“You have a mismatched pair of genetic characteristics. Either alone would have been useful, would have aided the survival of your species. But the two together are lethal. It was only a matter of time before they destroyed you."
Jdahya made a rustling noise that could have been a sigh, but that did not seem to comer from his mouth or throat. "You are intelligent," he said. "That's the newer of the two characteristics, and the one you might have put to work to save yourselves. You are potentially one of the most intelligent species we've found, though your focus is different from ours. Still, you had a good start in the life sciences, and even in genetics."
"What's the second characteristic?"
"You are hierarchical. That's the older and more entrenched characteristic. We saw it in your closest animal relatives and in your most distant ones. It's a terrestrial characteristic. When human intelligence served it instead of guiding it, when human intelligence did not even acknowledge it as problem, but took pride in it or din not notice it at all..." The rattling sounded again.”
“Yes,” he said, “intelligence does enable you to deny facts you dislike. But your denial doesn’t matter.”
“Your people contain incredible potential, but they die without using much of it.”
“A partner must be biologically interesting, attractive to us, and you are fascinating. You are horror and beauty in rare combination. In a very real way, you've captured us, and we can't escape. But you're more than only the composition and the workings of your bodies. You are your personalities, your cultures.”
“Human beings are more alike than different—damn sure more alike than we like to admit. I wonder if the same thing wouldn’t have happened eventually, no matter which two cultures gained the ability to wipe one another out along with the rest of the world.” Lilith”
“There was no real comfort in being alone with her thoughts, her memories, but somehow the illusion of freedom lessened her despair.”
“Yes,” he said, “intelligence does enable you to deny facts you dislike.”
“Your body said one thing. Your words said another.” It moved a sensory arm to the back of his neck, looping one coil loosely around his neck. “This is the position,” it said. “I’ll stop now if you like.”
“She had learned to keep her sanity by accepting things as she found them, adapting herself to new circumstances by putting aside the old ones whose memories might overwhelm her. She”
“Let go of me.” It smoothed its tentacles again. “Be grateful, Joe. I’m not going to let go of you.”
“You are hierarchical. That’s the older and more entrenched characteristic. We saw it in your closest animal relatives and in your most distant ones. It’s a terrestrial characteristic. When human intelligence served it instead of guiding it, when human intelligence did not even acknowledge it as a problem, but took pride in it or did not notice it at all …” The rattling sounded again. “That was like ignoring cancer. I think your people did not realize what a dangerous thing they were doing.”
“What is it?” she asked. “Flesh. More like mine than like yours. Different from mine, too, though. It’s … the ship.” “You’re kidding. Your ship is alive?”
“First learning, then proving I’d learned. Knowing and using the knowledge aren’t the same thing.”
“Curt Loehr, the Oankali said, needed people to look after. People stabilized him, gave him purpose. Without them, he might have been a criminal—or dead.”
“Down on Earth,” she said carefully, “there are no people left to draw lines on maps and say which sides of those lines are the right sides. There is no government left. No human government, anyway.”
“I can’t unfind you,” he said.”
“We do what we do, Lilith.”
“Human beings are more alike than different—damn sure more alike than we like to admit. I wonder if the same thing wouldn’t have happened eventually, no matter which two cultures gained the ability to wipe one another out along with the rest of the world.”
“God thank you for everything you've given us. For the time we have together. And for the miracle of Christmas. Thank you for the Atonement, the chance to start all over again. Help us to always remember who we are and to trust that we are worthy to make it through our storms. Amen>”
“Dreams are not those which comes while we are sleeping, but dreams are those when u don't sleep before fulfilling them.”
“Later I stirred again, knowing the night was passing, but unwilling to wake fully lest this fair vision be lost forever. There was an arm across me, holding the cloak around me; and the same old blanket covered the two of us. Darragh lay behind me, his body curled neatly against my own, his living warmth a part of me, his slow peaceful breathing steady against my hair. I kept quite still. I did not allow myself to return to full consciousness. I thought, if it all ended right now, I wouldn’t mind a bit. Let it end now, so I need never wake. And I slipped back into sleep.”
“To me it is the irony of fate,” she said. “The way they come here. Those moths could fly anywhere. Yet they keep hanging around the windows of this house.”
“A man who doles out sweets, and slaps, with the same hand.”
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