A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Seven: Rest in Pain. Part Two.

Leonardo rubbed distractedly at his eyes, blinking in the harsh light. He’d gone to his borrowed room after dinner, and the collective decision to try and leave Rain had been made.

His mind felt crowed by too much, the past few days catching up with him.

One moment Leonardo had been dying in France and the next he was alive in North America. It felt to him like he was only half-awake, a disquieting feeling, as Leonardo had always prided himself on his ability to see things as they really were. However now he was reliant on Rain’s interpretation, locked inside of her home and blocked at odd junctures from outside information.

Leonardo found the animated laughing mask that blocked him from certain ‘websites’ infuriating.

He sighed and went back to staring at the tablet screen: he’d been reading his companions histories.

Richard, it turned out had a whole scandal behind his rule. Having lived in Milan for a good portion of his adult life, Leonardo found it hard to be scandalized by the theory that Richard may have had his nephews killed to clear his way to the throne. Abhorrent, but nothing that Leonardo had not heard from Nicco or seen Caesar Borgia before. He was mildly surprised to find that Richard had died younger than he or Robespierre, however. There was something so…ancient in the ex-king’s bearing, that it made Leonardo assume he’d been an old man when he’d died. He presumed that it had something to do with the man’s spine. The official biography said it was ‘scoliosis, a twisting of the spine that occurred in adolescent. It would account for the pained grimace the man seemed to carry constantly.

Meanwhile, he also found himself stunned and entranced by the times Maximilien Robespierre came from.

Leonardo could scarcely wrap his head around the philosophe of the period, phrases from ‘The Rights of Man’ swimming before his eyes, let alone the frantic action that followed. An entire populace rising against their sovereign. Leonardo thought he’d seen the height of madness during the French Occupation of Lombardy, he could only imagine the horrors of what all of France would be like in a riot.

He found himself drawn to the guillotine, drawing it over a dozen times in his notes, from different angles and sizes. Once he’d included a headless corpse, simply to amuse and frighten himself. It was such a perfect method of death, from the height of blade to the materials used. Leonardo already wanted to see if there was a way to improve it.

Robespierre, shockingly, seemed to be at the very epicenter of much of the Revolution. His name was repeated from 1789 to 1794, and even cited by the men who followed after him. For such a withdrawn and diminutive figure, Robespierre must have been an amazing orator when he put his mind to it, Leonardo concluded.

He rubbed his eyes again and smother his yawn. He spun the pen in his hand, and followed the spinning movement. Slowly, his eyes shut.

Falling asleep is something your brain does automatically. You close your eyes for one moment and your brain shuts down higher functions.

Leonardo was still sketching, firelight playing over his paper while his red chalk chased the flickering shadows. It seemed like hours later when a knock on the wooden door disturbed him. Without getting up he was at the door and opening it.

It was the Officers of the Night, but Leonardo could not identify their faces. They took him, and suddenly Leonardo was standing in front of the moral guardians of Florence. Except they wore tri colored slashes and had feathers in their hats. This didn’t strike Leonardo as odd.

“Leonardo ser Piedro da Vinci you stand accused of indecency and sodomy. Evidence has been brought before the court,” Salai, dressed as Bacchus, stepped forward and smiled at Leonardo, “and you have been sentenced to death.”

Leonardo blinked again and he was walking up to the scaffold. Except it wasn’t. The shape of the guillotine was back by the stars in the inky sky, were kites flew, calling out to one another before landing and pecking at the eyes of dead and skeletal bodies. Leonardo looked over at the executioner and found a crooked-backed Lorenzo de Medici holding the rope. He grimaced as he was tied down to the plank.

As it ever was, his own patrons were the most destructive aspect of his life.

He had the perfect angle to survey the crowd before the blade came down. He felt no fear, only a curious sensation of inevitability. He heard the blade fall, but felt no pain. His head fell and met the wood of the scaffold.

Leonardo sighed as he woke up. He groaned when he realized he’d drooled all over his sketches and the desk. The clock only read a half hour later. The dream had left nothing but a vague feeling of illness, a sudden queasiness that left an ache in his temples and a greasy feeling at the back of his throat.

He rubbed his eyes again, and surrendered to the inevitable: clearly it was time for bed.

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Four: Terror and Virtue. Part One.

