People of the Heart – Family

Continued from Part 1 ….

Zana stepped back into her apartment the next morning, thoroughly relaxed by the night’s activities … all of the night’s activities. It had been a stressful term so far, even for a cyborg; of course, graduate studies were always stressful, but psychology was tougher than most. And add into that my personal psychotherapy starts in two weeks, she thought as she moved into her bedroom to change out of her finery, into a casual unitard. God knows what little gremlins will turn up then! She had always considered herself well adjusted and mentally healthy. Who but God could guess what a qualified psychotherapist would find …? Then her lips quirked back in a mercurial change of mood. Although her career would be made, perhaps, as the author of the first case study on a ‘borg in the literature!

The small jest improved Zana’s mood; but she still felt the need for some encouragement, or at least a shoulder to cry on for a few picoseconds. Glancing again at the holographs on the mantel, she regretted not returning home to her parents’ house. Still, there were other ways of getting together with family … not as satisfyingly tactile, but they would do in a pinch …. She said to the room, “Computer, please call Ariel Sherman, home code, full holo.” She sat on her couch as the computer beeped.

Shortly, a full-body image of her mother, wearing a green casual outfit and a purple silk duster, appeared in the holoprojection field created by the comm program. “Hi, sweet one! What makes you call on this fine Saturday morning?”

“Hi, Mom,” Zana replied, her lips lifting into a soft smile at the sight of her mother. “I’m just seeing how things are at home … and … well, maybe looking for a little external bucking-up.”

“Did your date with Alon Cohen turn into a disaster??”

“No, nothing like that; the date was fine … and Alon was great.”

“Great as always, no doubt,” Ariel said with a bland smile and a twitch of her blue eyebrows.

“Mother!” Zana growled; but she laughed as well. Leave it to Mom to know how to break a negative mood in five seconds.

And indeed, Ariel’s sly grin turned warmer, and she nodded. “There you go. I could tell you were twitching about something, the instant I saw you. So, what is it, sweet one?”

Zana related her fears in a few words, ending with, “The rational side of me knows I’m just borrowing worry. But it’s hard to convince my anxieties of that.”

“And that just shows you’re quite normal, I think,” Ariel replied, then snorted. “Frankly, you’re probably the most ‘normal’ of the bunch of us so far. If any of us, I should be getting my chips shrunk. It’s been nearly 25 years since Freedom Night, and I’m pretty sure I still carry some luggage around. Very nice luggage, too, made out of the best synthesized reptile hide available.” She grimaced for a few seconds, then shrugged and looked back toward Zana’s image in her own field. “You, though, I don’t think you really have anything to worry about … no more than when we sat for our portrait together, when you left for graduate school. I suspect, for some reason, you remember that day.”

Zana smiled. “I think I do, Mom ….”


“You ready, Zana?” Ariel said. “I think the holographer is finally set up …. Zana? Are you alright??”

Zana glanced up from where she had been leaning in thought against her mother’s piano, and smiled a little. “I hear you, Mom. I’m just ….” She shrugged, and pushed carefully off the piano. Even with the brakes set on the casters, ‘borg strength could move it — through a wall, if one really didn’t pay attention.

Ariel gave her a glance filled with patience. “You’re surely not worried about moving across town, to the psychology department campus? You did just fine for four years only seven kilometers up the street, at the main campus.”

“No, that’s not it …. I think it’s ….”

“That you’re taking another step away from us, from me and Dad?”

Zana blinked. “How do you know??”

“Simple,” Ariel said. “‘Cause I went through it, too, when I moved out of your grandparents’ place, years ago. And it’s nothing unusual. It’s called growing up and spreading your wings, after all. No chick leaves the nest without a little trepidation. But it passes soon enough … you’ll be amazed how quickly. And, if nothing else, remember we’re as close as the comm … should, for instance, you ever need sage advice from an older, wiser head.” She stooped over a little, making like she was holding a cane, and her hair flashed from blue to a bright grey, shot with black and white strands.

“Not that much older, Mother,” Zana laughed. “And I don’t think you need to worry about hobbling around, or your hair going grey.”

“True there,” Ariel laughed; and she straightened up, her hair changing on the instant back to the deep blue she normally wore in public. “But I think you understand yourself better, right?”

“I think I do.”

“Then let’s go over here and get done what you came here to do. I want a ‘graph to mark the moment, and I think you’ll like a copy yourself, to take with you when you go so far away from your poor parents.” Laughing, the mother and daughter went around the corner to meet the holographer Ariel had hired.

Concluded in Part 3 ….



Both —

  • Skin: Fallen Gods Pure Gold
  • Body: Maitreya Lara 4.1
  • Eyes: NeurolaB Inc. Cyber Eyes EX-5 2.8

Jem —

  • Head: LAQ Ana 3.05 Bento

Harper —

  • Head: LAQ Noelle 3.06 Bento


In the apartment:

Jem —

  • Hair: Argrace Marumi
  • Outfit: Rapture Hamira bodysuit (Maitreya, Antricite)

Harper —

  • Hair: Truth Imani (hand-dyed)
  • Outfit: A&Y Flash Cyber Coat (Maitreya); Nicky Ree Sandra pants and top (system, green)
  • Shoes: KC Couture Dania ballet flats


At home:

Jem —

  • Hair: Tukinowaguma Shinobun (vintage)
  • Dress: Rapture Desiree (Maitreya gacha, #5)
  • Shoes Garbaggio Xara pumps
  • Jewelry: GeWunjo Denny separates (necklace, earrings, bracelet)
  • Eyeshadow: Zibska Wake (tattoo, 11)
  • Lipstick: Booty’s Beauty Jam (Omega, slot 2)
  • Nails: Ascendant Lamarr

Harper —

  • Hair: Vanity Hair Glittering Heights
  • Dress: Rapture Kareen (Maitreya, Purple)
  • Shoes: Garbaggio Heidi pumps
  • Jewelry: Chop Zuey Banka Mundi suite (long necklace, earrings)
  • Eyeshadow: SlackGirl Brendy (Omega, slot 2)
  • Lipstick: Livia Taryn (tattoo, 6)
  • Nails: Ascendant Pride Week
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