Author : Matthew Banks
Dr. Menkal gently removed Miller’s bandages. When the last strip peeled away from his eyes, he looked around, not fixating on anything. His irises were blue and cloudy with cataracts, the whites shot through with red. The bandage had pulled away a lot of the burned skin around his eyelids. He looked like something out of a horror movie.
“I can’t see,” he said. Menkal crossed her arms and frowned.
“No,” said Menkal. Miller looked at the floor. “Do you want to talk about what happened?”
“You a shrink?”
“Yes.” Miller blinked.
“What’s to talk about?”
“You stood in the science room with the sun filter at seventy-five percent and blinded yourself. I’ve gotta assume you had a reason.” Miller pursed his lips. They were cracked and scabby. It was only thanks to several kilos of nanoparticle-enhanced burn cream that he still had any skin on his face.
“Don’t you ever want to see it?”
“What? The sun?”
“Yeah. You know, at full power.” Menkal sat down across from Miller and crossed her legs.
“Sure. But I know that if I do that, I’ll go blind.” Miller smiled. New cracks formed in his lips and started to bleed, and he winced.
“It was worth it.”
“What did you see?”
“It was like the face of God.”
“But what did you *see*?”
“The face of God. The face of the Sun.”
“Your retinas are gone and your corneas are cooked. You’ll never see again. Was it really worth it?”
“Tell me about the visions.” Miller frowned.
“No. Every time I tell a doctor about them, they say the visions are because of the epilepsy.”
“What are the visions like?” Miller was silent for a little while, blinking at the floor.
“A bit like what it was like to see the Sun up close: like seeing the face of God. But the Sun was a million times more intense.” He licked his lips. “You think I’m delusional.”
“You might be. But I’ve never seen the face of God, or the face of the Sun, so I won’t judge just yet.”
“Stop being friendly. You’re building rapport so I’ll take whatever damn drugs you give me.”
“No I’m not.” Miller fell silent again.
“She talks to me.”
“I don’t know yet. I still can’t understand Her. Her communication’s too powerful, that’s why the visions she sends me look like seizures. She’s trying to contact me. She’s *alive*.” He paused. “*Now* you think I’m delusional.”
“Not yet.” Miller binked.
“I don’t know how She’s alive, but She is. Maybe She’s been colonized by some alien nanotechnology or something. Maybe an invisible Dyson Swarm or something. I don’t know. But she’s trying to contact me.”
“Okay. But why did you look?”
“I wanted to see.”
“And did you?”
“What can you see now?”
Miller stood up and fixed his cloudy eyes on the doctor’s. He met her gaze, and she had no doubt that he really could see everything.
Outside, the sun glinted brightly off the station’s hull.