EPISODE FOUR: Terror and Virtue.

PART ONE.

Paris 1794

It is a bright hot day in Thermidor. Regardless Maximilien finds that all the colors have become muted and blur together. He isn’t sure if it’s from the unceasing pain in his jaw, the blood loss or the fact his glasses have been long since lost. As the cart rumbles down the street and the screams around him increase, Max closes his eyes.

He keeps the closed even as rotten fruit, small stones and insults are hurled at him, many missing their mark, but a few hit.

A moldy orange ads to the stains all over his once fine undershirt, a rock glances off his shoulder and people scream tyrant at him.

Tyrant?

If he had been none of this would be happening. It seems like a logical fallacy, to call Max a tyrant, when he has selfless served the people, lived and breathed and bled for them. He’d promised his youth and happiness for them.  

And now he will die for them as well.

Next to Saint-Just is utterly silent, even as the people jeer at him as well.

“Angel of death! The Angel of Death and his master!”

In the carts a head of them, Bonbon, dear brother Augustin, and Couthon both lay in the baking sun. At least they will not see the people’s faces, the sneering derision in their eyes.

The cart suddenly stops, but Max does not open his eyes. They are not at the Palace de la Revolution.

He can smell the sawdust, the summer lilacs. A dog barks somewhere and distantly Max wonders if Brount is safe? Is Charlotte? Will some kindly citizen keep them?

Max hopes so, since he has failed to.

When their father left, he’d promised his siblings he’d protect them.

He’d gone to Louis le Grand and Henriette had died in her bed.

He’d gone to Versailles and Paris to try and secure a better life for people like them, people without a family, and now he’s killed his brother.

Maximilien can only hope that his sister survives them. Charlotte deserves better. She’d always wanted was best for him.

He hopes the Duplays are keeping the windows shuddered, as they did for Louis Capet and Danton and Camille. He would not want them to see him, they were a good family of kind patriots who have done much for Max since has moved to Paris.

Has it only been five years? It seems like a whole lifetime ago.

He refuses to open his eyes to look, he does not want to know. He doesn’t want to see if Babet, whose son now doesn’t have a father, or Eleanor is looking at them.

Max wants to hide his face, but stubbornly keeps his chin up, refusing to accept the title that the people of Paris want to shove onto him. He won’t go to the guillotine with his head hung, like he can be shamed into being a ‘tyrant’.

That is not who Maximilien Robespierre is.    

The cart rattles to life again and on they march.

Maximilien knows he only has about thirty minutes left to live.

He mourns for Saint-Just, because Max knows that he will never mourn for himself. Antoine will stand tall and just right until the moment they force his head into the stock before it is removed.     

The Cart stops again. Max opens his eyes to the blur of muted colors. Time passes in dollops now. One by one his good and noble associates are forced off and walked up the steps to meet the madame.

First Augustin, who Max can hear moan and cry softly, his legs been shattered by the jump out of the window. Couthon screams as they force his body to the plank to tie him down.

Next to him Antoine straightens up when they grab him and force him off the cart. He looks up at Maximilien.

Saint-Just stares at him for a moment and it breaks something inside, so see how young, his friend really is, barely 26 years old, and has already done so much for the Republic and now will die at the blade. Max imagines there is something in Anotine’s eyes, some glimmer than he is desperately trying to communicate to him before the guards forcibly march him away but what it is slips away from Max, and he leans forward to gently brush his nose along his friend’s forehead for a last moment of friendly contact.

“Adieu, mon ami.” Saint-Just says, as if he is simply leaving the Committee for the night and not forever, and Max cannot see as they walk him away. There is silence, and then ‘thunk’ and screams from the crowd.

Then they come for Maximilien. He does not struggle as they pull him down from the cart. The world has gone strangely quiet around him, even though Max can see people’s mouths still moving, lazily like a dying fish’s. Through his blurred vision he can see the sunlight glint off the Guillotine. He is nearly dragged up the stairs, so eager are they for his blood. He stumbles slightly, his head spinning. With his nearly blind eyes, Maxime looks around at the people who have crowded around the guillotine. There are women knitting in the front row. Children are on their parents shoulders. People throw flowers and fruit.

This was what he wanted the Celebration of the Supreme Being to be like, Max thinks, a last flicker of irony going through his brain.  

