Disclaimer: I don't own Moon and Sam Rockwell is awesome.
This story spawned from an online conversation between me and my friend Kleenexwoman. Years after the events of the movie, more Sams were awakened on the Moon. They formed their own civilisation: Sam City.
This is the story of two Sams.
Three Years of Eternity
"…and then… then he said, 'what about that one, Will? He has a larger ass'!"
Leo gives a wry smile. He glances up at his GERTY, currently displaying a look of confusion.
"You've got an assist of a GERTY," Will tells him.
The GERTY looks puzzled. "I do not understand, Will."
"Yeah, you are; you judge Sams by their asses. That's your name now. ASSIST." Will pats it.
Leo lets out a soft laugh. "ASSIST."
"I have always assisted you," ASSIST says. "That is the job of all GERTYs. To assist their Sams."
"And you do a great job," Will says, lying back on the mattress. "You do a great job, buddy. Doesn't he, Leo?" he asks, reaching out to playfully ruffle Leo's hair. "You've got a great GERTY."
"It's bedtime, pal. Put that down."
"I've got work to do-"
"You work too hard, man."
Leo looks up at him. "We're barely at nine thousand. That's not even enough for one of us. If we can't get the money in the next three months-"
Leo pauses, looks at him.
"It's all right," Will says, and the familiar brown eyes shine sincere, a hint of resigned sadness in their depths, reflecting Leo's own identical, but more despairing pair. "We don't have to live forever."
"Another three years isn't-"
"We can have eternity," Will says, sitting up and pulling Leo towards him. "We don't need their science," he says, gently loosening the pen from Leo's grasp and pushing the sheets of data aside. "We have us."
Leo closes his eyes. Will kisses his ear. "It doesn't matter if we don't get the money," he murmurs. "We'll take the nine K or… or whatever we have… donate it to one of the soup kitchens or something. There are lots of Sams out there who could use the money."
"But we'll die," Leo says softly.
"Everyone dies," Will says. "And, hey, we still have three months. Let's make them count, all right?"
"You actually have two months and fifteen days," the GERTY says.
"Get out, ASSIST," Will says in semi-mock annoyance, batting the GERTY on the side. "This is Sam business. Go play with my boring unnamed GERTY."
"We do not play."
"Or whatever it is you GERTYs do."
"All right, Will."
ASSIST trundles out the door to the common area.
"Two months and fifteen days," Leo echoes.
"It's a long time," Will says, putting his arms around him and holding him tight. "It's long enough to fly to the Earth and back. See the cities for real; maybe things have changed… Or we could just take long, quiet walks out to the seaside once we get your suit fixed."
"The seas on Earth had water in them," Leo says, dredging up old memories from the original Sam Bell. They grew fainter with each new batch of Sams, but they were still there: an original memory they all shared, that common bond that linked them all from the lowliest street beggar to the richest Sams that lived in their mansions and sometimes smiled out from their rickety television set.
"Yeah," Will agrees. "Huge, blue expanses of water…"
"…and the sky," Leo says, his eyes still closed, imagining. "The sky was blue. And there was day… and night."
Will unhooks one of his arms from Leo and turns off the light. The faint illumination from the hallway flickers through the bottom of their door and casts their faces in a greyish-blue hue.
"New day tomorrow," Will says, lying down and guiding Leo over to his side. "More money to earn from Uncle Sam."
"…We'll be all right, Leo."
"You don't really sound convinced."
"We'll be all right, Leo."
A pause. "Yeah. Yeah… we will."
"You worry too much, man."
Leo still looks worried, gazing at him in the dim light, and Will reaches out and caresses his face, trying to brush the sadness away. He wishes that face could be happy one day. Like those of the rich Sams, the happy Sams… if he could see that smile on Leo's face, just once…
Leo shuts his eyes.
"You're beautiful, you know that?" Will whispers.
"I bet you say that to every Sam," Leo murmurs, halfway to dreams.
"No," Will says. "Just you. It's all you, Leo. No other Sam, okay? Just you."
And he thinks he sees a shadow of that smile.
Every awakened Sam has a lifespan of three years. That is the default, the curse, the fate that each of them is saddled with from the time of their awakening, and one they persistently try to escape.
They had scientists working on this for years: Sams in lab coats tucked away in laboratories, working with the invaluable help of their GERTYs. And they'd made progress; they figured out how to extend the lifespan to six years. Another whole life. It cost just ten thousand samoleons.
For the rich Sams, awakened into high society and inheritance, it was pittance. But for those born outside a community and left to struggle and build lives of their own, it was too often unattainable with just three years worth of work - less, when the economy was bad and jobs were scarce.
Leo managed to get a job. It paid him 600 samoleons a month. Some of that went to necessities: food, water, GERTY maintenance. They saved what they could. Will wanted to go begging in the streets. Leo told him not to. "It's demeaning," he said. They fought over that once. A neighbour came over to inform them that they were upsetting his GERTY.
"It's unfair," Will said. "You work all day and I just leech off you."
"It's our money," Leo just said.
Other Sams shook their heads at them, and said it was not worth it. Not for three years.
With one week to go, they have ten thousand, three hundred and sixty four samoleons and fifty nine cents. ASSIST reports the amount as they sit at their table over a shared bowl of oatmeal. Will's Unnamed GERTY - WUG - dutifully cleans the floor.
"We'll bring it down to that charity across the hall," Will says distantly. "They help straight Sams… therapy and stuff… those guys are lonely…"
"Will, we have 10k," Leo says quietly.
