Title: Each According To His Ability
Rating: PG, I'd say.
Disclaimer: Paramount own all of these people. "Darn."
Summary: An exercise in wilful opacity.
Notes: Beta by kbk. All the clues to this one are in the text, but
it might take more than one read-through for it all to fall into
You're prompt with these letters, aren't you? That's the mutant way –
how long did it take you realise that you're not supposed to
measure time by other people's heartbeats? How long did it take you
to figure out you're not supposed to be able to hear them at all?
Anyway, in answer to your horribly obvious questions, everyone is
fine. Jack's convinced he's figured out a way to turn lead into gold
and he started yelling when I told him that they can already do that
with nuclear accelerators. Life goes on with the tedious clockwork
efficiency of the mental health profession.
Now on to the good parts, and I hope you know how to interpret the
spaces between words. I'd make up a language for you, but it always
freaks out our little censor (Hey! How are you!) when we do things
like that. I assure him or her that it's nothing dramatic or
exciting, it's just that mutant solidarity makes me want to keep the
good gossip between freaks. They don't need to know everything, you
know? And we need to do something to stop them getting too
comfortable. For every Ghandi they produce there's a Pinochet
waiting in the wings. (Joke, censor, joke.)
Anyway, there's talk of treatment (isn't there always?), and we've
had a lot of visitors. Jack says it's because they need all hands to
clear up after the war, which is probably true. We'll get to lead
nice productive lives, just like you. Except maybe with fewer people
around for us to annoy.
I'm sure you know how it is, you know exactly how it is, people
wanting you to do things for them, making pathetic innuendoes about
duty and opportunity.
And I think my brain's decaying, because every time I try to get the
cube root of twenty-seven thousand I end up with one left over. Do
you ever get that? And there has to be a cure because your neurons
still seem to be firing. We'd welcome any ideas you might have on
that subject, because it's making Patrick a little nervous.
If Jack was anti-social in a legal way they'd have made him an
admiral by now, you know. All you need to do is give us the
information, lock us in a room, and we can accomplish anything.
And we all miss Sarina, yes. You didn't actually say anything about
that, of course, but you don't really have to. She'll probably just
slip off into the ether eventually, go someplace where no one knows
what she is. You know all about passing as normal, you could have
given her a few hints. Makes you wonder how many of us there are,
right? That's why they lock us up in this boring place; they have to
maintain some feeling of superiority. And they like to think they
can always tell when they meet us, that they have some kind of
natural radar that points out the freak among them. But you passed
as normal. If you'd never been found out you'd never have met us,
though, and then your sad little life would be even duller than it
It was nice, wasn't it? All of us talking in shorthand, not having
to stop and wait for the normals to catch up. I bet you miss us. I
bet you sit with your uncomplicated friends wishing they would think
a little faster. But then people would notice, and they'd make you
do things you don't want to do. But the beauty of being free is that
you can always find a way out, right? Spare a thought for we poor
They say that if I'm a very good girl, they'll let me have a real
communication line sometime. Which would take a lot longer than just
reading and writing, but apparently it's all the rage among normal
people. So if I end this letter now, it might convince them that I'd
only use up a little of their precious bandwidth in a conversation.
And if you want to come visit us, soon would be a good time.
Your fellow freak,