Presented by: Xenogears: God and Mind
Here's another Fanfic about the two characters I've invented in the God and Mind novelization ---- this one about Bathshiba --- better known as Miang.
The two hands that held the glass were steady. Rock steady, as hard and unmoving as hands of stone. They were strong bronze hands, either one alone capable of a grip that would shatter the delicate fluted glass, and spill the deep ruby wine down onto the table, across the bronze skin, staining the hands as if with murder. The eyes that stared reflectively into the ruby depths were all light with a kind of savage gentleness, like the eyes of a faithful guard dog. The thick thatch of hair which straggled down below the collar of his military fatigues was also golden, like a tide of straw spun into gold thread by some magic fairy tale princess. But his creation had been far more mundane than that, perhaps if some mystic elf had created him he might have been something, might have achieved --- but no, that was useless speculation and he cast it from his hard pitiless mind like a snake sloughing an old dry skin.
The princess was real though. A young girl with eyes of piercing gray --- so like her fathers and hair the color of fresh fallen snow. The man conjured her face in his mind's eye, noting it's every curve and prominence, a cold unscrupulous face --- hard as his own, but a beautiful one.
Slowly, like a strong swimmer struggling against a dark current, he pushed his thought back to the first time he'd seen her. She'd come walking along the dark dripping sewer he had made his home, walking with so much confidence and her piercing eyes ahead of her. She'd been sixteen then, but there was non of the girlish innocence about her that such a young age implies. Like the snow queen of legend she carried a freezing wind with her, chilling the hearts of any who saw her. She had chilled his heart as he had crouched in the shadow's of that first putrid home, crouched with a quash of food well stored, a wild animal in it's den.
He had moved at that, a memory staring in his almost feral mind. His earliest memory of sitting enthroned in a nanoreactor, and watching and listening as the cold eyed creator talked of the Ramsus project ---- odd they hadn't destroyed him when the usurper came, but perhaps they thought that he would die anyway as any normal child would have. But Ramsus had not been normal, and holding the glass of bloody colored wine he smiled wolfishly at the idea. Not for him had been the slow puling awakening of human awareness, he had been created whole and one with himself, to roam the corridors of the Solarian sewers like some giant rat, to snatch at garbage for scraps of food and learn language in drabs and drabs from the victims of the soylant system who sometimes ---- too diseased and mutated to be consumed, had been flushed into this place of rejection to die slowly of exposure.
But then she had come ------ and said "Ramsus"
"Who are you?"
His voice had rasped in his throat, rusty and unused to speech.
"I am a necessity ----- a blank page for the power to write on."
He had come forward out of the shadow's, and the torch that the girl held glanced through the encrusted dirt onto his bronze skin, and winked in his tawny eyes.
"The power that is called Miang, the power of the daughter of God. I have been trained from birth to accept this power but ----"
She had paused, and her gray eyes, which before had shone like agates in the sewer's darkness, had grown dull and uncertain, and for the first time Ramsus had realized just how young she was.
"You don't want to?"
A strange emotion, not fear, anger or contentment welled up in him, a thing that the lowest of all creatures could not feel for another. But though her somber white clothes were clean and seemed well made, and though she seemed well fed and watered ----- he pitied her.
"I want to accept the Miang, it is my destiny ----- but there must be something other."
"Everyday I am mentally conditioned. I learn science and the arts of combat healing and interrogation, I am desensitized to the pain of others, and taught the supreme value of myself the Gazel and my creator but ----- there must be more"
"Who are you?"
Ramsus's voice was calm, hardly rasping now as he sat back on his haunches like a curious bear, his tawny eyes loosing some of their predatory quality.
"I am Bathshiba, my father is the one who created us both, he teaches me indifference but I ----- I want to ---"
Ramsus voice was firm remembering a concept that was dim at best, a concept only hinted in those dark garbage ridden catacombs as the dying breathed the names of their beloved, family or friends.
"Why come to me? I know nothing of love"
Ramsus' tone was perfunctory, hash and grating like the grinding of granite blocks. The girl's composure though uncertain didn't falter, but their was a strange imprisoned longing in her eyes and Ramsus sensed the desperation in her.
"We were made by the same hand ----- in different ways it is true. You were rejected because you were unwanted, I am rejected because I am necessary. No other person can understand either of us."
Ramsus stood, for the first time in his nine years of carrion picking aware of the filthy rags which barely covered his nakedness, he walked clumsily forward and held out one hand. He smelled terrible, his nails were black and crusted with dirt, his skin was unwashed and possibly diseased, but the girl took his hand.
He smiled again, this time with a warm pleasure as he remembered that first touch of affection.
She had told him that she was kept in the laboratory, only able to escape when the scientist who was her father left it. She recounted to him of how she had learned of his existence, glancing over a folder of the scientist's when he was out. Then she had systematically searched for him, and the next time the scientist had left she had come down here and found him.
