Thursday, May 19, 2005

Second Memory

*a memory*

*all sounds are clear and close, as though the speaker and the listener occupy the same room*

"This will repeat about every month--"

*a short, wordless exclamation of disgust*

"Yes, I know -- not really much of a thing to look forward to, is it? Very biological -- messy, inefficient, uncomfortable . . ."

*the voice's position shifts -- the speaker moving away from the listener*

"But you're just going to have to learn to put up with it, Heyward. Every woman has, since the dawn of time. It's a part of being female."

"Miss Death--"

"Just Death is fine. I've told you that before. Or Captain, if you must."

". . . Captain. I . . . would remind you that I am not Human. I am not . . . female. I possess no gender identity. I appear male within the Matrix due only to representation standards for my program type. I acknowledge my present . . . apparent sex as similarly irrelevant."

*a short sigh, and the voice once again draws closer*

"Heyward . . . you are Human now. You are female. I can't pretend to know, but . . . from what you've said, your previous self was a shell. An image. This -- this is very different. You have to learn, Heyward. Your body -- your . . . programming -- they're two halves of a whole now. You cannot ignore one for the other . . ."

*abrupt and cold* "Do not touch me, Miss Death."

*a small laugh* "Hm. I used to imagine having this conversation with . . . my own daughter, you know. Someday. It never went quite like this, of course, but . . . not so very different . . ."

*the voice is quieter -- the speaker is both further away and facing away from the listener*

"Taxes and I . . . we left the Matrix at the same time. It's very rare, for two people to be given the choice together, like that -- I think it made it easier. To look across at someone else and know that whatever your decision was, it would be . . . shared."

*the voice continues*

"I suppose our pods must have been very close together, for that to be practical. We woke up next to one another--" *a laugh* "--and, well, we've done that every day since."

*the sound of metal hinges creaking, as of a door being swung open or shut*

"Heyward. Gender -- it opens . . . possibilities. Some of them are . . . painful but some are . . . very good. Good night."

*the click of a door latch catching*

*end*

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