Another excerpt from Escape From the Pleasure Planet. This is a few chapters later on from this bit.
|It was a starry, starry night...|
Images flashed in her vision, their details obscured and indistinct. Faces that she didn't quite remember surrounded her. Voices echoed in her ears that she was sure she'd heard before. She sighed inwardly. Her mind was now a battlefield, the casualties of several years of memory repression and mental manipulation and the constant battle to retain things that she didn't want to forget. Neither side was winning. She couldn't remember anything distinctly any more, but the Nipisi could no longer keep her from remembering. It was going to take a lot of Nurses a very long time to sort this out.
She was sat in a seat in a large container. Through the small window to the side of her she could see nothing but blackness and thousands of tiny pricks of light, stretching away forever. Giant spheres passed them by as she watched. The vessel was moving at quite a speed. She was surrounded by people that she didn't know, not all of them even human, but no Nipisi anywhere. She was slightly scared, and sore. She rubbed her temples and her face was bruised and swollen. A man was watching her from a seat on the other side of the vessel with concern, and she hid her face away from and stared out the window intently. She didn't want to talk to him. She didn't want his concern. She wanted him to forget that she was there. She wanted to forget who she was.
A sphere – a planet – was coming into view if she peered in the direction that the vessel was going. A thrill of excitement shot through her. She'd always wants to come here, in a way. It was like a little curiosity in her that had never had the chance to voice itself. Even when she was happy, she had wondered what this planet would be like. Now that she was broken and unhappy, she needed to know. It was like a compulsion. The planet was vast, big expanses of purple in amongst writhing waves of gases obscuring something else, and to the north, she could see giant buildings of grey stone, similar to the ones that she knew from home. Here was a planet that was both alien and human. It was a curious juxtaposition, but she felt comforted knowing that she was not leaving home entirely behind, and yet here was a place that she didn't need to be reminded of it constantly.
She wasn't sure why she'd lied about her name on the boarding form. She just knew that she didn't want to be herself any more. She wanted to be somebody different, even if it was just for a little time. As the vessel came into dock on the planet, she felt a little surge of excitement and a little bit of terror. How long would she be here? She didn't know. Hopefully long enough to forget what she was leaving behind and build herself a life that she could live with.
The memory faded away and Juliet lay looking at the inside of her eyelids.
She'd changed her name? How had she forgotten that? And what had it been before?