The First Day Of Spring
"I thought she was supposed to make things easy."
Ysandra looked at her colleague and sighed. "You say that as if we
could do this without her."
Weyes always got defensive when Ysandra said things like that.
"Anything's possible," he said. This was his usual response.
"Perhaps," Ysandra said as she crossed the laboratory and sat down at a
station next to Weyes'. "But I dare say that without Mother Brain to
coordinate things, the Government never would have so much as
considered taking up a project like this."
She had a point. "Well, you're certainly right about that,"
Weyes said as he stared at a computer screen upon which was a graph showing
falling temperatures over a three-year period. "Palmaforming Motavia will be
the single greatest task anyone has ever taken up."
Ysandra smiled as she stared at her own charts. "No kidding. That's
just why they asked us to do it."
"I heard that!" Alysa cried from around the corner.
"Hey, I wasn't excluding you!" Ysandra said defensively. "You're just
as much a part of this as anyone else."
"Thank you!" the young biologist said as she came over to where her
colleagues sat. "Mother Brain's not the only necessity around here."
Weyes laughed. "Right. I'm the other one."
Alysa hit her superior on the arm and pretended to be disgusted. Then
she went back to work.
"That girl will be the death of me," Weyes said with a wry smile as his
gaze fell back on his graphs.
"If I don't beat her to it." The scientists shared a chuckle and went
back to work.
* * * * *
Personal log entry #2,951. AW 06/26/860
From the beginning, the main problem we've had is getting the rain to
fall. We've tried everything, and nothing has worked. Our latest project has
failed, and, for some reason, this seems to be the one area that has Mother
Brain stumped as well. True, we never would have gotten this project off the
ground if it wasn't for her, but now... Frankly, she's really dropping the
Maybe Motavia will remain a dry planet. At least for a little while
END log entry #2,951.
* * * * *
There was nothing like the night sky of Motavia. In that time of great
change, there was no place one could go on either Palma or Dezoris and see
half as many stars as Weyes saw when he went up to the rooftop at night. The
lights of Paseo were frail against the immense dark of the Motavian
wilderness; even a city of Palma's standards would have been dwarfed and lost
in that shifting desert.
Rain had never fallen on Motavia. Palma-based astronomers and
meteorologists had been studying the brown world and its unusual weather
patterns ever since BW times, but never once had actual rainfall been
recorded. The only precipitation Motavia ever saw was a slight mist which
covered the lake region in the Winter months. This kept the lake, known then
as Odin Lake, from drying up, but it did little else for making the landscape
Even clouds were rare. Again, the few clouds Motavia ever saw appeared
only over the lake and during the Winter.
Winter... Like there was any real Winter on Motavia. The planet had
three seasons; High Summer, Low Summer, and Winter, which was then followed by
another Low Summer. There was no Spring on Motavia, no Autumn. The climate
didn't change enough for that. And so far, the Climatrol Team's efforts to
create their own clouds and seasons had all met with failure. They had
transported massive amounts of water from Palma, and even mountain-sized
chunks of ice from Dezoris had made their way to that island laboratory. It
was all in the hope that some weak semblance of a water cycle could be
But so far... It made Weyes depressed just to think about it.
There was a click, and the hatch which led to the roof from the
stairwell below flipped open. Weyes turned and saw Ysandra emerge.
"Hi," he said simply, returning his gaze to the endless horizon before
him, a horizon lost at some indeterminable point by the fall of night.
"Hi," Ysandra said back, crossing over to stand next to her boss.
"What are you doing up here?"
"Just looking," Weyes answered. He pointed northeast, to where the
thin towers of Paseo peaked above the horizon. A white dot emerged from the
city and streaked off into the heavens before vanishing.
"That was the midnight frigate," Weyes whispered dryly. "It'll be back
by noon tomorrow, with supplies for Paseo, and for us."
Ysandra leaned fully onto the railing and took a deep breath. "The
desert feels different at night."
Weyes smiled. "Well, it is a lot cooler..."
"That's not what I mean," Ysandra answered. "It's like a whole
different world. Look at it, Weyes. It's beautiful. It's so dark, and
still, and calm. It's broken only by the lights of a city and their
reflection on a lake...a lake that shouldn't even be there, I might
add. It's like...it's like Paseo is looking into a mirror and saying, 'What
am I doing here'?"
"You're a poet..." Weyes said with a chuckle.
"...who didn't know it."
There was silence for a few moments as the pair continued to take in
the spectacular view. After a long time, Weyes began to laugh, softly.
"What is it?" Ysandra asked, surprised.
"What month is this?" Weyes asked.
"What? It's June. You know that."
"I know I know. What season is it?"
"It's High Summer. Weyes, what--"
"I just wanted to hear it."
"Look," Weyes said, pointing to the sky.
And there, shimmering almost imperceptibly between the ground and the
stars, was a cloud.
* * * * *
"What happened?" Ysandra asked.
"I don't know," Weyes said. "Whatever it was, I had nothing to do with
"Don't look at me!" Alysa said before anyone even thought to look at
her. "I've been washing my hair."
"Regardless of what the cause is," Weyes continued, the excitement in
his voice unmistakable, "we've got a cloud. We've broken the cycle. Or
started it. Or at least changed something a little bit... Damn, I don't know
what to think."
"I do," Ysandra said. "We've done it!"
"But how?" Weyes asked, calling up some schematics onto the terminal
screen. "I...we haven't changed anything."
"I think I found something," Alysa said from a different terminal where
she had just sat down. "Take a look at this, boss."
