It was his birthday: every earth-year Anna would prepare a surprise for him specially for that day, last year it was the hyperspace astrolabe, a marvel of exquisite art and navigation engineering skill: Anna, ever attentive and watchful, his dedicated and beautiful companion, so human in the small imperfections he’d learnt to admire.
The door opened, silently, and there she stood looking at him, her warm smile on the sensual lips: “Good morning my love, are you ready for a cup of coffee? Happy birthday!”
He paused and took Anna in his arms: then he saw the small boy, standing proudly at the door, holding a steaming pot of coffee: on the boy’s face he saw himself, through eons of time.
“You see, I did not forget what you said last year about not having a son with you on this long voyage… He’s so much like his dad!” said Anna, smiling the eternal woman’s and mother’s tenderness, Anna, the near-perfect human, the elite replicant, his lover in the immense solitude of space.