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Going on Four

Amelia Sirina is a Buryat-Russian speculative fiction writer. She studied Classics in Moscow State University, she falls in love with any new myths or fairytales easily and loves learning new languages. In her free time she travels. Her works appeared in The Future Fire, Guilds & Glaives, and Liminality.

I wonder if they'll call us Eugene and Jun, as though in a myth, in a grand narrative canon of humankind 2.0. I wasn't made from a rib, and he wasn't made in anyone's image but his own, so I guess Eugene and Jun does sound better to my ear with each new time I bounce it inside my mind. Other than that, my mind is empty. I need to fill it with something. Some thought.
Eugene and Jun. Eugene and Jun.
I wish Eugene would speak once in a while, though. I wish he'd lift those brown eyes of his and center them on mine for just a fraction of a second instead of sliding them past me all the time. We sit in the incubator like mannequins of humans, broken and fit back together incorrectly for a reason much deeper than what the eye can pick up on. It's almost painful how vulnerable Eugene looks, a man almost twice as big as I am, how crumpled, how devoid of life.
I wish he'd hit things. I wish he'd scream. I wish he'd betray a tightening of his jaw, or the glistening of his wet eyes. I wish he'd say he hates me.
Then, I wonder if he thinks the same things about me. If he wishes I'd speak, and scream, and pound the walls around me. No chance. We--Eugene and Jun--were selected because of how rational, how quiet and resilient we both are. A man and a woman, drifting in endless space, caring for millions of eggs of the best specimens of humanity, vials of sperm, and premade embryos in stretching propolis-like refrigerated hives. Ready to start a colony any time.
But not just any time, turns out. Now, right now. After all, we're the last humans in the universe.
Behind my back, a dozen uteropods whirr, counting down weeks till the first babies come out. Thirty-nine weeks and four days.
A dozen babies, Eugene and I can handle. We'll get a new dozen uteropods going every couple of years afterwards until the first wave of children hits the six-year mark. That way, there'll be twelve new people capable of learning how to handle uteropods and the ship AI in six years. After that, we'll pump out twelve dozen embryos every other year, and hellooo, Humankind 2.0. Eugene and Jun will have done it.
A dozen is good. Even if one of us, either I or Eugene, die, the other will be able to handle twelve babies, with all the tech and equipment we have. For sure.
And still, neither of us speaks. Neither of us screams. Neither of us slams fists into things. And my mind is just so, so empty.
The window-wall in front of us shows a black cold place, and we swivel in it like a compass arrow not knowing where to land. Two people's reflections are frozen against the window, both clutching their knees to their chest, both looking as though they have no idea what they're doing or why. That one is Eugene, this one is me.
I wonder if Eugene thinks, "I don't have to do this. I don't owe it to anyone. There is another person right beside me who'll do it all alone if I'm gone. There's another who'll bear the weight of humanity on her shoulders. It doesn't have to be me." I think it.
I wonder if he wonders which of us will betray the other first.
Eugene or Jun?
We wait.
It's been three days since Humankind 1.0 wiped itself out. Three days, going on four.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, April 8th, 2019
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