He is shoved against the plank of woods, bounds quickly wrapped around him. He stares around blankly, and something like fire races up his spine when he thinks that Danton must have been strapped to this same plank before he died. And Camille, and Lucile. Louis Capet. Marie Antoinette.

Maximilien Robespierre. His jaw throbs as the muscles twitch.

Suddenly a pair of hands is grabbing at his face and ripping his bandages away.

He can’t prevent the scream that tears itself from his throat. It has been building there since he was young and has been too long contained, he thinks madly, his own screaming deafening as the plank is lowered and slid forward. This scream is what is under all his tightly contained convictions, all his primness, and virtue. This is what he is reduced to, a screaming voiceless animal, who is going to die in pain, alone.

Maximilien dies screaming.  

XXX

In the year three thousand.

Max flinched awake, immediately choking. His body automatically curls up to defend itself, every never alive and screaming to help him avoid death.

“Whoa! You’re okay! It’s fine, you’re okay!” Someone says to him and he moves away from the kindly hand placed on his shoulder.

Max gasps in air, even as he feels his throat constrict, and panics even more.

He doesn’t want to die.

If he can’t breathe, if he can’t breathe, he can’t speak and if he can’t speak he won’t be able to defend himself.

The blood of Danton chokes him!

“Relax, relax, your heart is going crazy right now, you need to calm down before you put yourself into cardiac arrest.” The words mean nothing to him, but the warm hand on his shoulder gives Max something to focus on. He is forced to sit up, his eyes struggling to focus on something, anything. He still has no glasses and the room is blindingly bright.

“Whoa, you’re face…” The voice, it sounds like a woman, mutters. “It’s okay, it’s okay, just breathe okay? Um, with me. In,” She presses on Maximilien’s chest and he takes a shallow breath in, feeling it end in dry sob. “And out.’

She forced him to keep breathing, patting his shoulder.

“I’m grabbing you some medicine, I’ll be right back okay? Just-just keep breathing.”

Max’s chest was caving on itself and he gasped, laying back down on the cold metal table he found himself on.

“Here, here, it’s okay. “ Something cold was pressed to his neck and within moments Maximilien was gasping in cold air, his lungs inflating again.

“There. Better? Huh, I didn’t know that you were asthmatic.”

Max squinted up at the woman, trying to bring her into focus. Her dark hair was free flowing and hung around her face like fabric.

“W-where am I? Who are you?”

“Stay calm. You’re on North America, in a city called Grand Forks. My name is Doctor Rainbow Miller.”

Max stared at her as best he could, his head spinning. He tightly gripped the edges of the table he was laying on and the cold seeped into his bare skin.

“H-how am I alive?” The words he meant to thank were of thanks, but they got lost and morphed on the way out.

She touched his shoulder again. The doctor sounded proud when she announced,

“I brought you back.”

Back?

Back, from death?

Max laid back down and closed his eyes, a headache getting ready to bloom behind them.

She patted his shoulder and he wanted to jerk away. The lights were blinding him and he was too cold.

“You’re going to be okay, Robespierre.”

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

PART THREE .

Leonardo had hardly slept, reading again through his own biographies.

The world felt slightly off kilter when he sat up and stretched.

It was the year 3000 and he’d died over a thousand years ago. Salai, Melzi were dead. There was no more royalty in Italy or anywhere else. The titled ‘Mona Lisa’ was the best regarded painting in history, even if couldn’t be exposed to direct light anymore, due to its faded colors. The Last Supper had its own funeral.

Leonardo was both dead and alive.

He flexed his hands again, and longed for his charcoal pencil. Leaving the rather cramped and cluttered room that the doctor, Rain, had allowed him to stay in, Leonardo looked around.

She’d said he had free rein of her ‘lab’. So what did that mean? Could he use the box where she’d made his clothes yesterday?

Guessing it was a safe bet Leonardo traced his steps back to where he’d ‘woken up’ from yesterday.

Rain was hunched over the glass desk, eyes far away. Her brown hair was messily curled around her face and the light from the glass was casting her in harsh shadows. She didn’t look up when he called.

