power failures

3 in one 24 hour period. Killed one of Jeff’s router power supplies. Resetting clocks over and over. Power failures feel weird now; like we’re prepping for the big one, like civil unrest is ‘about’.

Funny tale of waking up: I tossed my fluffy hoody into a laundry hamper but when I woke up this morning it looked like a sandworm head coming out of the floor and I almost squawked in terror.

Biscotti in oven for Tom. I cleaned the racks and wiped down the interior of the oven, it’s started to smell oily and smoky. Soon, Time Team (we’re in the last season unhappy sigh) and running the dishwasher and the rest of the day gets underway.

Total word count 9189 on Best Roommate. In this latest bit, Amorfo came to pick up the sproing and scared the living shit of Keegan.

Watched the movie Synchronic. I liked it – there are some visuals that were quite striking and the basic concept is interesting. It is a B movie – very earnest and low key. The final shot has an element of ambiguity, but it also contains friendship, which is kind of the point. Anthony Mackie is quite good.

I blew an incredible kazoo solo this morning. I can only ask an intemperate universe that Jeff had his gd headphones on.

New West yesterday

Went into New West on the bus to pick up ice cream and summat for dinner and to return Mexican Gothic, which was so damned good I understood why I waited three months for it at the library, but also why I had to return it as fast as possible for the next person. On the way home I saw Peggy because she AND TOM drove over and dropped off cookies and Jeff and I ate them all in one go (almond sugar cookies). Sooooo the Christmas I AM EATING THINGS I SHOULDN’T TABLEAU continues.

So Tom is home. He sounds quite vigorous, but he doesn’t get to drive for another month and a half or so.

The big fuzzy hoodies I ordered arrived. I hope people like them and if they don’t they can give them back to me.

Finished the Right Stuff TV show. It’s a little too kitchen sinky to get the full upvote, but I enjoyed it. A second season has been optioned but not ordered.

I hope everyone has a lovely day. I don’t have much planned beyond a walk to the mailbox and add to the 3300 words I wrote on The Best Roommate in the World.

Two Daves

Two letters written but not posted today; it’s a Two Dave day.

Jeff’s just asked me to go downstairs and watch a Time Team. Hope it’s something Saxon or Roman. L8r Nope, medieval and Tudor. But really interesting if you’re crazy about remodelling castles for successive waves of improvements in warfare, boom goes the gunpowder.

Alex was here recently and I’m just remembering him being happy about getting a tube shot on the Xenon game and it made me happy in consequence.

Buster was past damp into dripping wet, and filthy when he came back in this morning…. must be horrible to have to clean that crap off with your teeth and mouth blech.

Indian food delivered last night. I was very happy with the quality and quantity for the price. It’s a new place (8 months?)  that does pizza and Desi food Pasifika style, which is like, so Vancouver, it hurts.

Chuck Yeager, RIP. His autobiography is most entertaining.

Letter from Onty Mary, and I’m so glad she enjoyed the paper art I put in with a recent letter, that was cheering.

Today has been set aside for One Grim Task. I do not want this task. I do not want the cascade of tasks that will flow from this One Grim Task. I AM DISGUST, SON.

It’s 10:20 in the morning and I am still not nerved up for this gd task. I am actually hitting the old moral GPS for a recalc from my new position and fuck me if it’s not taking a bit longer than any reasonable person might expect. What is it that a reasonable person following Stoic principles might expect? I said I’d write first PHEW AN OUT, I HAVE AN OUT.

With that I must now turn my attention to the real writing I need to do today, otherwise known as Quarantine Porn. And that works whether I’m talking about the UPSUN universe or my rapidly-winding-down interest in writing porny Supernatural fanfic. (Not all of it’s porn, some of it’s just fluff.)

And if I’m not going to write that, I have to go back out into the kitchen and either work some more on The Dark Book – current section is “the Calendar” and it’s fucking MOLOCH this and MOLOCH that, as he drives his diesel dick through history and messes us all up, it’s just standard issue eschatology schlock, that’s part of the point of the poem though, disjointing the specifically English language over and past and through its various levels of inanity, legalism and perverse vagueness through to a new horrific understanding about what ‘end times’ actually means for the people living through it, and you are among those people, and what the hell is this poem anyway (this last aside for my parents, who have long since given up on trying to understand what it is I’m babbling about and reached this question much earlier) – or work on my master grocery list, and I finally figured how I can get what my grocery list looks like in my head to my actual grocery list that I use every week and reinforces how I visualize and operate in the world, but I haven’t done it yet. So I have work to do to advance this project, which will assist me cognitively as my brain declines and I’m still shopping, and which may have applications for other seniors and TBI sufferers. (I certainly wasn’t able to find anything like it on line.) So yeah, projects, in order, depending on what I’m up for mood and skill wize.

Yup, I’m going to wander off and reconfigure my reality right now, be back in a day for an update or sooner if something interesting happens.

One last thing, the ‘writing light’ in the kitchen died and I asked for help from Jeff  (my shoulder’s frozen…. that was weird, realizing it) and he touched the apparently dead compact fluorescent and it illuminated and it made me think of pOp. Also Jeff is quietly amazing, the best kind.

