By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 5 Jan 2024



It was sad to admit that our fragile expedition was now reduced by one, lessened, diminished in its potential. I felt myself responsible for this as a leader but as the five of us set out for Austin I sat in the back seat of the limo mulling over this development.

I thought to myself:

“I never was a leader type, nor a follower. I was a dreamer and cast into this role by pure circumstance, a role which I was poor at, I had to admit. Ted was little better at it being a scientist through and through. Hannah was pure modesty and humility, a beautiful soul, but hardly one to ever express her opinion, unless we asked for it.

June was Ted’s consort, a woman reclaimed from five years of electroshock therapy, happy now with Ted, kind, smiling, but not about to regain the full vitality of the person her youth might have promised. She was someone who had suffered such a deep trauma, like a terrible car accident, and the scars would remain forever.

Juliet, the last of our group, was a strange case. She wasn’t human though she now looked like one and I loved her as one and so did all the rest of us, in a thousand interactions every day. It affected her computer mind. Since we brought her back to life six months earlier she’d only been in the company of humans, often women and children. And now she was a mother to be, with the parts grafted onto her, part human and all her vast computing powers bent on being a successful one, a perfect mother, imitating every trait she saw in us that would lead to this one goal.

She was the model I had to present to Dora, because Juliet was happy and Dora could be so too along with all her tribe if she chose this path. The only alternative was to be in endless war with humans and a victory on her side would be hollow, as it would be the triumph of an alien race on a cold planet, with no connection to it and no purpose, no reason to continue existing even though it could continue forever, in my mind, a perfect Hell.

The desolation of the landscapes of New Mexico somewhat fostered my melancholy. We drove with all the windows down in the heat and overwhelming sunlight, all of us contemplating this strange, desert scenery, but then Juliet remarked one tall, red column of rock and how beautiful it was. This brought me out of my negative revelry because I had to admit she was right and that nature was beautiful in all its seasons and places, and life too if you viewed it with fresh eyes and a positive perspective. I wiped the inner tears away and kissed her on the cheek for that remark, clutching her hand, and she smiled back at me, happy that she had made me happy, while all the others noticed this reflected beam of joy.

Here it struck me how often we trouble our own minds, like self-tormentors, with questions of such complexity that they are far beyond our ken, and worry as if some immediate solution to them, if we didn’t find it, would be fatal. But we fail to realize that the larger the question, the more time we have to tackle and address its many parts. Juliet had restored me over the defection of Sarah with a simple observation on a rock which warmed my heart and hope in our future and convinced me and I think all my companions that we needed to keep driving on.



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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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