Shrugging, Leonardo guessed it was probably safe to go and use the machine. He took his time to study it, running his fingers around the edges of the box, trying to see if could be removed at all from the wall. It seemed to be part of it, and the display at the top lit up when he ran a finger across it. Word were displayed but Leonardo couldn’t read them. He tapped some of them, but the machine simply beeped at him. He frowned and considered it for a moment.

“Italian?” He asked aloud and the machine blinked and the words reappeared, this time in perfect legibility.

Leonardo had to admit this century seemed to be a lot more convenient than the one he had died in.

“May I have a stick of red chalk?” He asked aloud, again. The machine blinked at him again and the within a moment it appeared. It was already sharpened to a point, ready to use. Leonardo picked it up and turned it over, marveling.

“And a notebook, maybe eight inches by ten inches?” He held his hands apart to demonstrate, unsure if the machine would need a visual example.

That too was ready for him, neatly bound with wire spirals and cream colored paper. Leonardo grinned.

“Thank you.”

The machine beeped and Leonardo might have imagined it, but he could swear it sounded pleased with itself.

Leonardo took both of these and walking back out of the room, traced his way back to the kitchen. Kam was standing at another panel in the wall talking to a young woman. Leonardo stayed just out of sight as he listened.

“I don’t know when I’ll be home. Rain…She’s working on something big, really big and I need to be here.”

“Ugh, that sucks but I understand.”

Leonardo tilted his head. Her sister? The woman’s skin was darker than Leonardo’s or Kamala’s.

“Thank you sunshine. I love you.” Kamala pressed her fingers to her lips then to the screen. Leonardo’s heart jumped up to his throat. That was not her sister.

“Kisses babe.” The woman copied what Kam had done and smiled at her. The two shared a quiet moment before Kamala turned off the the screen.

Leonardo walked in right as Kamala was turning around from the communication board, rubbing a hand over her face. She jumped slightly.

“Da Vinci!”

He held up a hand. “Mi displace, I am sorry signora.” He had questions but from the wary look on her face he guessed they would have to wait.

She shook her head, her long black hair slightly tangled from sleeping on it. “Sorry it’s okay. I just wasn’t expecting you.”

He sat down and Kamala rubbed her arms awkwardly.

“Uh, did you sleep okay? Were you comfortable?”

I’m having this conversation with Leonardo fucking Da Vinci, and that’s the best I can come up with?

He gave her a frighteningly familiar half smile, one found in every art book for a thousand years and she nearly fainted.

“Ah, not really. I found my mind too alive to sleep.”

“Yeah I bet,” she muttered. “Do you want coffee?”

He tilted his head. “Coffee?”

“Oh was that not a thing yet for Italy yet? Weird. Uh here, We’ll start with a dark roast that has cream and sugar and go from there, okay?”

Soon Kamala had plied him with a cup, and Leonardo found himself warming to the slightly bitter beverage. Kam had settled in with hers, and she seemed to be both trying to avoid looking at Leonardo and watching him intently, her eyes wide and head tilted.

He waited until after she’d set her coffee down to clear his throat and ask, “That woman you were talking to, who is she?”

Kam stared at him, eyes wide and hands frozen around her cup. “How much did you hear?”

Leonardo shrugged. “Just the last part of it, when you were saying goodbye.”

The women rubbed a hand over her face, then dropped it to rest listlessly in her lap.

“Okay, look. What you need to understand is that it is the year three thousand. I know things were different back in your day, witch burning and crusades and all that, but things are different, better now.” Kamala paused, looking at Leonardo. “So you can’t come at me with ‘It’s against the bible or whatever’, okay?”

Leonardo swallowed. A large bubble of warmth seemed to be pressing it’s way upwards to his throat, making it difficult to speak.

“She is your lover?” He asked, voice hoarse.

Kam sat back with a defiant look. “Yes. She’s my wife.” She stuck out her hand. On her ring finger was a simple white gold band, with a single sapphire embedded in the middle. Leonardo was hardly aware that he was smiling until Kamala snapped “What?”

He looked up at her. “It is legal, here? To be with your own sex?” She nodded, and Leonardo burst out laughing, feeling a weight he didn’t even know he had lifted from his shoulders.

To pursue whoever he wanted, even if they weren’t the right kind of person? Not to forever be looking over his shoulder whenever he touched Salai a moment too long, or couldn’t muster his excuses for his continued bachelorhood?

The future was magnificent!

