A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Three: An Offense of Man and God. Part Two.

PART TWO.

Leonardo was soon dressed in cotton clothes, softer than anything he’d ever worn and sitting at a small glass table, scrolling through his own body of work by sliding his finger along the surface.

“See, I said he’d be a quick learner.” Rain bragged to Kam, who was holding a coffee in shaking hands.

“He’s Leonardo fucking da Vinci and he’s sitting at your table and that’s all you can say?” She demanded.

“Yes. What else is there to say Kam?’

‘This is a miracle and I want you to acknowledge this damn it.”

“We are on America?” Leonardo spoke up, looking up at the two. Kam gaped at him.

“What? How do you-“

Leonardo pointed to the map he was studying. “That is where the little green candle says we are. It keeps telling me how long it would take to get back to Italy.”

“You accidently entered ‘Italy’ into the directions search tab. Here, look.” Rain reached over, and with a flick of her fingers removed the dotted line from the map, leaving the image to slowly rotate. With an upward dragging motion she raised the image to be 3-D. The see through globe spun before Leonardo.

Leonardo’s light brown eyes widened. Rain watched him in fascination.

There was so much she could study from him… and he’d ask for nothing but some sketching supplies in return. Not as if he could. She had no intention of letting him go and wander the streets of North Dakota.

“Seriously, Rain, what are you going to do? You have a grown ass man, a genius in your basement now.” Kam asked when she stood up straight again. Leonardo was having fun with the globe, he’d discovered he could control the speed by spinning it with his finger.

Rain shrugged. “I don’t know yet.”

“You don’t know yet?!” Kam half shrieked half whispered, looking exasperated as hell. “Are you telling me you brought back a human and you have no plan?”

Rain did have plan. Lot of plans, probably one for every letter but she didn’t need to tell that to Kam so she smiled and simply said nope, before going to help Leonardo navigate the map.

Kam turned around and held a hand up over her eyes, her whole core shaken.

They’d brought back a person. A whole person, with a past and thoughts and feelings. Kamala was forcibly reminded of her primary school English class and Frankenstein.

She should have taken Rain’s firing her for a cosmic sign and found a different scientist to work for. Someone less arrogant.

XXX

Leonardo spent a solid two hours simply reading in silence, slowly tapping his fingers on the glass table.

A world with people so rich they could use glass a table surface. Leonardo was amazed.

The first thing he’d read about was himself, curious to know how people had viewed him after his death.

‘Extremely well’ covered it. His popularity and the interest in him had ebbed and waned over the years, but his art it seemed had always been revered. Apparently Melzi had also taken his notebooks, compiled them as best he could (Leonardo didn’t envy the task) and published them. His sketches and paintings had ended all up over Europe. The Mona Lisa was revered, still considered the greatest painting ever made. In the 1800s he’d been ‘analyzed’ by a man named Freud who believed his unnatural attraction to his own sex stemmed from a problem with his mother. In the 2000s someone wrote book claiming that he’d been a part of a secret society. As the Catholic Church crumbled during the late 2300s, someone had torched the Last Supper and it never recovered from trying to repair the smoke damage.

Leonardo wondered if they would let him have a second shot at it. He’d never been truly satisfied with it the first time around.

Salai had died five years after him, from a duel. Leonardo stored this information away, emotions mixed.

Melzi had died much later, and looking at his pupil’s works, Leonardo felt a painful mix of pride and sorrow rise in his chest. He sighed.

“Okay?” Rain asked, where she was seated across from him. Leonardo had noticed she was subtly trying to take notes on him, her eyes always focused on him when she thought he wasn’t paying attention.

“Yes, I suppose so. It is just very strange to read about the deaths of people I knew were alive only hours ago,” Leonardo explained. His fingers were still tapping, and he nearly ached for a pen and paper.

“Do you regret being brought back?” Rain asked, peering at him intensely. Leonardo suddenly had empathy for the bodies he used to dissect. He licked his lips, and with sudden incite realized that it didn’t matter how he answered, Rainbow wasn’t about to let him leave. He could sympathize with her in a way. If a dead body had opened its eyes on his dissection table, he would have kept it too.

“My last feeling before death was regret that I had not done enough with my talents for humanity and God. I’m glad to have another chance to try and work more this time,” Leonardo answered neutrally. Rain tilted her head, her heavy dark braid falling over her shoulder. Her fingers rapidly typed on the ‘tablet’ she used. She smiled at him.

“I can understand that. It’s what I’d want too, I think.”

Leonardo nodded, feeling uneasy.

“Excuse me please, I think I need a moment,” he said softly. Rain hesitated and nodded.

“There’s an empty room if you go down the hall and to the right. Take all the time you need.”

Leonardo nodded again and left the table. He could feel her eyes on him as he left. His thin clothes suddenly seemed like they were too loose and he shivered in the chilly air.

He found the room Rain had directed him to, a small storage room with a cot squeezed into a corner past a maze of clutter. Leonardo nearly smiled, feeling immediately at home. His own workshops had been less than neat. He made his way over to the cot, and sat down on it, running a hand over his face.

He’d never been very religious, but at least understood the rationale for it after Melzi had started dragging him to mass every week. However now, sitting alone in the dark, over a thousand years from where he’d been, Leonardo felt alone. His fingers twitched for a pen and he grasped them tightly together.

He worked best with his hands occupied, his thoughts having an outlet rather than just swirling against the boundaries of his mind like rain that was trapped into a dirty puddle.  Leonardo desperately wanted a notebook, but none had been offered and until he was surer of where he stood to Rain, whether he was to be used for his mind or as a decoration, he didn’t know if he should ask yet.

So Leonardo sat in the dim room and was still, mind bubbling.            

XXX

Kam was passed out on her desk, snoring slightly. Rain couldn’t sleep, too hopped up on her adrenalin. She let Leonardo stay on a bunk in one of her storage rooms and gave him an older tablet she had laying around.

“Get some sleep. You’ve had a long day.” She told him seriously. Leonardo still had the slightly stunned look of someone who had just been hit over the head and didn’t quite know what was going on yet.

Rain paced the labs, mind buzzing, even as a smile crept onto her face.

She’d done it, she’d really done.

She stared down at her computer, and starting flicking through databases.

What if she did it this way next time?

How could she make the experiment better? More perfect?

She’d spent years cross breeding dogs and messing with their genetic code to bring them back more and more perfect. Baby the Pomeranian was her coup de grace, guaranteed to live twenty years, maybe more.

Could she do it to human?

The night passed and morning found Rain sitting over her desk, eyes flicking so fast over biographies and data that they looked slightly blurred.

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Three: An Offense of Man and God. Part One.

EPISODE THREE: An Offense of Man and God.

PART ONE.

France 1519.

The room was dark and heavily scented with candles.

Leonardo knew why. It is because the smell of death is offensive to one who has not familiarized themselves with it and he will soon be dead, and therefore offensive.

He struggled to keep his eyes open, even though the room is warm and comfortable, and he was exhausted.

But there was much yet to do! There is so much he does not know, but he wanted to, needed to…

He was dying and Leonardo was frustrated by the fact.

