I nod as Fluke issues his challenge. I'd been voted out before this task was given on Survivor, but I'd seen what the others went through. It wasn't going to be pretty.
I open the back door and see the first ring shimmering in the backyard. I take a deep breath and step through the ring...The Past
"Lt. Typho, please take a seat," says the doctor.
I am in a nicely furnished medical office with a large window. Outside the sun is setting.Oh, no. Not this. I remember this.
I take a seat opposite the doctor. He looks way too young to be a psychiatrist.
"So, how's it going?" the doctor asks.
"Pretty good," I reply.
"I see you're still wearing an eye patch," the doctor remarks.
"It's better than having my eye socket exposed," I reply.
"Have you thought about getting a cybernetic implant?"
I look at the doctor askance. "How am I supposed to afford that? Besides, I don't want to be part droid. I don't want anyone putting wires into my brain."
The doctor nods. I can tell he's made a mental note about something I just said.
"But you don't have to wear an eye patch. You could just use a false eye. Do you feel a need to call attention to your injury?"
I shake my head. "No, that's not why I wear it. I wear it as a reminder. A reminder to... to be vigilant."
"A reminder to be vigilant, or a reminder of those creatures that you said abducted you? What were they called?"
I respond angrily. "I was having a post traumatic stress episode when I said that!"
"So you no longer believe that these creatures gave you that patch?"
"No, of course not. That would be crazy."
"I don't use words like 'crazy,' lieutenant," says the psychiatrist in a soothing manner that comes off as condescending. "People come to me for guidance and I help them through their troubles. So, you no longer believe in these creatures?"
"That's right," I reply.Here it comes...
"Tell me what they're called again?" he asks.
"Shauputs," I mumble.
"What was that?"
"Shauputs," I say again. A bead of sweat rolls down my forehead.
"You look stressed, lieutenant. If you don't believe in them, nothing's going to happen if you say the word three times, right?"
"So say it."
" I say tightly.
"See, that wasn't so bad," he says with a grin.
"Riiiight," I say. In the window behind him I can see thousands of pairs of luminescent eyes.
The psychiatrist scribbles something on a pad and hands it to me.
"Give that to you CO. You're fit to go back on duty. Best of luck to you, lieutenant."
I collect the paper and stand up quickly.
"Best of luck to you,
sir," I reply. There are paws and noses pressed up to the glass behind him now.
I shut the door of his office behind me.
The elevator door is closing when I hear the window shatter.You know, he was right. That wasn't so bad at all....I materialize in the backyard again. Squaring my shoulders, I step through the second ring...The Present
I'm in the Naboo delegation suites back on Coruscant. Senator Amidala is giving me my yearly review.Oh, I HATE performance evaluations.
"One of the goals we talked about was for you to work on your communication skills," she says. "There has been some progress in this area, but not enough."
"Huh?" I say.
"That's exactly what I mean, Typho," she replies kindly.
"But I did what you asked," I insist. "I took some classes. I took Creative Listening
and Interspecies Dialogue
"That's not what I'm talking about," she says. "I'm talking about how you communicate with me."
"But I thought we communicated just fine. We have daily staff meetings. I keep you informed about all of the security matters. I--"
"Isn't there something you want to tell me?"
"Forget about all of the security information. What's the most important thing I need to know."
"Well..." I say uncomfortably.
"What keeps you from telling me things about myself that I need to know?" she says shrewdly.
"I guess I don't want to hurt your feelings," I admit. "And I'm not sure if it's my place to 'go there' with some of the issues I've seen."
"What's the worst that could happen if you communicated all these things openly?" Padmé asks.
"I could get fired."
"And then what?"
"Then..." I frown, thinking.Well, so what? That's really not the worst fate in the galaxy. In fact, getting fired would set me free to do what ever I really want to do.
"Okay, let me say it, then. You're a total alcoholic and your boyfriend is a psycho who's going to come to a bad end. And you're picking up all of his bad habits and that reflects badly on our entire planet. And you haven't been acting lady-like."
She nods, pleased at my sudden ability to communicate clearly.
"It's like this," Padmé says. "I need to know that you'll always tell me the truth. Even if I don't want to hear it."
"That's it," she smiles.
"I'll keep that in mind," I reply.
"Oh, and one more thing?"
"If you frakking call me a drunk again, you're fired."
"Promise? Thanks!" I say, smiling back....Once again I materialize in the backyard. Eager to get this over with, I step through the last ring...The Future
I'm on Naboo in my house in Kaadara. It's not new anymore. It's definitely seen better days. Still, it feels like home.
The sun will be rising soon. I have to take the boat out and catch fish.Catch fish? This is what I'm going to end up as -- a fisherman? Aww no!
As I fix myself some breakfast, a teenage boy comes downstairs. He's dressed in a military uniform that's a variation of the Republic style. He's puffed up with self importance.
My son looks at me with scorn.
"Why do you bother getting up every day? You hardly ever catch anything," he snorts.
"Well, good morning to you too," I say. "I get up and I go out there every day because I like to earn an honest living."
"You're barely getting by. This place is falling apart," he argues. "You should come with me to Coruscant. You're not old. I could find you something to do. A cushy job, maybe in surveillance. You wouldn't really have to do anything."
I shake my head. "I like it here. I've been there. There's something about Coruscant. It eats away at your soul. Naboo is clean. Can't you see that?"My kid hates me. I can't say that I'm surprised.
He shakes his head. "Frankly, no. Look, you used to be somebody. You had a decent job and you let yourself fall so far," he says. "I'm never going to be like you
, that's for sure."
I nod. "I know. And that's okay."
He finishes his coffee and gets up. "I'm out of here."
"There'll always be a fishing net here with your name on it," I tell him.
"Star destroyers cast bigger nets," he says. He rolls his eyes and hoists his duffle bag on his back. And then he's gone.
I get it now. He's going to be who he needs to be. I can't make him into something else. And it doesn't necessarily mean a door between us will be shut forever.Is this how I am with my father? Does he deserve that?
With that I emerge from the last ring. As I look back over my shoulder, the rings grow blindingly bright, then fade away.I sit down in the grass with my eye closed. It's awhile before I've collected myself enough to go back inside the Big Brother house.