Chapterhouse: Solaris



The Reverend Mother Daphna Laharim stood facing the great window that looked down at the planet Solaris. Beneath her she could see vast shapes rise up from the no-water of the planet’s oceanic surface, holding their titanic forms briefly. The Bene Solarists had studied the planet for ten-thousand years, divining the shapes of it’s ocean, but also managing the visitors Solaris manifested. It was a peril of the planet that it would manifest intimates from one’s past by means even the Bene Solarists after all their years of study could not account for. We yet know so little, the Reverend Mother thought as she watched the titanic form of no-water shudder and deliquesce back into the ocean. All Bene Solarists underwent mental training to adopt elastic forms of thought allowing emotions their strengths yet none of their detriments. None of the sisters aboard Chapterhouse Primus, had endured a visitor in thousands of years.

The Bene Solarists were a patient order. Through their studies of the planet they began to see the potential in Solaris as an agent in humankind’s development. Through Solaris the Bene Solarists could show humankind a golden path; but it was still a long and difficult path, through Solaris they had a plan to shorten the way. While much of the planet’s actions remained occult, certain of it’s behaviors could be anticipated. Cultivated even.

Behind the Reverend Mother, wide steps led down to the floor of her laboratory. On a raised bed, draped over with dark cloth lay a slim girl. Umae was not a Bene Solarist, though she had been raised by them; she was twelve years old, had registered an abnormally high intellect, and exhibited strong signs of mentalism. Umae had had no intimates and had lost no one in her life. She shone with the bright potential of the undamaged. She slept sleeping quietly.

Other Bene Solarists moved about the laboratory, their robes rustling lightly. A Sister leaned over Umae, petted the girl’s temples and paused to take a delicate reading. She turned and nodded gently to the Reverend Mother. Umae had already been aboard Chapterhouse Primus for an hour. We must begin now, The Reverend Mother thought waving the other sisters out of the room.

For years the Bene Solarists had written their formula: a genetic build encoded in a description. It had been refined and honed, all avenues of misunderstanding cut off and each path of wisdom widened. In it’s final form it would still take hours to convey properly.

The Reverend Mother took a chair next to Umae’s bed. She leaned back and uncoiled the formula in her mind, opened her mouth and spoke in the Voice, cutting through plain language, speaking directly to Umae’s sensitive mind, laying words like eggs. She began to tell the story of a person. A perfect person. This was someone Umae had known dearly and who had gone away. The pain of this person’s loss was immeasurable.

Umae’s eyelashes showed the wetness of tears beginning. Good, the Reverend Mother thought, it takes hold. We build our messiah in her mind.

Over slow hours the Reverend Mother built layer on layer of this perfect person, until finally she leaned back in exhaustion. The laboratory was silent, washed in the strange light of that ocean below. Umae stirred lightly on the bed. They waited for Solaris to provide a visitor.