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Ray

August 2013

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[personal profile] rirenec
Title: Of Programming
Fandoms: BSG/Prometheus, referencing Moon
Rating: T
Pairings: Kara/Leoben, David/Elizabeth
Setting: AU



Part One

He opened his eyes slowly, the creases at the corners twitching at first and then gradually his lashes lifting. Another day. Across the room, Sisyphus ran in his wheel. Leoben smiled.

"Hey, boy. Still after the end of the road?" he asked.

Sisyphus carried on running, delicate whiskers twitching in the effort to achieve his goal.

Leoben felt so tired. It was getting worse each day.

***

"Sisyphus, I tell you what, boy, I'm so fed up of these noodles. Well, not noodles, but these pot ones."

Leoben dropped some into the mouse's cage which the rodent darted to with a little squeak.

"You are so lucky that I love you, greedy. I could just as easy drop rat poison in there and you'd gobble it up like chocolate." Leoben sat by the mouse’s cage and then leaned to run one finger down Sisyphus's back as he fed. "Then again, you'd probably sense it was so. Hey, boy?"

***

“Come on. Come on.” Leoben tapped his fingers against the chair, not really impatient; he was very good at waiting. He vocalised for the sake of hearing sound. “Sisyphus, boy; you know when we get back to Earth? You know what will be amazingly wonderful? Not waiting a month to speak to someone.”

The computer screen before him blipped and then came on. The screen flashed red and then a message appeared.

INCOMING TRANSMISSION RECEIVED.

Leoben grinned and put his hand over the button for ‘read’.

The screen scrambled white red coding and then illuminated into a greyish light, showing a young woman sitting in a pale room. She was beautiful. She looked tense.

Leoben felt his heart kick extra hard.

“Hey,” she called, her hand coming to the screen.

“Hello,” Leoben replied, reaching out to touch the screen where her fingers where pressed but she moved hers away before he’d got there and started talking.

“So, well, I, well... I got my flight status. I’ll be in the skies. Expect I’ll get appointed to one of the newer battlestars. It should prove my worth, anyway.”

You’re beautiful. You shine. I love you, Leoben thought as he watched her mouth move, noting the bruise under her eye. He thought about when he saw her again. He thought about holding her, and merely just being near her. The warmth of her skin… their talking in the kitchen. About that time they sat by the river and watched the sunset. They would do all these things again. He listened as he thought, ears absorbing her words at the same time as he memorised her face and the sound of Sisyphus’s wheel.

“Which is good, right? But, but…” The sound crashed, and the picture came back. She was wearing different clothes in it. Leoben figured he must have lost part of the message. It happened quite often. “It means that I won’t be able to now send these messages. You know what the military is like. Frak, I wish I could hear what you thought. I know you’d want me to do this, right?” The picture shifted again and he lost the end of her sentence before it flicked back in.

"So, it's going to put some distance between us, but maybe that's good right?"

Leoben caught his breath. Then went and sat by the wall for a time, knees pulled up, face resting on them as the rest of her message played out.

He missed her.

***

Carefully, he ticked off the day on the calendar with a big red cross.

Two years, eleven months, three weeks, and three days. Only a few more, and then he was going home.

"See that, boy? You and me, we're going to get into a shuttle, snuggle up tight - you in your little box and me in my suit, and we are going to crash home into the sea. Then, she's going to come and meet us."

Leoben closed his eyes and reached for her like he did when he was sleeping.

"I can't wait to see you. To see how you’ve changed."

She laughed. Eyes sparkling, face fresh.

"I've not changed. I'm still the same person," she replied, her hands coming to his waist.

"You are always changing. And it's a good thing," he whispered then kissed her.


He opened his eyes to be staring at the red crosses on the calendar. Above, was a picture of Earth with the sun just peaking around it, giving the world a half corona, one slightly black nearest to where it touched.

***

Leoben waited calmly as the doors opened, his mind cataloguing the hiss and release of the air pressure. He smiled at the sign on the wall before him.

Every day is a new day. Treat it with a smile.

The sign descended as the door separated leading into the airlock and he walked through as swiftly as his suit would allow. As he did, he recorded what he was about to do.

"Day 1093. Time 05.00. The transmission on breaker three is coming loose. I'm going to attend it. By my estimate, it should take about three hours to complete."

The door locked behind him with another whoosh and it ran through his mind that the smile was smiling at empty interior space now. Apart from his mouse and Mother, that was.

***

"Report: breaker three is fixed. But I must ask for more organic sealant next time as we're running low, Mother."

Leoben collected his tools methodically and placed them back within his box. Then he looked up, allowing himself the sight. It was as much of a reward as he could permit himself. Just like hoping he'd get a last tape today before he returned home.

