motivations.htmlTEXTStMl0>j} Motivations

Disclaimer: the characters and concepts of Mission Genesis/Deepwater
Black are the property of Empire Productions, some other people I can't
remember, based on the novels by Ken Cantran, used here without
permission. No profit has been made from this work.

Timeline: Before "The Hunt" and likely an alternate universe.

Rating: PG

Feedback: Jacynthe Demorae(this is my first attempt at MG/DWB fiction.
Be kind. <g>)

MOTIVATIONS

Transmissions flitted over the hull of the ark-ship _Deepwater_, ghostly
fragments of past communications. Static chewed them into meaningless
noise, but still they existed, speeding through the dark. _Deepwater_
herself was a testimonial to humanity's determination to survive.

The fragment Gen logged contained nothing of interest to the Mission.
Still, the clones in her care seemed so desperate for any knowledge of who they were, who their donors had been...

"Reb," she said through the intra-ship. "Please come to the command deck."

"On my way, Gen."

The engineer sounded tired. Without a close scan from Lise's equipment
however, she couldn't determine his exact physiological state. All of the
Deepwater's crew had been working hard. Even with Gen's help, the ship
gave up her secrets with only the greatest reluctance. As for the crew,
only a combination of outside stimuli, dire necessity, and will triggered
the prex. It wasn't enough for the identity-hungry clones.

"What've you got for me, Gen?" Reb Anderson asked, striding onto the
command deck. Second of the crew to awaken, he regarded the ark-ship and the gene bank it carried with a fondness only another engineer could
understand.

Unasked, Gen went to hologram mode. It made no difference to her
perceptions, but the humans like a visual reference point.

"I've registered a ghost-transmission, an audio signal that had been sent
out into space. It's only a fragment...but it mentions you."

"Me?" Reb looked startled, then wryly amused. "You mean my donor."

Curious. Of all the crew, Reb stressed his cloned status most often.
Even Bren, whose donor had seemingly found the idea of cloning
distasteful, mentioned it less and less often.

"Yes. I have it logged. Do you wish me to play it?"

The engineer frowned. "Ah, no. Not here. Make me a copy of it on disc,
would you? And...purge it from the log, Gen. No need for Gret to have to
trouble herself with it."

Gen complied without question or comment. Reb's request violated none of her program mandates and risked neither the Mission or the crew. The
communications console, Gret's command deck station, cheeped softly as Gen removed the message from the log and popped the disc. Reb removed it from the port and studied it, a silvery thing the size of his thumb nail.

"Thanks, Gen," he said, pocketing the disc.

***

Reb found a variety of reasons to put off viewing the disc. A glitch in
Engineering, moderating a spat between Lise and Gret, maintenance
walkthrough with Gret on the gene-bank systems, and a conference with Bren and Yuna about the information Gen logged concerning a long range scan. Eventually, even he ran out of things to do, and he turned in with the rest of the crew. Now, i n the privacy of his own quarters, he removed the disc from his pocket and studied it. A portion of his own features, blurred, incomplete, reflected back at him.

A ghost transmission to his donor. A man dead for centuries, killed by
the virus, or so Reb assumed. The memories etched into his brain by the
implant surged and seethed, held back by his will. He didn't want to know
the first Reb Anderson. Didn't want to, but he *had* to. It was, after
all, part of himself.

Reb dropped the disc into the terminal in his quarters and sat back. It
hummed to life, and a pale shimmer of light danced over the display plate. It stretched up into a cone of light. Static and snow streaked the
visual, but he could make out a fair-haired young woman. The image
played in silence for a few seconds, then the sound came up.

"--sorry it had to be like this, Reb. I wish I could make you understand.
This is something I have to do, something that has to be done, and
no-one else is doing--"

"--doing it. You don't approve, I know. But maybe one day you'll understand."

A different terminal. Older. And this one was not placed in a shipboard
cabin, but in a large, airy room. Sunlight shone in from his left,
bleaching out most of the image. Reb saw/felt his own hand reach out,
smack the terminal controls. The image winked out.

His own voice, ragged with emotion. "Idiot."


Reb snapped out of the prex with a gasp, breathless and disoriented. He
could still feel the warmth of the sun on his skin--warmth that he,
grown in a cloning module, had never experienced. More, the tangle of
emotions the first Reb had felt knotted in his gut: anger, fear,
despair. And a name rose up from the shadows in his mind: Sera.

Who was she? Not a lover, he sensed that much, but she'd...done something to him? Or not done something? No, not me, he reminded himself. My donor. God, what idiot had thought cloning and memory implants to be a good thing?

Reb scrubbed a hand over his face. "Gen!" he croaked.

The Genesis program swirled into view and looked at him in silent question.

"I need information. On a woman named Sera..." In his mind's eye, he
could see the time/date display on the original transmission, and the
comm-point of origin. "Circa 2089, Gallagher Moonbase."