In between his gasps for breath, Leonardo explained his reaction to Kamala, whose face cleared after she understood.

“Oh my god, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were gay.” She covered her face with a hand. “I thought you were going to be super devoted to god, or something.”

Leonardo waved it away, still grinning. “It is fine. I’m just glad I know now.” Kamala tentatively smiled back at him.

“Where is your wife then, she doesn’t come with you?” He asked.

“We live in Cairo. She works for the bank there,” Kamala explained. Leonardo nodded.

“Ah, so she is Egyptian?” That would explain the darker skin tone.

“No.” Kam tilted her head to the side. “She’s from Louisiana.”

“Where?” Leonardo leaned forward. Somewhere in France, perhaps?

Kam shook her head. “Here, let me show you.”

XXX   

When Rain came bounding up to the kitchenette, Kam and Leo were bent over the table, looking at the Wikipedia articles for the Union, of all things.

“Making friends, Kam?” She asked lightly. Kam turned around.

“I figured one of us should.”

“Hey, we’re friends. Right Leonardo?” Rain tossed the question over her shoulder.

“Of course,” he demurred, lowering his eyes and dipping his head.

“Oh don’t roll over for me Mister Leonardo. I’m not one of your patrons,” Rain sang out, arranging her own coffee now. She was so old fashioned, to still have a single machine dedicated to making beverages.

“But you did do me a service, bringing me back to life.”

“Who else would I have done?” Rain questioned seriously, curious to know his thoughts. Leonardo spread out his hands.

“Plato?”

Kam let out a little huff of amusement. “See?” She mouthed at Rain.

“Hush you.”

XXX

“How’s it going?” Clio let out a little gasp when Spectra walked out of the room adjacent to where she was standing. Dressed in formal wear, the hyena was oddly out of place compared to the two women wearing lab coats in and da Vinci in pajamas.

“Fine. Rain’s done it,” the Muse answered, gesturing with her chin at the formerly dead man. Spectra let out a little chuckle.

“Impressive, for a human.”

Clio scowled. “I like him.” He reminded her of when she was younger, and when her sisters still existed. Although, he was much younger than she was.

Spectra grinned. “You have such a soft spot for humans.”

“And you don’t? Aren’t you following some human boy right now?” Clio snapped.

Spectra shrugged. “Frank is fine without me. He’s barely doing anything important right now anyway. Bothering you is more fun.”

Clio huffed, and waved a hand at the Trickster. “Go away. Bother Monaco. He’s on an assignment right now as well.”

Spectra grinned. “Oh yes. I heard. Big one too.”

Frowning Clio turned her solitary eye to Spectra. “What do-” But the Trickster was already gone. The Muse crossed her arms over her toga and huffed.

“Showoff.”   

XXX

“I want to make another,” Rain whispered to Kam after dinner. She dropped the plate she was holding, the little paper thing floating to the ground. She wished it had been glass so it would have shattered satisfyingly but replicated Chinese didn’t come with glass plates.

“Excuse me?” Kam demanded.

“I think we should try something different this time. I have a theory that we could-“

“Rain. No.” Kam was shaking her head vehemently. “I won’t help you again. Absolutely not.”

“I didn’t even finish-“

“Because I’m not helping you bring back another living breathing human being, damn it.”

Rain froze and raised her eyes to Kam’s face slowly. Her amber gaze was as hard as stone.

“Okay, fine. Fine,” Rain said coolly. “You don’t need to help. I’ll leave you out of it, Kam. Don’t worry.”

Kam was standing rooted to ground as Rain brushed past her.

“I can do it myself.”

“Then I guess I’ll leave,” Kam said, matching her cold tone. She clenched her hands at her sides. “You’ve made it clear this entire time you’re just going to go on with whatever you want to do, so I might as well not even be here, huh?”

Rain didn’t turn around. “If you think it best, then go Kam.”

Kam swallowed the lump in her throat, croaking out an ‘Okay fine,’ before spinning away on her heel.

Rain continued into the lab.

XXX

Kam left within the hour. When Leonardo asked her where she was going Kam just shook her head and wished him luck. As far as she was concerned, Rain could do whatever she liked, but Kam wasn’t going to be dragged into the consequences of what she was realized was a terrible idea.

