Run That By Me Again

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic romance.... view prompt

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Romance Science Fiction

She was outside the hull again. Nolan sighed as he had been working on the life support modules. The garden was flourishing, so at least oxygen wasn't going to be a problem. But heat and continued electrical supply was questionable.


He put down his tools in a toolbox nearby and took of his gloves. He brought his wrist up and contacted Mary through his smart watch.


"Dancing again are you? You know how dangerous that is... Marianne."


"I'll be fine Noley."


"I'm too old for nicknames Marianne."


Picking up his pace, he jogged through the ship towards the airlock. When he got there he looked through the small window at it's center. He could see her dancing on the other side, but her back was to him. All he could see was the silver disk at the center of her back that kept her powered up.


She was the last remaining member of the crew beside himself.


"Don't be silly, your name will always be Noley to me."


"Could you please close the bay door Mary? The vacuum of space is no place to be playing around."


Through the window he could see the spherical orb that had once been his home. Earth - or what was left of it. Now burned red and in turmoil like Venus. Millions of ships had been sent out of the stratosphere to colonize nearby planets before the Collapse. Unfortunately their ship had hit a satellite and now they were dead in space.


"Give me a minute." Mary pleaded.


He was young then when it happened. They worked to keep everything working, but everyone knew their fate. He had to watch as each of the older members grew old and passed away.


"C'mon, I need your help."


Not wanting to sadden himself he looked out through the small window as the bay doors slowly closed. Marianne was spinning on the tips of her toes and gracefully extending her legs. He never knew why she would come out here to dance.


"Fine... Just for you." She pressed the bay door button. And smiled at him through the window.


"Thanks." He tipped his imaginary hat to her.


When the doors shut. The airlock swooshed out the empty atmosphere and acclimatized. Marianne stepped out and hugged Nolan. It felt weird. Marianne had been his baby sitter since he was a teenager. He couldn't let her keep walking out there without a harness. Not mention the damage it may be causing to her circuitry.


"Is something wrong Noley?" She asked raising his chin.


The simple gesture sent butterflies through his stomach, but he fought them down. She was just a cyborg. He was just lonely. It's been over a year, so far. Miss Jody was the last to pass over. She had been the crews doctor.


"I think I need your help. Do you think you can access the ships schematics and help me repair the generator?"


"Well lets head to deck then." She said with a smile. Her long auburn hair brushed across her shoulders as she took his hand and pulled him along with a smile upon her face.


"You know sometimes, I think..."


She looked back at him. And her expression made him choke on his own words. He wanted to say that she kept him happy. Content and optimistic. That everything wasn't going to go to hell for him. That they weren't alone for several thousand kilometers away from anything.


"You were thinking...?"


"It's nothing let's just get to the deck."


"You know Noley you think too much. Dr. Jody Daniels even said so. She said it wouldn't be good for you if you kept ruminating over things."


"Yah, it's kind of hard."


"I may be a cyborg Noley, but I know what dire straight you are in. But you must make the most of what you have."


Heh, taking advice from a bot. He scoffed to himself, but quickly bit back the thought. She had always been keen on his moods even when he was young.


"I'm sorry, I'll try not to think too much."


"Good, now come, let's fix that generator."


He nodded and followed her.


The deck was dim and dark, but the minute the two of them stepped in everything fired up. Mary flipped over onto the Captains chair and hooked up her finger into the access port.


Her eyes shifted color to a light green as she accessed the file.


"I think I got it."


***


She disengaged herself from the ships file. She turned to Noley and flashed him a winning smile. She couldn't see into his eyes because he still had blinder goggles on. It was a shame because she liked looking into his cloudy grey eyes.


"I'll have to do a bit of a deep dive around the generator, but it should be a quick fix."


"That's good to hear." He replied.


She wanted to explain to him that something had fundamentally changed in her programming. It was the reason why she had started dancing outside the ship. When she was alone with him, she couldn't help but be drawn to the young man. She new everything about him. And now he was all that was left in her world.


"Hey, you alright?" It was his turn to ask.