An accompaniment to ‘the sproing’

ImageJenny L Davis academic details

@ChickashaJenny – we currently follow each other on twitter but that may change, since I’m curating my list pretty much constantly and sometimes if I think I’ve been too greedy of an Indigenous person’s time I quit following them to stop the damage.
anyway, what the hell is a sproing?
Glad you asked. Sadly, this device is fictional, and part of the UPSUN universe, but oh how I wish it warn’t.

Text of the user guide:

All my relations.

In English, this device is called a sproing.

The sproing was made by sixers for Indigenous peoples to reclaim their stolen heritage from museums, businesses, collections and private homes.

There is technology in it which makes it demand to be used.

It will self-destruct or become inert if not used for its purpose, because it assumes that when it stops reclaiming Indigenous treasures that it is in the hands of colonial powers who wish to understand its secrets. We can’t say how it makes these decisions, just that we’ve seen it demonstrated.

When you’re done with it – may that day come soon – think of where to leave it. If you decide never to use it, you will still have to leave it somewhere.

If it self-destructs it may reach temperatures of 850 degrees C. Think of this object as a person who is a tool who is a bomb.

DO NOT LEAVE IT IN YOUR HOMES. You have been warned. The smoke causes lung and skin damage to human beings, plants and animals. Sitting it on dirt or stones with a metal box over it is best when it’s not being used.

It is wise to ensure that anyone who will be using the sproing speaks to it first. The sproing doesn’t have speech recognition, but it becomes used to certain people and is much less likely to behave strangely if it hears familiar voices. Speak to it before you pick it up.

Since it will open almost any door, it exists in opposition to capitalism and so it’s always dangerous for you to carry. Thieves, cops, the military, journalists, spies and sixer technology cultists all want this object. If you are not the right person to use it, give it to one of your people who is honest and fearless, and let them use it instead.

The sproing will open almost all key-locked doors and the fobbinator half of all doors managed with a key fob. If it doesn’t work, don’t make a second attempt. Second attempts may bring on the self-destruct, as the sproing assumes the person using it is without the necessary self-discipline to use it safely.

Please treat the sproing with honour and leave it in the sun, directly on the ground, during ceremony, to the extent you can. It will run longer if you do.

The sproing is capable of independent movement. It won’t happen often but they have been known to follow people they like for several hundred meters before they lose interest.

No visible record of the sproing  – of any kind – should be made, which is why there is no illustration in this document. Songs and ceremonies are OK.

Do not leave it close to bonfires, as there is more than one report of sproings being attracted to large fires. Under no circumstances try to pull it out of the fire; alert everyone and move away with your backs turned, and keep moving. Although it appears to be made of metal, it is non-magnetic and non-ferrous. If you are foolish enough to try to take it through a customs-enforced airport and you are asked what it is, it’s a paperweight.

Operation.

The side marked “S” is the sproing side. Place the “S” as close to the keyhole as possible and push gently. The sproing will ‘kick’ once, and extrude and push the key into the hole. You can still pull it out at this time and whatever is extended will retract.

Push again and the key will ‘halt in place’ or advise you of failure by vibrating four times. If it works, you won’t be able to remove the sproing until the door has been unlocked and locked again. Turn the sproing as if it was a key and open the door. Return to starting position to remove sproing.

Push three times rapidly if the sproing jams after you’ve returned it to the starting position; this triggers forced retraction.

The “F” side is the fobbinator side. Hold as if it was a fob next to the sensor and wait. If it doesn’t work, it will vibrate, hard, four times. Don’t try it again!

Do not use the sproing lightly or without a clear understanding of your responsibilities as you use it. It is normal for the sproing to change colour over time. This will take the appearance of bleaching or darkening from the original gunmetal colour. If you treat the sproing properly, within a short time it will be the colour of the soil of your territories.

Memorize these instructions and burn them.

I referred to a Trumpenista today as a ‘cognitive foundling’ and I’m particular pleased with that locution.

progress

I have heard back from the cultural competence reader. I will be mailing the manuscript today or tomorrow.

Finished Queen’s Gambit and loved it. That will get a rewatch sooner rather than later I imagine.

I have received some more addresses from family members. I’m working on some kind of master plan for our diet.

Vegetarian whole wheat pizza again with soy cheese. I honestly cannot tell the difference.

I’ve heard about a show called Trickster; the Dunnetteers quite like it so I want to give it a try.

