SD First Draft 7

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.

“You still haven’t told me your plan.”

“And you haven’t told me yours.”

“Simple: Get out. Find more work. Survive. And you? You’re here because your mother turned out to be some sort of 🖕🏽ing nanite abomination, which I must add will make getting payment from here significantly more difficult.”

“I suppose I should feel some shame for that, but you did disturb me in my work when I had made some effort to seas communication with my family.”

“Why?”

Dyson scowled and then, after a long moment of silence, pushed himself to his feet. “I want to see more of this ship. Can you show me the jump core?” Without waiting for a response he strode out of the bay and disappeared around the starboard side of Raven’s Flight. 

“Where the hells are you going?” Moira shouted, moving to follow him. “This is my god👎🏼 ship and you need to start answering some questions before I chuck you out an airlock.”

“We’re not in vacuum.”

“I’m pretty sure the fall would kill you as much as any void. Dyson, if we’re going to be trapped together you need to give me something.” Moira caught up to Dyson and grabbed his arm, as much swinging herself around to block his path as turning him towards her. “Who the 🖕🏽 are you?”

“I’m just a scientist.”

You’re more than that, Anomaly whispered, speaking to both Moira and Dyson at the same time. 

“Get out of my head,” Dyson snapped, looking around for Anomaly.

“I don’t need a psychic hyperspace monster to tell me that you’re not just any scientist, Dyson. Someone claiming to be your mother paid me way too much money to find you, especially considering that it took practically no effort on my part. Why?”

“Why don’t you go ask her yourself?”

“You might have noticed we’re trapped in an exo artifact and can’t communicate with the rest of the Shell.”

“Oh, how stupid of me. It’s not like I spent that last {number} 🖕🏽ing years studying the Spire. Guess I forgot.”

“If I might interject…” Gamayun said, drifting up to the group. They strobed their fields through conciliatory shades of blue. 

“Gama-” Dyson protested.

“Sure,” Moira shouted, releasing Dyson’s arm and turning towards Gamayun. “Maybe you can answer some of my 🖕🏽ing questions.”

“I’m afraid that I cannot violate Dyson’s privacy, but more importantly you ought to be made aware that Zau/Heraxo is beginning to come back online.”

At that, Moira turned her attention inward, calling up her communication mesh and attempting to contact Zau. The connection icon pulsed for a moment, seemingly unable to establish a link, but then it twisted upon itself and indicated that contact had been established. 

“Zau!” Moira shouted, not caring whether any of the others heard the desperation in her voice. “Zau, talk to me.”

Zau/Heraxo’s response came back as a series of staccato syllables which were so tangled and intermingled that Moira could not make any sense of which of them were speaking, let alone the intent of their words. 

“The displays on the bridge are showing some unusual data,” Gamayun said. “You may wish to see it for yourself.”

“Unusual how?” Dyson asked. 

“It is frankly a mess and written in at least two languages, but I believe it contains information about the Spire.”

# # #

The display twisted, flickered, and returned showing a patchy schematic of what appeared to be the Spire, surrounded by annotations in the language of the creatures which had built Heraxo.

“Where is this coming from?” Gamayun asked, once they had gathered before the errant display on the bridge. “These don’t appear to be scans from our position.”

“Extrapolated data?” Dyson asked. “A model based on our scans, but presented from a different perspective.”

“No. This is something from Heraxo’s memories,” Moira replied. “This must be why Zau isn’t replying to me.”

Yes, Anomaly said, hovering above the display. I have been assisted them.

“What do you mean assisting them?” Moira asked, her voice cold.

Zau and Heraxo asked me for assistance in sorting through their memories. This place terrifies them. They are confused. I am doing my best to help them. 

“And what would you know about exo computation systems?” Gamayun asked. 

I know minds. I know matter. I know of the delicate ties which bind one to the other and cross the physical and mental universes.

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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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