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Friday fiblet: Eve

It was time. All the delaying tactics had been played through. Just a few years more might have made the difference, but the belief wasn’t there, the funding wasn’t there, the mercy wasn’t there. It was time for the last desperate gamble.

Gabrel touched the child gently on top of her small, misshapen head. Turning and casting a chubby arm over her face, she protested with a whining mumble. Gabrel considered simply ending her while she slept, but that seemed… wrong. A sapient being – and the child *was* sapient, primitive or no – deserved to face the end of life with awareness.

“Eve,” Gabrel sang, “Eve, awake. Awake, Eve. Awake.”

The child opened her eyes and smiled then, her teeth startlingly large in her small mouth. Singing spoke to deep areas in the brain; it had been a part of the genome since long before the generation which had supplied Eve’s DNA. It predated spoken language, in fact, and looked set to survive it too. The earliest and most primitive genome recovered, a decidedly nonverbal and nonsapient tree dweller, had shown that even at that stage melody (though not words) had been an important social functionality.

“He’oh, Gabble.” Eve was a much later model, with high verbal capabilities. Growing her had been a calculated risk, as the ever slow, ever plodding bureaucracy had not pre-approved the resurrection of such a late intermediate. There were plain ethical issues to be argued with regard to bringing creatures from the dawn of human civilization into the modern era; Gabrel and his fellows had hoped that the presentment of a fait accompli would force the issue, that the powers that be would quail at the prospect of actually ending a sapient life already begun.

The Arbiters had not chosen to see Eve as such, though. Sentient, certainly, but the consensus had been that such a primitive brain could not be considered truly sapient. Eve and her kin would not be joining the Conclave of Terran Sapiency, at least not yet. They were a borderline case at best.

Still, Gabrel thought as he gathered up the sleepy youngling, feeling the small head with its huge jaw nestle into his shoulder, at least her species has the possibility of living again. Extinct was extinct, and as long as Eve’s kind was extant, Gabrel and his crew could continue lobbying to have them upgraded in status. Mental projection was only one criterion, and surely the more primitive verbal communications could be made to suffice.

Assuming that Eve’s mental capabilities were not fully developed already, of course; it had to be admitted that her first year hadn’t been impressive. She was affectionate and docile, but not very loquacious, Gabrel reflected as he carried the child down the corridor. It was a pity Eve herself would not be given the opportunity to show whether she had any further capabilities, but the Arbiters hadn’t seen fit to wait. Gabrel pressed his lips to the top of Eve’s head, smelling the sweet scent of her copious head hair. Poor little singleton, never to know another individual of her own species…

Still, thought Gabrel, still there was a chance her species might live. They would become extinct a second time today, and that was a shame, but might yet arise a third time.

Depending, of course, he admitted to himself, cuddling Eve closer as they entered the bright, clean kitchen, on just how they tasted. As he had in other roles, he would do his best for her as a chef.

~ by BT Murtagh on February 21, 2014.

fiblet, fiction, Writing