among the numbers

I know that my memory is hopelessly contaminated by the legend. Did Millie really say to me once, ‘I am the connection’? I can hardly believe it. I wasn’t exactly in a normal state of mind at the end of the Sub Reroute. I am almost sure I dreamed that departure. And if not, it doesn’t seem to matter. The version they’ve made up is near enough to my ‘truth’. Let it be. Let the story spread and fade, the way starship stories do. Meanwhile, I will disbelieve. I feel I owe it to myself. And besides, somebody has to liberate Yolande.

But if it was all true and there was a rescue mission, why was nobody rescued? Maybe it was and we are: time’s relative. My decision’s the same. Like Millie, I take the view that truth can look after itself. Just smile, and let them invent the rest.

I waited for a few minutes to see if my request would come up on the viewport. I’d entered it before Yolande and I sat down: the same as usual. I always ask for the clear shell effect, so I can look at my cedars. Unfortunately, the stupid serials always vote for dreary spacescape.

What can I say? Something happened to me. It changed my perception of the world. And I have gained, although it looks as though I’ve lost. I’m down here because I feel that what I do matters: and that is worth a great deal. I find I do not worry any more about the endless night, whether it comes or not. But I don’t know if Millie Mohun was responsible for the change, or if it was my Pia. After all this time, I know that in my thoughts I hardly distinguish between those two.

No cedars. I got up and began to stroll down the passage with my weight on my left foot and my right knee bent outwards. How the bones begin to creak! I may be lean enough for the probability tunnel now, but if Millie means to come back and fetch me in-person, she’d better make it soon.

Gwyneth Jones, Escape Plans

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