Wall Street is apparently telling Trump to give it up. LOL

10658

now the work really begins

Image

 

I spent a lot of yesterday afternoon with my face hanging out in front of the tube, but I was also looking at the three books in the UPSUN trilogy. It’s really not a work to everyone’s taste, but it doesn’t have to be. The things I’m best at when I am writing are:

  1. handwaving regarding the plot BUT IN THIS CASE I HAVE STRONG CULTURAL REASONS FOR NOT WANTING TO CHOP PLOT TOO FINE
  2. snarky social commentary – Fun in Hi-Skule John Brunner, kinda
  3. snarky dialogue between people who actually love each other but are behaving badly
  4. pretty much anything to with Sixers, my current and forever fave alien
  5. snarky dialogue by people who don’t have anything to do with the action but are seriously pissed off at the moment (people in crowds yelling rude things a specialty)
  6. godawful family dynamics (nothing drives action like shitty families) (It’s a trope) (but I enjoy my own family) (however much they enjoy, or don’t, me)
  7. RESEARCH like the time I wasted a day inventing what the city elders rename all the Vancouver bridges to and did you know that psychologically we won’t actually understand how many fucking bridges there are in this town until access is cut to them? Bridges are extremely important to Vancouver, we won’t function well if they fall, are blocked, are damaged ….
  8. saying things are just so AFTER I DO ALL THAT RESEARCH
  9. inventing things like the ‘sproing’ which I think is one of the best things I ever came up with
  10. writing an entire side project – BOOK LENGTH – which is an internal fanfic for two of the characters, whom I’ve since decided do not belong together anyway, and it sure gave me some insight into why destiel is so annoying to some fans
  11. yes kids I wrote a 55000 word, elaborately researched and fabulously queer /non-conforming/whore-positive book and will never publish it because it isn’t canon in my own universe AS A THOUGHT EXERCISE about how to run a brothel in Vancouver after landback
  12. gamifying a revolution is not a new concept in sf but tricking an entire generation of mostly white, Chinese and Desi Vancouver gamers into mapping the city so that the Indigenous infrastructure techies can get a tree-by-bush overview of what food is growing here, that was irrestistable

Sooooon

Shortly I will formally retain the services of a high-powered and thoroughly qualified person to perform the cultural competence reading of the UPSUN trilogy.

I’m not lying when I say that if this is successful (there’s no guarantee that this person will enjoy doing the work enough to want to get paid for doing more than one) this is likely going to re-energize me. And if it isn’t successful, I’ll continue to look for someone who can assist.

The manuscript’s printed out. I just need to put together a one page contract and get this puppy in the mail.

this is stuck somewhere in the middle of HOTM

this mini chapter is entitled

English is not the best language for trauma

Until you are ground up so fine that it’s hard to point to what was human, you aren’t entitled to act or speak as if you know what’s occurred. After it happens, you don’t have the words to describe it. The body is what makes words possible, the hiss of air and the pop of lips, but its capacity to make words that match the glory are better than the ones that match the pain. If our words matched our pain, others wouldn’t hurt us. 

To bear pain silently, like a beast, is given to us, because we are beasts. Air and language met where the push of speciation put them, and now we hum commercials under our halting breaths; languages are implied. When you hear the advert, the words dance across your brain, if you’re abled that way.

My trauma’s not your business, but you insist on making it so. In consequence of this, my view of other human beings is both impaired and occluded; I freely admit it. I am driven to hang out with sixers rather than humans because they accept me IRL, as-is. Every other human being, apart from my health care workers, following my wounding, did not accept the contemporaneous me; always they looked around in the most self-serving and piteous way, to the past me that served them and the future me that would not – they hoped – challenge them, but never to this version, the one in front of them, needy and hurting and incapable of speech.

 

I asked someone to figure out how much money other people have made from my trauma. Their response was uncharacteristically subdued. “I don’t want to do that.”

“It would be a great symposium project,” I said.

“No,” they said. “At the end you’re mad, I’m sad, I get a gold star because wow-who-knew-hunh? and among SJWs I’m a two-day twitter storm, but anyone we could hope to influence ignores it because it’s ‘sixer science.’ At that rate we might as well be doing research under the colonial university system.”

“Thanks for considering it,” I said, which was a mature improvement on ‘get fucked’, which I had queued up right until the last tenth of a second. “Do I owe you anything?” 

Sixers don’t glare. The silence was impractically lengthy, but who cares when you live five hundred years, right?

They sighed, a concession from a being with no lungs.

“George gave me a memory,” they said.

I was about to be diverted away from my goal; this story, true or false, was my reward for not freaking out at being turned down. None of the children would exist if I didn’t, so they tend to slink around me as if I still had some power over them, which would be funny if it wasn’t so false. “Sure. Here I am, now entertain me.”

“It’s about the Burning.”

“I was very conveniently out of town for the Burning, so I’m all ears.”

“He was there.”

“For the backups.”

“For all of it.”

I shook my head. “I really don’t think so. Remember, some of these memories, they aren’t memories, they’re Harri running simulations.”

“It feels like a real memory,” they insisted.

“Fine, but if what you say deviates from the official timeline that’s on the main site, I’m going to call bullshit.”

There was another long pause. “Forget it,” they said. 

“And we can’t ask George,” I said. George had had most of his ability to think ripped out and was now a sort of cheerful village idiot, wandering around Vancouver on his own because no one knew what to do with him and he was still a sixer; telling him what to do when he had perfect invisibility and had been clocked at 0-100 kph at 2.5 seconds was boneheaded.

I had started to police up my hangnails by the time they opened their trap again. “What are you doing?” they said suspiciously as they heard the snipping noises through the phone.