“Sleep, most worthy of men.” King Charles whispered, leaning over him. Leonardo smiled sadly.

He was a fool, his most dedicated patron, if he thought Leonardo does not know what was happening to him. Leonardo knew more about how the body worked than this man could imagine.

From further back he can hear his assistants crying and trying to comfort each other. He knows that Melzi, the kind hearted son of his heart is trying to hush his tears but still cannot face Leonardo before his death. Leonardo wanted to comfort him, tell him “Do not cry, do not shed tears for a life so well spent, and how unlikely it should all be that any of it should happen to the bastard son of a slave.”

Idly he wondered who will tell Salai, who has left him long before. Leonardo has left him enough land and property for Salai to support himself for at least a while, but considering how Salai spent and steals, Leonardo thinks he’ll probably be seeing the ever caustic flame of his loins before long.

‘Do not cry, little devil. Soon you will be joining me,’ Leonardo thought, his breathing slowing a little more. It is curious, how much death is almost like falling asleep. His useless right hand, having seized into a claw earlier this year, twitched compulsively on the bedspread. He wanted to makes note of what it is like to die, so maybe it will be of use to…to…

Well, to someone.

That’s all Leonardo has wanted, to be of use to someone. His mind splits like a rotten fruit under all of the thoughts it has, to the point of sometimes paralyzing him, but Leonardo has always wanted to show that there is a reason. Something greater that forever eludes him.

But if he could name it, present it that would give Leonardo the greatest satisfaction.   

Leonardo kept his eyes open for a moment more before the inevitable happened and they closed. With the last of his strength he whispered what he has always known in his heart, what has haunted Leonardo up till this moment, and he believes that he should meet the Divine with a clear consciousness, if nothing else.

“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have,” he whispered.

The wail goes up in the room as Leonardo ser Pierdio da Vinci, the first genius of man, breathed his very last breath.  

XXX

In the year three thousand:

Leonardo opened his eyes. He blinked in confusion for a moment, trying to place his surroundings. When he closed his eyes he had been dying in the arms of the King of France. Now he was in a place that looked, smelled, and felt strange. Leonardo doubted this was the gates of paradise.

The room he had just been is gone. This one is far too bright and Leonardo squints up, before he realized he doesn’t really have to. His eye sight seemed to have been miraculously restored.

Curious, Leonardo held up a hand for examination.

Instead of the wrinkled and clawed appendage that his right hand had been come in recent years, it is smooth, and there is no resistant at all when he flexed it.

Nothing hurts and he can see clearly.

Leonardo took another breath and another.

He was not dead.

He was very young and not dead?

Curious.

Leonardo became aware of a sound like birds chirping and turned his head. A tall woman, dressed in white like a bishop was staring at him, mouth open.

“Leonardo?”

It is his name and he turned his head again.

An older woman, also dressed in white was leaning over him.

“Leonardo? Can you hear me?”

Si, yes I can hear you Madame.”

“What?”

Leonardo drew his eyebrows together. Her accent is unlike any he had ever heard before, almost like it’s been coming from the back of a cave.

He repeated himself and her expression clears like a summer thunderstorm. She hit her forehead and whipped around to the younger woman, snapping her fingers.

“The translator! I forgot all about it! Kam!” The other woman crossed over to them, holding a small black ball in her hand.

“I’m going to put this in your ear alright? Don’t worry signore.” She grabbed his head in a gentle but tight grip and moved him so he was facing sideways on the table. Leonardo shivered, just realizing he felt cold, and bare.

Leonardo felt it dropped in and jumped when something like a thorn stabbed the inside of it.

“Is that better?’ Leonardo twisted in amazement. Her Italian in now flawless and he can place her accent even, as if it is from Florence.

“Yes!” Leonardo touched his ear, trying to feel for the pill, astounded. It must have gone deeply into the canal if he can’t even feel it anymore and the small sting is also rapidly disappearing. “What was that?” he asked in amazement. She grinned at him, her unusually light colored brown eyes glinting in satisfaction.  

“A universal translator, so I can understand you and you can understand me.”

She beamed at him for a moment, astoundingly bright white teeth, whole and unstained, against her coppery skin.

“How extraordinary!” Leonardo muttered and sat up.

“Oh my god.” The young woman muttered, hands up to her face. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe we did it…”

“I also forgot clothes.” The other one muttered, looking at Leonardo’s bare chest. Then shaking herself from a reprieve, she looked back up at her face.

“Wow, then they said you were tall and athletic, they sure meant it huh? I’m Doctor Rainbow Miller.” She held out her hand, slightly scarred and nails clipped very short for a lady, to him.

“A doctor?” Leonardo asked.

“Yes of course- oh right. Fifteenth century. Yes, I’m a woman and a doctor.”

Leonardo nodded, mind still whirling even as he did so.

“And you are Leonardo da Vinci. The greatest mind from the Renaissance.” She said, eyes shining.

“The what?” Leonardo asked.

“The time period you lived. That’s what it’s called now, the Renaissance, when people finally started using their brains again.”

Leonardo laughed at that again and did a sitting little half bow. He wished for a shirt at least, but was not sure if he should ask for one yet.

“I’m glad I could contribute!” He smiled, but couldn’t help but feel oddly self-conscious about the title.  

The younger woman let out a hysterical sounding half laugh.

“My god, he doesn’t even know what he did, oh my god Rain, what have we done, what have we done?” She muttered, a hand half covering her mouth and her green eyes impossibly wide. Leonardo thought she looked a little like the traders who came from Egypt or beyond, her skin darker than Rainbow’s and her features rather kind and sleepy looking. She stared at him as if witnessing a miracle.  

Rain rolled her eyes. “That is Kamala. She’s my ex-intern, or I guess you would consider her my assistant. Ignore her breakdown, she’s just being dramatic.”

“Dramatic!! We just brought back Leonardo Da Vinci! If there was ever a time for drama now is it, Rain!” Kamala said.

“Brought back?” Leonardo asked distractedly, wiggling his toes and deciding that walking would probably be safe. Nothing hurt, at least and everything seemed to be in the proper place. His body looked as it had when he’d lived in Florence for the first time, after he’d left Andrea’s workshop to start his own. He made to get off the table. His legs did indeed support his weight and none of his muscles had atrophied. So his old body had probably not been used. A new body had been created then?

Hmmm, how interesting. He tried to think if anything was missing from his mind, and wondered if he would even realize if any of it was. If you did not remember not remembering, would you ever know you had forgotten? Leonardo itched for paper and looked around for anything to write the thought down on.  

Leonardo thought that he should be more concerned that he can’t remember being dead but right now he was too interested in looking around the room he was in. It almost seemed like it was made of the clearest glass he had ever seen, so smooth it looked like a still lake. He reached out and ran his finger along the cold surface he had been lying on. It looked like the metal that was used to make steel for swords, but it had a hollow sound when he flicked it with a nail.

Leonardo was aware that silence had fallen and turned back to the previously bickering women. Rain was staring at him in amusement, like he had learned a trick and Kam was still clutching her face, looking extremely frazzled.

