Posts

Showing posts from 2017

The Half Shaman in Space: Thinking Through the Problem

Image
Alone in the Reality that Jeb was meant to 'furnish', she analyses where she might be and comes to a conclusion only about where she probably isn't ... 
The plastic wall feels real. How would it feel if it wasn’t real? I cast about for comparisons. Back when I was in the black cell … no, forward away from there. I escaped.  
The second night after I escaped, Mongoose and I and Ant and Uncle Puma joined a larger group and we all spent the night on the second platform. Thyal, the group’s real shaman—other than me, the half shaman, I mean—despite that he had no amulet at the time encouraged me to think myself into the Totem Reality he hoped to see on the Ark Ship. 
Yes yes, I know it was an imaginary place in our minds. But. Were there any walls? 
I recall the blue sky at the top of the Totem Reality. And I flew over a deep valley with a white water creek rushing through it, at the base of the Reality. One one side cliffs, the other a steep hillside clad with low green vegetation…

The Half Shaman in Space: Make a Fire? With What?

Image
Can a fire be the solution for Jeb when the entity takes her clothes?
I’m standing there pressed against the glazed stone. Unclothed. No one to see me but the machine all around me, so what do I care? I step away.  
I feel the cold before I notice the goosebumps rising on my arms. The temperature is dropping? I start to shiver, more from consternation I decide than from cold. But then I start to shiver in earnest. I crouch down and hug my knees so that where my skin meets skin I can stay warm. “I’m cold.” 
“On Earth, ages ago, you might’ve made a fire to keep you warm”
“Me personally, or anyone?” While I talk, my teeth don’t chatter. 
“Anyone and especially you personally”
“My mother, whose pattern came from Earth, talked about making fires. She and her little brother used to for survival skills. Where she lived there were trees and dead wood.” I gesture with my head. No reason to wave my arm and let the cold in. “No wood here.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure,” I shout. I expect my voice…

The Half Shaman in Space: The Nothing Reality

Image
Please be patient with Jeb. Would you swear if an entity took your clothes? Jeb does, though she considers it a step backward. 

The Maremma girl and I come to the end of the row. The guard-rail curves around and joins the wall. We overlook the rear-wall of the hall but right next to me is the final set of sliding doors along this gangway. 
“The reality in here is special,” the girl says. She still has not volunteered her name. 
Of course I’m supposed to say, Special how? “Exactly right for a learner shaman, I bet.” 
She’s edging me toward the still-closed sliders. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never pushed anyone in here yet. A first timer will give me five credits.” She punches the air. “I’ll be the alpha-bitch when I get back to the kennels tonight!” 
She comes forward against me, growling and slavering from a fierce dog-like expression and I am so shocked I fall back against the doors. 
Which slide open and cause me to fall into that reality.
The doors slide shut. 
I turn on my butt. Scramble up …

The Half Shaman in Space: The Maremma Girl

Image
I cross to the guard rail and study the gangways across the void. They all have their keepers, as the still nameless girl said. Even the ground floor level has its keepers, I realise, recalling my adventure earlier. 
“We are all very suspicious," she says from behind me. "As in, anybody like you comes who doesn’t jump, might be after my row.  So I’ll definitely fight you if you’re after my row.” 
She stands stilled, prepared for anything. Not with her fists up, but certainly with her whole attention on me, on my hands, my eyes. 
“I don’t want your row. Or anybody else’s,” I say. "How long have you been doing this with only six bits of info?” I load my voice with admiration. Will I convince her?
Still watchful she says, “Been here six and a half cycles. Earned eighteen credits. Why should I believe you?” 
I sit down astride a guard rail’s stanchion. Hook my left arm around it for good measure. “You didn’t come with the intake I was on, I would’ve remembered you.” 
That’s me ma…

The Half Shaman in Space: The Keeper of the Doors

Image
The gangway oh the gangway. I walk along its third level iteration nibbling my spinach roll-up and sipping from the water balloon while I should be attending to everything under the sun, or rather the big light source up in the ceiling of the hall masquerading as the sun, that might/may/will help me choose a reality to be in. 
I would like to cuss and swear but in this situation that will probably not help, too many people around me. People who I might still need to impress even though they may be Indecisives according to the electronic voice I hear. And who’d want to be an Indecisive if they could be the other sort? Like Mongoose, wherever he is. 
Stop. Stop thinking about him.
Concentrate instead on the kind of people waltzing along the gangway even as I myself am. Sneak peek glances into spaces where doors slide open and shut, allowing the ingress of just one person flitting in and or out. Just passed a green room. Glowing green reflections. Not like it was vegetation green. But what …

The Half Shaman in Space: In the Crowd and Out

Image
I am totally in luck that my shirt was rucked up. It will cover the graze in the seat of my pants. At first I don’t realise that I’m stopped by the press of the crowd, their legs, at the edge of the perambulating crowd that I intended to watch for Mongoose. Mongoose please please recognise me.  The crowd moves its legs and keeps walking. It divides around me like water and then I’m in the crowd. A part of it. I get up, walk with it, into the distance they are all walking. But I can’t see. I’m too short. I am claustrophobic. I begin to edge out. "Three credits"I have no time to generate any ideas as to what system is operational here. I could insert a swear word every second word to relieve my frustration but have no time for that either. I’m out of the crowd. Near to the beginning of a ramp. I skedaddle up faster than the prevailing pace which is no more a snail’s pace per hour.  "Four credits"Not one single person is sitting out on the ramp. I make my way a bit highe…