The view above still filled him with awe. The stars shone like jewels in the vista. The Earth like a blue mirror reflecting the sun's rays out. It was beautiful. It made him think of her.

***

"So, we'll see each other soon."

He wondered why she was crying. He wondered if it was in happiness.

"I'll see you… all pale."

He glanced down at his skin. He was looking a little grey. He'd been feeling so sick these last few days. He'd thrown up his lunch this morning.

"Kara, please don't worry. It's just another few days or more." Inside, he longed to be near her. Three years was a long time and yet not. Three years of bliss was a blink, three years of being alone keeping the station running, a lifetime.

***

He blinked, and awakened slowly.

"Sisyphus...” he called. “…Kara… I'm struggling this morning."

"Go to sleep, Leoben," Mother sent silently. "Go to sleep. All will be well."

Leoben nodded and closed his eyes, thinking about Kara. In the background, he could hear Sisyphus’s wheel.

***

Part Two

David opened his eyes to be greeted with Lazarus running in his wheel. “Good morning, boy. How’s today treating you?" Lazarus carried on running without a squeak. David smiled at him and exited his bed before moving to feed the animal.

***

David touched the calendar and worried at the face of Elizabeth above. In her message yesterday, she'd said her father had died. He wished he could've held her. The problem with these one way video logs were that he never felt like she was really talking to him, just sending images off into space that he'd happened to pick up. It was hard.

"There is nothing on the moon, and no one needs nothing," he said, thinking of her words when she'd said how she felt so confused. Sometimes like nothing was inside, then, when thinking of her father and holding onto his faith, hopeful. This, then lost it in grief before her love for him returned again.

"Lazarus, I need to go outside in a little while. There's something wrong with the streaming mechanism." He pressed his hand over the dates and focused in on Elizabeth's face. A tear ran down his cheek. "How they can order me to fix that but not the transmission receiver from Earth to here, I'll never know."

***

David sat down to eat carefully, his eyes watching the log tapes they had sent instead of one from Elizabeth. She'd gone on a dig. He couldn't send tapes to her or she to him until just before he was due to return. It mildly struck him how things could be beamed to the moon and beyond, and yet communication between them was so hindered. He'd got up at her dawn this morning, when he knew that she would be awake, just to be with her. He’d wondered if she'd prayed for him.

"/ida hmanəm aɪ kja namṛtuh zdɛ:taha/…/ghʷɪvah-pjorn-ɪttham sas da:tṛ kredah/" he said now, repeating the phrase from off the tape. He wanted to be of help to her. "This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life," he roughly translated.

He grinned, as he worked. If he could come up with some new theory on what she was searching for, then maybe it would help Elizabeth's work.

***

“Mother - do you think Kara..." he paused as the word slipped out, "I mean, Elizabeth, will be happy with my findings?"

Mother didn't reply. She only spoke to him at night. During the day, she listened.

"Lazarus, Mother's being coy – ha, ha - silly when she has her hands all over us, hey boy?" David asked.

Lazarus peered across at him, his pink paws around the cage bars. He looked back with one pink and one red eye, nose twitching with his white fur shivering as he stood on his tiny hind legs.

David's brow lifted. "Maybe I should get a cat sent up. You might be more talkative then."

***

"Mother, I'm going outside. The solar panels are not up to full capacity. It should take about two hours today, and then I'll have to return tomorrow to finish. Tell Lazarus, I'll feed him when I get back." He paused, then shaped a smile. "It's a joke. I can make them." He didn't hear any laughter, but he imagined that Elizabeth would smile.

***

He crossed off another day on the calendar. There were no events listed on it. No birthdays or celebrations. Nothing. Just crosses. But to him, the crosses meant everything. "For some, nothing is written unless THEY write it," he whispered.

***

He twisted over on his side and then threw up. The vomit hit the floor but he carried on heaving even after he felt something click in his side. He worried about the colour of his vomit. It didn't look like any of the noodles and soft paste he'd eaten. It was white. It looked like a pool of snow, he thought whimsically, before he lay back. He didn't feel well. Or rather, right.

His eyes closed.

"David, this is Mother. Sleep, child, sleep."

***

Part Three

Leoben lay on his back, his eyes closed, travelling out towards her. When he got there, she looked similar though older. It was odd, for he had memories of her for longer than he remembered her, if that was any kind of logic. Her last video call said she'd got a posting and so wouldn't be around so often. He was glad for her. Really was. Just as he was glad for the dreams where she was with other people. He wouldn't want for her to be lonely.

"Sleep, Leoben. Sleep."