That had been the start of their friendship, a friendship that had depend as the months past. Ransus had lost his feral ways and had found a gentleness in his soul he had not suspected was even there. Then about a year after their first meeting, had come the rebellion.
She had come to his sewer hide out breathless and unkempt, he had been sleeping on the pile of blankets she had purloined for him, dressed in the old lab coat she had given him.
Her voice was urgent as she shook him awake, an urgent whisper in the dark.
"You must come, I'm being sent into the military forces by my father to gain battle experience, you've got to come with me."
They had run through the dark grimy passage ways and Ramsus' tawny eyes had watered as they reached the upper world. The tears ran in streams down his golden cheeks, making bronze tracks through the dirt and reflecting the sorrow he felt at her going.
She hustled him into the main laboratory, a room that held so many memories for him, a room that had been both womb and cradle to Kahran Ramsus, the king's hall which had been usurped by the one he hated ---- the one called Fei.
In the center of the room stood the creator like a single white pinnacle of stone, as he turned to face them Ramsus saw that the eyes of his creator were hard and gray, like the pointing muzzles of two revolvers, looking deep into a person's soul and coldly assessing what it found there for usefulness. And as he stole a glance at the white clad snowy haired girl who walked beside him, he saw the same cold calculating indifference mirrored in her gunmetal eyes, and at last he understood why they were friends. Only with him in the safe darkness and comforting grime, could she be human, here ---- and at all other times she was a hard bright needle, the replica of the scientist and word thought and deed ---- only in the dark could it be remembered that her mother had been human.
"It is interesting that a failed experiment survived so long in conditions of extreme hardship."
The scientist's voice echoed interestedly off the walls, hollow and dead like the mouth of a white marble sepulcher full of bones.
"My discontinuation of the Ramsus project was perhaps premature."
"I wish him to be given military rank and Jugund training ---- he is a pure Solarian after all ----- the purest of Solarians"
"He is not necessary, we do not need the power of two anti-Contacts when we have the Contact itself at our disposal"
"Nevertheless, Krelian. He is necessary to me"
"For what purpose? If he had a purpose he would not have been rejected nine years ago"
Krelian's hard scholarly face grew suspicious, and he pulled one smooth pale hand through his strange pale hair. The light of a nanoreactor beamed golden on Ramsus face, making it glow like a well polished statue.
"Is this emotionalism Bathshiba? I though all emotion had been eliminated from you, it seems I was in error"
Bathshiba's tone was no less cold, as she stood upright, a minor image like the female angel of Nisan, gazing steadily into Krelian's face with an unclouded calm that was almost mesmeric.
"You over-rate your own skill in mental conditioning Krelian. Remember half of my genes are my mother's, and though she full computability with the consciousness, she was a Lamb and as such, flighty and emotional. Ramsus presence will be an outlet for my emotionalism as it has been in the past. At all other times I will remember who and what I am"
Raamsus saw the scientist hesitate, as if mulling over the proposal.
There was total silence, and Ramsus could feel the tension between this odd father and his child grow thick and heavy in the laboratory's still air.
"As you wish, but any report of failure in your duty, and he shall be destroyed. We can not allow anything to come between you and Miang. In this you shall be the child of your mother's genome, but in all other things you must remain true to me"
There was a kind of harsh possessiveness in the voice, brutal and jagged like cracked ice, and Ramsus knew that if Bathshiba disobeyed Krelian's order, he would die.
Then had been the three years in Jugund, Ramsus had enjoyed those years, the hard training, Bathshiba always distantly by his side. He had learnt proficiency with his sword and Gear until he had a skill for causing destruction that matched his hatred, his hatred for all those who were necessary, his hatred for the usurper, the one called Fei.
He had talked insurrection, letting his hatred out in talk of a knew Solaris and equality, but he knew that his ideas were just pipe dreams, pipe dreams which had cast him down here to the surface, to a small rebellious city far in the northern provinces, a doomed city called Elru, where he commanded the small garrison and waited for a chance to realize his hatred.
He shook himself, slugging down some of the ruby wine, enjoying the warmth that spread through his body. Why was he thinking of hatred on this night of all nights? Why was he thinking of the dark and dirty parts of his past. He walked to the window, turning off the electric lamp, and watched wineglass in one strong hand as clouds gathered, lightning flickered far off and he wondered if that was the storm into which his love had gone, his princess running into danger to follow her god and her destiny. With his systematic military precision, his tawny gold eyes searched the night sky, skirting the lowering clouds, peeping round their black blanketing folds, trying to find one star. At last he found one, a single point of friendly night, blazing in the dark like the eye of some lost child peeping through vales of darkness down onto the world. But then one of the clouds flicked a long black tail of night vapor, and even as his eyes fastened upon it, it vanished from sight.
With a shudder in his muscular body Ramsus remembered that night, after the Jugund arrival party. There had been stars then too. A whole sky of them, wheeling and winking through Solaris protective dimensional shift. There was now clouds there.
