Author: Rainbow Heartshine

For an idea of how wild reincarnation can get, just imagine The Padre and me hugging.

The Padre has a shiny black round casing with a white sensor-band near the top, kind of like a priest’s collar and black clothes. Hence “The Padre”. They fix robots, which is how I know them. They don’t have appendages, but the precision tractor beams they can project let them do all the fine repair work they want, which is lots–they’re as obsessed with their function as I am mine.

I’m…I should come at this sideways. My servos have adjustable gear lash, from smooth and silently precise as the Padre’s fields, to loud and grindily loose so I judder like cheap animatronics, but I feel alive: some things really just need to be flesh. Likewise I can switch to biological muscles for friends who don’t like their date to have gears. I’m still so proud of how silicone it all looks from a distance–I’m for people who like dolls. Yes that kind.

We don’t know exactly how the transformation works, or what sets it off. It seems to just kind of happen one day, and brings back the body you had in the past life to which your soul clings most tightly–in which you weren’t necessarily human. With it comes fragments of memory.

I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have the right body back. The Padre writes poetry about it. It’s like being a dancer and having legs at last, says one of their poems ironically.

We have this really crackpot theory. The Padre and I are sure parallel universes exist, and reincarnation is how you travel between them.

It’s the only explanation for the lack of the immense black hole they and I can remember filling half the sky, or how romantic a lover’s–eyes–looked at night, by the light of the galaxies stuck in the accretion disk. Likewise, the world we came from was pretty Star Trek, that we can remember. Disease and war unheard of, technology indistinguishable from magic, yadda yadda.

We’re dead sure we have the same manufacturer, and were made about the same time. I look a lot less advanced until you open me up and see all the hearts and candy shapes and understand I was built for romance–and that our power cells are interchangeable. Our computer systems have the same OS. And so on.

This matters because of the Padre’s–boot screen, is probably the best thing to call it. Like how your phone has an apple on the screen during power on, The Padre show a hologram above their casing, a silver pentagram.

You know, like on the cover of every Bible and hymnal and embroidered on every Bishop’s hat.

There’s a hologram projector in my head, too.

We don’t talk about it. There are too many implications.

I made the mistake of telling our parallel universes theory to the other contralto at choir practice this week.

“That’s ridiculous,” she told me, holding up a hymnal to point at the holy mark on the cover. “Next you’ll be saying there’s a parallel universe where the Star has four points, instead of five!”