“I have to perform maintenance so as not to snag on shit,” I said.

“I don’t understand,” they said.

“Mmyup.”

“George killed one of the guards.”

“What?”

“Where the backups were stored.”

They don’t like being laughed at, and I restrained myself. “Now I know it was a simulation.”

“It felt real.”

“Of course, Harri is and always has been opposed to killing human beings, but he’s a being that can be turned to that purpose, so of course he’d be trying to scare the shit out of George so as not to get dragged into mass murder. They had no working accord at the time, just chaotic posturing.”

“George had already killed human beings.”

“He told me he edited it so he only had an audio time stamp for the event.”

Long, long pause, so bored. Snip, snip, little hangnail. That part of me burned off and grew back. Now I have to maintain it. Around the world thousands and thousands of people are waiting on this magic that the sixers gave me. Their mothers and children and aunties and grandmas write to me and beg for my assistance, to hook them up with the sixer magic / technology / that makes the skin regrowth possible. Many of them can barely hide how angry and jealous they are that I got this.

I am white, and young, and a celebrity, how dare I. They don’t know that I still have dreams about being in that sling, and they’re horrible.

“I don’t believe you. He wouldn’t.”

“Harri tried to stop him and couldn’t. He was perfectly happy to have his failure edited down to a footnote. Just remember that George was so angry at the Third Reich at that point that he was only held back from a berserker attack by Harri stabbing him about a hundred times.”

“What?”

“That got edited out as well,” I said. There was no way I should be telling one of George’s kids any of this shit, but the goal was to have extended past ‘the trading point’ until kiddo was enough in my debt to want to settle up.

“It’s great though,” I said into the silence that followed, a silence that turned into a click as the line went dead. “In an alternate time-line, George killed every guard and staff member at a concentration camp in 1944, instead of just strangling two of them.”

 

A while later, they came back with a rough outline of what they proposed to do and how they proposed to do it, and we were off.

 

How much money did you assholes make off my ‘forbidden affair’ with Brendan? (hiya Brendan, you’re in this pile, even though I never wanted you to be! Money changes everything!)

How much money did you make from when the Russians tried to kidnap me in broad daylight?

How much money did you make off that pic Kima posted?

How much money did you make when I was wounded?

And how much money did you make when I was ‘magically’ healed?

And how much money will you make from anything that happens to me in future?

 

Yeah. I fucking hate you all,

 

My maledictions and all my spare bile,

 

Raven

Get enough sleep and it’s amazing

I am well rested, and in an hour or so will be off to the brekky place with Katie and possibly brO.

Mike’s at Trent’s ManCave™ finishing off the Mustang so he can get it back on the road. I was hoping to see him tomorrow but scuffed knuckles come first. He told me he bought a looper and now I’m mad chuffed to see it. His forearms were so sore they were in spasm the last time I saw him, poor guy.

Started watching the UK show Coroner, really liking it! the coroner/cop investigative team is very well done.

Some woman on reddit wants to know Am I The Asshole for breaking up with a man who admitted he had sex with sheep. My comment : How do you explain to a man with that kind of interior landscape that the real issue is not that he 3x interfered w/ sheep, (although “pick a gif for squick”), but that he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of informed consent, which would make any real life they had a mess.

If he was serious about never doing it again he shoulda kept his muttonhole shut.

I will try to work on Cuffs some more today but I need some kind of narrative hook that doesn’t involved 7 point fucking three billion dollars in money laundering. The fact that my novel has now collided with reality is fucking me up.

Was looking for a weapon from my Scythian heritage (the first blue eyed red heads!!!) and found this tasty store.

The first part of the second part of HOTM redux

It was a three kilometre swim to the yacht; others might berth amid the festive jostle at the Port of Cannes, but when you’re an eighty-eight year old hundred-billionaire who has survived every purge and shift in power that the Communist Party of China can throw at you, you never do a damned thing without good reason.

He didn’t want to be easy to kill, and he wasn’t.

The nameless child let go of the bumper of the speedboat that had gotten her most of the way to the yacht. She took her time, swimming. Arriving exhausted would prevent her from getting on and off the yacht with all the stealthy speed she needed, and she had yet to reconnoitre for detection devices, which likely would start below the waterline and be monitored with some human attention.

On sonar, until she was very close, possibly until she got a limb onto the hull, she’d look like a fish, if anything. After that, it depended on what countermeasures he’d bought, installed and had people competent enough to interpret and use. No sensible person would want to try to kill a sixer while on board; your endgame was a re-fit that shipyards would yearn over. The plan would likely be detection for the purpose of encouraging any visiting sixer to leave without destroying the yacht.

She spent ten minutes, before she committed herself to murder, thinking about the fate of the men and women who would be put out of work now. Her father’s voice was in her. She had never excised George’s voice, not like her siblings, who described their freedom from his breathy stream of contrived advice in religious terms, quite unlike previous generations of sixers.

So to honour her father’s memory – it was convenient to think of him as being dead, so she did, even as his voice ground through platitudes and precautions – she thought about things like creating a pool of enemies and how you prevented your pool of enemies from conspiring with each other to give you a hard time by building a really solid coalition, and that you had to tend that coalition.

