by Dan Simmons
Dreamers Often Lie
Poor Mike Osho, doomed to play Mercutio (the name Mike Osho even sounds a lot like Mercutio) to Merin Aspic's Romeo. Aspic's best bud is fun-loving and fancy free, checking out babes, zipping around on flying carpets.
Even in death he remains verbose and witty. Like Mercutio, Mike is killed by a sword in a street fight. Dying of this mortal blow, he laments, "cut down in the prime of my prime by a piece of fucking cutlery out of a fucking one-penny opera. Oh, damn, that smarts" (6.313). A little wordier than "I am slain!," but it'll do.
We mentioned the "death of innocence" in Merin Aspic's "Character Analysis." That's Mike Osho: innocence. Mike's death marks the turning point in Merin Aspic's feelings toward the Hegemony, from loyalty to treason. At the end of his tale, the Consul, Merin's grandson, quotes Mercutio: "A plague on both your houses!" (6.532). In doing so, the Consul condemns everyone, friends and enemies, for being implicit in the destruction of Maui-Covenant and countless other planets, flora, and fauna across the galaxy.