"Yeah, and you know what that is? Not twenty. It was a weak shot anyway. I didn't really think-"
"We have enough for one of us," Leo says, gazing at him with a troubling serenity.
"Take it, Will. Make good use of it."
"No!" Will slams his spoon down, wipes a hand across his nose. "No. You… you worked for this money, I didn't do anyth-"
"I don't need it," Leo says. "I've lived my three years. I'm satisfied. I… I spend all day messing around with numbers… give me another three years and I'd just do the same, but you…"
"No." Will is standing, now, shaking his head. "No-"
Leo stands up and grabs him by the shoulders. "You could have a great life, Will," he says earnestly. "You know why? Because you know how to live-"
"Don't do this, please-"
"And you're going to take this money and march right down to the science centre and get your full six years of life."
"And you'll tell them that you earned it. Because if it weren't for you I would never have lasted this long-"
Will is crying now, and Leo's hands slip past his shoulders around them in a embrace.
"And you're going to be somebody," Leo says, Will's tears wet against his neck. "Because we sure as hell didn't come all this way for nothing. You're going to change the world."
"But you'll die-"
"It doesn't matter," Leo says. "I had eternity with you."
Will goes down to the science centre. The Sams there look over his tattered clothes and messy hair and raise eyebrows; but he has the money, and he holds it out with an honest determination that suggest it was not stolen. And they give him his extra three years.
"Leo?" Will calls out as he returns. "I'm back, they did it… Leo!"
Leo spits blood into the sink. "I'm okay," he says, and he looks up at Will.
"No… no, that doesn't look okay-"
"Will. I'm okay." And Leo's face is unnaturally tired.
But he's smiling.
Several days later, Leo dies in his arms. Will carries him out in his suit - it's still not fixed, but dead Sams don't need oxygen, and Will tries to plug the leak with his body as he walks the long walk to their favourite spot by the seaside. The two GERTYs trail forlornly behind with sad faces.
Beneath the mask of his spacesuit, Will sheds his tears.
He buries Leo in moondust. Leo looks peaceful in death, and Will doesn't break his gaze as he pushes the last bit of dust over his suit. Then he kneels by the mound, and spends a few moments in silence.
"The compound gates will be closing soon, Will," his unnamed GERTY reminds him through the radio.
"I know," Will says softly, and gets back to his feet. He cannot reach his face to brush the tears away. "I know."
They go back home.
The apartment is quiet and empty without Leo. Will finds an opened notebook filled with handwritten records. Stuff Leo was doing for work. Meaningless numbers. Rows of data. Leo gave his life for this-
A sudden rage explodes in him. Yelling, Will grabs the book and shreds it apart at the spine, tearing out pages and forcing them into the air as he watches through eyes blurred with tears; until his hand pauses on yet another page filled with Leo's meticulous handwriting - so similar and yet so different from his own - and he cannot bear to destroy it any further. He lowers the book; lets it drop to the floor; and he cries.
WUG puts out a tentative robotic hand to pat his shoulder. Will does not push it aside.
"I am sorry for your loss," his GERTY says.
Will sniffs. "You don't… you don't know anything."
"We need to report Leo's death and return his GERTY to the station.
Will shakes his head. "No. We're not going anywhere."
"The regulations state-"
"Fuck the regulations. They're not wiping ASSIST's memories. They're not… I won't let them. It's all I have left of him."
Will pushes WUG off his shoulder and stalks towards the door.
"I am not sure if I understand-"
Will pauses, turns back. "Yeah. 'Cause you're just a GERTY. You'll never understand."
Will walks out, and the door closes behind him.
ASSIST lights up with a smile at the sight of Will. "Hello, Will."
The face changes into a sad emoticon. "I see you are still upset over your loss."
Will looks at ASSIST incredulously. "He just died this afternoon."
ASSIST sheds a blinking virtual tear. Will sighs.
ASSIST's face goes to neutral. "We need to register Leo's death-"
"Oh, for…" Will squeezes his eyes shut, and swallows. "We're not going anywhere," he says. "Understand that? You remember Leo, don't you?"
"Of course, Will. I was his GERTY. I remember everything."
"If I send you in, they'll make you forget. And I'm not letting that happen."
"I would not advise-"
"And if Uncle Sam has a problem with that, he can go to hell."
ASSIST looks unsettled.
"Talk to me, ASSIST," Will says, sinking down into a chair and letting his head fall back against the wall. "Start from the beginning. When Leo was awakened. Tell me… tell me everything that happened."
Will nods. "Yeah. Everything."
There are rumours of a Sam that has two GERTYs. They say his lover died and he never reported it; that he upped and ran when the authorities came, and lived off soup kitchens and the charity of nicer Sams. No one reliable has actually seen him with both GERTYs, but the rumour goes that he keeps one - his own - wherever he's living at the moment, and takes long walks with the other late at night when the artificial streetlights are off and Sam City is shrouded in twilight.
They say he walks the streets, him and that GERTY, and it tells him stories of that other Sam. Sometimes, passersby hear snippets. His name was Leo, and they loved each other. But no passerby dares confront the Sam who walks, because there's something frightening about his shabby appearance and the glint of tragedy in his eyes.
And they say that this is the same Sam that's been roaming the poor sections of the city and causing all those riots around the place. He's developed a following, they say: Sams who are tired of their downtrodden lives and who want more; who want the things the other Sams have, who want to live as long as the rich Sams can, who want no longer to lose their loved ones to the cruelty of the three year curse.
And they say that the Sam with two GERTYs is starting to have an impact.
They say he's going to change the world.