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The Half Shaman in Space: What Thyal Knows

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Image derived from: https://lh3.ggpht.com/qTMMPeg2dFWDhpfoxmnHtfbk6id9KnIFXJkeBW0sWCptkDPY_Svzqe2pMI4QRBCaAw=h900
Part three of this information-loaded discussion. All important stuff to know should you wish to continue reading the serial. 
Thyal coughs a deep animal cough that is half a growl. “The Shamans on Lotor have been saving their people from their animal morphs all these years by requiring the totem study of everyone.”
“Don’t give me animal morphs,” Uncle Puma says. “I’ve just never believed in that transmogrification crap fed to us.”
I fear he speaks for most of us. It’s beginning to feel like I’m in a communal nightmare if there is such a thing.
“Easy for you to say, my friend,” Thyal says. “Your parents were highly trained Shamans,” he says about Uncle Puma’s mother and father. “You’re such a credit to your upbringing that you don’t recall your baby-flickering.”
Baby-flickering? Whatever anyone recalls of their childhood, no one is prepared to ask.
“Yet here we all are,” Limber s…

The Half Shaman in Space: Kosi's Plan

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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 sa…

The Half Shaman in Space: What Kosi Knows

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All kinds of hints from several people including the machine pattern has this section pushing toward a crisis. Lithe and Limber push a way through the scrum of dogs and jog back to us. The pack follows them but the wolf with her hackles up steps into their path behind Limber and Lithe.
The dogs pause, seem to think the better of their situation and lay down in a half-circle. Awaiting developments?
Limber starts talking at a fast clip. “We think the machine pattern inhabits the dogs. The Ark Ship has doors within doors. Sometimes they’re lined up, sometimes not.”
“I got the idea we inserted people into a lot of different habitats,” Lithe says. “Ark Ship spooling?”
The machine pattern that calls itself Kosi Lionhair chuckles. That sound burbles from one of the dogs. “Only one of the tricks of the Ark Ship,” she says. “On a different track entirely, I believe the Engineer is preparing to bail out? He finds me a deal harder to cope with than his previous mistress. Funny that I never found any…

Tha Half Shaman in Space: Wren is Taken

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Jeb and the others in charge send the small Totems through the airlocks. What possessed Wren to take the risk she did? Likely it's something we all have to wait to find out until the survivors meet again. 
The crowds by the airlocks decrease whenever the airlock doors slide apart and people manage to clamber in. Some then help haul up those coming after them. Some encourage the incoming farther into the little room. The doors slide shut.
Breathe in … out.
“We’re down to fifty, Half Shaman Jeb.”
That could only be Shaman Thyalsene making a small joke to lighten the dark we are in. I’m the half to his whole, being only half-schooled. There’s so much I want to learn yet. I notice with a start that in his totem-alterity he’s as whole as I am, where in life he is missing an arm.
“The machine pattern is a ten-ways liar,” says someone darkly-furred and the size of a wolf. “I’ve been watching the intake rate. She closes the doors on a whim. There’s no system to her rescue.”
I don’t recall a wol…

The Half Shaman in Space: Testing the Machine Pattern

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I don't at this point in the writing understands why Jeb cruelly encourages Ant to complete the transformation. How did that slip in? 
Red-tail seizes the moment and salutes Uncle Puma and Thyal. Masking the sound of Crow’s leathery wingbeats with the purposeful scuffing of her feet, she makes her way into the southern crowd.
Crow settles on Red-tail’s shoulder.
The rest of us wait for a reaction but there is no comment from the invisible entity who I am tempted to label the enemy. I breathe out silently. Crow is one totem-alterity saved from the hunt to come.
Uncle Puma narrows his eyes at me and I nod. We can do this again.
“Ise, Man Lithe’n Limber, you organise in the east,” he says.
The machine pattern gives no indication that she heard Red-tail’s shuffle, or the barely separated names of Isis, Man-of-the-Forest in his totem-alterity, and Lithe and Limber. With an ape and two men on bare silent feet, Isis in her boots might be the only one making her way to the eastern doors.
I guess…

The Half Shaman in Space: Kosi Back in the Picture

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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?

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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…