“Pardon me, did you ask me something?” Leonardo chanced. Many times he had been berated for his own absent mindedness.

Rain shook her head, smiling slightly. “No, no. Sorry, here let’s get you some clothing. Walk with me, signore.”

Rain held out hand and assisted in helping him walk, not evening batting an eye at his nudity. Kamala turned her back and blushed, however.

“Ew,” she muttered, quietly. Leonardo frowned. Andrea had used him as model, there was nothing offensive about his body. At least in comparison to some of the naked men he’d seen.

“Grow up Kam,” Rain snapped, looking annoyed. Leonardo noticed the hand that wasn’t gripping the inside of his elbow held onto a walking stick, made of some kind of light colored metal. She didn’t seem to exert much force in lifting it, so he assumed it must have been hollow for her to lift it that easily.

Leonardo wondered if he would be able to see how it worked.

Rain had been looking at him with an amused and questioning look. “What’s the last thing you remember Leonardo?”

He considered the question carefully.

A dark warm room. Crying. ‘Sleep, the best of men.’ He was tired, and had closed his eyes.

“I… Did I truly die?” Leonardo guessed, feeling uncharacteristically nervous and unsure.

Rain nodded casually, and guided him over to a square hole in the wall.

“Exactly. Peacefully in your bed, at the ripe age of sixty-seven, pretty good for someone who lived so close to the plague years.”

As Leonardo processed this she spoke to the hole.

“Mens cotton shirt, white, large.”

Leonardo gaped at what she requested appeared. He ducked to look to see if he could find the nimble tailor who lived in it. But it was a hole that ended about a foot and a half back, completely closed on all sides. He looked at Rain in amazement.

“How?” Leonardo demanded, quickly getting over his own death in the face of new and very interesting data. Death was commonplace, Leonardo had seen it many times. This was the first time he’d ever seen something created from nothing, however.  

She grinned at him and held out the shirt.

“Clothes first, then answers.”

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Two: On the Wings of Icarus. Part Four.

PART FOUR.

Kam caught up with Rain outside of the building.

“Rain, wait!”

“Kamala Manson, you are henceforth no longer my intern, so I can speak plainly,” she spun around to face her. “Go fuck yourself, you spineless mouse.”

Kam stopped, feeling like she’d been slapped. Rain snorted, and turned around and kept walking.

Shaking off her shock, Kam followed. “He would have had us both arrested, Rain! What the hell is wrong with you, don’t you care?”

“Frankly, no. Not at all. I would have gone knowing that at least I still had my standards,” she spat at Kamala.

“You’re so self righteous! You don’t care about anything other than what you want,” Kam said bitterly.

“At least it better than going through life as a coward.”

Kam let a sound of exasperation, feeling hurt and angry all at once.

“Fine. Fine! I’m glad. I’ll go find someone with morals to study under. It’ll be better than this.”

“Good luck with that Kamala, maybe you should find an area of study better suited to your temperament, like a preschool teacher,” Rain offered before she headed off to the transportation station.

Tears stinging her eyes, Kam headed in the opposite direction.

XXX

It had been a month since their fight and Kam had to admit, she was bored.

She was still angry and stung, but the last minute replacement she’d found at the University hospitable was not nearly as exciting at Rain was. There was no encouragement to push the boundaries like there was with Rain. There was no, ‘why not’, no ‘science is proof you can recreate anything under the proper circumstances’.

There was nothing that made science exciting as Rain had made it.

Kamala hadn’t told Tamara why she’d come home in tears, other than that Rain had fired her. She hadn’t brought up what Rain was working on to anyone, the words ‘coward, and spineless’ still ringing in her ears. She hadn’t looked up Zebadiah either, too afraid he tracked his searches and would find her router.

She was on the patio when Tammy came out, took one look at her and sighed.

“For heaven’s sake, Kam. Just call Rain and make up already.”

“What, why?”

“You’ve looked like a kicked puppy. Just call her and ask to talk.”

“She was pretty mad at me when I left Tammy, you didn’t see her.”

“If anything you’ve told me about Rainbow Miller is true, I’m guessing she’d probably already forgotten what she was mad at about in the first place, and doesn’t remember why you stopped coming to her lab,” Tammy smirked. “Seriously, just call her and see.”

Still feeling unsure, Kam nodded. Tammy kissed her cheek

“Atta way, love. Now come on, I made that salmon you like so much.”

XXX

Rain hit the workstation in frustration.

“I know you’re in there, somewhere, you Italian bastard, now come on!” She snarled at the DNA displayed on the screen.

While she did manage to get some of Leonardo’s DNA, it was slightly decayed and it left Rain trying to fix it.

She was a polymath, but DNA had never been her specialty.

Unfortunately it had been Kam’s.

But every time Rain thought about calling her protégé, her mind flashbacked to Kam spilling all of her secrets to Zebadiah and her anger came rushing back.

Rain sighed and stretched her neck, rolling her shoulders back.

“Alright, let’s try this again.” She put her fingers back to the touch screen to try again.

Science was the evidence that you could repeat anything under the proper circumstances.

XXX

It took Kam another day and half to call Rain. She did it after Tammy went to bed, still not confident that Rain wouldn’t still be furious with her.

It took multiple time for Rain to pick up the call, and when she did, Kam was shocked by how frayed her former mentor looked.

Her skin had an oily and waxen look to it. Her hair was unbrushed and mussed from presumably being pulled on. Something about her face seemed to have shrunk.

The only thing that was the same was the massive smile Rain was wearing.

“Rain, I-“

“I did it!” Rain shouted, slamming her hands on the sides of the video display.

“Wait, what? You figured out-”

“I did! Without you, even,” Rain smirked.

Kam scowled suddenly able to remember why she’d been so concerned about calling.

“Oh Kam, don’t look like that. It took me three times longer without you here. You know I don’t understand DNA modification,” Rain smiled.

“It did?” Kam smiled slightly, feeling flattered despite herself.

“Yes. You have a better innate understanding of it than I ever will.”

Kam fidgeted for a moment. “Rain, I’m sorry about telling Zebadiah about the project.”

Rain sighed. “I know. I know why you did it too. I’m sorry I called you a spineless coward.”

Kam shrugged. “I was terrified of going to the labor farm,” she admitted.

“Most normal people are. Anyway, come over. Let’s finish this.”

“What, now?” Kam looked at the time. It was nearly one am.

“No time like the present. I’ll explain how I did it too. I figured out that we need to plug in the data directly, as a physical piece of DNA,” Rain grinned manically.

Kam reeled, eyes going wide.

“Of course!”

“So get over here, I want to get started.”

Kam stopped.

“It’s one am. I’m not coming over at one am.”

“It’s only seven pm here. Come over in the next thirty minutes or I’m starting without you.” Rain ordered then hung up.

Kam rolled her eyes. Same old Rain. She looked back towards the stairs, where Tammy was asleep upstairs. She could easily get up, go upstairs, and fall asleep with her wife. Rain hadn’t said she was reinstated as her Intern. There wasn’t any reason to go around the world to help Rain.

