a point of pain for me. “What I desired to do,” I told him, “in my heart of feeling, was to return and fight, in anyway that I could. But Xirra tells me that I cannot do that. It would risk too much. The Kfvico’kyastorr cannot know that I–that any of us–survived the crash. So I am prisoner of my fate.”

This was how I had seen it until my trip to the desert. But there, I fell into the embrace of this planet. My fate is here. I asked him about his dream.

Before Emmanuel could answer, Whisper came through the door. “You two are still talking?”

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“We’ve been talking about you, darling!” I teased.

Emmanuel shot me a disgruntled look.

“I’d hope not,” she said, and her periwinkle cheeks flushed rose. “There are far more interesting things to talk about.”

“Well, yes. Like enchiladas.”

Whisper laughed. “Food?”

“Nurturance. Food, love, same difference.”

“Secret, the very idea that you are less interesting than food is absurd.” Emmanuel turned his attention to his brother. “Nutrition and romance are hardly a proper simile!”

“Okay then. I’m going to check on Octy,” she said. “Don’t let me keep you from discussing me, enchiladas, and your dreams for the future.” Her eyes sparkled playfully. “You know where to find me if you need me.”

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We continued the conversation in inside-talk. “Your dream, brother,” I prompted. “You were saying? Before we were so delightfully interrupted?”

“Medicine,” Emmanuel answered briefly. “What did you mean by ‘return and fight?’ If you cannot do it, than I should do it. Just as before. Baxini’vre wrote words that he could not speak, for whatever reason, that Batuotuo spoke them for him everywhere he could. This is a brother’s duty to his mogoto, no? If Emmanuel is capable, he will help Septemus in any way he can.”

“No,” I said. “First, it wasn’t that Baxin’ivre couldn’t speak. He could best serve by writing, by teaching. And Batuotuo served in the way that he best could. Second, you are not Batuotuo. I am not Baxini’vre.”

“I apologize for my assumption. Honestly, I only know Batuotuo’s half of the narrative. My sentiment remains: I wish to help accomplish the things that you cannot. What would returning to fight for the rebels entail? What would I have to become?”

“This is a conversation for the rebels. For Shésti and Xirra. If you want to be recruited, they are the recruiting agents.”

“Did I hear my name?” Shésti said. We had switched back to talking out loud. “I’ve been looking all over for you, Batuotuo!”

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“You have?” Emmanuel asked. “I apologize for not being more present, Shésti. What may I provide for you?”

“Do you think you could give me your T-shirt?”

“Shésti! I said. “That’s a highly inappropriate request!”

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“If I were to comply, it would be a cold walk home.” Emmanuel shot me an urgent look, proceeding to speak inside my head. “Though, would that improve the the enchilada’s appeal?”

Shésti surprised us both by answering inside, “Enchiladas? Oh, I’m starving!”

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Emmanuel shook his head. “I’m afraid I need to retain my shirt. It belongs right where it is. Sincerest apologies, Shésti.”

Octy has decided that Whisper is the best cousin. He wouldn’t leave her side, chatting on merrily, oblivious to the marks of grief carried about her eyes. I could feel a shadow behind Xirra’s smile, too, and I didn’t have to wonder whom they’d been talking of all afternoon.

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“Sweet Octy,” she said, “you are lucky to live in such a colorful place. It reminds me of where I live. Colors make everything better. They comfort the soul, didn’t you know?”

“I like stei, thari, fotli, steithari, tharistei, tharifotli, fotlithari…” he went on and on, combining colors. Xirra joined us before he reached to four-color combinations.

“So, byu, I’m sure you hear this all the time, but you look just like your mother. Are you musical, too?”

Whisper nodded, a smile spreading on her face. “I am. I sing and play the violin!”

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“Here’s a song we used to sing all the time when we were little:

Shésti, situ, situki,
Baska xiipayukī .

Wind, spirit, air
We fly without a care–”

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“When I was little, I used to sing this song!” Octy interrupted.

Stei STRAWbyu!
Yada, yada, yada!

Tharistei GRAPEyu!
Dastaliyu!

Yada, yada, CUTIE!
Boska, paboska, PUPPY!”

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“Porcupines like that song best!” he announced. “And strawBERRIES!”

“Porcupines, strawberries, and Whisper. The song has a great tune, Octy, though I have no clue what you sang!”

“I don’t, either, Whisper! And I know Vingihoplo!” Pops said.

Whisper laughed. “He’s got a secret song, then. One meant only for him to understand…”

“It’s for the pagotogo!” he said. “I sing inside like Sept!” And he closed his eyes and hummed really, really loudly. “Can you hear that?” he asked.

“Yes!” we said.

“Louder?” he asked.

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“No!” we said. But he hummed all the louder, until we all joined in, singing-inside, Octy-style. I think we hummed loud enough that all the pagotogo here, there, and everywhere heard!

