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FIC: Cat's Cradle

Title: Cat's Cradle
Fandom: Moon
Characters/Pairings: Sam
Date Written: 2010
Summary: When memory runs forwards as well as back, it's called insanity.
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, minor language.
Notes: Short, nothing groundbreaking, just noodling around. Somewhat spoilery, if you can make sense of it. Also, whoa, what the eff, something that isn't Watchmen? How did that happen?

*

He has been here for six days. Already the annoyance of plans put on hold – a life, a whole goddamned life – has faded into an itchy restlessness that he suspects is only going to get worse as time goes on. It feels familiar, almost comfortably so, like a second skin that’d been waiting here for him, stepped into without another thought. His favorite hairshirt.

He pins the picture of his one-year-old daughter to the mirror’s frame, wonders at the stickiness of the metal, as if a thousand memories have hung here before.

*

He’s been here for 428 days. It still feels new, unexplored; it feels like he’s making a difference, and that’s important, right? And anyway, he has his robot to talk to, which strikes him as something that should bore him by now but somehow never does.

When his fingers ache and twitch and dance with loneliness, he starts carving bits of balsa into shapes he won’t fully realize for a long time. He’s careful and slow in his inexperience. There will be time to learn.

*

He’s been here for 82 days. His model city is halfway done, close enough that he’s starting to recognize the streets, and when he dreams, it’s forward: he dreams his child born, dreams his just-seeded plants into maturity, himself into the madness of the too-long lonely, bent and mumbling. He dreams years past until they are moving so fast he can’t see them anymore, a blur, a fog.

“Please,” he says when he wakes up, entreaties on his tongue and the heat of flesh under his fingertips, but he can never remember what he’s asking for.

*

He’s been here for 629 days, and sometimes, he dreams when he isn’t even asleep.

*

He’s been here for 21 days. Three weeks. Tess gazes at him from the mirror frame, heavily pregnant and smiling in a way that feels real but misplaced all the same, like the object of her affections is standing just slightly off camera.

She has always gotten her strength from strange places. It’s something he could learn from.

*

He’s been here for 592 days, and he will be a father soon. He thinks so, anyway.

*

He’s been here for 1095 days. Gerty seems slightly depressed as it leads him to his cryo chamber, like it liked him better than the last guy or the next guy and will miss him, then there’s fog and noise and—

*

He’s been here for 1095 days. Gerty seems slightly depressed as it leads him to his cryo chamber, like it liked him better than the last guy or the next guy and will miss him, then there’s fog and noise and—

*

He’s been here for 1095 days. Gerty seems slightly depressed as it leads him to his cryo chamber, like it liked him better than the last guy or the next guy and will miss him, then there’s fog and noise and—

*

He wakes up, his first day. He’s sore all over, body unresponsive, and there’s a fake smiling face hanging over him assuring him of his survival. It’s comforting, and he isn’t even sure why.

When he manages to drag himself to his quarters, the first thing he does is tape the picture of his three-year-old daughter to the sterile frame of his mirror, wondering at the stickiness of it, like—

*

He has been here for 1087 days, and he has just coughed a wad of blood and something else, something that came up from deeper inside, into the sink. He presses his eyes closed and hopes it’s nothing serious; he’s so close, going home so soon, and if the shitty radiation shielding in the walls and the rovers and his suits have conspired to give him cancer just in time for his daughter’s second birthday, he’s going to be— upset.

But it doesn’t happen again, even as he feels his mind start to peel apart under the intangible fingers of distant stars. He stops to look at them on his last trip out, and he knows he’s going home but it feels so important to find a star and watch it burn its way through the sky, to lock in that memory.

We are all made of stars, some old, old bit of song, and whatever star he points to could be making the raw materials for a new Sam Bell right now, spinning him into existence on some other world. There could be hundreds of them, millions, connected by their starstuff in a chaotic webbing across galaxies.

If they were ever to meet, would they know him?

*

He’s been here for 1095 days, and—

*

He’s been here for four days, and when he takes his first trip out into all the starlight he feels an absurd need to look up, to see through the unwinking eyes into other worlds. It feels a little like a puzzle, something that he needs to turn and look at from other angles, to string between the points of foreign towers and fit into a greater picture.

In the end, though, they’re just stars, and he has a job to do.

*

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
lotus0kid
Sep. 2nd, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
Wow, Moon fic, I certainly never expected to read that. Beautiful, of course, with an edge of highly appropriate creepiness. And bonus points for referencing a Moby song.
etherati
Sep. 9th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah the fandom is nonexistent as far as I can tell, I just saw the movie and got an itch. ;) Thank you! I totally expects nothing but crickets here, I'm glad some people have seen it, because it's an awesome movie.
roachpatrol
Sep. 3rd, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
This is totally gorgeous. I think you really caught everything that made Moon so sad and beautiful, but I really like that extra redemptive edge you fit in. It's sad, but not crushingly so. It's great.
etherati
Sep. 9th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you, really, I didn't expect to get ANY response to this as there does not seem to exist a fandom and most people have never heard of it. ;)

It was such a sad movie, I don't know how deliberate it was to sneak some hints of redemption in, I sometimes just stick them in without realizing it. But I think it does temper the sadness somewhat, in the movie too.

Thank you again :)
mad_bertha
Sep. 25th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)
I absolutely loved this film, as much as it was so sad and depressing, it's one of the best science fiction films I've seen in recent years and I am constantly amazed that few people I know have seen it. A fic based on Moon alone would have made me excited--but YOU writing something for it? Wow. And the mood of this fic fits in with the film perfectly, the repetition and the use of the days to indicate the different clones, the references to stars, how there are so many of them (like Sam):

"We are all made of stars, some old, old bit of song, and whatever star he points to could be making the raw materials for a new Sam Bell right now, spinning him into existence on some other world. There could be hundreds of them, millions, connected by their starstuff in a chaotic webbing across galaxies."

Thanks, eth :)
etherati
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
Wow, I never replied to this? I AM EMBARRASS.

Thank you *hugs* it was a lovely movie and I haven't really done it justice here, but all we can do is try.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )