For the first time in recent memory, John moved silently across the darkened room.
(What's wrong with my hearing..? I'll have to get those circuits checked...)
He gazed at the young female sleeping before him. She wore a diaphanous something that hid nothing... as only she could.
John was distracted for a moment staring at his hand, wiggling his fingers as if he had never seen them before.
(this is Robert...)
"I know that !"
(...that IS your hand... Concentrate!)
John mentally shrugged and returned his attention to the girl. He reached out to caress her. The thrill of her sleep- warmed body shook him. He shuddered in response.
(Shuddered..? Me..? Really..?)
His fingers, almost of their own accord, traced a path past her calf to the firm thigh. Still sleeping, she responded with goose bumps forming around his finger tips.
(...I really can feel this...)
John's other hand moved to the small of her back. He began to make small circles over her sacrum, the way she liked it.
(Robert...how'd you know that...)
(You don't wanna know...Concentrate..!)
She moaned softly, arched her back toward him, and pushed against his hand like a cat. Now he could see the face hidden in the piles of gloriously red hair. He jumped back.
(Oh my God.. Sara..!)
There were the full red lips and dimpled chin belonging to his wife ... suddenly.., beautifully... alive.
Sara opened her eyes and, rising, lifted up onto one arm. He looked into the deepest jade green eyes that he would ever know. Waking to greet him tonight as she always had. No matter how long he stayed at the lab or one of his "silly, save-the-world" meetings, she could be found right here waiting to have her "snuggle."
(Now...hold up a tick, old fellow...)
(Now what, John..?)
(Where'd you get this stuff...)
(John...you want to quit...?)
(Good... then, shut up and leave me alone. I do have other things to do...)
John heard that soft, southern drawl, " Now Johnny-Boy (a fine name for a Nobel laureate...) why are you starin'? Am I wearing too many clothes agin..?"
John was always astounded by how comfortable she was with her body. She was just as comfortable with or without clothes. He looked down and saw that he wore none. When he looked back, she matched him. In the corner, a piece of silk drifted down, curling itself into a pink pile of nothing.
"Now, get in here afore you catch yo' death..."
(Death...now there's a good one...)
Sara pulled him into her nest as only she could. Touching her now, her body burned him. When Sara hugged a fellow, she hugged him head to toe. Her inviting kisses lead to pleasures he had almost forgotten had ever existed. She helped him to remember.
When she had loved him thoroughly, she slept, lying on his chest like a child. He wanted to stay there forever.
Beep... Beep... Beep
John ignored them all. He whispered into the sleeper's hair, "Ah... Sara... ma jolie faire... why didn't you choose life... Why did you stay behind... I need you so..."
(She'll be waiting right here John...whenever you want her... but, now you must come out...)
(Robert, you schmutz...your timing is as bad as ever...)
John felt his reality shifting. Sara faded and his brother stood over him.
"Come on J...The council is meeting and you must come out.."
With an almost physical sense of loss, the scene faded to black and JON-1 was back in a chrome plated laboratory. He blinked at the blurry image of his six foot robot form.
"It's okay, man...that happens to everybody until they get used to the change."
"Well, it's damned annoying, bra..." John regained his dignity. "Come on..." He rolled past his brother. They clanked off together to the council chamber. They passed other survivors in the wide halls, careful not to run over any one else's trax. They were in a hurry and had no time for accident reports.
At the last turn before the chamber door, they were alone. JON-1 stopped, "Robert, I can't begin to tell you the joy that you've given me. That's the best work you've done yet."
"Thanks, John...I put nearly three years standard on it."
"Where 'd you get that stuff about Sara ?"
"It's made up from old colloidal mem-grams that she made as a gift to you. You remember that she worked with me in her last days."
"I didn't think we would take so long to create these new reality spaces. Some of it comes from mem-grams out of your spool that you made on re-entry and some were hers that she left on her departure."
"The gifts that keep on giving..."
RBT-1 laughed a metallic sound, "I guess..."
"That stuff's nearly a millennia old..."
"Actually, bro...it's nearly two millennia standard since she left us."
JON-1 stopped rolling. Turned his eye-pots toward his brother. "That long, huh..?"
Sympathetically, his brother's pincered tentacle touched his shoulder. They stood in silence a moment.
"Time means so little here...When can I go there again..."
"Whenever you like...I've built a booth in your quarters. As I regenerate more of the old data, I'll download them to you..."
"You are the best, little brother..."
"That ain't all, hot shot, lookee here..!" ROBT-1 held a small black box with some switches, a dial, and a red light in his other claw. He hit a switch as they entered the chamber. All of the members of the Council were transformed back to their naked human forms. As one, they turned and yelled, "ROBERT !!!"
"Okay, okay !!!" He hit another switch and they were clothed much as they had been when they had last met. In the center of the room, the work consoles were turned into a feast.
John turned and looked at his brother, "Thank you..." He walked around and hugged or shook hands with all of the council. He went to the head of the table and sat.
Laughing gaily, the council gradually worked their way to seats.
When they were quiet, John laughed, "My, my friends... this is a shock isn't it?"
Ponder Trall, Third Citizen of the Council, turned to look at Robert for a moment, then, said, "How many rooms like this do we have ?"
"Only this one now...,"
All of the voices spoke, "Ohhh... I want one..."
Robert raised his hands in a familiar pose, "Now, now...I have a plan..."
All of the council members leaned foreward exitedly. John spoke quickly, "Come on...speak, little brother... enough theatrics..."
"Okay...okay... we are wiring the grid work needed to set up the whole colony. It should be converted pretty quickly. Not the halls though, we don't have good enough spatial sense to know how much bigger we are now than we used to be."
Dahlila, the President pro tempore, rose and lifted her glass, " A toast to the genius of Dagovnia IV..."
"Hip hip hooray..."
" He has brought us truly back to life."
Robert rose and lifted his glass in return, "It was nothing. A couple hundred years work..."
John hugged his brother for the first time in two thousand years, "Thanks, Robert..."