3.8 Repelled

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Astonishment rolled through the Upward Governess. She sampled his offer as if tasting a strange gourmet meal. Leave the Megacosm forever? That is insane. Commit crimes against the Torth Empire? That is suicide.

Yet the idea held a certain tang to her mind. Curious, she reconsidered his goals, his deep desires, and extrapolated logical results.

No, she decided with reluctance. Your goal, little Yellow, is worthless. I will not help you die. She narrowed her eyes at him. You need to help Me live.

Yellow Thomas felt as if she'd aimed a nuclear missile at his face. The threat was hugely obvious.

That's right. Her mood seethed like a pit of snakes. If the Torth Majority finds out what you truly desire, they will throw you into the Isolatorium to die, as your mother died, tortured into insanity. My end-goal is not a crime. I merely yearn for immortality. But scheming to massacre Torth? That is a necessity for your goal, and it is very much illegal.

He couldn't deny it. He couldn't hide, or escape, or force her to keep his secret. Yellow Thomas bowed his head and admitted to being vulnerable. I am in debt to You. And if she wanted the chance to gain enough medicine to live to adulthood, then she absolutely needed his help. She must be painfully aware of that.

Yes. Her mood thawed a little bit. We need each other. And ... She hesitated, then revealed a buried truth, like a peace offering. I wish you no harm. I like your companionship.

Her sincerity was as bright as the sunlight, as brilliant as the iridescent gas bugs that floated above lily pads.

They regarded each other. They needed to reconnect with their audiences, but for now, for this short time, they were alone together. Their titanic minds overlapped, like one universe colliding with another.

Time is precious to Us, the Upward Governess thought. If you waste it on futile plans and illegal experiments and tranquility meshes, then We are both doomed. Will you give up those pursuits (and instead focus on gaining promotions)?

He wanted to agree. But he supposed that he still didn't quite understand why life mattered so much. He knew she wanted it, but he still didn't know why.

A glacial chill swept off her mind. I've had enough of your company for today. She slid her finger across her tablet, and the boat glided soundlessly above water, floating towards the distant shore. I will give you a week to decide what's important. Now feed Me more of your Earth memories.

A session of Earth memories would give them both a credible excuse for why they'd been absent from the Megacosm for so long. Even so, Yellow Thomas made a primitive growling sound of annoyance. Why was she so obsessed with his Earth memories? He didn't want to keep reliving them. Some Torth were curious about his past, but the Upward Governess was like a tapeworm that consumed every facet of his experiences as a disabled foster child, as if his awful past hid some buried treasure. She gobbled up the same memories two or even three times. Her obsession about humans didn't make sense, just like her obsession for everlasting life didn't make sense.

Unless ...

That's enough, she silently told him. Let's ascend to the Megacosm.

She rejoined her mental chorus of admirers, and her thoughts became hazy with other people's perceptions. He needed to ascend as well. But instead, he remained fully focused on her, scanning the depths of her enormous mind, seeking hints to confirm his sudden suspicion. He looked for shiny memories. He scanned specifically for her personal experiences; good times that stood out as better than pleasant.

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