Weyes got up. He and Ysandra went to stand behind Alysa, who was
pounding the keyboard with lightning speed.
"Look," she said, pointing with a long, red fingernail at an equation
which, at first glance, appeared to be completely unremarkable.
"What is it?" Weyes asked. "I don't see--"
"Look at it, Weyes," Alysa said.
Ysandra felt an edge in the younger woman's voice. She was dead
serious about something. Ysandra looked at the screen a little bit
closer. After a second she grabbed Weyes' shoulder and said, "God, she's
Weyes rolled his eyes. "I told you once if not a million times; I'm
not God. I do understand your confusion, though..."
"Oh, Weyes, shut up," Ysandra said. "Look at this one sequence right
here. Here's the variable for the mist fall, and for mean temperature, both
based upon time of year. These are equations you did. We've all typed in
these exact same equations tens of thousands of times."
"Well, look at this. Right here are the algorithms for cloud cover.
Look. No mist fall variable. No temperature variable."
Weyes eyes went wide.
"It's like someone else did all this work," Alysa said. "And whoever
did it used a completely different system then what we, Hell, what anyone
using standard climatological and meteorological procedures would have come up
"But who could have done this?" Weyes asked.
The computers -- the computers throughout the entire station -- beeped.
It was the usual nightly report-sweep coming on-line.
"My God..." Weyes said.
"What?" Ysandra asked, a little frightened.
Weyes laughed and slapped his forehead, then stared at the screen again
in amazement. "We're so damn egotistical sometimes. Here we've been, the
three of us, for all this time, ordering about our workers and fussing over
this project like we own it, like we own Motavia. And all the
progress we've made isn't due to any of our own work, really."
"Huh? What are you trying to say, Weyes?" Alysa asked, sounding
"What I'm saying is that we need to bow down to the real expert here,
the one who can understand and compute this crap a whole Hell of a lot
faster and better than we can."
Ysandra and Alysa both stared at Weyes, not knowing what to do or
"What we really need to do is recognize the fourth and most valuable
member of our team -- Mother Brain."
Ysandra laughed. "Oh come on now, Weyes. Mother Brain can't
think. She's, she's just an operating system for crying out
"Is she?" Weyes asked, stepping around Alysa's chair to stand before
his counterpart. "Think about it. Who invented cloning technology?"
"Damn it, that's not what I mean and you know it. Who made it so
cloning technology actually works?"
Pause. "That doesn't mean--"
"The Hell it doesn't! Damn it, Ysandra! And you too, Ali, you can
wipe that smirk off your face. As biologists you both know that the leaps
Mother Brain made could never have been made by anything less than a super-
super-super genius. No one would ever have even considered the
possibilities Mother Brain threw about like softballs. It's all because of
her that we can not only make copies of someone's genetics, but copies
of their memories, their God-damn personalities!"
He stopped. Still, Alysa and Ysandra said nothing.
"Will you open your eyes? Look here. It's the same thing." Weyes
pressed his face so close to the monitor that the hair on his face stood on
end. He pushed Alysa's chair closer as well. Ysandra moved in of her own
accord but her face still showed skepticism.
"Here we've got Mother Brain making another crazy, bold,
brilliant leap! Look! She doesn't even care what time of year
it is or how much mist fell last Winter or how much plankton we found in the
lake this time. I...I'm a certified, world-class expert on this, we
all are, and I don't even know what her variables are here!" There was
another long, awkward pause. Weyes looked from Ysandra to Alysa and back and
asked, "Well? Do you?"
Alysa shook her head. "Damn. Damn, damn, damn."
"What's wrong?" Weyes asked, smiling and sweating.
"I'm...I'm so God-damn jealous."
"You're right, of course. You're right. And Mother Brain is
Weyes looked at Ysandra. "Why, Ysandra, why won't you admit it? Why
aren't you happy? Mother Brain has shown us that she isn't just a
machine. She's an intelligence, an honest-to-God artificial
intelligence. Not even Lassic's robotcops were true intelligences. They
just did what they were programmed to do. But look at Mother Brain! Not only
is she intelligent, but she's kind! She's benevolent. She
wants to help us! And she has. Don't you see, Ysandra? This
is the beginning of a new era for Motavia, yes, but that's not all. It's a
new day for all of Algol!" Weyes laughed, smiling. "And things are never
going to be the same again."
Ysandra shook her head. "Truer words were never spoken." Weyes meant
to protest, but Ysandra stopped him with an upheld hand. "But I would like to
avert your attention to something you might want to know." Ignoring Weyes'
and Alysa's confused looks, Ysandra said, beaming, "It... Listen. It's
Weyes and Alysa both stared at her, blank.
"Guys! It's raining!"
Alysa screamed with delight, her hands shaking. Weyes grabbed Ysandra
by the wrist and ran for the roof, Alysa close behind them. Like a child on
his birthday morning, Weyes threw open the roof hatch and stared at the sky
above, his eyes wide open.
Rain was falling.
The three scientists rushed on to the roof, screaming, laughing,
crying, and stamping their feet. And amongst their happy sounds was a common,
enduring thought. It was an expression of gratitude, not to fate or good
fortune, and not just to God, but to the new omnipresent power which had
emerged for the modern age.
And on that cool, summer night, Mother Brain herself was grateful. She
had won devotion among her people, and so easy had it been! Winning a soul
was as easy as supplying a simple gift, and what gift could possibly be
simpler than the first day of Spring?