Leonardo was in the kitchen, fingers working as fast as his mind. It was refreshing to have something that worked as fast as he does. In one hand his charcoal pencil, and the other skating over the glass surface. The charcoal sketches over the paper, the texture feeling just right while his eyes go over his own notes and the newest medical studies. It’s nice, having to put forward some genuine effort to learn about the human body all over again. He was mildly impressed by how much of it he manage to get right.

Rain had been down in her lab all morning after Kamala left. Leonardo didn’t know what she was working on but he had his own hypothesis on it. However, prudence made him keep his mouth shut.

XXX

Rain carefully dropped her blood onto the DNA sequencer. If she was correct then this time wouldn’t require any breaking into famous landmarks to steal skin cells.

She ran the search program that she’d complied last night, watching as possible matches to her DNA were found and discarded. There were more than she expected, Genghis Khan, Marco Polo, English royalty, minor French landholders, until finally…

“98% Match Found.”

Rain smiled to herself and looked at who had enough of her DNA sequence to be able to modify into another historical figure, this time created from nothing but her blood.

She brought up the profile and for the first time in her life, hesitated.

“That… is not who I was expecting,” she muttered to herself. A genius was one thing, but a man like this was not someone to resurrect lightly.

Maybe Kam had been right.

However the thought of Kam’s words made Rain see red for a moment and she smiled savagely as she opened the DNA sequencer.

No one could tell Rain when enough was enough.

XXX

Leonardo did not see Rain for hours, and was left alone to his own devices, so he started trying to figure out what some of the derelict machinery that was in ‘his’ room was used to be used for.

Having no instructions, Leonardo allowed his mind to run free, connecting this and that, with whatever he bits and pieces he found. By the time Rain came back upstairs, there was a small blinking box in front of him and a million pieces of metal on the glass table.

Rain paused, seeing the kitchen covered in machinery.

“Remind me to set you with your own lab. What’s that do?” She asked, pointing to the box.

Leonardo shrugged. “I don’t know yet.”

Rain nodded absently. “You know how to use the replicator well enough, right? You can make yourself food?”

Puzzled, Leonardo nodded. He’d been using it successfully all afternoon.

“Good. I’m going to be in my lab. Please do not interrupt me until I come back out. I’m working on a delicate experiment.”

Leonardo nodded again. “Are you making another one?”

Rain hesitated before she headed back down and that told Leonardo all he needed to know.

XXX

Rain finished preparing, the machines once again humming to life and the raw material used for the bone structure and organs in place on the table. She had her own blood transfusion in a couple of bags next to the table. She nearly shook with eagerness as she punched in the last of the information.

“Okay, Robespierre. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

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. 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.

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

PART TWO.

It was raining back on earth.

Rain was shivering before she even left Terran Federation Headquarters, limping through the empty streets to the closest transporter station. She moved as quickly through the crowds as she could, cursing the rush hour. She jumped when a voice spoke next to her.

“Leaving so soon?” The captain asked her cheerfully, holding an umbrella over her head. Rain grinned, heart racing.

“Pining for home. I have work to do, dogs, you know,” she waved a hand, “stuff.” The captain laughed. Rain knew this was her last deep space trip before a three-month leave, her spirits must have been high. After a successful first contact with a peaceful race and now going to soak up sun in Belize, who wouldn’t be?

The line for the transporter inched forward, and it was all Rain could do not to claw her eyes out with impatience. Finally, she was next and the captain took her umbrella back as she boarded the platform. She gratefully told the transporter operator her address for her proper house, the one in Colorado. Pointedly not her lab in North Dakota.

“Have fun, Doctor,” the captain grinned at her and Rain saw the glimmer of patronization in her dark brown eyes before the transporter took her away from the cold east coast to the steps of her Denver home.

Rain knew what people said about her, she’s odd, anti-social, a little too out there even for the year three thousand. She still used a cane for earth’s sake.

Who does she think she is?

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Italy, Florence, 1500.

Italy, Florence, 1500

Leonardo considered the composition, leaning back and frowning.

Behind him there was a loud sigh.

Leonardo ignored it, trying to focus on the shapes and shadows in front of him. If he focused carefully, he could nearly see the bone structure that made up the women’s face, neck and shoulders. Something bothered him about the proportions of the neck to her shoulders.

There was another sigh.

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