|This nonDisney Rapunzel is from http://de.marchengesichten.wikia.com|
and very thankful I am there are still nonDisney princesses
A few lines from the previous instalment follow to catch up to the action: If anything, Mongoose becomes more vigilant. He steps in front of me, his right front paw on his curved panga. “Choose your fighters, Jeb,” Kosi says. “Every time I win, I’ll let another one of the rest go through an airlock.”
This is a plan Kosi has had for a while. There’s nothing in it about any of us winning a fight or about her giving out information.
“That wouldn’t be fair,” I say. “The dogs are children. Maremma-alterities. My friends are warriors when they are human, and hunters when they are in their totem-form.”
Plus, I decide, Kosi’s opening of the doors as a prize for someone falling in combat is not an option.
“They can fight my wolves. And my bears. And …”
“No.” I make it unarguable. “Your Maremma girl needs her little brothers and you need your wolves.” Company for the long years that she will remain on this spaceship, I don’t want to add. How do machine-patterns die?
As if she’s reading my mind, she says, “If you go, I’ll be alone again, Jeb. I need you to stay. We’re both girls as I said. We’ll have the whole of the alien’s starship to play around in.”
“I’m a married woman and a half shaman. I have three years of training owing me,” I glance darkly at Thyal. “And after that, I still will not be a girl with time for playing.” Whatever it is I will be doing, will be on the Ark Ship, or on Earth.
“I will not let you abandon me,” she says. “It’ll be you promising to stay that’ll get me to spill my info.”
Mongoose backs me toward Thyal who leans his striped thylacine’s body against my legs.
Then I see what he is seeing. The dogs have crept nearer, with the front one half on his haunches, ready for a leap? The dog has eyes only for me. Of course. Kosi is using the best visual and auditory sensors available.
Thyal twitches his tail and more of the totem alterities crowd around us.
“A lot of paws and hooves surround your feet on the floor,” Kosi says. “They’re all crowding you? Are you breathless from the squash? Shall I snip, snap, tear them from you?”
The rest of the Maremma dogs join her. They display with barking, snarling and slavering.
The wolf growls a deep chesty rumble. I’m in the crowd and I can’t see where she directs her displeasure but I hear the Maremma voices quaver. A couple of the dogs retreat even as they paw the deck.
Kosi controls them but does she ride them or is she embodied in them? “You’re not alone either,” I say. “You have twelve Maremma totem-alterities and at least one Maremma girl. Where are you keeping her? You have the rest of the wolves…” though it does appear at least one of them has changed sides, “…and a number of very large animals that I heard but didn’t see.”
“The dogs are not human, Jeb,” Kosi says.
I don’t allow myself to be distracted. “They are as human as I am, Kosi. Good thing you don’t know the totem I was or you might have changed me as well.” Oops.
“Oh! Me guessing your totem can be our Rapunzel game. Wasn’t me that changed the Maremmas, or your people. I told you your ship only wants animals.”
So not oops, a useful bit of knowledge. My people, my totem-alterities, moan at the news that it is the Ark Ship that changed them.
Did my Earth-born mother ever tell me a story with a Rapunzel in it? It doesn’t spring to mind if she did. My Old-Earthborn father certainly didn’t. “You haven’t yet told us why the Ark Ship changed its people?” I make it a challenge.
“You’re meant to be a shaman, I thought,” Kosi says. “They know.”
“I’m a half shaman, half-trained I told you.” I squeeze Mongoose’s paw and slide my hand down to Thyal’s head. I feel a snarl of fury on his snout. I whisper. “Talk, old man. Just enough and no more.”