and his breath caught in his chest as he saw her face floating in the air above the quartzlike crypt that contained her body. Just a memorial holo-image, he told himself, but it was her face from the days he had known her, and he could not look at it without pain.
He stepped closer, her gaze following his movement. "Hello, Susan."
He got no reply
"Why'd you do it?" he asked, sitting on a bench beside the crypt. "I mean, if you hadn't done it, we'd be together by now, in whatever passes for an afterlife these days.
"Of course, I don't believe in an afterlife, and you know that -- knew that -- so I suppose that could've had something to do with it." He shook his head. "You always thought you knew better than everybody else. Well, fine. First you were alive and I was dead, and that wasn't right at all, so now I"m alive and you're dead. Yes, this is SUCH a better solution, isn't it? You ask me, I think you did it for revenge. If you had to go through those years by yourself, then by God you were going to make sure I did the same, even if that meant hiring people to chase my body clear across infinity."
He looked up at her face. It hadn't changed.
On the other hand, maybe you actually loved me, he thought, but could not bring himself to say. Doing so felt presumptuous, here in this place.
He wondered what she ahd said to him, all those years when he was in frozen sleep. Was she telling him that she missed him? Or rebuking him for being stupid? He would never know.
He thought of her, sitting alone for all those years. "Did you do it for me? Because you missed me or because you felt guilty? It's not fair. I knew I was on a fast track to a bad death ever since my brother died - how could I go on knowing that I'd failed him? I couldn't fail someone again.