"One moment." Gen's image looked to his right, and a green grid
super-imposed itself over the hologram. A stream of data flashed by, much too fast for him to read.

"2089, the first quarantine measures against the Pandora Virus went into
effect. A coalition of independent shuttle pilots defied the orders and
carried news and supplies to colonies and outposts affected by the
comm-blackout."

Reb frowned. "Gen, I don't understand. What does this have to do with
what I asked?"

The hologram looked grave. "In the early years of the plague, the
seriousness of the Pandora Virus was downplayed by officials. They soughtto avoid a panic. The general public had little access to information, the colonies even less. The coalition from Gallagher Moonbase spearheaded the relief effort. Their information gathering techniques kept the scientists on the Deepwater Black project abreast of the changes and spread of the virus. It was only through their efforts the project was able to proceed as quickly as it did."

"Okay, that's the background. What about the name I gave you?"

"There is only one person matching the parameters you set: Independent Shuttle Pilot First Class Sera Anderson."

"Anderson," Reb repeated, stunned.

Gen continued, "One sibling, Reb. Occupation, engineer."

"My sister," he finished.

***

Over the next few days, Reb buried himself in his work. He didn't want to
give himself a moment's chance for the memories to re-assert themselves. The few times he allowed himself to think of his prex, of his donor's sister, a feeling of overwhelming dread rose up and nearly swallowed him. I don't want to remember, he said to himself. I don't want to know.

Lise cornered him in the habitat three days after his prex.

"We need to talk, Reb," the ship's medic said without preamble.

Reb stared down at the carbo-bar he'd selected for "dinner," fingering its
shiny wrapper. The others had long since eaten and gone to bed. That
Lise still lingered in the Habitat spoke of deliberation, not a chance
meeting.

"Anything wrong, Lise? I just did a maintenance check on the medical
equipment, but if I missed anything."

"No, Reb. Nothing's wrong with the equipment. You didn't miss anything.
In fact, I don't think there's anything mechanically wrong anywhere
aboard this ship. So now that you've nothing else to distract you, what
are you going to do now?"

Reb stared at her, opened his mouth to reply, then closed it, saying
nothing. Lise leaned forward, covering his hand with hers.

"Reb, what's wrong? You've been running yourself ragged for days, now.
I'll bet if I did a scan of you right now, it'd tell me you're right at
the edge of exhaustion. You have to rest, Reb. You won't be of any help
to anyone if you collapse."

Reb stared at Lise, then gasped as the prex crashed down around him.

***

"You have to rest, Reb. You won't be of any help to anyone if you
collapse."

The medical technician looked like he felt: drawn, tired, and nearly
spent. The helmet for her decom suit poked out from under her arm like a
spare head. Behind her, he could see a quarantine ward, nearly full. One
bed held his attention, though, middle row, third from the left.

He almost didn't recognize Sera. The sickness had wasted her body, and
dark blue lesions marred her pasty flesh. It had been two days since
she'd been conscious, three days since she'd recognized anyone at her
bedside. Today, they'd started round-the-clock pain medication. Even
with only a layman's medical knowledge, Reb knew this signaled the end.

He shook his head, stubborn. "No. I'll wait it out."
Unspoken, the fear that she would die while he was gone, while he slept,
while he did anything but sit here and keep watch.

The technician lowered her eyes, a few damp curls falling into her face.
It wouldn't be a long wait, they both knew. Sera didn't know him
now...but she might wake up before the end. They might have a chance to
say good-bye.

Reb settled in to wait. The isolation techniques had failed to contain
the virus. They were calling it 'Pandora' he remembered. God alone knew
why. People had only died faster in isolation. Sera and her fellows had
brought medicine and personnel. People had lived longer, holding on until
relief could come.

Now the relief-bringers were dying.

Reb stared through the thick glass, eyes full of grit and fire. She'd
been right, about what had to be done. Now more people were doing it.
Too late.


***

Reb snapped back into the present, and found Lise supporting him.

"I'm all right," he gasped, though his vision swam and a dull roaring
filled his ears.

"That looked like a rough one," Lise said, her eyes dark with concern.

"None of them are ever easy." The bitterness in his words surprised them
both. He shook his head and waved her off. "I'm all right," he repeated.

Post-prex images filtered through his mind. He saw/remembered himself
logging hours, days at computer terminals. Saw the schematics for the
Deepwater taking shape. Felt the gnawing horror of time running out.
Warnings not heeded. Lessons not learned.

That regret, that longing for a second chance pulsed behind the Mission
imperative. Restore life to the Earth. Pay back all of those who fought
and died so humanity might have a second chance. For Sera, who'd seen the whole.

~finis~
 2B P0B''( ,U U$UA Jd7EAA  Show:5AI 4 b67E,O 2P`32PMwp V