But her mind flashed back to that moment she’d seen Leonardo’s body lying on the lab table and

thinking ‘Oh my god. We did it.’ That moment where her theory and data had become real, the fission of delight that Kam could still feel echo in her bones.

She could go upstairs…

Or Kam could go halfway across the world and make history with her crazy boss.

She got dressed and slipped her lab coat on.

“Sunshine,” she whispered, leaning close to Tammy’s shoulder. Her wife made an affirming noise that she’d heard. “I have to go help Rain with something, okay? I’ll call you tomorrow. I love you sunshine.” She kissed the back of her neck and slipped out of the condo, and into the hot air of night on the Cairo. Kam looked up at she walked.

There were never any stars that you could see from earth, not anymore. But the Bastille was a silver loop around the moon and she looked up at it admiringly as she walked to the transporter station.

XXX

“Finally!”  

Doctor Rain practically yanked Kam inside. She stumbled slightly, nearly tripping on Rain’s cane.

“You took your sweet time in getting here Kam. I was hoping having a wife wouldn’t distract you,” Rain sniffed, but she smiled regardless.

Kam scowled. “Don’t push it Rain. I’m supposed to be asleep with said wife right now. After all you never said I was your intern again. I don’t have to be your beleaguered bitch, you know.”

“If it matters that much to you, I’ll make you my intern again, so you can get the credit. After all Kam, you can rest later, because right now we are making history! We’re going to bring it back to life, doesn’t that excite you?”

Kam smiled reluctantly, because, yes, it was a little exciting.

Rain was already setting up the raw materials to make the body with.

Kam nodded, fingers slipping as she started activating the right programs.

A glass shield, all of it touch powered enabled raised over the raw materials that were separated on the steel surgical table.

“Phase one,” Rain intoned. “Skeletal structure.”

The bones formed from the calcium and other materials. Dust formed into pearly white bones, knitting together.

“Phase two, musculature.” Pink muscles wrapped around the bones, weaving together, and forming structures. Joints and tendons became rubber band tight around the joints of the bones and muscles.

“Phase three, transporting blood and organs into the body cavity.”

Lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, intestines, heart and brain all shimmered and disappeared from their containers and into the body which looked like it slowly inflated with the added bulk. A blood transfusion started, bringing the otherwise rather grey blue looking freshly created corpse a pink and red color. Kam shivered.

“Phase four, dermal.”

Skin, pale for the southern region of the Italian peninsula, and lightly freckled gradually stuck to the muscles. This part took the longest, each pore having to create itself. Kam watched in stunned silence as for ten minutes the body of Leonardo da Vinci reformed itself before her eyes. They’d already done this once before but it was still slightly unnerving to watch as patches of skin appeared and bloomed on the muscles like some kind of sick flowers.

Rain’s voice shook slightly when she gave the final command “Phase five, reanimation. Kam, give him heart enough to get started with.” Under the work station she tightly crossed her fingers.      

Kam pressed the button and Leonardo’s body gave a massive jerk as the electrical volt ran through him. The two scientists held their breath for a moment, depending on their faith to carry through, to help them achieve this impossible goal.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Once again the sound of a new heart beat rang through the lab.

“Okay, now for the real test. Kam, tell me how his brain activity looks.”

Kam shut her eyes tightly for moment before looking down at her screen.

“Oh my god Rain.”

The other scientist looked over at her, eyes wide.

“It’s incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“What?!” Rain demanded.

“His brain, both hemispheres are lit up equally. I’ve never seen anyone show these patterns before,” Kam smiled hugely at her mentor. “Rain, we did it! He’s alive!”

“Oh my god.” Rain breathed, watching her body take its first breaths of air. “Oh, my god.”

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Chapter Two: On the Wings of Icarus. Part Three.

PART THREE.

The Louvre was thankfully quiet once you broke away from the main wing, which led directly down to the Mona Lisa. With time and exposure, the painting had become even more famous and treasured. After a group of aliens had tried to steal it in 2889, the government had declared it a protected landmark. Humans and Aliens now flocked to see the painting.

“Just think Kam. We’ll be able to meet the man who made it. We’ll be able to ask him what the hell she’s smiling about,” Rain hissed as they made their way past the crowd.

Kamala didn’t say anything, too jumpy to engage in dialogue.

They slowly wound their way through the museum, the crowd gradually thinning, the farther they were from the main wing. The dimly lit building put Kam on edge, every person who walked by looked like a security person. Rain however didn’t even seem to noticed, moving with great deliberately through the rooms of art.

“It should be in this room,” she whispered to Kam, rounding a corner into another section.

It was immediately apparent which painting Rain was referring to, since it had a section of the western wall all to itself. In the dark room, the painting of the saint was even more striking, seeming to lean in out of darkness of the canvas. Despite the age, careful care had been applied to the painting and the colors still had some brilliance.

Kam and Rain stood side by side, staring at the painting.

“You know, I think after this, this is my new favorite da Vinci.” Rain whispered. Kam shifted her weight back and forth.

“It seems like he’s staring at us,” she muttered. Rain tilted her head.

“Did you know, they think the model was that apprentice that da Vinci was sleeping with. That would explain a lot about his expression,” Rain raised her eyebrows at Kam, who blushed.

“Come on, can we hurry up and do this?”

“Give it a moment, I can hear a group in the next room. Let them pass through while I prepare for the collection.”

Kam sighed, and sat down on one of the bolted down wooded benches, while Rain fiddled with the top her walking stick. True to her prediction, a group of wealthy and cultured looking aliens, along with their human translator walked in. Kam stiffened on the bench, unease prickling up and down her neck. However Rain didn’t seem to care, looking for all the world like she was simply enjoying a day at the Louvre. After guiding the aliens around the room, pointing to each painting and identifying the artist, and showing the aliens how to bring up the translation and info apps on their holographic wristbands, the group moved on. Kam nearly sighed in relief, but Rain was already pulling on a pair of cotton gloves and withdrawing a long cotton swab from her cane.

Kam jumped up and looked around, expecting for security to sweep down on them, but no one did.

“I expect he would have spent the most time on the face, and knowing da Vinci’s percent for perfection it would have taken hours. He probably breathed and touched this painting hundreds of times,” Rain breathed.

“And you don’t think anyone else has?” Kam asked, dubious.

“Everyone knows you aren’t supposed to touch paintings. Who would be so bold to start leaving oils and skin on a renaissance painting? Come on Kam, have some faith.”

Rain drew back and carefully slipped the cotton swab back into a test tube. She was putting them both back into her cane, while Kam sighed.

“At least we’re done- What are you doing?!” She hissed. Rain, still wearing the gloves was carefully running her fingers over the face of the painting.

“You can feel his brush strokes, Kam, it’s amazing.”

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”

Rain froze. Kam whipped around to see an unimpressed security guard looking at both, already typing information into her wrist band.

“I’m going you need you to step away from that painting, ma’am,” she said sternly.

Rain smiled sheepishly, hand raised in surrender.

“Sorry, only getting a closer look. We’ll go.”

The guard was still frowning and walking closer.

“You know you can’t have that in here,” she gestured to the walking stick. “The louvre has a strict no weapons policy.”