Like children at boarding school they had made a midnight pact to meet by moonlight, in the garden outside the Jugund headquarters. It had been a beautiful garden, the scent of its plants perfuming the air with a naturally alluring fragrance. He had arrived first, and watched the stars glimmer and dance in the ornamental lake like so many drowned fire flies performing an ethereal ballet on black glass. He had stood, perfectly at peace, dressed in the white night clothes that Jugund had given him, his feet bare on the grass. She had slipped up behind him, a nymph in white, her hair waving and free.
He had turned to her, kissed her silently, wordlessly. The first kiss was possessive, and Ramsus felt a tender lust run through him, this girl didn't reject him.
Then they lay in the long grass, beneath the stars, and as her naked body pressed against his in an act of love as old as the mammalian species, for a few short minuets Ramsus' pain and rejection left him, and he forgot Fei's name. There had been other times of course, and all had had equal potency, and all gave that welcome amnesia.
But as he stood, looking at the dark cloud where the single star had shone, Ramsus knew that he would have to live with his pain for the rest of his mortal life -- or until Fei, the usurper of all hope was dead.
The voice was commanding yet quiet, Ramsus spun round, droplets of the half drunk wine splashing the front of his fatigues. It was her voice, but with subtle alterations, there was the old coldness of Krelian but with a new bite, and Ramsus knew why it had taken years of training to dehumanize his daughter. In that single word, his full first name, not the tender Khar that he knew so well, in that single word Ramsus read another name, read it in sound. The name "Miang"
He raised his tawny eyes slowly, turning on the lamp on his desk. The woman who stood before him was no longer a girl, her skin was pale, even paler than Bathshiba's had been. The basic structure of her face was the same, that fine boned unearthly face that he had grown to call his princess. But now there was a new arctic quality to it, a set of lines on the flawless skin that bespoke antiquity and purpose, it looked like the face of a statue carved of finest ivory.
"It is done Kahran ---- I am Miang"
The name seemed to resound, and Ramsus herd a strange longing in the name, a longing for a task that would soon be completed.
She raised one hand, pale and slim as a knife and ran it through hair that had once been white. Now it was indigo, a deep strange blue that fell in cascades of magic to the shoulders of her blue uniform. The snow had been marked, the clouds had evaporated and a pitiless blue sky was shining through.
The eyes too had changed, they were still piercing, indeed now more piercing, for now they showed a new experience, an experience that lasted back 10,000 years, and Ramsus knew that his love had access to a wealth of memories which the consciousness that shared her mind had hoarded over long millennia of waiting. The eyes were blue, icy as ever, but blue, strange and special, gazing at Kahr at they had once gazed out at the dawn eons before.
"I am Miang"
There was a new authority in the voice, and a kind of rejoicing self adoration, Bathshiba was glorying in her new fusion.
"I will awaken God. It is my destiny and purpose, and I shall accomplish it"
Ramsus stood, feeling a lump in his throat, a film of tears filled in owlish eyes as he knew that he was being rejected again, being cast into a darkness more filthy and desolate than any sewer.
"Than you don't need me anymore?"
His voice was brutal, violent as a gear's punch. Abruptly, like a machine suddenly activated, he stood, turned his back on the woman he had once loved and moved to the door., he opened it with wooden movements.
He turned, holding the door open and letting night wind fill the tiny room.
"Kahr? Please stay… I ------- I can't see you go"
"You need me?"
His voice was hard, like breaking rocks. The woman marked by God shrugged her slender shoulders.
"You are not necessary but I ----- I ---- you must stay"
Her voice seemed calmly frantic, and Kahr was reminded of the time long before in the sewer.
"You love me?"
He said, his deep rich voice suddenly gentle, questioning. The woman shook her head, as Ramsus knew she would.
"You know and I know that what I feel for you can never be love. We need each other to continue our separate tasks that is all"
There was a long, night filled silence. Ramsus closed the door and walked over to sit down behind the desk, the blue haired woman stood before him, head bowed like a supplicant ata n altar.
"Then Bathshiba is not destroyed"
"Do not use that name, I am Miang"
The voice was a whisper, a half hearted attempt to cling to duty. He looked searchingly into her eyes, and he realized with shock that she was crying. Slowly he stood and walked round the desk, to take her in his arms, and even as her head pressed on his shoulder he knew that there was a distance between them, a distance between himself and Bathshiiba, and however close they got that distance would remain.
But still he comforted her, stroking her indigo hair with one tender hand.
Krelian had been wrong, though this may be the final incarnation of Miang it was not perfect, there was a flaw in its perfection, a flaw of weakness and warmth which had begun before Bathshiba's birth in a Lamb girl called Celeste. The flaw that had caused the previous incarnation to destroy herself. To destroy herself rather than see her tortured son die, a flaw that had existed from the very beginning, from the moment when mother and Miang had been one in creation: The flaw of humanity.