Sven Sakarno came as close to hurling himself at the skene as he had in all the years he had been a prisoner. ‘The world before we became fully human!’ Who was this idiot? How could he be allowed to say such a thing? Fully human! Did he think that being a herd animal with no spine was fully human? Did he think that he and the other eunuchs in the great chamber of the Central Colloquium were fully human and he, Sven Sakarno, who had killed and sliced and eaten – yes, eaten – parts of his victims was not fully human? Could this creten nolt understand that it was Sven Sakarno with his mutations who was more like the real men, the real humans, the people of before, than the Outposters could ever be?
He made himself breathe slowly. Even so, something would show on the sensors; they would ask what had happened, why his signs had spiked. He would say that he was excited by this Ganesh Larsonsdottir’s speech. He would say that it came at him like a brilliant flash – a revelation. That was an old word from back when they had believed in bogeys – a Founders’ word; some of them had had, it was said, secret nostalgia for beliefs they had left behind. He would say that the speech made him understand his situation, and, yes, himself. Ye,s he would say; he wanted the female doctor to be on the skene now so he could say it to her. Watch her face crumple into her motherly smile. Watch her approve. Yes.
He made himself count to a hundred and breathe slowly. What he was allowed to see on the skene never came to him at the moment it was seen everywhere else; there was always a time delay so they could censor, select, edit. So this cretin, this Larsonsdottir had already had his say, an hour ago or yesterday or last WEEK; it was done, gone in time, and here he sat, in his now, the real now, not the now of the herd, reacting to it when it was already dead.
While he had been calming himself, the cretin (or the delayed image of the cretin) had gone on with his cretinous proposal. A reenactment of earth, sunfuck, what a fool! So many thousands needed for construction work, so many trips by freighter to—
Sven held his breath. To earth. To the real place, as he thought of it. To home.
The cretin meant for his reenactment to be held on earth!
Sven Sakarno had to contain himself with twice the usual concentration. Slow his breathing, pull down his blood pressure, hide the outward signs of adrenalin and testosterone. Be calm. He would tell them – her – that he had been excited by the idea of such a reenactment and all the hand-loomed cloth that would be wanted. Yes. And he would say—No. He couldn’t say right out I want to go. He would say, I worry about my cloth. I’m afraid in the excitement people will damage the cloth. They will need repairs. They will need an expert. Perhaps…
That was a little bald. A little raw. He would have to refine it. Make it her idea. Make it – make it so that Sven got to go to earth with the cretins.