The cannister was almost empty, but the precious oxygen was almost in reachâ€¦
The lights came on automatically. The proximity alert sounded for a person approaching the door and Drick sat bolt upright in the bed. The sheets fell down around Drickâ€™s waist as they stiffened in surprise. There was a flash and a chime as someone touched the courtesy call outside the doorway.
â€œEnter,â€ said Drick and flashed an alert to the room sensors to put the lighting to dim. A hand readied the small plasma ejector that was in the thigh holster, bringing it out to point at the doorway from under the covers.
The doorway opened and Drick made out the shadow of Marsh before the programmed lighting effect lit them clearly while leaving the room in a haze. Always disorientate anyone walking through a doorway. â€œWhatâ€™s the matter, Marsh?â€ asked Drick.
â€œCan I come in?â€ The voice was soft and a little hesitant.
â€œSure,â€ Drick flicked the weapon back into its holster and signalled the room to put the light to ambient evening. Drick got out of the bed. They were naked and they noted that Marsh averted their gaze. â€œYou donâ€™t have to, you know?â€
â€œI know,â€ he said, â€œI guess it is a programmed response. The me, this me, is based on, would respond this way.â€
â€œReally, â€œ Drick was pulling on cotton shorts and a vest top. â€œWhy? I thought they were ex-military?â€
â€œThey were,â€ Drick noticed a slight blush, â€œwe still only had semi-mixed barracks and clearly defined, if sometimes self-declared, gender divisions.â€
â€œWell, thatâ€™s fine for a regimen. But in society, was it still really that way? Also I have no clearly defined gender. Is that an issue?â€
â€œIn some places society still had a problem.â€ he looked around the room quickly, â€œnot for me, obviously, though since I said call me he…â€ Marsh left the statement alone, he smiled and made a slight cough of nervousness? â€œI have no issue. As for gender, well itâ€™s a part of things but it isnâ€™t everything that makes up a person. I guess you all have moved past that, but in my time, or the time I am made to be from, sex and gender and who you were, they were still wrapped together like melted toffee. People didnâ€™t know how to separate attraction of a person from desire entrenched in physiology. The fluidity wasnâ€™t there. Begs the question though, do you have any monogamy, or long term mono relationships?â€
â€œSure we do, in fact we have as much as any other form of relationship. I am not an expert but I suspect everything is represented in one quantity or another, we just donâ€™t have any reliance on any one being superior or a normal. Not even a comaniality. Depends on location sometimes, or the latest media sensation.â€
â€œAnyway, not a problem, just being me I guess.â€ He laughed but Drick could hear the nervousness, he was trying not to offend. Not that he held a contrasting opinion, but that he was unsure of what was right.
â€œGoing to fill me in on what that means then? Is this why you woke me up? I am really not an expert. Or is there something else, you did wake me from a rather challenging dream.â€
Marsh stared at Drick for a few moments, â€œmaybe I am not the only one who should elaborate. You okay?â€
â€œIf that means, am I good, then yes. If it means that I have a rather annoying residual memory, then also yes. If it means do you want to talk about it, then get the heck out of here. Why did you come?â€
â€œIgnore it. A long time ago, a bad event on a space vessel, seems to be haunting me recently. It isnâ€™t an issue. Why are you really here?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know what to do.â€ Marsh sat on the bed.
â€œShould I talk to the person who claims to be my mother?â€