SD First Draft 10

Continuing the first drafts of Splintered Demons. To learn more about this book or view the table of contents for these first drafts posts, visit the novel page here.

The pace of the story is somewhat slower than Dyson’s Angel. I’ll be attempting punch it up a little in the second draft, but this is ultimately more of a character drama set in space (with occasional action scenes) than a pure sci-fi action adventure. Today’s passage is important for hinting at some elements of Dyson’s backstory and setting up what happens to the relationship between Moira, Zau, Heraxo, and the Anomaly. 

“We do not know.”

“Send a remora in there and patch me through to his coms.”

Moira stepped into the airlock and stood, fidgeting and flexing her fists as she waited for the lock to cycle. After some time she growled, “Heraxo? You going to patch me through or what?”

The ship said nothing. 

Moira swore and called up her com overlay, then gestured through the menus until she found Dyson. She initiated a call, but just as the airlock completed its scan and cycled open her mesh informed her that it could not connect with Dyson. Moira stormed out of the airlock, down the corridor, and into the processing chamber, muttering a string of profanity along the way. 

“What the 🖕🏽 are you doing in here?” Moira shouted, the instant she caught sight of Dyson through the translucent monoliths of the memory blocks.

Dyson started and nearly fell over. He caught his balance on the cage, pulled himself upright, and cocked his head to one side, causing an asymmetrical mop of black hair to fall over his left eye. “I wondered why there was so much blood on the floor. And why there would be a cage here in the data core.”

“You could have 🖕🏽ing asked before you started poking around.”

“I apologize for upsetting you, but I fail to see what I have done wrong.”

Moira pulled herself to a stop mere inches from Dyson and fixed him with a deathly glare. “This room is off limits. I’d take the whole god👎🏼 engineering bay off if your drone didn’t need it to try and repair {needle drone}. Hells, I’m tempted to lock you into your own god👎🏼 ship until we figure out how to escape from this 🖕🏽ing spire.”

“I’m not going to break anything… I… Um…” Dyson started, then trailed off as he saw Moira’s neck tense. He glanced down submissively and saw that her fists were tightly balled at her sides. “Does this have something to do with Zau?”

Moira nodded, stiffly. 

“The blood. Hers?”

Another sharp nod. 

Inside of Moira, a twisting of her guts. She ought to have cleaned up the blood years ago, or at least tasked the remoras with doing the job, but she couldn’t stand to see the last physical remnant of Zau swept away like garbage in a gutter. It was illogical and unsanitary and, she fully acknowledged, borderline insane for her to keep the bloodstains as a memorial, but she could not let them go.

“It’s hard to let go of somebody you care for,” Dyson said, nodding slowly. He studied the cage for a moment, running his hand up and down the bars as if by touching them he could massage away the pain of Zau’s disappearance. After a while he released the bars and stepped away to lean on the control console.

He looked towards Moira with a blank expression, his eyes seemingly fixed on something miles behind her. “When my father died my last connection to home died with him. Evangeline was never an especially good mother.”

“Really? I’d have never guessed from the whole trying to kill us with a midge swarm thing.”

“You don’t know the half of it, but we aren’t here for a therapy session. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

Moira turned her back to Dyson and ran her hands up the bars of the cage, imagining that she could feel the powerful exo machinery packed into the bars through her fingertips. She grasped the bars and pulled herself close to them, as if she were pulling Zau close to her for an embrace. Standing there, her face pressed against the cage which had simultaneously taken the woman she loved from her and Zau a new life, Moira felt her spirit break anew within her. 

The Spire had pulled them in like a moth to a light. Something in its enigmatic silence and unflinching resolve to stand through the ages had captivated Heraxo and Zau alike, causing them to side with Dyson and execute a terribly dangerous jump into the heart of the Spire, rather than taking the more prudent course of escaping the zone. Heraxo had recognized something in the Spire. Something it needed. And Moira and Zau and all the others had been swept along. 

“We still love you,” Zau whispered in Moira’s mind, the sentiment expressed clearly and with no undercurrent of Heraxo’s usual spite. 

“I love you too,” Moira whispered, pressing her face against the bars as if by pushing through them she might step through the veil and be with Zau again. She had considered it. Wondered if it might be worth surrendering her flesh and enduring the madness of Heraxo to be with Zau again in the mind, but Moira was not yet ready to give up hope of finding a way to free Zau. 

“We’re going to kill you all, some day,” Heraxo replied, before their voice descended into a scattered mess of interpolated syllables. 

Moira heaved a sigh, too accustomed to Heraxo’s barbs for the personality whiplash to truly shock her. 

She turned to look at Dyson, who still leaned on the console with his arms crossed. Behind him, one of the memory block shivered with refracted light as Anomaly oozed from within its solid form, coalescing like a heat wave made manifest. 

“Are you done meddling in my ship’s mind?” Moira called, her voice rough as she shoved it past the knot of emotion in her throat.

“The hybrid entity has asked me to continue assisting with the sorting of its personality matrix for the foreseeable future. I believe that I can be of most service by assisting them in extracting memories from overwritten cells, resulting in a better understanding of this place in which find ourselves.”

“And I though you were dry for conversation,” Moira said, shooting Dyson a sardonic half smile. 

Dyson shrugged. “Gamayun never managed to make me care about other people all that much. I prefer my own council.”

“Anomaly, I need to know something.”

“I will attempt to answer you query to the best of my capability.” Anomaly skittered through the air at the head of a trail of kaleidoscopic distortion, coming to a halt beside Dyson’s right shoulder. 

 

# # END # #

 

Continuing the first drafts of Splintered Demons. To learn more about this book or view the table of contents for these first drafts posts, visit the novel page here.

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