While at Luna Station, Jerry receives downloads
Batresh sat in a chair in the medical bay, close to Namazu. Drifting to sleep herself, her eyes closing, Batresh saw her mother. She wore a purple gown gathered at an empire waist, tied together with golden braids. Jeweled tassels hung from bands around her hips. Dreamily, she saw her reaching out, touching her cheek, smiling. She felt her thoughts, she felt her love.
With the Matriarch’s touch, Batresh knew the timeline was stabilized. Newspaper headlines proclaiming Denny’s accidental death at the hands of his father, vanished. The danger was prevented, Denny would live. The Matriarch’s mission was safe.
Batresh was awakened by a touch. Looking up, she saw Jerry standing in the same place her mother stood in the dream. She forgot he was here. He looked tired. The flesh under his eyes darkened, lines of sadness around his eyes and mouth.
Startled, she reached up and took his hands. “Are you alright?” She stood, pressing against him. Slowly, he brought his arms around her.
“I’m not sure,” he responded.
She looked at him questioningly.
“You will have to ask Sagar,” he continued.
“What happened?” she asked as she pulled him to a chair near the wall. He sat down heavily.
“Downloads,” he responded, looking at the floor. His mind swam with images, humans and Tayamni, literary works, wars, footage of historical events, visions of other star systems, memories of aliens in systems he would never visit.
“You need rest,” she added.
“Sagar told me to sleep, they gave me a room.”
“So you will not come back with me to Terra?”
“Apparently not,” he responded. “I am to remain here for a time.” He remarked to himself, how his use of language had changed, how his pronunciation was different, how much he sounded like Batresh when he spoke. He looked at her puzzled, confused by new emotions. “By the way,” he continued, “Sagar asked me to give you a message.”
He felt himself transformed. His thoughts, memories of alien events, his knowledge, experiences that were not his own, these were changing him. He continued, “The temporal portal at Jupiter sent the Elders an update,” he rubbed his eyes with confusion. He thought it ironic that he was giving a message to Batresh from the Elders. He continued, “Your mission is complete. The timeline has corrected,” he offered. “Your mother will be safe for 15 years.” He paused. “There will be a gay bashing in 1977 at St. Louis. Denny will be killed there.”
“My darling Jerry,” Batresh cautioned, seeing the stress in his face. “Perhaps this is too much.”
Jerry shook his head. As close as he felt to her, as much as he longed to hear her call him “my darling,” with the intimacy the term implied, her voice was empty, regretful. “Sagar says I have reached Compatibility.” Batresh touched his forearm with surprise. “I can handle as much as you can,” he said.
She raised her eyebrows.
“I came to say goodbye, until next week,” he stated, looking at her.
“Are you coming to my house?” she responded.
He nodded affirmatively. “I am to live there.”
She looked into his face with concern. “Drink a lot of water. You need to increase your food intake as well, and get rest, rest as much as possible.”
He nodded again, then, stood, taking her hands in his, “You know I am in love with you, Batresh.”
He was so direct, so confident, and his words so out of character that she shrank back with surprise. She looked down at the floor, knowing that she could not respond to him the way he wanted.
“Look at me,” he whispered. Slowly, she raised her head and looked into his eyes. “Maybe it’s the downloads, knowing more about your people, I’m not sure,” he sighed, “But, I know,” he paused. “I know that you cannot be in love with me this way.”
“I care for you deeply, Jerry,” she responded. She wanted to say something to help. She drew in a breath to continue, but couldn’t find the words.
He sighed, “Thank you for that.” He pulled her to him and kissed her on her forehead like a brother, then he turned towards the door. He shook his head at the foolishness of his human desires, his plans, his childish fantasies.
She looked into his face, but no longer felt the connection. She felt that she lost something valuable, something she wanted. She drew her brows together, trying to understand her own feelings. He was different. By becoming more like her, he became a stranger.
He looked at her with a sarcastic grin and offered, “I wanted to marry you.” He shook his head again and walked out the door.