Goliath and the Girl

The Question

“So, why don’t you think you’re human?”

“I’m not human.”

“But Goliaths are human.”

“There are significant genetic differences between Goliaths and humans.”

“Don’t they say that on the commercials?”

“Yes.”

“Am I making you angry?”

“…I’m not sure why, but it’s not your fault.”

“We don’t have to talk about it.”

“Did someone tell you Goliaths are human?”

“Sister Parveen. She said Jesus died for Goliaths too.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, Jesus died to take everyone’s sins away. And someone asked if that meant clones too, and Sister Parveen said yes.”

“Is ‘Jesus’ Jesus Christ?”

“Yup! So you know about Jesus?”

“I’ve heard people say the name. She said Goliaths are people?”

“Yup, and she said everyone knows it, but people just don’t want to admit it.”

“Does that mean… you think I’m human?”

“Yeah. Of course.”

“…”

“231, don’t be sad. Why are you sad?”

“Every Goliath wants to be human. I just… never thought anyone thought we were.”

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Goliath and the Girl

Dinner

They had arrived in the middle of the Dubai night, but they saw three times as many people in the streets as they had on New Barcelona.  Sophia remarked that it was way better lit than her old neighborhood.  Indeed, Dubai Colony’s capitol may have been the most opulent place 231 had been on a mission.

Sophia stopped suddenly and gasped.  “No way!”  She grabbed the Goliath’s thumb in one hand and tugged him toward a cart parked at the intersection of two main roads.  A dark-skinned man in a sharply pressed suit was walking away from the cart, holding a thin plastic bowl of steaming noodles.

231 could smell a salty, meaty smell.  He realized that he was hungry too.  And it was only then that he realized that he had forgotten to take rations.

Sophia was at the cart, beaming up at the thin, aproned man holding the ladle.  “Two, please.”  She turned to 231, almost giddy.  “I can’t believe they have soba here!  Have you ever had it?”

The scent from the cart was very appealing.  “No,” he said, looking into the steaming trays.  Thin brown noodles in thin brown sauce.  231 spotted a few pieces of unidentifiable meat.

The vendor said something in Arabic and handed Sophia two bowls and two pairs of chopsticks.  She nodded at 231, who took them from the vendor as Sophia flipped open her palmtop to pay.

“This is so awesome,” she said, smiling at the soba vendor and walking away from the cart.  “Gimme mine!”

231 handed over the noodles, then stared at his own.  “Thank you.”  The last time he had human food was the cake at the birthday party so many years ago.

Sophia was staring at him rather than eating.  “Try it!”

231 looked at the chopsticks in her hand, decided against it, and lifted the bowl to his mouth instead.

The brown sauce was as salty as it smelled.  The noodles were firm and chewy.  The meat was some sort of sausage, tasting more of the sauce than anything else.

It was, by far, the most delicious thing he had ever tasted.

231 chewed and swallowed, his eyes lighting up.  He took another mouthful before smiling widely at Sophia, nodding his approval.

Sophia tilted her head and smirked.  “Toldja.”  She lifted a wad of noodles to her mouth with the chopsticks.

“Mmm!  This is better than cake!”

Sophia chewed, and stopped.  She chewed again reluctantly, and swallowed with a grimace.  “This is horrible.  Don’t eat it.  Here.”  And she reached for his bowl.

At least he had gotten one bite.  231 resignedly held the bowl out to her.

She once again looked at him as though he were crazy.  “You can eat it if you want.  It’s just really bad.”

231 jerked the bowl back, then had a thought.  “Do you know what Goliaths usually eat?”

Sophia shook her head.  “You want mine?”  She offered her bowl.

He immediately took it and emptied it into his.  This really was a good assignment.  “I saw a human eat a thing called a bar of candy once-”

“A candy bar.”

“Yes.  Thank you.  We eat bars, but they’re made of protein and vitamins, not chocolate.  But they’re the same color.”

Sophia’s eyes flicked from him to the bowls of brown noodles.  “Um… where does the protein come from?”

231 had never thought to ask.  He shrugged and downed another mouthful of soba.

The girl sighed and looked around the square.  “Well, I still don’t know where we’re going.  Let’s just keep walking, okay?”

The Goliath nodded, discarding the empty bowls into a waste bin.  “Lead on, Milady.”

Sophia smiled softly at him.  “You’re all happy.”

231 paused, and realized that he was.

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Goliath and the Girl

Distance

231 stepped onto the telepad just behind Sophia, trying not to think about his orders.  The more he tried to put them out of his mind, the more he found himself focusing on them.

“Have you ever been to Dubai?” Sophia asked him, turning her eyes to the dome over their heads.  As soon as they were within the glass, the machine began to audibly warm up.

The Goliath shook his head.  “I’ve heard it’s peaceful.  No reason for me to go there.”

“Parveen!” Sophia said suddenly, nearly cutting him off.  “That was her name.”  She looked awestruck for a moment, then frowned.  “I still don’t remember her face.”

231 placed his hand, very carefully, on her shoulder.  He removed it a short moment later, just as she looked up at him.  It still felt like a risky gesture, but much less so than it would have a day ago.  “But you remembered that,” he said.  “and what she said.  That’s enough to keep us moving forward.”

Sophia’s smile, 231 decided, was worth the risk.

The golden energies hummed above them, obscuring the sky, not dimmed by the ambient light.  With a flash and a rush of gravity, they arrived on Dubai Colony.  When the teleportation field abated, they saw that it was night.  The sky was awash with amber city light, all but obscuring the stars.

The telepad station was in the midst of downtown, surrounded by new skyscrapers.  231 and Sophia exited the dome, eyes drawn aloft to the tall buildings.

The clone soldier activated his comm.  “Milord, we…”  His voice trailed off as the comm chimed an error.  No signal.  Oh, no.  “Sophia does your-”

“We apologize for the inconvenience,” said a voice over the station loudspeakers.  “Dubai Colony’s communication hub is experiencing connection issues.  We are working to resolve the problem, and we expect the system to be fixed shortly.”

“Mine doesn’t work either,” Sophia was saying.

A communications blackout.  They had no way of contacting command back at Tower headquarters.  231 paused and looked to Sophia.  He barely noticed his vague sense of relief.

“I’m following you, Sophia.  I recommend we keep going while they fix the system.”

Sophia looked out at the lights around her, searching.  She was quiet for a moment.  “I dunno what to look for,” she said.  Then, she looked up at him, and he saw the same faint relief on her face.  “But I am hungry.”

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