by Pink Whirlwind
Disclaimer: I don’t own Elysium. I very much liked the movie. www.itsbetterupthere.com’
Notes: The pairing is Max/Julio
WARNING! SPOILERS! If you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want spoilers.. come back when you’re ready!
“Things could have been different.” Annise said, firmly. It wasn’t argumentative, just a statement of fact. “It could be different.”
“There are laws for important reasons,” Frey said.
“But Earth is different now.”
They sat together for a while, the sunlight kind and warm. The Max Da Costa park sat in the center of Los Angeles, surrounded by a city build clean and healthy, with beautiful buildings and safe pathways for traffic. Birds flew against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sky. It was Max’s day. No one knew his birthday, not even Frey who had actually known him, so his life was celebrated by the day he had died. The entire world celebrated with feasting and acts of kindness and selfless giving. That a great many babies were born nine months later was also well noted, but as there were now over 150 colonies set at all the Lagrange points and colony ships moving even farther out, babies were welcome.
Free trade was re-established with the fall of the monopolies. Education and health care were readily available. Food was plentiful. No one went without clean water or basic life support.
The medical droids that could heal could also teach. The droids at the Armadyne factory had been repurposed as teachers, companions, emergency workers. Most major universities offered degrees on the life of Max Da Costa
Time travel had been discovered, but then put on hiatus. No one could say for sure what would happen if even so much as a single breath changed in the past, how much of the present would change. Debates were held.
Then they were held again.
Max’ sacrifice was discussed. The impact of it was discussed. Ways of rescuing him through time were discussed. Several factions argued that to rescue him would devalue his sacrifice and therefore the power of the idea of his life as a beacon of peace and cooperation.
Movies were made. Video games. VR experiences where one could take the pilgrimage and come face-to-face with Max’ Choice were created and many millions of people participated.
How he would fit into this new world where knowledge and tech had spread like a healing balm over the world, where a whole new morality based on his perceived courage and grace had risen up? What if he wasn’t as good as everyone thought he was? What if he were angry and violent? What about his mythic love Julio?
Eventually the choice to rescue Max and Julio fell to Frey, as Max’ only recognized kin. She quickly became a recluse. Matilda was in a campaign for president and recused herself from taking the decision, as a consequence, the choice fell to Matilda’s daughter, Annalise, who had never met the hippo, only heard stories of him.
Frey told her granddaughter stories of when she and Max were children, stories of desperate poverty, where they were the lucky ones to be able to live in the shelter and love provided by the sisters. She spoke of how Max hadn’t been able to read when they’d met. She spoke of a body with blond hair and dreams as big as the galaxy.
It was those stories, told honestly, but with an intention to let the past sleep in the peace that it had found, it was those stories that awakened in Annalise the desire to save not only Max and Julio, but all the people she could. “Well, I’ve decided.”
“You’re only 35. What do you think you know? You’re younger than he was on that day.”
“Did you love him? You were right there, weren’t you? On the very same colony and everything. Didn’t you love him?”
“Well, not really. I was dreadfully angry at him, Anna. It was all such a very long time ago. What they talk about.. how they talk about him. He was a good man, a really good man, well, when he wasn’t doing stupid things. I might have loved him once, but not the way everyone loves him now. Anna,” Frey said affectionately, reaching for her granddaughter’s hand. She held her granddaughter’s hand over her heart. Both of them looked about the same age, very similar to each other, though there was more pain in the grandmother’s eyes, secrets. “Don’t do what they are asking you to do. Let Max have his day, a day that is gone. Things were not good for Max, but he did a great thing. Anna,” Frey said, “Let him sleep, Anna. Please.”
“I know so much about him, Grandmother. I love him. I have to save him.”
Frey’s hand moved like a shot to Anna’s head, pulling her close so she could whisper in her granddaughter’s ear. “Then you better get his husband too, Annalise, and he’s your grandfather.”
Annalise pulled back, eyes wide.
Frey leaned back against the huge plaque memorializing Max. “After the .. after we all became citizens.. there was so much to do. The build out started right after that. No one ever asked about Matilda’s father. I expect they thought if the greatest hero of Earth had fathered my child, I’d have said something.”
“Does Mom know?”
“Of course not! You mustn’t tell her. She’s running for president and all.”
“Why... why didn’t anyone do any ... testing?”
“Max died. The body was disposed of before anyone thought about it.. all of his belongings... Anna, he didn’t have much. It was all gone before anyone realized he was such a great hero. There was nothing to do testing with.”
“The AI on Elysium has a copy of his DNA!”
“Yes, but because he is deceased it is sealed. If you bring him back, it will be unsealed.”
“So what! Mom wants to be president... being Max’s daughter will just make things easier for her.”
“Being Max’ daughter will not make things easier for either of them. It will not make things easier for me.”
“How so, grandmother?”
Frey closed her eyes, leaned her head back against the sculpture. “He once told me that he was going to make things right. Do you really think you can save him.. and Julio?”
“Yes,” Annalise said firmly. “I can save them, Grandmother. I’m going to save them.”
“Well, when you see him, you tell him I said I’d make things right.”
“You can tell him yourself. If I’m successful, we should be walking onto the parade grounds in about twenty minutes.” Annalise smiled triumphantly.
The whites of Frey’s eyes got bigger. “Oh god! You’re not bring both of them into our time... on the parade grounds to a marching band? Are you stupid?”
“He deserves a hero’s welcome!” Annalise stood up, smoothed her tunic. “It’ll only be a few minutes for you, but I’m going to be coming back the long way, so it’s going to be a few years for me. Don’t worry, Grandma. I love you. This is how we put everything right.”
As Annalise walked away, a spring in her step, her understanding of the world formed in a world without hunger or disease.
Frey made the sign of the cross and whispered a prayer. “Mother of God, what are we about to do?”