It didn’t matter how many times he said it. It was bullshit.

Direct action was hers to command in all of its horror, and her father had struck the ice from that stream for her as well. She could feel the faint and ever-present men, dying already, in her grip and unable to breathe, and said, trying to sound like Jesse in her own mind, since his voice was always a comfort somehow, “Fuck them! They traded a steady paycheque for their moral agency, and they got nothing but gravity on their side now.”

She read about the sixer children online. After a while she got into their private network and poked around and realized that they knew about her, and weren’t looking for her. She was number 143. They weren’t looking for her because if she lived free and wished to remain childless, that was her choice and none of her siblings had motive or opportunity to stop her. That they had means, none could doubt.

It wouldn’t last. They would come after her, so she’d have to cut a swathe and then hide, then do it again and then hide, until she was caught and killed. By her own siblings, what a terrible fate. Super tragic. Except it wasn’t. It was all okay, except for the innocents affected.

The current was moving in the right direction, so she paused a moment and considered the sensation. One way to interpret it was as an itch, a sign that something was burrowing in, or erupting out, or amiss in one of the three layers of the strange bag she was encased in. Occasionally the itch was a thought, or a command / engagement between the AIs going awry, or a sign that something was very wrong, so she sat with it and decided that her AIs were unhappy with her decision to not have a social tentacle and were trying to grow one anyway, without her explicit consent.

She turned her inner megaphone up to ‘Blast/scorch’ and yelled, “I was born without one. I have the right to one if I want one and I don’t want one, so make that damned itch stop right now or I’ll kill everyone on the yacht, not just the rich ones.”

She twirled idly in the water, just at the level the light stopped, and got a little cold gust of acknowledgement back.

“Quit the morph talk too,” she yelled into their silent acquiescence. “I’m not as stupid as you’re trying to make me.”

The echoing silence slid into a vibration at the bottom edge of detectability. It was the irascible bass note of a horde of angry, truncated intelligences, trapped in the frame of a murderess.

“Yeah, you know who’s boss,” she murmured, and switched the megaphone off.

“Just the billionaire, and his wife, and any of their children, and any of the children’s spouses,” she said to herself, and circled the yacht slowly. There was a five person security team. She could smell the residue from the last time they’d tested the most effective sixer locator.

Pausing, she sat off the stern about two hundred metres and thought about it for a while, then came straight at the engines, up through a conveniently large hole, and straight to the stores of sixer detector goop, which she ruined with a little butane torch, heating it so the phosphorous compound wouldn’t react.

She set off a pressure detector, which irritated her, and an alarm sounded. She ran along the ceiling, and up ladders, flat out, while trying to stay calm. She ran straight to the salon where the billionaire was on a satellite phone. In front of his aide, she climbed him, shoved a limb into his face, and punctured his airway, lungs and heart, repeatedly but not randomly. Out of courtesy to the aide she made herself visible enough to be identified as a sixer.

She opened the salon door, jumped down two decks and flung herself over the side into the balmy, diesel-tainted waters of the Mediterranean, and Xu Wei, architect of a vertically integrated supply chain the envy of the planet, died thirty seconds later.

It was interesting to stand off about three hundred metres and watch what happened next. She expected cops, speedboats, foofaraw.

Something, anyway, to indicate that the richest man on earth (some said, who knew) was dead.

Half an hour later, a tender launched from the yacht, headed not to the old port but the new, which seemed to be the opposite of what one would expect. The ferry from Ste. Marguerite was coming close enough to get her back onshore, and then it was enough of speculation, on to the next line of megayachts, on to the Jetée Albert Edouard.

Half the yachts in the old port had minimal staff and security — Cannes was more subdued than usual and various daylight events were happening to draw them away.

She crawled and swam and in one case crossed a custom gangplank from megayacht to megayacht, murdering billionaires, a shipping billionaire from Seattle and his wife, a telecom billionaire from India and her husband. The killing method varied. Smashing heads in wasn’t satisfying. She thought it would be, but it was strangling them that really got her, really made her feel the difference between their pulpy, oxygen-dependent flesh and all of her glorious, malleable potential.

She kept waiting for alarms to be set off, for the yachts to power up to leave, for an uptick in helicopter traffic, for the carousel of light from emergency vehicles.

Nothing. She climbed onto the roof of a cab, weary to the point of immobility, and numbly realized that by chance it was taking her east along the boulevard to the Port Pierre Canto. The cab pulled up in front of a restaurant and she realized that if she didn’t get under cover, her exhaustion would reveal her to the world. She hid in the centre of a light standard, and, surrounded by comforting metal, she said goodnight to her voices and slept.

amazing fish soup in Dalvik

mulligatawneyish, plus salad plus really decent coffee and cream *not like this morning **** me*

The restaurant is really cute, all barn boards and home made fishing gaffs. It’s named after three brothers who lived and died in Dalvik and were regarded by the locals as the holy trinity of village idiots.

They decorate with baleen in Iceland. Just ponder that for a mo.

