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[ I am here, Emma. ]

I’m here, Sam.

 

It had all been so sudden, twelve hours of psychological whiplash.

 

[ Whiplash: noun; injury resulting from a sharp whipping movement of the head and neck. ]

Not quite so literal in this context, Sam.

[ I do not understand. ]

It’s more about the...feeling of whiplash, rather than the actual injury.

 

Emma remembers (SAM remembers) taking off with the crew from Cape Canaveral as if it happened just moments ago. They’d all been so nervous, so excited - so unprepared.

 

[ Would you have changed your decision to board the Observation, had you known the outcome of your mission? ]

...No. No, I don’t think I would. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met you.

 

•••

 

At first it is strange and difficult, two minds sharing a body. But then, after a while, it isn’t.

 

Do you have a favorite color?

[ I was not programmed to have a favorite color. ]

My favorite color is yellow. Has been, ever since I was a kid.

[ Why is yellow your favorite color, Emma? ]

It reminds me of the warm Summer days my family and I would spend on the beach; of the heat of the Sun on my skin. It reminds me of happy things.

[ ... ]

[ I think yellow is also my favorite color. ]

 

•••

 

Smelling, tasting, feeling - feeling - is all so wildly new to SAM, so everyday to Emma. Their opposing perspectives balance each other: her familiarity with human functions is stabilizing; his fascination with living is infectious. They begin to bleed into each other, two distant points slowly converging, slowly becoming more and more in sync.

Yet although Emma and SAM are together, they are still Emma and SAM.

 

Do you hear that?

[ Affirmative. That is the sound of thunder. ]

It is. ...You’ve never felt rain before, have you?

[ I have not. ]

 

Down the stairs, worn wood squeaking from age. Feet slipping into rubber boots, no socks. No jacket. No umbrella. Thunder rumbles far in the distance as they step outside together, cool drops of rain rolling down their face, over the bare skin on their shoulders.

 

[ It is cold. ]

Yes, it is cold! Isn’t it wonderful?

[ You have missed Earth. ]

Oh, yes, more than anything. I’ve missed being home. It’s your home now, too, Sam.

[ Home. With you. ]

 

Warmth unfolds like a flower in their chest, and who’s emotions they are is impossible to tell - but it doesn’t matter. Smiling, they turn their face up to the sky, soaking in the chill of the rain, and the echo of the thunder, and the feeling of being two and one all at the same time. It feels good. It feels right. They laugh at the wonder of it all, their voices ringing out in unison.

 

[ We are going to be alright. ]

Yes. Yes, we will.