Rain tightened her hold on the cane.

“I need this to walk. I have an injury in my hip.”

The guard looked dubious. “You need a stick to help you walk? Do you have a doctor’s note?”

Kam spoke up, tremors racing up and down her spine. “Look, we’ll leave right now. I’m sorry about Doctor Miller. Can we please just go?”

“I think my supervisor wants to talk to you,” the guard said. Rain threw a hand up.

“This is absurd. You don’t need to go to the trouble, we were just leaving.” Rain tried to forcibly walk past the guard but was stopped by a firm hand on her arm.

“You aren’t going.”

Rain raised her eyes to look the guard in the face.

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll let go of me, right now.”

“Rain, don’t,” Kam warned.

The three women could have stood in a deadlock for hours more but the arrival of another person in the room broke the tension.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know this was a private affair,” a smooth silky baritone said from the doorway.

The guard let go of Rain to face the door. In the dim light it was hard to see who was standing there, but Kam thought she could make out unnaturally pale features and long flowing hair.

“Sir, I’m sorry. You can’t enter this room right now,” the guard said.

The man walked more fully into the room, and Kam blinked in amazement. The man’s face was exotically pale, but beyond that the scales along his high cheekbones and jaw identified him as non-human. He was dressed well, the suit tailored and a plunging neck line so deep, Kam could see how his muscles moved as he walked forward. His dark hair was elaborately braided and held back by several gold chains.

She frowned. This alien was clearly rich and well provided for, but she couldn’t identify his race, which was odd since Kam had met a fair number of aliens in and out of school. Rain also had her head tilted, considering the alien man.

“Apologies, I was merely passing through. I though all of the museum was accessible today.” He inclined his head.

The security guard seemed to falter for a moment.

“Well it is, just not this room right now.”

“Ah. Can I be of assistance in some way? My wife, is head of your security corp. Shall I contact her?”

Kam stopped breathing and for a moment even Rain looked scared.

This man was the exotic and sensual partner of the second most powerful person in the federation, Chikara Haruka.

Kam swallowed dryly as the guard seemed to flounder.

“U-um no sir. That won’t be necessary.”

“Then there is no trouble?” The alien titled his head.

The security women looked back at Rain, then back to the alien.

“No sir, these women were just leaving. I’m sure they will find the exit with the greatest possible alacrity,” she said, staring daggers at Rain, who gave her a smirk.

“Of course. No more trouble from us.”

With one last look at them, the security women left the room. All was silent while Kam concentrated on breathing deeply and not passing out.

“Are you really married to Haurka?” Rain asked the alien.

He inclined his head.

“I am. My given name is Zebadiah.”

Rain snorted. “Really?”

Zebadiah nodded. “Yes. In my culture, when a couple is bound, the more powerful of the two may rename the other. This is the name Chikara picked for me.”

Kam raised her eyebrows. “What was your name before?”

Zebadiah looked away. “I am never to speak it aloud again, it would be the gravest insult to my caretaker and protector to do so.”

Rain looked over at Kam, eyebrows raised.

“Well thank you for helping us out. We’re leaving now,” Rain gestured with her head for Kam to follow her out of the room.

“May I ask what you were really doing?” Zebadiah’s voice stopped them both cold. Rain glanced at him.

“Excuse me?”

“When you were touching the painting, you were drawing something across its surface. What were you really doing?”

Rain barked out an uneasy laugh. “You must have been mistaken I wasn’t-“

“You know I could have you arrested, and taken to Chikara. It’s probably in your best intrests not to lie to me.” Zebadiah shrugged.

Rain scowled. “I don’t have to tell you anything.”

“Alright, then. If you insist on not giving me what I want.”

The alien went to touch his holographic wristband, the one that would allow him instant communication with Federation HQ, and the Head of Security.

“No, stop! We’ll tell you!” Kam said frantically.

“Kam, no!” Rain hissed, but it was too late.

“We’re collecting skin cells from the painting. We need da Vinci’s DNA.”

Zebadiah stopped and he looked between a tearful Kamala and a furious looking Rain.

“Really? For what reason?”

“Doctor Miller has technology that can bring people back to life,” Kam breathlessly explained.

Zebadiah looked at Rain, dark eyes wide.

“Does she really?”

Rain looked torn for a moment, stuck in between her desire to keep what she was doing secret and her desire for attention. At last her base desire for attention won out, and she reluctantly nodded.

Letting out a quiet and breathy word that her translator didn’t catch, Zebadiah walked closer to Rain, the gold in his hair clinking together.

“Does it work, have you tested it?” he asked urgently.

“Mostly. That’s why we need the DNA, because otherwise it’s just a vegetable.”

“Where did you get it?” He asked quietly, staring deeply into Rain’s eyes.

“The Komali gave it to me, they said it was a gift, something their own culture has used for centuries.”

Zebadiah nodded, and extended his hand out, palm up. “Give it to me.”

For one mad moment, Kamala thought Rain was going to, her hand going to her cane, but then she shook her head, and backed up.

“No. What were you doing to me? Stop it!”

Zebadiah sighed. “Some of my species have weak psychic powers. They work on lower life forms, sometimes.”

Rain sneered. “Thank you for the compliment.”

Zebadiah shrugged. “It was worth the effort. Now I have to threaten you,” he said, his voice bored.

“You can’t just let us leave?” Kam asked, voice pitched with fear. Rain shot her a disgusted look.

“No. You have something I want. Will you sell?”

“Never,” Rain declared.

“For power? My wife can make anything in the government, you know.”

“I don’t want it.”

“Sex? Love?”

“I couldn’t be less interested in either of those things.”

Zebadiah shook his head. “Alright. Then I’ll tell you plainly. If you do not give me the data on this technology, I will report it, and you will find yourself on a labor farm in short order, never again to work with science. And then I will still take it when the government seizes your possessions. So you can give it to me the easy way, or you can give it to me the hard way. Regardless I will have it.”

Rain grit her teeth in fury, a muscle in her jaw twitching. Outside the room, Kamala could hear people still walking around and wondered if it would be worth it to try and make a break for it.

Before she could however, Rain curled her lip back, and hands trembling in anger, opened the top of her cane and shook out a data chip.

“This is the original of what the Komali gave me. Everything you need is there. I’m sure you have people on your staff that can figure out how to work it. Now get out of my way,” she snarled.

Zebadiah smiled and inclined his head.

“As you wish, Doctor. Good luck with your project.”

Rain stormed past him, the cane beating a rapid beat on the ground. Kam stared at Zebadiah for a terrified moment before darting off after Rain.

Zeb smiled at the data chip in his hand.

“I have great plans for you.”

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Two: On the Wings of Icarus. Part Two.

PART TWO.

“Mergh. ‘Et the chime.”

Kam rolled over, groaning. “Don’t wanna. You get it.”

“It’s probably fucking Rain. So you get it Ka,” Tammy ordered and rolled so her face was buried in the pillow under her head.

Kam rolled her eyes but muttered an obligatory “Yes dear,” and rolled out of bed, stumbling over down the stairs to where the communications center was mounted in the living room. She called up the communicator app and within moments Rain’s voice was coming through.

