Day Eighteen


Yesterday, Rene and I did not talk at all. Today, we talked quite a bit, and the mutual malaise of yesterday seems to have gone. Thank the King for that. I cannot imagine living in this place without a friend. Especially now an army sits beyond our doors.
Rene and I mostly avoided furthering the conversation regarding his gender. This was for the best. I feel I need some time to become silently acclimated to the concept. Of course, I have been living among humans long enough to understand their ridiculous relationship with gender. But it has never presented itself directly to me. I have never been made to consider a human as anything more than a name and a body. To add a third criteria, even to one person, strikes me as unnecessarily complex. One thing I will always miss about Vyrolikar culture is the simplicity of an all-male society. This would never happen on Su-Kalus.
Many people have informed me that much of it comes down to gut feeling. I have always chalked it up to the boredom of richer individuals with no better usage for their time aside from creating new means through which to make themselves seem unique. It has always struck me as pseudoscientific at best. Witnessing this phenomenon firsthand as opposed to hearing of it from others as a vague “thing-which-can-happen” is threatening to change my mind. If this truly relied entirely upon boredom or gut feelings, then why would a well-trained, military-minded man such as Rene be feeling such strong emotions regarding gender in the midst of a highly dangerous survival situation? It must run deeper than that in some sense if Rene is suffering from these feelings during one of the most challenging moments of his military career.
Perhaps I should ask the prisoner, David, how such concepts relate to the idea-realm of which he has spoken. Though the thought of speaking with him again disturbs me.

Rene Oliver

Had a dream about my former girlfriend, who I haven’t seen since before I joined the military. These caves are definitely getting into my head. Haven’t thought about her in years. Hadn’t. Working on the assumption that somebody - maybe an archaeologist or a historian or something - will read these some day. Because of that I’m, well, deeply embarrassed to make the admission that I dreamed about somebody I last talked to when I was only barely an adult. But isn’t it only natural to spend too much time, some days, pondering what might’ve been?
Of course, there’s no world where her and I could’ve stayed together and been happy. Moment I joined the service she turned her back on me. Not because she hated the War - though we all did - but because of why I joined. She loved me as a woman, and I only told her the truth on the day I left. From that point forwards she spoke as though she’d never known me. Eventually she stopped sending letters.
Perhaps in some other world I spent a lifetime concealing myself to keep her happy. Some days I long for that world. Visiting it through a dream felt like a warm, forbidden embrace. To sacrifice my self-image for her happiness… perhaps that decision would’ve been worth it. I have spent so much of my life witnessing death. So many men dying far too young in war. In my dreams, I spend my life watching one young man grow old in peace. Maybe my child wouldn’t have been a boy, but if I could do this all again I’d choose to raise a son above anything else. I’d like to have raised a boy into a man the right way. Keep him away from war. Make sure he never makes my mistakes.
Mistakes I’d never learn to avoid if I’d never made them.
I am coming to terms with the fact that there are no easy answers for me, and never have been. But landing here - in a way, this is the first easy answer of my life. Every problem I’ve ever had is in a different world entirely now. This is the best opportunity I’ve ever had to make myself into someone I can be proud of. I’m not going to waste it.
Might even be able to have a son, somehow. Isn’t this place an old Vyrolikar colony world? They’re clones. Maybe some of their equipment is still down here.

Continue to Day Nineteen-->