by Walter Jon Williams
Darien was making another annotation to his lengthy commentary on theTenjou Cycle when
his Marshal reminded him that his anniversary would soon be upon him. This was the thousandth
anniversary--a full millennium with Clarisse!--and he knew the celebration would have to be a
He finished his annotation, saved the work, and then de-slotted the savant brain that
contained the cross-referenced database that allowed him to do his work. In its place he slotted
the brain labeled Clarisse/Passion, the brain that contained memories of his time with his wife.
Not all memories, however: the contents had been carefully purged of any of the last thousand
years' disagreements, arguments, disappointments, infidelities, and misconnections . . . The
memories were only those of love, ardor, obsession, passion, and release, all the most intense and
glorious moments of their thousand years together, all the times when Darien was drunk on
Clarisse, intoxicated with her scent, her brilliance, her wit.
The other moments, the less-than-perfect ones, he had stored elsewhere, in one brain or
another, but he rarely reviewed them. Darien saw no reason why his mind should contain
anything that was less than perfect.