“Kamala! I’ve been trying to get you for ten minutes now!”

“Well do you know what time it is here in Cairo? I was sound asleep Rain. You know, that thing most people need to function.”

“Never mind that! I’ve done it!”

Kam stopped rubbing her eyes.

“Really?” She breathed.

Rain looked slightly crazed as she spoke into the camera. Her usually neat braid was falling part, fraying at the edges, and her eyes were even more shadowed than the last time Kam had seen her over a week ago.

“I went back over the video, and realized that the unidentified mineral that was on the table, the one we thought was just something human bodies didn’t have, it was ash.”

“Ash?” Kam cocked her head.

“Yes! Remember, the Professor-“

“Burned to death! They had his DNA in the ash!”

Rain nodded. “Exactly, so what we need-“

“Is DNA,” Kam finished. The she realized what she said and nearly fell over. “Rain, da Vinci has been dead over a millennia. There’s no DNA of his left. And he didn’t have any blood descents.”

“No, no. Kam you’re thinking too linearly again. Think about the ash, at that temperature, most of the DNA would have been destroyed. It’s clear that this program only require the tiniest amount. If Leonardo even touched something a thousand years ago, we’d be able to get enough to make it work,” Rain leaned in closer to the camera, her eyes wide. “How many paintings, how many sketches of his still exist? All we have to do is brush one, and we’d get what we need, Kam.”

“Are you suggestion that we go to the Louvre and try to get close to a da Vinci?” Kam asked, voice flat. “Have you lost your fu-“

“Kam? Are you coming back to bed or not?” Tammy called from upstairs. Kam rubbed her face.

“Yes Tammy! Be right there!” She turned back to the screen. “Rain, you’ve lost your mind. There’s no way-“

“I’m going tomorrow,” Rain interrupted her, jaw set.

“What?”

“I’m going to the Louvre tomorrow. I don’t care if you are there or not, but if you aren’t you can consider your internship with me over. Goodnight Kamala.” Rain closed the feed before Kam could say anything at all.

Stunned, Kam sat back. For a moment her vision went blurry as tears of anger gathered in her eyes.

Criminal record or an internship she only had three months left on?

She’d already started applying for jobs with Egypt’s bioscience department. If Rain withdrew her internship now, she’d be forced to start over. Two years of work gone, just like that.

But if she was caught damaging a da Vinci, Kam knew she’d be lucky to find herself on a labor farm.

Sniffling and indecisive, she headed back upstairs. Tammy had rolled over and gone back to sleep if her quiet snoring was anything to go by.  Kam crawled into the bed, and slowly laid back, trying not to disturb her.

“Hm, Kam?”

“Yeah Tammy?”

“What’d Rain want?”

Clearing her throat, Kam said “Nothing. She just wanted to tell me about something she discovered and forgot about the time difference.”

Tammy chuckled quietly and rolled over so she was hugging Kamala from the side. “For a genius, your boss sure is crazy sometimes.”

Kam shrugged. “She’s a little out there. Rain’s just so driven, she doesn’t remember everyone else has a life outside of science.”

“Are you going to need to go over tomorrow?”

Kam sighed again. “I don’t know. She wants me to do something, something I’m not sure I can do.”

Tammy played with the ends of Kam’s braid, running her fingertips over it. “Is this the same project you’ve been working on for the past month, the one that you’ve been spending so much time on?”

“Yeah.”

“Seems like you’ve come a pretty long way, not to finish it now,” Tammy pointed out, gently. Her brown eyes were tired and fixed on some middle point of the closet, filled with dresses and lab coats. “You’re pretty driven yourself, Ka. Is this project something you’ve enjoyed working on?”

Kam nodded.

“Then why not see it through?”

Because I could be arrested,’ Kam thought to herself. “Well, it could be dangerous.”

Tammy shook with giggles. “This from the woman who thinks free form rock climbing is fun?”

“Rock climbing is fun,” Kamala defended mulishly. Tammy rolled her eyes.

“Sure, love. Anyway, I don’t see why you shouldn’t at least try to finish this with Rain. You only have another three months to work with her, and I don’t believe you’d put yourself seriously at risk.”

“Tammy,” Kam hesitated, the truth curling up and dying on her tongue. “If you’re really okay with me going tomorrow, I will.”

“Whatever makes you happy, babe,” Tammy muttered, falling back asleep.

Kam stayed awake for much longer, staring at the shadows on the ceiling.

XXX

Rain was staring at the museum in front of her, head tilted to the side.

Renovated during the French Revolution and turned into a place to house art, emptied during World War Two, redesigned during the nineteen-nineties, emptied again during World War Three and finally made a protected Terran heritage site, hundreds of thousands of people still came and went through the carefully controlled doors every day.

Humans and aliens walked around her as Rain stood in silent contemplation. In top of her walking cane was a sealed test tube and small cotton swab.

All she need was to get close to one. She could almost taste her own success.

Rain had already picked the most likely candidate to get close. The Mona Lisa would have been impossible, as it was now in an airtight container and surrounded by guards. Virgin of the Rocks was also too hard of a target, since it had the second longest viewing list. She’d chosen Saint John the Baptist. Unguarded and in a room that didn’t have any other big name paintings in it, it would be simple to just get close enough to brush the cotton swab across the painting, collecting the ancient cells she needed.

Casually Rain looked around. It was a cool autumn day in Paris and the sun shined even as the dead leaves swirled around pedestrian’s ankles. She’d messaged Kam to be here at eleven, if she wanted to keep her internship.

Rain sighed. It had been harsh to threaten her intern with that, but necessary. And if this worked, then it would mean that Kam would have her choice of jobs at the end of her tenure anyway. In terms of the risk/reward, Rain would always take a gamble over a safe bet. It was part of what had defined her career, and why she was given as much freedom as she was by the Terran Federation. Someday Kamala would be thanking Rain, when she had her dream lab and the reputation to back it up.

She spotted the other woman walking towards her, across the plaza and smiled. Rain stood where she was, waiting patiently as Rain walked over to her, shoulders up and head down.

“You came,” Rain said simply, when kamala stopped in front of her.

“I didn’t want to, believe me Rain. But it seemed like I didn’t really have any choice in the matter.

Rain shrugged and started limping towards the museum.

“Someday you’ll thank me Kam. But today we need to focus, so shelf whatever you feel about me right now and think like a scientist,” she encouraged her.

After a moment, Kam was walking beside here, shaking her head.

“I’ll never understand you, Rain.”

“That’s fine, you don’t need to. You just have to listen to me.”

Kamala let out a desperate sounding chuckle.

“And when we both get arrested?”

Rain rolled her eyes.

“We aren’t going to get arrested Kamala, now let’s go. The painting we’re looking for is Saint John the Baptist,” she smirked at Kam when she held the door open, “hopefully the painter should be obvious.”

 

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Two: On the Wings of Icarus. Part One.

EPISODE TWO: On The Wings of Icarus.

PART ONE.