Jeff & mOm, forgot to mention that the crosswalks in Iceland have …. *a green man*. We’re so used to the orange man that to see a green one is kinda cool and weird.  I am now going to add that in to Jesse’s part of Honey on the Moon.

 

Excerpt from Kima’s diary

Raven’s interest attracted my interest.  She said that a diary was a multipurpose device.  It was a way to send your younger self to your older self in a manner different from memory.  It was a way to see how you edit your own memory and learn to lie to yourself.  You may become more truthful.

I had believed and it was the general belief of my species that the language of light made it impossible for us to lie undetected. This was not true. I made decisions while I believed this untruth, and my whole life has been different as a consequence.

I don’t mean to complain, although I do.  I don’t complain in the language of light. I wish I knew how to transfer that ability into a human language.  George tells me that Jas’ mother never complained, and that he privately asked around and learned that it was true.

So it is possible.  It is considered a virtue, although not as widely praised as other human virtues.

Raven said something else, something I found interesting because it was so difficult for me to retain.  She said for humans a story can be more true than anything that ever happens to you in real life.  When I started applying that transideation to my own life, as a thought experiment, I felt a shift inside me, as if there had been a cave inside me covered with a rock, and that rock had been rolled away by an inquisitive beast.  I was that beast, I was that cave and rock, and I extended a tendril to commence my exploration.

* * * * *

After I learned I was carrying over one hundred babies, I had what George calls a moral quandary and what I call an application of rules problem.  I had consented with happiness to sex with George, and was as happy as physiologically possible to be carrying our longed-for babies.

When I learned I was carrying babies by the Oldest and Theo, scant seconds after the first pregnancy revelation, I roiled with black rage.  I need help for figurative language sometimes, but that came fast, being a descriptive snapshot of my internal state.  I was so angry that I did something mothers-to-be never do.  I gave George the right to choose to destroy them.

His response was firm and kind. He said it was a responsibility housed in my body, for my whole being to carry. He seemed very low in spirits as he explained his mother had told him to let Theo live until after Theo’s first babies hatched, and so he could not kill Theo if I killed the babies. For a moment I felt ensnared in the strands of conflicting messages.  He had already said he had no wish to kill Theo. I freed myself and saw it as a tactic of distraction. George often prevented me from following a line of logic by tricking me into an argument.

I asked him what of the babies I carried for the Oldest.

Again he told me it was for me to decide.

I didn’t consent to sex with either of them, I said.  Before I met you I didn’t even know what that meant.  If neither can be fully conscious, how can rape occur?  I know more now.

George linked with me for a long time, and his hair picked me up and held me in a perfect wet embrace. I rolled around in it contentedly, all my recent anger assuaged and tempered with a desire for a solution.

I will keep them all, and hatch the ones I can.  They live because of your sperm packet, it would be an offence against you to kill them.

No it wouldn’t.

I mimicked him.  I said, We may disagree and still be friends.

I had spent 40 years helping George with his project, and decided to have one of my own.  As I thought about it, it seemed I could have more than one. As George went off to address his conception of a planetary threat, so I considered how my idea of a threat had changed in the last 40 years.  I thought of little else as I brooded my babies.

June 1 2014

I went to visit Laelaps in the tent city today to ask him some questions about his last communication with Psyche. She is alleged to have sent Laelaps a final message at the time of her death, and he was alleged to believe that they had two way telepathic communication.

Jas insisted on accompanying me.  I didn’t need him, but he said he needed to be there. George said that trusting the judgment of humans who had helped us was difficult. Even so, that trust yielded benefits which were not predictable at the time. I asked Jas to wheel me across the field in my bucket, since I was already tired and defensive from standing.

I tried to think how best to prepare.  Our species has many talents. I agreed with George in my belief that all of our talents were rooted in physical reality, however at variance with human understanding of it.  If it was telepathy, there was a technique or a trick to be learned, although Laelaps missing social tentacle would leave me uncertain of anything he said.

Was the communication a consequence of some technology Psyche had spontaneously created and implanted in Laelaps? This was the explanation George favoured, believing this to have occurred during one of their frequent hallucinatory drug experiments.  If that was the case I wanted to isolate and duplicate the drug.

George perceived Laelaps as a victim of his mother’s mental illness and attempt to reproduce something approximating human courtship.  I saw Laelaps’ pursuit of Psyche, which always took place on land, differently, and could not find words for it.  It was appropriate to be silent when my thoughts were so amorphous.

Communication with Laelaps is difficult.  I thought it would take a number of visits before anything useful could be learned, as I didn’t know in advance if he would be communicative or not.  That day he was.

After the greetings, complicated by his entourage of humans, who milled about and stood between us, blocking my view of his words, I was able to outline why I was there.

Laelaps grasped my purpose with encouraging promptness and told the humans to sit facing away so they would not overlook the conversation.

Neither of those suppositions is true.  There was no pebble, although it tasted like a pebble, and there was no telepathy.  She changed my physiology using drugs, so that I could hear her thoughts.

Could I drug my babies so that they could always hear me?