My brother, my cousin, my pops’ secret flame, they gathered the dishes and carried them into the house. I stayed behind.

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Octy only fussed a little when Xirra scooped him up and carried him in for bed.

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I watched them all file into our home. The light faded. The stars came out. I looked for the far star. It didn’t beckon me. How could it, when everyone I love is here?

When at last I went back inside, I looked in on Octy. Whisper sat at the foot of his bed while he slept. Maybe one day, I will look in as she sits at the foot of the bed of her son, my nephew. One can dream. On Whisper’s face, all trace of grief had left, replaced with the soft light of home. Maybe two can dream. Or, knowing my mogoto, maybe I should amend that to three.

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Whispannuel. Emmisper. Whemmasper. I ship it. The whole enchilada.

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Author’s notes: You know those times where the Sims are such great actors that all you do is chase after them with your camera and notepad like a crazed paparazzi? That’s how I felt when shooting this chapter. Or maybe, these stories we write really are their lives, and so they are not acting at all…

At any rate, having Emmanuel and Whisper visit my game was delightful, and writing this chapter with Ally and Ny was even more delightful! So grateful for the opportunity to braid together our tales… or tails (take your pick!).

I’m giddy! This is the penultimate chapter, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude! Vadish, friends and readers! 🙂

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 61

SeptRebelCon01

Dear Sept,

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?

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I also couldn’t tell who was extraterrestrial and who wasn’t. They all seemed to be listening to songs I couldn’t hear.

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It was the same as when you’re listening and singing. Only amplify that by twelve.

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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.

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Eventually, one of them beckoned me to join him.

“Do you need me to speak out loud?” he asked, in clear, if echoing, words.

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“That would probably be useful,” I said. “My inside-talk is not that great, and my Vingihoplo is even worse!”

He chuckled.

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“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?

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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.

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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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Septemus 57

Ready to Bur7t

Septeen2103

I’m back from the pool party. Pops is huge–but at least the baby wasn’t born while I was gone. I was a little bit worried.

Pops looks about ready to burst.

“Thanks for waiting, Pops!” I told him when I got home. “I’d hate to miss the big event.”

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“I just want it over with, son,” he said.

He seems pretty uncomfortable.

“Maybe some dancing will help,” I suggested to him the next morning. It’s what we always do when we wait.

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He seemed to feel a little better once we started moving, and we fell into a quiet, lazy rhythm. I was glad we didn’t talk. I have so much to process. Dancing helps with that, too.

It’s odd to think that I completed my gestation without anyone having to experience birthing pains. I guess the bizaabgotojo simply reached into the gestation pod and pulled me out.

I can’t believe I met her birth-daughter. Whisper must have been born through pain, like all natural-born babies.

I hope I didn’t make a mistake in what I told Whisper. I would have liked her not to know about bizoobi and slaves. I’m glad she knows that her mother was a hero, but I don’t want any of us to know the truth of the world we came from.

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Somehow, they all seem to know, even if their knowledge only leaves them with questions.

I met so many of my siblings, and each one had so many questions.

Whisper needed to know if she’d been born free. Of course she had. Her experience coming here is so different than mine: She lost wide meadows. She lost her mother, lost her father. She lost belonging to the strong and brave community.

What did I lose? Nothing. I only gained.

I feel guilty–I can’t help it. To free me and the others, Whisper’s mother lost her life. She was our bizaabgotojo–but she was Whisper’s mother.

Nothing is worth another’s life. I would have given up mine, if given the choice, for our bizaabgotjo‘s. I wish I could let Whisper know that.

Then there was Paxilla–such a funny pabyu rabbit–she wanted to know why she didn’t sing, like the rest of us. If you’re not lonely, you don’t need to sing, I told her. I’m not sure she bought it.

Septeen2101

Then, my own pagoto. Somehow, we are brothers. I mean, I’m the bagoto to all the pagotogo, but Pabatuotuo, we share a cellular connection. We belong. We’re kin.

He taught me so much. He remembers things, from our origin, I am guessing. Everything surrounding him is filled with mystery for me, except for the feeling of belonging: inna-inna. I feel that in every molecule of every cell.

He has so many questions, and I have so few answers.

I thought back on my conversation with Anakin.

I had felt his presence strongly before he approached. He was reaching out to me.

septanakin01

“Can I ask you something?” he said.

“Of course, Anakin.”

“Do you have to hide away too?”

“Hide? You mean like in a disguise? No. I’m always like this. We live in a friendly community, and we know almost everyone. We don’t leave our neighborhood often, though.”

“My daddy says we have to hide from the people in our neighborhood,” Anakin said, “because it’s too dangerous for us to go out. We have to keep secrets. My little sisters are secrets, but I don’t know why?”

septanakin02
“That must be tough,” I replied. “You can trust your dad, though. I’m sure he’s doing what needs to be done to keep you safe.”

