|First habitat in the Arkship that Jeb sees, photo by Fran Guard|
This fragment of The Half Shaman in Space is the last instalment for a while. Since references to Kosi Lionhair's story have been so constant, and it is the first book in the saga, I thought some of you would appreciate a re-posting of her adventures up to the time that she becomes the 'machine pattern'.
The doors into the Ark Ship slide apart.
In my whole life I’ve never seen so many different greens as in that habitat. Hydroponic lettuce and algae in the water cisterns are the only two greens I've seen.
I am fascinated. I see stones the size of houses. Trees. Plants. A hill. Blue sky overhead. I draw nearer to the doorway.
A hard blow of air from the Ark Ship sweeps me off my feet.
An outcry from the three men, Mongoose the loudest, grasping hands that don’t catch me, and I am rolled over and over from the airlock.
I expect to hit the ground with an almighty thump but I don’t. Being rolled over and over changes to being twirled. As in, I gyrate spread-eagled on a cushion of air because what else could be holding me up? I open my eyes and my anxious gaze catches on the airlock doors closed and moving away.
By the time I sit up and look around, the doors have slid shut and are sliding away. No use running after them for I see rocks and stones along the wall to prevent that.
And—yes—I see bones! A trail of them also along that wall. Which seems to have stopped moving. Though the door I came through is definitely out of sight.
I look at the bones more carefully. Hard to overlook them there are so many. Are they of all the people in former times trying to catch a set of doors? Without trying, I suddenly see skulls. Only a few are human. Even the animals tried to get out?
Or they came in as I just did and fell wrong. I wait. Could be that Mongoose and the other two were able to jump out soon after and are even now are running to find me. Well, Mongoose will be.
Though I did see the doors slide out of sight in their closed state. And I saw them slide into the direction where my right hand is pointing when I’m facing that wall. I rise.
Should I follow the doors because I might meet Mongoose? Or should I take the other direction? I cast my glance forward, to the side, and behind.
A rise not far from here running parallel to the wall I just came through.
Or should I climb the hill and see what is what?
Probably that. Give me an idea of how distances work in here.
This hill is very very interesting. I’ve never seen so many different plants together in one place in my life. Between the rocks, I recognise mosses and grass that I studied in shaman school. Lichens grow on some of the stones.
As I get nearer the face of the hill, there are shrubs and, look … even a tree with an actual brown-grey tree trunk that divides into grey branches that then divide into grey twigs that carry sage green leaves. I recall learning these divisions and thinking them useless information. If only they’d said it was about the Ark Ship.
Overlooking the scene I’m stunned. How will I find anybody? Even though I know the Ark Ship is shaped like a doughnut, the scene I’m looking at in no way looks like the inside of the doughnut I imagined.
Both the ground and the ceiling should be curving downward if the ground is on the inner curve.
I have to stop thinking of the doughnut as rounded like a sausage. Make it have a floor, a ceiling and two sides. The doors are on the inner curve or the floor in my new way of thinking about it. The ground and the ceiling are the two sides. This hill that I’m standing on is part of the outer curve.
Can I see proof of that formation? .... (to be continued in the goodness of time)