The Half Shaman in Space: Eating my Book

Image
I curve out the door. Is there anyplace to sit behind something out here? No way do I want to be seen eating the leaves of a book. I’d like to hide somewhere, and more than anything keep a lookout for Mongoose among the crowds wandering the ground floor.
I suck up the drink through the straw. A sweetish sour taste. On the side of the box a spherical object, with a pimply skin, orange. I squeeze the sides of the box as I saw someone do in the whatever. 
 "canteen"
Fine. In the canteen. With my stomach mollified with the orange drink, I’ve got time to find a hiding place. 
At the ends of the U, the gangway splits. Half becomes a ramp curving down to the middle level. In the curve is a vertical bar. Some people walk down to the middle gangway along the ramp, and some people slide down the vertical bar. They go past the middle and lowest gangways, thump down on the floor which might even be natural stone chipped from a mother rock.
"Stonekrete, a made artifact"
Fine, stonekr…

The Half Shaman in Space: The Food Book

Image
Jeb finally works out how to escape from the White Hall. The entity continues its enculturation program. Jeb learns what she needs.

The corners of the room, I remember, is where people got stuck. I approach the wall where in my dream I saw Mongoose leave. I walk with the pace he used. I shut my mind to the possibility I will bounce back from the wall.  

Concentrate on walking in step with the dream-Mongoose. Walk far longer than necessary. In fact, I stop because I catch my middle on a horizontal bar. Open my eyes. 

I’m pressed against a handrail. I grip the places where Mongoose might also have held it. Many metres below a throng of people circles slowly around a mysterious midpoint. Lucky the handrail was there or I would’ve fallen on them. Splat. 

I’ve come to a huge place. As well as the hundreds of people in the circling crowd down below, I see tens of dozens of people make their ways into doorways, or come out to walk a way to other doorways on either side of me along the steel walk…

The Half Shaman in Space: Am I Me Again?

Image
Wake. Am I me again? I stretch. My legs still feel too long. Too straight. I run my hands over my breasts. Still too much flesh. I’m not myself.  "This is not the growth chamber"I open my eyes. The light is dimmed. Other than that it’s the same place. White white white beyond the podium. “There are a heap of people gone.” In fact, only about half the statues remain. “None of my friends knew me or they would have woken me, got me to come along.” 
"Each is blind to the others"
 Tears start for my eyes. Mongoose blind to me when he woke? I recall my suspicions while we travelled. Don’t remember who lay them to rest. Mongoose possibly. 
From the shadows in the corners come sounds of scratches, crying, swearing. “How do I get out? How do I get out?” 
How come I’m not blind to the others? I want to ask. But I pick something global with which to test the mysterious entity. “This is how you make it night? Dawn? Dusk? How many hours between?” Silence as I look round. 
Glimmer of …

The Half Shaman in Space: Waking Again

Image
On waking after the shuttle flight from Lotor, Jeb finds herself in a strange white hall, on a platform of statues. She finds Mongoose among them and tries to wake him, to no avail. At last she can only hope that he'll wake her when he wakes ... 
In my dream, Mongoose does wake. He glances down and steps over me, hops down to floor level and walking toward one of the white walls disappears into it.

I’m so frightened I shudder and wake.

The great white tile-shining hall is alight with a time of day I might as well call morning.  Mongoose is not breathing beside me. Then I remember … he was standing. Without looking in his direction—I’m so so afraid—I feel for his animal-feet.  

 I don’t feel him. The dream was real?

I stand up, the better to flick my gaze over the podium, animal to animal, corner to corner, end to end. He isn’t anywhere among them. Among us. I sob.

I want to find him so desperately that my eyes want to bulge from their sockets trying to see him, somewhere, in this shining…

The Half Shaman in Space: Waking

Image
Having hit a hard place in Monster-Moored, Part 2: Mongrel which has resulted in a swag of research to be done, I'm switching my posts back to The Half Shaman for a bit.

At the end of The Half Shaman: 

After I have pressed my hand against that jamb and thought my goodbyes toward them all, Mongoose and I go back to the command room with its glassy-looking dome. “I am totally comforted that you can be up here with me,” I say. 

Mongoose smiles. “Told you, I’m your love-struck loon.” He squeezes my hand. We lie down, sweatily holding hands the whole time. 
I slot the transponder in the depression for it on the arm rest. A dash dash dot dot flickers through its sequence. A dash dash flickers on Mongoose’s arm-rest. The mattress moulds itself around us. A pair of hoods come down from somewhere above and we cover our faces. 
We breathe the cool fresh air spurting from the hoods. 
I hear the shuttle’s starter engines scream.
I feel the shuttle spinning faster and faster to gather power to escape…

Mongrel: Arriving at Zoo Hall

Image
Tardi, still with victory in his heart at Shad’s escape, ignored Neil’s fury. The hoverole crossed over grass and parkland as Neil drove toward the back entrance of Zoo Hall with about as much care for lawns and plants as his passengers. 
“Take it easy,” Zebe said. “Have us fined by the garden-bots in a minute.”
She’s not crying now. I was right. All an act. But why? 
“The Tree-hair has been against me from the minute we met,” Neil said. “I’m making sure he gets the full treatment. Get you out from under him too.”
Zebe toggled the passenger’s rear vision mirror, angling it to glare at Tardi. 
Still mad with him. None of it boded well for his welcome. 
“Don’t even dream of you and me as a pair, Neil,” Zebe said. “Not going to happen.” 
Neil braked. “So why are you here?”
“I’m seeing that Tardi isn’t broken in the time it takes Security to get him to the apartments?”
“Why would they break me?” Tardi said. “I’m volunteering to come in, I thought.”
Neil laughed. “Too bad you didn’t come in that fir…