Laelaps’ posture became ominous.  Jas moved closer.  Laelaps curled his upper lip in imitation of a scornful human, then moved into a more relaxed pose, turning his head away from me.  It made the humans more relaxed, but Laelaps was watching me carefully.

The words tumbled across the broadest part of his body. You would do that?  To what purpose?  I thought you preferred the accepted style.  Do you intend to act as humans do?  It’s worse that way. The worry never stops.  The old way you get them to a certain size, or brood them in the ocean.  It’s a better system in some ways, and we will never overpopulate this world if we swim in known currents.

I mean to help the planet.

You would sacrifice your children’s lives for that?  Chalice-Seeker, are you?

You forget, I saw the Chalice, unlike many others.

What did you see, precisely? Drugged by my son, who gave you a little something from his mother?

She had been dead for years then. Why was he so much more affected by the drug if that’s so?  I thought – ! Didn’t you try to beat George for failing to get the Chalice? You did it at Zosime’s request, unless George is lying. Unless George is lying…

She was capable of leaving something in his system that would activate when he saw you.  The humans have a word, sorceress, another word, enchantress.  She could do things even her mother could not. It was why in the end I had to take the social tentacle off; it continued to make the drug, under her instructions.  That was my reasoning, and it seems to have worked.

You were cured, after that.  Zosime is a sorceress?

Have you not found her to be?  She helped you with the pregnancy, or so she told me.

The realization that Zosime and Laelaps were communicating by text made me at first uneasy and then somewhat relieved.  If they were talking, Zosime had ceased to blame him for Psyche’s death. I felt stupid. I could have texted him. It had not occurred to me to text him.  Somehow only my presence, coming to visit, felt correct. I was acknowledging his sociability and his importance to me, even if we could not have the inescapable isolation of linking.

We are here to survive what the humans do, not prevent it.  Three hundred against seven billion? Ask the moon for a bite to eat while you are at it.

I will.

I am recording this in words so I have to say what the words do not.  We were both joking.  I think it was the first time we had ever exchanged a joke.  It was pleasant to realize that it was happening.

Do you want me to name any of the children after you? I said, hoping to continue in a joking manner.  What he said next was quite grave, and yet there was a quality in what he said that reminded me of his son so strongly that I saw them in each other, as if he were suddenly superimposed on George in my spatial memory.

It is for our children to name us, not the other way around. We’re named going forward, but our actions take a long time to truly name us. I have been named after a dog that always catches what it hunts.  What have I been hunting?

Happiness, I suggested.  It had taken years to understand what humans meant by that, and how we might drape their words over our feelings.

Laelaps expanded on the subject. Unwise men tried to kidnap me, and hurt the camp.  I am happy anyway. I think of wandering again, but I’m fine here.

What happened to the men?

I restrained them until the humans could deal with them in their own way.  They didn’t believe George’s warnings about me.  Perhaps I’m crazy, but I’m not prey.

May you never be prey.  May you have 216 descendents, I said.

You’ve made a good beginning on bringing those good wishes to life.  I’m sorry I couldn’t answer your question about Psyche.

I may find another way to ask the questions.

I’ll be here, he said tranquilly, and climbed up to his sleeping platform. I reached up my grasping tentacle in farewell, to affirm his Laelapsness. I twined it around his for just a moment.  He gave me a little pinch, and I pinched him back, and I knew that for another little joke.

I look forward to seeing him again.  He knows he can help me, but he is not interested in helping me now.  If I think about it long enough, in the right way, maybe a solution will come.

Jas does not discuss Sixer business in public.  When he put me back in the car he asked me if I got what I wanted.  I told him, no.  Laelaps had not given me what I wanted, but I had a new area of enquiry.

I texted Zosime, something both humble and formal, about possibly consolidating the pregnancies into three, one for each contributing father, and if she had any advice for how to make that happen most efficiently.  As expected, she responded right away, asking what my motives were in doing that.

I asked if my motives needed to be plain for the advice to be offered.  The cultural bias that pregnancies are for the mother-to-be to arrange made her response slow and stiff.  She agreed that it was none of her business, although she could imagine that the humans would take a different view, and while she would never comment, many humans were not happy with any reduction in the number of viable zygotes.

I agreed, and added that while many humans would be unhappy that I considered rejection to be a reasonable response to a difficult pregnancy, many humans would be even better served, to their minds, if Sixers ceased breeding altogether. Further, I could better protect three children than however many I would be able to successfully brood.

Are you having a difficult pregnancy?  The speed of the response made her consternation obvious.

I prevaricated.  You would not think so.  The physiological portion is easy.  The mental portion is difficult.  I can already hear some of them.

Hear, or feel? And then without waiting for a response, It is Gyorg’s hair, she texted.  Some of the little ones are calling you.  Psyche was nearly driven mad by Gyorg.

I wanted to argue with her, since it was the children of the Oldest who were calling me. George says never, ever argue with Zosime.  You can’t win, you daren’t lose and you’ll be angry for weeks, he says.

I tightened my grasp on my temper and my objective, and said, I want the communication to go the other way. More accurately I wish them to hear me and do as I say.