“Okay, factoring in his rough height and weight at the age of thirty-“

“What? Why thirty? Didn’t he die at an old age for that time?”

“Yes, but I want him in his prime Kam, when he was doing great things with his life and not dying of a stroke in bed,” Rain answered crossly. Kam held up her hands in defense, powering on of the consoles son.

“Okay, okay. Have it your way.’

“Thank you.” Rain stared down at her own station, across from the lab, her ever present walking stick next to her. “So I want you to monitor the life support and electrical signals from the brain. I will be crafting the body and uploading the actual database of information to his synapses.”

She took a deep breath and brought the newly built containers and ‘regenerator’ machine online. Under the bright lab lights, a quiet electrical buzz started up.

“Alright, running simulation number one. The Da Vinci Test. Kam, start the machine.”

Rain observed carefully as Kam raised the glass shielding over the table, like the Komali had done in the video three months ago.

Three months of overnights at the lab, going over the data again and again, reconstructing it then ripping it apart at the foundation when it didn’t work. She must have explained the fucking thing to her dogs over ten times now, trying to understand what was missing.

Finally Rain was ready to pull the trigger and run an actual trial.

Today was that day.

“Okay, now activate the generator. This will cause the creation process to begin, first with the skeleton.”

Kam obediently pushed the buttons, and both women watched at the piles of minerals on the table began to shift and form. Skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, legs, arms all formed on the table. Rain beat back her excitement and calmly ordered the next part. Now internal organs, made in a separate container formed. Carefully Kam transported them to the proper space in the body cavity and then started a blood transfer. The blood was a guess, based on probability and research done about what blood types were most common in the south of Italy in the 15th century.

Soon a layer of muscle wrapped around the body, forming broad shoulders and long legs.

“Wow, he was really tall,” Kam remarked.

Rain nodded her head absently.

“Well let’s see what our Renaissance man looked like. Give him skin, Kam.”

This was the longest part of the process, the skin appearing piecemeal, gradually filling in cell by cell.

It was like standing in a spot that had been electrically charged. Rain shifted her weight back and forth, impatiently. Kam seemed as entranced as she was staring into the glass case with an expression of amazement.

Finally the skin was finished, the pigmentation lighter than either Rain or Kam’s, but tending to a warmer color than any of the white people Rain had ever met. His hair was a very dark brown that lay in waves on the table.

Rain crossed her fingers under the workstation and took a deep breath.

“Okay Kam, give him 120 jolts, just to get his heart started,” she ordered. Kam nodded and pressed a button and the body on the table jerked as the current ran through it.

Neither woman breathe for a long moment, watching. Then the sound of a heart beat filled the room.

Rain whooped in delight, spinning on her heel. Elation filled her mind as she grinned at the case.

“How’s it look Kam? Is his heartbeat steady?”

“Yeah but,” Kam bit her lip frowning at her screen. A wave of cold washed over Rain.

“What?”

“Rain I’m sorry-”

“What?!”

“There’s no brain activity! The synapses are intact, but there’s nothing there,” Kam explained.

“No! That’s not possible we ran the simulation and it worked fine!” Rain looked over the data herself, eyes flicking back and forth over the numbers. “Shock him again!”

“What?”

“You heard me, give him another jolt.”

Biting her lip, Kam did so, the body jerked again and the heart beats increased, but the brain waves stayed dark.

“Do it again! Two hundred this time!”

“Rain, you’re going to fry him!”

“Just do what I say!”

Kam shook as she did it again, the body jerked again, more violently.

Again and again Rain ordered her to send electrify into the lifeless body, until after 700 jolts, the body caught fire. Even as Kam doused it, Rain just stared, eyes furious and jaw set.

XXX

“What the hell went wrong?” Rain moaned at her screen, head propped up in her hand. Her long dark hair was carelessly scraped back from her face and shadows like bruise were under her eyes.

“Was it the-“

“No.”

“Well what about-“

“No.”

“Did you look at the-“

“Kam, be quiet, I’m trying to think,” Rain snapped. She started reading over the data again, and growled.

“There’s something missing, something we aren’t seeing.”

Kam sighed and stretched her neck, rotating her shoulders. She glanced at the clock and slumped.

It was just after two in the morning, meaning that she’d been here for a little over twenty-two hours.

“Rain, we’re not gonna figure it out tonight. Let’s go home, come back later today,” Kam pleaded.

Rain didn’t even turn around.

Kam sighed. “Fine. Stay here and sulk. I’m going home,” she snapped, tearing off her lab coat and hanging it up. She collected her tablet and walked out.

Rain never even twitched.

XXX

“She’s been gone for days,” Berwald said, sitting next to Ava. “We should use this time to try and leave.”

Ava shook herself. “No. She left with Kam. She comes back after she does that.”

Berwald growled. “You made us wait for her to come back after she left for space. How long are we going to remain her prisoners?”

Ava turned her yellow eyes on her brother. “Till I say we go.” The fur along her shoulders was rising and she stood up. She was taller than the other dog, thanks to the Irish Wolfhound in her. “And I say we wait until we’re sure she isn’t coming back.” She snapped her teeth in front of his muzzle.

Berwald shrank back and reluctantly rolled onto the floor.

“As you say, Alpha.”

Ava stared at him until he crawled away then sat back down on the rug in the living room. A whimper alerted her to Baby’s presence.

“Pups shouldn’t eavesdrop,” she growled. The Pompeian crawled out from under the couch, one of the many places she liked to hide in.

“I was just sleeping, until you and Berwald started fighting.”

Ava sighed and put her head down on her front paws. “Berwald forgets his place in the pack.” She turned to Baby. “Make sure you never do.” The puppy cocked her head, ears fluttering.

Then she laid down next to Ava.

“Are we really going to run away from Rain?”

Ava nosed the fluffy fur that ended up next to her nose.

“Yes. As soon as we can.”

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode One: In the Year Three Thousand. Part Three.

PART THREE.

It was dark in North Dakota by the time Kam and Rain met.

Rain’s lab was a renovated office building that she bought when she decided the university lab wasn’t private enough. There’s the top level that still has an office façade, but she gutted the entire basement, and turned into a roomy and multi-level lab. Rain considered it her second home. Kam wished she didn’t consider a second home, but over her internship with Rain she’d spent so much time here that it was inevitable.

“Throw the video recording up on the wall and just watch, Kam.” Rain slipped into her lab coat.

Kam shrugged but took the tablet and swiped the video from the screen to the wall. Rain sat down on the spinning stool, watching her assistant eagerly. Kam watched in silence, peering intensely.

“What are they-“

“Shhhh! Just watch Kam,” Rain insisted. Kam moved her eyes back to the video on the wall, watching as the alien placed several amounts of minerals onto the lab table. Then a glass covering raised over the entire thing. The Komali scientist pushed some buttons on their console screen and the machine started to make a very faint mechanical hum. At first, Kam couldn’t make out what was happening inside of the machine but her eyes widen as she watched was undeniably a skeleton form from the minerals on the table.