"Yes, Mother. I am so tired."

"Sleep."

Sisypus carried on running.

***

David deciphered the last bit of text. He couldn't wait to see Elizabeth tomorrow. In sleep, he pictured her in a glass box sometimes, like she was a virgin in some fairy-tale held in stasis waiting for him to awaken her. He pressed his face to the porthole looking out at Earth with its corona. He imagined she was on the other side waiting to awaken him instead.

***

The calendar was almost crossed out, then he was going home. Going back to her.

***

He crossed to bed and closed his eyes.

***

"Sleep, Leoben, Sleep."

***


"Sleep, David, sleep."

***

"Lazarus, do you think Elizabeth's going to be alright? I know we had our differences before I left to come here. It's part of the reason I went these three years, to give us both time."

David walked in circles around the lunar habitat. 

***

"Mother, she's more than what she does. I feel like she's repeating her life over and over. When I get back, Mother, I'm going to show her how to be. Mother?” Leoben sighed, pushing at the odd skin formation on his hand. He wished his fingers would stop trembling. “Sisyphus... we'll sit Elizabeth down and talk to her."

***

"Mother, I feel you talk to me sometimes, but I never feel like there's anything in it. I'm so tired."

NO TRANSMISSION INCOMING

“You’re even worse than Father sometimes, who never talks.”

***

"Mother... I've often wondered. When I'm awake, and you don't talk... does it feel like you’re dead? Because sometimes I think I am."

***

“To know the face of God, is to know madness, Kara,” David whispered as he fixed the skin of the main habitat. The stars made him think like he could see creation in action. He smiled, because he'd said it for her sake. “All this has happened before, and all of it will again. But still, we try.”

***

(The mouse ate his food and watched as the trash was thrown out and the part replaced. Then he got back on his wheel. Round and round.)

***

“Maybe if we try them with false memories, it might keep them docile? It’s a kind of a sickness that they have, this malfunction. We just need to provide them with a cure... a habitat say... like a lab mouse with a wheel. Give them a few bits of false history perhaps. It should give them something to cling onto.”


***

Weyland shrugged off the concern about some of the first-gen androids acting without orders. “They will perform whatever duties we set them. Alone, remotely. Or in public.”

“But they are not always doing as asked.”

“Give them access to whatever. There’s nothing wrong. I need them ready.”


***

Ellen sat by the bath. She hated to use the Hybrid like this. She was her first daughter.

Ellen took one hand tenderly.

“Sleep, dear one, sleep,” she soothed.


***

The Hybrid did not understand pity, but she did love. She sent the machines images and dreams of hope as they worked and died.

The Twos' minds often helped her to fix things.

***

“Sleeping?”

Leoben lifted his head at her words. “Praying.”

***

“Elizabeth, I know we’ve had our differences, but...”



Date: 2012-10-21 12:20 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] deborah-judge.livejournal.com
What a fascinating idea...using the Moon scenario, but instead of programming him to think he's a human programming him to think he's a more interesting kind of robot (or, two of them). And the tragedy is, he falsely believes that he is loved but there's a sense in which Ellen actually loves him, or would if she could. I love the complicatedness of this piece, and its beauty.
Date: 2012-10-21 09:29 am (UTC)

From: (Anonymous)
Thanks. :) I think it might be a bit *too* complicated, but when I tried to explain it more, it's seemed to put the flow off. In the end, I decided maybe I liked the fact it was slightly ambiguous and almost had me searching for ways to connect it all.

I'm thinking of taking the BSG bits and re-arranging them for the Pentathlon.

*Hugs*
Date: 2012-10-21 04:58 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] baliao.livejournal.com
You've been busy! It's interesting, even though I don't think I understand it fully. Maybe Moon needs to go on my movie list.

On a related note, I haven't had even a single nightmare about alien monsters being cut out of me!
Date: 2012-10-21 09:24 am (UTC)

From: (Anonymous)
Lol, Moon would help a bit. I'm just being overly complicated and I was going o change it, but I just liked how this one flowed. Thank you for sticking with me on it. *Hugs*

And yay, I'm so god you go o splurgy monster nightmares. I'm dreadful for zombie ones. *Shudder*
Date: 2012-10-21 09:57 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] rirenec.livejournal.com
Opps, one, I should note I am not logged in when replying to comments, and two, when logged in, I can edit. That last bit was supposed to read 'And yay, I'm so glad you had no splurgy monster nightmares. I'm dreadful for zombie ones. *Shudder*'

Predictive text can be a nightmare! :)
Date: 2012-10-21 03:42 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile] baliao.livejournal.com
Ha. Zombies make me laugh. They are so funny. :)
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