The Caverns of Eden And Other Short Stories

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And then, well, one would get tired of living with dinosaurs, floating around in space, etc. But then again, we too often get tired with our existence — but at least we have something, someone perhaps to strive for…. They have nothing to strive for. Everything is provided…. I appreciate how it comes together at the end, but it takes so long getting there….

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So to make myself feel better I find someone to hurt. The poor idiot thinks he loves me. I start out sweet. You have to temper it with kindness, affection, empathy.


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Empathy is especially important. I can read other people pretty well. Sometimes I feel like I understand other people better than I do myself. Hawk is already in his Egg, ready for class to begin. The Egg is a virtual reality pod that encases each student individually, giving us a fully immersive learning experience.

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I watch his hand caress the controls of his datablock interface, toying with the many sensory options he has at his disposal. My skin.

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Love makes people weak, she says, and probably believes. Love is for other people, to feel for you. Instead, I envision him caressing something far more exotic and unlikely: a cat. No one has seen a cat for more than two hundred years. No one has seen any animal other than humans. We have vids of them, though.

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All stored in the cold, dead bytes of a datablock. Now all those things are gone. It will be centuries before the Earth is healed enough for humans to survive outside of Eden. Here we only have people and technology, and a few hardy species of algae, fungus, and bacteria that provide our food. The autumn leaves that make up my long skirt part, exposing a long swath of bare leg. He looks. His mother raised him right. How bad should I be? Should I simply deny receiving them, or. I assumed the cleaning staff forgot to remove the trash.

Pearl would never let me live that down, if she knew. Unthinkable, laughable. We get even. Swiftly, I lean in and kiss his cheek. Or, I try to kiss his cheek. His reflexes are good, and he turns his head so fast my lips land on the edge of his. I fight the urge to recoil in confusion. I just want him to love me. I want everyone to love me. I want to own them. I want to have loyal people around me who will never leave me. Still, the quick kiss has the desired effect. His face relaxes, and he smiles.

Better flowers. I did get the flowers, but as soon as I saw them I gave them to Jessamine to throw away, or put in her no doubt squalid little apartment, or anything she liked. He leans against me in the tight confines of the Egg. Only the barest abstract recollection of the dances, the feasts, the merriment.

The only image that is truly clear is a memory of staring up to a small patch of sky, seeing the stars seem to multiply as snowflakes formed, then filled the heavens in a blizzard that lasted exactly one night. Where was I for that Snow Festival? The snow is always at night, but the rain falls in the daytime. I remember being somewhere high for one Rain Festival, feeling exposed, with a sense of nervous excitement, tilting my head back to catch fat raindrops on my tongue as the noonday sky grew black with artificial thunderclouds.

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It must have been before I was born. The clothes all look out of date, the sort of flowing, casual, free garments in muted colors I imagine our grandparents wore. The Egg is designed to give students a full immersive experience. They could just program our lessons into the Egg and take the rest of the day off. Inside the Egg, the temperature drops, and despite the singing and cheers of the crowd that seems alive around me, there is a hushed feeling.

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My senses are sure of it, even if my mind knows it is all an illusion. Hawk hits another button, and the scene shifts jarringly to a frozen artificial pond, solid for one night only. The Egg has returned to ambient temperature and is just a machine again, its delusions hidden. But my cheeks feel raw and rosy from the recent cold. I shake my head against the unexpected sensation of exhilaration. Why does that feel like a novelty? What reason do I have to not be happy?

I have everything. I feel a strange uncertainty, and it makes me angry. My friends and I have other plans. But at the end of class Pearl slides up to me. The winner gets money, and a night in the innermost entertainment circle. Start making decisions?


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  4. The artifact did not stay in his possession for very long, however, as Assassins Aguilar de Nerha and Maria immediately launched an attack to take back the Apple. While Maria died in the ensuing battle, Aguilar was able to escape with the artifact and later gave it to Assassin ally Christopher Columbus , who took it with him as he set sail for the New World.

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