—She has been through some…unsettling events.
—I get that. What I don’t get is why you put her in charge. She could have been on the team without running the show, you know. She doesn’t like me because I’m the big bad military, but what she’s doing really isn’t helping. Sending Themis over there is the only way I can buy some time. Without that, there’ll be troops in Regent’s Park by morning, and we both know how that’ll end.
—Let me hear it.
—What you prepared for the press corps.
—Fine. You may have heard the Head of our Science Division, Dr. Rose Franklin, speak to the media this morning. She had a lot to say, but, to summarize, Dr. Franklin believes we should do nothing, send no one, not even the EDC, and hope that the robot eventually leaves of its own accord. Dr. Franklin is a brilliant scientist and she is certainly entitled to her opinion, even if she doesn’t speak for the EDC. As you may know, Dr. Franklin was almost killed in an accident involving Themis in Colorado, and I believe the incident has left her unnecessarily cautious. While I disagree with her conclusion, she did say a lot more than “we shouldn’t send the EDC.” She made a few good points this morning.
We’re making first contact with an alien species. No matter how it goes, this will be a defining moment in human history. We should all stop for a minute and realize how significant and far-reaching these events are.
With that in mind, Dr. Franklin pointed out that sending an armored division and a few thousand armed soldiers is probably not the best way to make a good first impression. I find it hard to disagree.
She did suggest that sending Themis would be an even bigger mistake. Tanks and foot soldiers might be perceived as a sign of aggression, but they would most likely pose no serious threat to the robot if it’s anything like ours. Themis, on the other hand, could possibly give ’em a run for their money. I believe that showing the aliens a familiar face might be a good way to open a dialogue, but there is an argument to be made that sending the only thing on this Earth that could hurt these guys might not be such a great idea.
—Concise. Decisive, yet supportive. I like it. Grab your jacket. It is time to go.
—Do you remember what you told me the second time around to get me to take this job?
—You said: “I found you a military post where you’ll never have to kill anyone ever again.”
—I know. I still intend to keep that promise.
FILE NO. 1416
INTERVIEW WITH CAPTAIN KARA RESNIK, EARTH DEFENSE CORPS
Location: Somewhere in the Atlantic
—Good morning, Ms. Resnik. I hope I did not wake you.
—Holy shit! No! I just got out of the shower. I was running laps on top deck. Why does it feel like we haven’t talked in a decade?
—It has been eight years since our last conversation. Can you talk?
—You mean can anyone hear me? I doubt it, Vincent’s still asleep in his bunk.
—I meant are you busy?
—I missed this.
—No, I’m not busy. I have time to talk.
—Where are you?
—In the middle of the Atlantic, but you know that already.
—I meant on the boat.
—In our quarters. We have a little…It’s like a very, very small apartment. We have a couch, a TV, kitchenette.
—I am pleased to hear that you are comfortable. I requested some amenities when the UN acquired your vessel. I know how much you disliked the previous one.
—Oh, it’s night and day, sir. The boat we took before was carrying grain, we were like stowaways. This one’s been overhauled just for us. It doesn’t do anything else. We still sleep in bunk beds though I’m not sure why that is. How’ve you been? I bet you’re bored out of your mind without us.
—Believe it or not, there are things in the world that do not revolve around you. Not many, but enough to keep me reasonably occupied.
—I was just asking how you were. I haven’t talked to you in eight years!
—You were asking about my personal life?
—God, I missed you! Why has it been this long, though? I know you talked to Dr. Franklin a bunch of times.
—You and Mr. Couture appeared to be doing well. I did not see the need.
—You could have said “Hi”!
—Chitchat requires some form of reciprocity, which I cannot offer. But, as I said, I requested some amenities when the UN acquired your vessel.
—You mean you thought of me…once. Some years ago.
—Exactly. What was it you called me in Puerto Rico? All mush inside? How is Dr. Franklin doing?
—Well, you know, you spoke to her. She’s a little darker than she used to be. I thought it would go away after a while, but it’s been nearly a decade, so I think that’s the new her. We still get along great, me and her, though. She likes Vincent too. Everyone else, not so much.
—She has been through trauma. That is to be expected.
—You mean she died. I know; I was there. I killed her. Then she came back four years younger. She never told me how she came back. Does she know?
—She does not.
—I do not.
—You wouldn’t tell me if you did.
—Probably not, but I really do not know. And to be accurate, she is only missing three years of her life. She was dead for the fourth one.
—Remind me never to come to you for reassurance. No wonder she’s not coping well. I’m not the one who died and came back and I’m freaked-out. I mean, me and Vincent spent hours with her every day before she died. Who did we spend all that time with?
—Dr. Rose Franklin.
—Well, that Dr. Franklin died. The Rose Franklin we spend time with now doesn’t remember any of it.
—I realize how confusing this is. I am as bewildered by the situation as you are. I will provide answers when I have them. May I inquire as to the status of your relationship with Mr. Couture?
—Have you been watching us these past few years?
—As far as I know, neither you nor Mr. Couture are under surveillance.
—How nice. I meant on TV. Do you even know what we’ve been doing? You weren’t kidding when you said it would mostly be parades and photo ops. We spend a couple hours a day in the lab trying to learn more about Themis. That’s ten, fifteen hours a week tops, and that’s when we’re in New York. When we’re on tour, then there’s no research whatsoever. The rest of the time is what you said it would be. There aren’t many parades—the logistics are just insane, she destroys everything she steps on, even roads. There aren’t many cities willing to deal with the expense and the security—but we sure take a lot of pictures. Human interest, mostly. We visit schools, hospitals; children’s hospitals are the best. Vincent’s great with kids. He does the knee thing, that helps, but he’s really good with them. We’re a circus act.