“I don’t like keeping secrets…”

“I don’t either. You know, you and I, we’re gotogo. And you don’t have to keep secrets from your goto. So, you can tell me anything, and it will be safe with me. You can write me or you can inside-talk. Whatever you want.”

“My friend Amber is like us, too,” he continued, “but Dad took us away and says we’ll never see them again coz something happened at out apartment and the bad people are coming to take us away. Who are the bad people and why do they want to take us? Are they going to hurt us?”

I had to take a moment in quiet. I tuned in, as best as I could.

“So,” I began, “there are a lot of scary things in the world. A lot of dangers. And yes, there are people who want to harm others. There are also a lot of really good people, all over the universe, who are brave and kind and who protect themselves and other people. It sounds like your dad is one of these good people, and he’s protecting you kids. I don’t know why anyone would want to take you. There are battles going on, and there are lots of warriors who are fighting the good fight. They fight it with love and with being brave. So even if you feel afraid, you can feel OK at the same time, because of warriors and good people like your dad who are working to keep you safe.”

“My daddy won’t talk about it, but I can see our friend did something to make him angry,” Anakin said. “My friend Amber. I need to keep her safe but she can’t do inside-talk when we are far away. What should I do?”

I felt a shiver when he said Amber’s name. “Amber’s one of us, right? She came over with us. I don’t know about the danger that Amber is in now, but I know that she is free. She wasn’t free before we left. She is one of those that our bizaabgotojo saved. Amber is very brave. It’s OK, Anakin. You will see her again, and when you do, you can tell her everything that you hold in your hearts.”

“I’m really scared.”

“Being brave doesn’t mean that you don’t feel scared. It means that you continue on, even when you feel scared. You’ve got a dad who loves you and who is doing things to keep you safe. You’ll see Amber again–I’m sure of it. And I’m always around. I have to do some training for a while, so I might not be singing as much, but I will always be listening, so you can call me anytime. And you can write, OK, Anakin?”

septanakin03


“You had a good time then, son?” Pops asked. “I was worried it might be too much. Overwhelming, you know, meeting so many at once.”

“It was too much, Pops. Way, way too much. And it was very overwhelming. But it was also what I had to do. I’m a big brother, right, Pops? And big brothers have to be there, ready to answer any questions that come their way!”

Pops told me he thought I might be putting too much pressure on myself.

“Brothers don’t need to know everything,” he said.

I told him I knew that, but we had to try. We had to be available. That’s what brothers are for.

Septeen2006

I felt my new little brother stir inside of him. He’s going to be ready to come out soon!

“Oh, he’s got a big question, Pops!” I said. Pops thought I was joking, but I really could feel the little guy inquiring. “He wants to know what his name is.”

Septeen2005

“Oh, God!” groaned Pops. “I haven’t even thought of a name!”

I laughed. Pops said he thought Xirra and her people would want to name him. I felt pretty sure that, even if they did, we could name him, too. After all, I’ve got two names.

“I know what we should call him, Pops.” It wasn’t spur of the moment. I’d been thinking of it all along.

“What’s that?” Pops asked.

“Octavius!”

Septeen2004

Of course Pops loved it. It’s the obvious name: Octavius Sevens. Eight sevens: 56 – Judi.

That’s a perfect name.

After Pops went to sleep, I took my calculus book out to the park so I could read under the broad sky. Once that baby arrives, and I think the big day will be tomorrow, who knows when I’ll get another chance to study?

The lesson was on the volume of a cone. “A cross-section of a cone is a circle,” I read.

The volume of the cone is 0h A(x)dx = 0h π*[ r(h-x)/h]2 dx.

It’s beautiful. I knew then what the first step in my training would be. I had to be able to perceive a cone around me, forming a boundary between my energy–my emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual energy–and the rest of the universe. I wouldn’t always need the cone–sometimes, I could let my energy fly. But for those times when I needed to protect myself or others, when I needed to keep my emotions private, that cone would do. It was a first step–a baby step–but it’s time had come, and I was ready.

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Author’s Note: Many, many thanks to AllySim for hosting the pool party and featuring it in her story, Alienated! It’s so much work to have guest Sims over–and to co-write with guest writers–and Ally handled this with such warmth, talent, and grace! The photos of Sept and Anakin at the pool party were taken by Ally. Thank you! (She even posted her chapters ahead of schedule because I was so excited to post these chapters! Thank you! Thank you!)

The conversation with Anakin was co-written with Charliimai, who wrote Anakin’s portion. You can catch up with Anakin, his dad, and his friend Amber over at Sapphire and Amber.

Keep following Meggles’ The Xilla Project and Ny’s Whisper to find out Xilla and Whisper’s experiences at the party, which will be featured in upcoming chapters of theirs. We all had a great time. 🙂 Squeegee!