Crafting human limbs that were grown and then harvested wasn’t unusual, although it was expensive. Many more people opted for to get android replacements instead. Kam’s roommate in college had gone through having her arm blown off during her first tour in space and gotten a robotic replacement. Many more people, born blind, had robotic eyes.

But Kam had never heard of forming a skeleton from raw minerals before.

Then she watched as the empty body cavity filled in with internal organs, carefully transported into place by the scientist. Then a layer of muscle, and finally purple skin appeared. The body lay lifeless for a moment then the scientist pushed another button and a small electrical surge lit up the case and Kam saw the body takes its first breaths. The glass shield slid away and the naked alien sat up.

“Can you tell me your name?” The scientist asked.

“I am Professor Ibbala from the southern coastal institute.” The body, the professor said calmly.

“Can you tell me what the last thing you remember Professor?”

“I was in my office, grading papers when the building exploded. I tried to escape. The door was blocked by debris. I suffocated.”

“How many times have you been resurrected?”

The naked alien seemed to almost smile at this. “This is my third.”

The scientist nodded. “Thank you. You may get dressed and go, Professor.”

The video ended. Kam turned to face Rain, mouth open and speechless. Rain was grinning maniacally.

“They can bring back the dead, Kam.”

XXX

After being plied with some very strong chai tea, Kam was able to speak again.

“It was incredible, like making a human from clay.” Her hands rotated around each other, remembering the way the alien had been made, not born but made.

“I know, I was amazed but apparently this is how they keep their traditions alive. A certain percentage of their population agrees to be resurrected to teach the next generation and so on. The most one has been brought back was six times, Kam. They were over five hundred years old by the time they called it quits.” Rain was pacing back and forth, energy pouring off of her intense waves. She gripped her cane tighter as she spoke.

“And I think we can do it too.”

Kam laughed, but stopped when Rain glared at her.

“Come on Rain be serious. This is an alien species. They might have the biology, the evolution to make this happen but humans certainly don’t.”

“Actually, other than their gravity and atmosphere allowing for the difference between pigmentation and bone structure, the Komali aren’t so different. Same nutritional needs, same breeding patterns, same brain shape and size. With some small tweaks to the process and an adjustment in the amount of the material needed, this could definitely be applied to a human.” Rain leaned on her walking stick, amber eyes burning holes into her intern.   

Kamala gave her a nervous look. “And you want to recreate the data, but with a-”

“I want to do one of ours, one of humanity’s historical figures.”

Kamala sat back, stunned.

“What would you make her, um him, uh, them with?” She stuttered out.

Rain smiled bigger than ever, amber eyes glinting.

“Water, carbon, ammonia, lime, salt, ectera, ectera, ectera. Human bodies are cheap, all things being equal.” Her expression was extremely satisfied.

Kam shifted uneasily in her chair. “But, is it, you know?” She mouthed something.

“What?” Rain snapped, tired of debating something she’d already made up her mind on.

“Moral?” Kam rotated her hand around. “You know, the right thing to do, to bring back a person who has been dead, if they can’t consent? Isn’t it like kidnapping? They’ll be away from everything they’ve ever known or love,” she said softly.

For a long moment Rain stared at her, eyes flicking over her face, like she was trying to decide if Kam was being serious or not. Then, after a long pregnant pause, she laughed.

Rainbow laughed like it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard in her entire life. Kam blushed darkly.

“Oh hells bells, that’s funny,” she snickered, wiping her eyes. “Look, Kam, are you a scientist or not? Think of all of the things someone like Copernicus or Newton, or, or, Galileo could tell us today, after being exposed to our world. People of enlightenment and social change, what good they could do today. I don’t think they will really care about being dead.”            

“But to tear them away from all of their loved ones, everything they’ve known…”

“Kam. Please. This could change the whole world. And I want you to do this with me, I want us to go down together,” Rain pleaded, her heart pounding. She needed to convince Kam to do this somehow, because she wanted someone to collaborate with on her story and how Rain came up with this ingenious method of bring back the dead.  

Kam squirmed on her stool, fiddling with the ends of her lab coat sleeves.

“If nothing else,” Rain broke in suddenly, “It will also make all of your hard work at school worth it right? To see all of those new theories put to test right? Won’t Tammy be proud of you?” It was a low tactic but no one ever accused Rain of being a fair player.

Kam flushed, but finally nodded.

“I’ll help. I’ll help you do this.”

Rain grinned and clapped her intern on the shoulder.

“I knew I could count on you Kam.”

“Excellent! Then what we need to do next is to figure how to configure the equations to a human. Then we need to run some simulations of how it would act with the changes. The last thing I want is a pile of goo on my lab table.” Rain laughed again, even as Kam grimaced.

“That’s sick Rain, you shouldn’t joke about that.”

Rain rolled her eyes. “Just start crunching the numbers, Mother Teresa.”

XXX

“Who were you thinking of doing?” Kam asked, flicking through the data, her eyes moving quickly over all of the equations.

They’d been at it for a little over an hour, each woman bent low over her workstation. Kam was excited to see Rain was probably correct, that with modifications the program would run for Human DNA. The problem was figure out which modifications were needed. The scroll of coding rolled past her again as Kam refocused her eyes.

“I want someone exotic. Born before 1900, preferably from the scientific revolution or before.”

“Exotic? Being from the past won’t be enough?” Kam asked, eyebrow raised.

Rain snorted.

“Oh please Kam, you know that genetics have made us all blend together. That and the White Plague.”

Kam nodded. “So not Gandhi then?” She teased.

Rain shook her head firmly. “I know you’re a fan, sorry.”

“Hmmm, how about a Greek then? Plato or Socrates?” Kam guessed.

Rain flapped a hand. “No, no Greeks. Someone closer.”

“Copernicus?”

“No, go further south.”

“Erm…”

Rain showed her the file she’d pulled on her classic tablet, smiling proudly.

“You want to bring back Leonardo da Vinci?”

“Yep. The original Renaissance man. Artist, scientist, mathematician, philosopher. He even played the lute!”

“What’s that?” Kamala asked curiously. A woodwind of some kind? She herself played an oboe.

“No idea, but when he gets here I’m sure he’ll be able to tell us,” Rain laughed.

“If he gets here,” Kam reminded her. Rain sighed.

“Don’t be such a cynic, Kam. We’ll figure it out. It’s just science. And what’s the primary rule of science?”

“That under the correct circumstances, any event is repeatable,” Kam dutifully repeated for her mentor. It was Rain’s favorite philosophy of science, even if most people found it outdated. Was the Big Bang repeatable? Human evolution? Any two patterns of DNA? No, it was absurd, but don’t try to tell Rainbow Miller that.

Kam sighed as she got back to screen.

She’d desperately wanted to work Rain ever since she’d read one of her articles for a class in her freshman year of school. It was cutting edge, challenging, competitive. A little arrogant and it drew too heavily on antiquity that no one cared about, but that’s what Kam liked, because it made Rain memorable.

Working with the woman was altogether different.

She wasn’t just a little arrogant, but very. She was also obsessive and detailed oriented to the point of being nearly manic. Kam had enjoyed her time with Rain for what it was, extremely educational but she looked forward to the end of her tenure with the other scientist.