Arrival: The Pilot, part 2

This could theoretically be full of spoilers for the work it’s intended to be a part of, but it really hints at more than it tells. The ending is a horrible mess, too.

It would be wrong to say that I was persuaded. To me, persuasion implies an argument for a change in opinion or decision, and my fears were non-negotiable – If I had been receptive to rational argument, I would probably have come around without his intervention. I was not just afraid of an uncivil reception; I knew that I had not been forgotten, and that any welcome I might receive would have teeth in it. So: why did I agree?

It was not because I loved him – although I did – because love would offer me no more defence than Sarah’s platitudes. It certainly wasn’t a matter of coercion, either; he couldn’t inflict any greater loss upon me than the total loss of my self that I feared. I was going to meet my maker, and no emotion, loyalty, or duty would save me from being broken down and moulded to suit her whim.

But Alex was not afraid. He lived with the calm assurance that the sea could not hurt him. It was not a simple matter of courage – I had seen the ocean consume many who had thought themselves invulnerable, and Alex’s calm came not from courage, but from certainty. He didn’t share the fear of the sea that I knew plagued everyone else aboard: my home was simply not capable of conjuring anything that might threaten him. He was a synthesis of machine and man, pieced together with the express purpose of transcending human limitations. He did not simply have contingencies for unexpected situations: his entire body could react and change to fit new demands the instant they became apparent. I still do not know what  had made him – whether he was the product of human love or icy calculation – but I knew that he had been crafted by an imagination of transcendent power, one that was every bit the equal of the twisted goddess who waited for me.

His presence – his existence – steadied me. The fact that he had been made showed that the goddess I was returning to was one of many – it was simply impossible for her to have conceived such a self-sufficient being. He did not make her power any less formidable – the sea was her domain, without a shadow of a doubt – but he made it less absolute. My mind still believed that returning would be worse than suicide, but my faith in my mother’s absolute power to twist and control had been broken.

That’s where I made my fatal mistake: the instant after my mindless terror fled. The joy it brought made me forget all about the boring, mundane fear of simply being killed, and so without thinking I had agreed to head to Earth and face my creator. It was only after I had agreed that I remembered how utterly stupid the enterprise was on its own merits – merits Alex was no longer arguing with me.

Damn him.

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