|Space suit being sewn in previous version, being worn, in space, photo courtesy of NASA|
One of the necessities when posting ongoing excerpts of a work in progress is the need to backtrack sometimes to rewrite a section. Today's post is a reworking of one from a few weeks ago. Anyone who feels like comparing I have left the original version in situ for your interest.
“Why half?” Kosi says.
“Didn’t get to finish my schooling.” I’m lucky there’s still that easy answer available. I make my voice light and my tone light-hearted though I’m thinking dark things about my mother possibly having an Earth-grown body floating about in a silo somewhere in space. “They’re dead, the bodies left behind in the silos?”
Kosi knows exactly what I’m asking. “Some might still be in stasis,” she says. “But don’t worry about them waking up. They can’t by themselves. Most in the less technologically-advanced silos will have died by now through running out of nutrients. How can I separate the data-waving boots from the mysterious object so I can have a good look at it?”
We have nicely circled the presence of the Ark Ship. “What is the object?” I say.
Kosi laughs. “For me to know and you to find out, I think. Be more fun that way.”
Fun for who? Maybe that thought shows on my face for the entity starts into an explanation.
“Earlier I was thinking we’d borrow a couple of bodies and go hunting. You seem to like the Maremma girl, you could borrow hers. I’ve never been hunting.”
“You’d borrow the Maremma girl’s body?” I say.
“I don’t need to now,” she says. “The thing in the airlock is a life-suit. Strange that the Ark Ship refused to touch it? No moral against using it that I can see. I’ll reprogram it. Hip hooray! It’ll be the first time since I got data-waved that I’ll have arms and legs to do things with!”
The only thing resembling a life-suit that came with my group was probably the skin of the blood-drained woman called Arley, infected with a malign agency. This is me finally putting two and two together. The skin-suit was brought to Thyal and Mongoose and me by one of the flying horses just before we took off in the shuttle, to be destroyed by the Ark Ship.
And the Ark Ship didn’t? I shudder.
And now the entity that calls itself Kosi Lionhair is going to try to re-program the Arley-skin-suit while it still contains that malignancy. Because why would it have left? Where would it have gone?
At the Shaman School, I was forever listening in on lessons ahead of my grade. Wanting to know everything right now. Did the shamans let me gorge myself on less important things to keep more advanced things from me? I don’t remember hearing anything about the re-patterning of biological entities.
Didn’t mean it wasn’t part of the syllabus, did it?
Where before I merely didn’t like the sound of going hunting in the Totem Reality, now I dread it. “These data-waving boots …” I begin. I revise what I know about them. They extract human DNA + personality patterns from people stored on spaceships called silos and transfer the patterns to Lotor. If the boots can do that, why wouldn’t the malignancy use them? “… they are not from Earth, are they?”
I rush on. “The life-suit isn’t a natural thing either. Well, okay, it once was a human person, but it can’t now be if the Ark Ship’s molecular destructor won’t touch it. And this ship we’re in … it’s pyramid-shaped. Two pyramids joined at their bases. Not the doughnut-shape of the ArkShip I learned about at the Shaman school.”
Kosi laughs. It’s a machine-generated sound with no flesh and blood backing it to moderate its clattering sound against the plastic surfaces of the hall we’re still in.
“Does it matter?” she says. “It’s not like the Ark Ship is what it was, or even normal for that matter. It wants all its animals two by two? The silos are the only normal spaceships you’d hope to use, and look what happened to me in one of them?”
The Ark Ship is not what it was? And, is not normal now? I’m lost. It wants all its animals two by two?
“The boots you said,” I say because I do after all have a tiny clue about the upside-down boots that only transfer the bio-patterns of people.
“Yeah, they’re part of this ship. I could show you exactly where they get recharged but …” She chuckles. “I suppose like every other so-called human you are aiming to get onto the Ark Ship despite what I said just now?”
“What exactly did you say?” As I expected, she does not explain. Probably not the right time. I don’t like what she might be implying but is there any other answer? “Yes. I do.”
“I suppose to be forewarned is to be fore-armed, as Hen used to say,” Kosi says. “Come on then.”
She causes the door panels keeping me in the room to slide apart. I fall into the Maremma girl’s arms.
“She’s with me,” Kosi says at the girl. “I might need a hunting dog or three? Go find them, bring them to the underworld?”
The Maremma girl shoots me a gaze of such misery before she runs off, that I boost my attention to hyper-alert. “Where are you taking me?” I say.
Kosi laughs. “Obviously, I can’t physically take you anywhere. But you’ll probably follow the rainbow blip arrowing along the floor if you want to see your friends again.”
She threatens me and my friends? I take a deep breath.
The blip sparks and sparkles with the same colours as the watchtower on the cliffs during my last night on Lotor. The cherts still under the skin of my feet liven up too. Prick and prickle.
I realise two things. The blip is of the same alien technology as the watch-tower, and so possibly also the life-suit, and it is interacting with the therefore also alien cherts. Wish I had a pair of tweezers. Funny that the Ark Ship reconstituted me with them intact?
The arrowing starts along the upper U gallery and I follow it to the opposite arm. It spirals down the fireman’s pole, and I slide to the floor of the hall from where I follow it into the mysterious crowd circling the mysterious mid-point.