Showing posts from 2017

The Half Shaman in Space: Kosi Back in the Picture

I stare so hard into the crowd that has Lithe and Limber in it that they turn and stare back. I don’t know what expression they see on my face but they pass their work to the nearest bystanders and start to make their way to us. Lithe alerts Red-tail by tweaking her braided hair and she comes too.
All the leaders in the same place again. What is it with us? “Were you in your Totem-shape when you first woke?” I ask Mongoose.
“On the platform. When I didn’t see you, I thought I would go look for you. You’re getting an idea?” Mongoose says.
I’m remembering. “The once-human, now-machine pattern calling herself Kosi Lionhair stole the Ark Ship’s de-and-re-constructor and installed it in this ship. She says. In Reception. Where we came in.” I shudder. “I so don’t want to be the only one to know that.”
“Well …” Red-tail says. “You have successfully spread it to the rest of us. And?”
As if it has been waiting for a cue, the Kosi Lionhair entity giggles. “One door-opener reporting for duty! Sir!” T…

The Half Shaman in Space: Save Us Again?

An important segment in which Jeb faces her POD, her point-of-disbelief, which is the magic inherent in this science-fictional story-world.  [PODs must be explained in such a way as to be believable to the characters and acceptable as an internal truth to readers ... but this segment is the set-up for that to happen on a later day]  
“A message for those near enough to an airlock to see it in detail,” Uncle Puma says. “Pass it on. I want to know about any ridge, door handle, or slot on the outside of the doors, and I want to know about any keypads or other features besides, below or above the doors.”
He apparently does not expect any answers any time soon because he approaches me through the crowd by dint of changing places with the people in his way, each of them pressing past each other, and finally forcing Mongoose from his position. “Jeb, step down so we can talk without every man woman and child reading our lips?”
“Better if you step up, Chief,” Meerkat says. “See all the action from…

The Half Shaman in Space: Tackling the Airlock Entries

Apparently, a human ladder is a TV trope. In The Half Shaman in Space, it is the only way out of a difficult situation and nobody is wearing striped pyjamas. An instalment where Jeb catches up with what's going on under the disk. 
Mongoose wants no comment on his furry state? I refuse. Processing my questions, I boil them down to one-word needs. “How? Why?”
He shrugs. “How? The reconstructor? Why? I don’t know. Everyone under the low part of the disk. All of us from Lotor.”
He takes me into the quadrant that is roofed by the disk hanging low overhead. Thyal is a rangy, striped thylacine. Ant is still the slim young man he was, but with insectoid appendages. He is in a state of incomplete transmogrification. He fends off sympathy by staring bug-eyed into the lost distances of Lotor. Man-of-the-Forest is a large reddish man-sized ape next to him. Isis hugs him, she is as speechless as I am. Meerkat, though furry, seems far too tall.
“Meerkat?” I ask.
“On watch,” Mongoose says. “Standing …

The Half Shaman in Space: How the chips are shared out

Now that we know the disk for what it is, we can all feel the vibrations every time Red-tail bounces. Sometimes the disk sways and moves, almost seeming to glide a little.
When she reaches the edge, Red-tail kneels, and as she looks into the gap, a frown gathers on her features. She glances back. To me, it seems? What? What?
She lays down and talks into the gap between the disk and the pyramid wall so I can’t see anyone. I hear a murmuring only. Questions and answers. Comments. Decisions. I don’t hear Mongoose’s voice no matter how hard I listen.
Distraction, distraction. Give me another distraction. I think aloud. “We could begin to dole out the amulets?”
“That could work,” Isis says. “We’ve got a large bunch of increasingly restive people up here.”
“I’m feeling pretty restive myself,” I say as I rise to my feet. The mumbling chatter dies away.
“As I said earlier, to get into our ship you will need an amulet, so-called by people who were on Lotor, and probably known as a chip …

The Half Shaman in Space: The Disk Unbalanced

There’s only an apprehensive sibilance as we wait, of people barely daring to whisper.
“Limber?” says Uncle Puma says at last.
“The creature brushed by me,” Limber says, broadcasting his voice over the whole scene. “I saw its darkness meld into the membrane. The membrane is still up. A visual disturbance only.”
We on the disk do not relax.
“What’s the problem?” Uncle Puma says. “Red-tail?”
He expected us to cheer? Red-tail ever so slowly raises the lantern to assess where we all are. “The disk is free and in a sort of balance. Lotor knows how it works. None of us feels safe enough move or talk.”
“I hear you. Thyal?” Uncle Puma says.
Is that Uncle Puma acknowledging his ignorance? It seems so.
“Thyal, is there something you and your group can do to stabilize the disk?” he says. Almost straightaway following it with, “No, I guess not …”
There’s something he isn’t saying.
One of the swans hissing for the other. I hear someone talking his way down the cliff. Limber and Uncle Puma perhaps low…

The Half Shaman in Space: Jeb is Stunned

The transmogrified totems chase the dark eater. Jeb's beliefs are strained and she stabs herself to find out if she is awake
I see it seeing me, the knife still in my hand, Isis right behind me. What does it understand about us?
The alien frees its head by wrenching the life-suit’s head up like it is a helmet. It drops the head, it tears and shoves free from the rest of the suit. Drops that like a rag.
“No, you don’t!” Isis, with the presence of mind of a leader, spreads her arms and stops the alien making a decision to step past me into the dark where all our people hide.
Red-tail advances from my left, with the lantern held high.
The alien looks at me as if weighing up its chances of getting past me. Why would it want to? I wave the knife I still have in my hand.
Growling and hissing approach behind me.
A trio of furred creatures slips between Red-tail and me, and between Isis and me. I don’t see what species they are. Just that they’re as tall as people. Walk upright. Show off th…

The Half Shaman in Space: Containing the Alien by Releasing It

The question for later is ... how will releasing the dark eater from the life-suit contain it? Now, Jeb must just do the deed.

All is ready. Am I? I move the knife point straighter down my side. I visualize a tight swing up, a thrust down.
Flick a glance toward the cliffs. Oh yeah, the slope is upward in that direction now. It’s black dark because still no overhead light. How will I see the Arley-composite …? I remember she is laying low.
I drop to the ground. Will I see her? Yes, there. A shape darker than the slope that is lit however slightly by the glow from the canyon beyond. The thing between us and the light.
She’s risen to her feet and is on the move. Swinging her head blindly to try to see in the dark. Does she have a weapon? I crawl with the knife-blade pointing rearwards in my fist. The human life-suit can’t see me or Isis in the black dark as we have no light behind us.
Isis clamps my foot to stop me.
I startle but realize it must have been a couple of small sto…

The Half Shaman in Space: Who dies, who lives?

In which Jeb is armed and the author posts to a schedule. The laptop is ailing again and the doctor will want to take it away. 
The ground tremors violently.
All of us in the mass shout alarm. Bodies smack wetly against the stones. Bones crack like snapping sticks. We scream and cry.
Hardly heard, the machine-sounds stop.
“Quiet!” Uncle Puma shouts.
When he has a miserable kind of quiet, he says in an ordinary voice, “What’s that sound?”
The silence is so silent it roars in my ears. Then? 
Scritch. Scritch. The sound seems to come from below the now sickly slanting disk.
What the noise sounds like … I concentrate … someone in the gap between the cliffs and what seems now to be the high edge of the slope, is trying to light a candle with a fire-lighter.
I stop breathing to hear better.
A small and hesitant light flicks large orangey shadows onto the cliff walls. The shadows are blobs with negative landscape-like waists where the dark mass interrupting them is the low grassy profile of the disk.