"What are you talking about, we don't feel emotion Noley." She quickly replied.


"Right, but something was up with your expression. I think I may be seeing things now."


She wanted to reassure him, but to do so would give her away.


"I'm sure it was nothing."


The two of them walked in awkward silence. Tension building up as they got to the life support section of the ship. She made quick work of it. The job was messy, but she got it done. She poked her head out from beneath the floor panels.


Nolan burst out in laughter as he looked down upon her. Plasma goo was stuck to her face and dress.


"I should've done the work, I got overalls and a mask. I didn't realize you were going to open up the generator."


She tilted her head and gingerly touched her face to look upon the greenish goo.


"Looks like I'll need to take a shower then." She stated plainly.


Thoughts of Noley joining her flashed through her visual cortex. Her left eye involuntarily winked and she twitched a few times at Noley.


"Okay, somethings definitely wrong with you. Come lets get to robotics. I'll see what I can do about cleaning you up. The plasma may have screwed up your polyepidermis."


She wanted to tell him the truth. But she wasn't sure how he'd take it. He helped her out of the pit and they walked together again to another section of the ship.


"Been awhile since we were last here?" He stated.


"When you tried to secretly repair my arm after you broke it you mean." She remembered.


"Hey you didn't stop me from using the phase cutter."


"I did stop you from cutting your head off."


"True, True." He said with a smile.


Marianne lied down onto the patient's table.


With an extra absorbent cloth he brushed away the plasma waste. Until he realized that it had gotten deeper than he thought.


"Your going to have to take off your dress." He said with his face turned away for a moment. He Removed his goggles and rubbed at his eyes.


She thought now, if she had a regular heart it would be beating rapidly. But instead she had an urge to grab his hand and bring it to her chest. This too she fought down. She knew that if she looked into his eyes it cause her to falter again.


Instead, she got up and removed her dress.


"You can turn around now."


***


Nolan looked upon her nude body slightly decolorized by the green plasma. Almost making her look alien. His heart raced as she lay down back upon the table. He ever so gently brushed away the rest of the grime. He hands going along her curves.


"Your breath seems to be shallow. Are you having an asthma attack?" She asked worriedly.


He nearly laughed at the thought. And he wanted to lie.


"No, it's just I've never thought I'd be in this situation I guess. I mean, I'm a man. Or like to think so at least. Ha."


"Tell me, Noley. What is it that you want to do?"


His eyes dodged her gaze as he tried to think of other things. This was his baby sitter for Christ sake.


"I want to live."


"Then I have something to admit to you..."


Confused, he didn't know a single cyborg who could keep a secret.


"I want you to tell me if I'm alive."


She brought his hand to her breast. Beneath a hydraulic pump was pressuring biochemical fuel through her body. It pulsed like a heart.


"I uh... I don't know how to answer that." He said as he looked into her eyes. He tried to search for the answer she wanted. His face flushed. As he heard her confession.


"I have been dancing away from you to take this infatuation from my mind. I know what my duty is. I know what bounds were set for me. But none of these things exist for me any longer. Otherwise I could not broach it as I'm doing so now."


"Wait hold on, are you telling me you are feeling emotion."


"No, or at least I don't think so. I don't know what this feeling is."


He held onto her gaze for a bit longer and stepped into her. He kissed her gently.


She separated abruptly.


"I... Think..."


"Stop thinking..." Nolan said as brought his lips to hers again. They passionately kissed. Knocking over repair instruments. She fell upon the table and he lay upon her, brushing back her golden brown hair to look into her eyes.


"I mean you can think if you want. I was just trying to listen to your advice." He admitted to her. She smiled and pulled him down upon her.


The next few moments were blissful beyond belief.


***


She awoke. A calmness that she now knew was a state of being in the moment that washed over her. She knew now that the two of them would truly be happy.


No matter what end was in store for them.

September 23, 2020 13:32

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1 comment

Nandan Prasad
12:15 Oct 02, 2020

Wow, what a story! I loved it and this should definitely win. Well-done and keep writing!

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