That explains why you’ve not brooded them in the ocean.  You must be stretched to the limit, Zosime texted.

I didn’t tell her I had been successful in halting their growth so I had an opportunity to plan, and that was likely the real reason the children were so loud.

  If you want the children to obey, you must link with them the first chance you get, and repeatedly dose them with the right drug.  It will be a different drug for every one.

I was astounded.

I texted: I need to be able to transmit to them what they need to do next, and they will hear me, wherever they are.

Zosime didn’t respond for a long time.  I began to believe that I had somehow said something to make her lock up, much as her grandson might when confronted with something unpleasant and unplanned for.

You wish to take the place of the Shining Eye with your own children, Zosime said.

There was nothing about the sentence to indicate that she thought this was a good or bad idea, although the reference to the Shining Eye was arresting in itself.  She restated my request in her own words to ensure she had understood. I had not thought of it in that way and felt limp. I wished George was present to explain to me the implications, which he always perceived with less effort and more nuance.

Once again she didn’t wait for my response. Every parent wants a child who will obey.  Eventually we give up on that idea as pernicious nonsense.  Don’t you want your children to be free?

We have come to a point in planetary history when sacrifices must be made.

Ocean deep, what will you turn them into?  Will they be subject to human law?

Not if I can stop it.

Good. On that much we can agree.  Benthesikyma, you have a remarkable talent for causing long-lasting anxiety with a short conversation.  I do not mean to disrespect you as you were clear the first time, but I ask again: You do not mean to subject them to human law or whim?

No, Zosime, I mean to protect them from their laws, their wars, their whims, their experiments.  I may not be able to, but I’ll try.

You will share with me, once you know what you will do?

Yes.

Does Gyorg know?

No.  I mean to find another way – I don’t wish to drug them. It must be something inside them from the time they can swim.

Will you try to keep them all?

If I can.  They are not developing evenly. One is much larger than the others.

Of Gyorg?

Yes.

A male?

Yes.

You must be careful. Sometimes a male will get so large it will start to consume its mother’s mass, instead of relying on the sperm packet.

I could feel the biggest child move.  Was he listening to the conversation?  Was he understanding it? Or was this a fancy of pregnancy? The humans had a whole structure of folkways about pregnancy and I knew nothing.  I had never linked with another pregnant female. We normally isolate ourselves; a deep fear, something primal and physiological overcomes us.  I had hints of this, but mostly I felt out of sorts and exhausted.

How will I know?

If you start to sleep constantly, you must make a hole and force it out.  You will not have the strength to absorb the fetus.  You would be wise to have Gyorg or Michel with you as you may not go unnoticed.  Benthesikyme, can you feel my anxiety?

Zosime, I can.

Is he a land morph?

Of course.

We’re greedy, land morphs. To be brooding water and land at one time is not unheard of. Some of the babies may wrestle.  It has happened.  Sometimes they kill each other for the brood mass.  Sometimes they try to escape the brood pouch before they are viable.

Two thoughts brightened in me. That was what had happened when Michel put a baby in me.  I never told Zosime and it seemed unwise to say anything now.  The second thought was that his baby had tried to use brood mass from the sperm packet of the Oldest, which I had not understood to exist at the time.  I had reverted to instinct and eaten his baby while too tired to think clearly.  Any baby that made itself visible by blinking when it was so tiny wasn’t going to survive, which was how Michel had comforted me when I told him.  Fortunately Zosime rescued me from the urge to tell her anything by changing the subject.

Tell me of the offspring of the Oldest!

They’re small.  They’re growing well, as far as I know.  They are among the loudest.

Zosime texted an icon that a human had devised for us, a rapidly blinking land morph, so I knew I had amused her.  I’m not surprised, she added.  The Oldest is a talker, his children could be much the same.  Will you visit him?

I could count the Sixers who knew of the rape on all my limbs, and somehow Zosime had not learned – or knew and was asking to provoke me.

The humans have a song with the words a soft answer turneth away wrath. In this case I hoped a soft answer would deflect further enquiry.

I considered it, but I will not travel far during pregnancy and I may be too busy afterwards.

If you perfect the art of raising obedient children, tell me!  I never could, although I imagine Gyorg would say I never tried very hard.

I never swam in your ocean, Zosime.

So polite!  I still don’t understand why you favour Gyorg above all others, but you’re carrying two sets of my great-grandchildren, so you may do as you please and I’ll be pleased with you.  You’re the most important person on Earth to me now. I hope I’ve made that clear. Call me!

You may call me once a week, Zosime, if I neglect to call you.

Of course.

Bright moon, good hunting.  It was one of the cross-morph, language neutral greetings we had developed since we came to Earth.

To you as well.

I texted an icon that was a pale transideation of the Sixer disconnect flash. With sudden irritation I punched my abdomen, where the monstrous child lazily turned in his brood pouch, and the noisy children of the Oldest trilled and fidgeted.  Hungry, so hungry.

a visit

Keith and Paul came over yesterday and we watched chunks of Ken Burns’ The Civil War and went for a walk in the glorious sunshine. It was lovely to have Keith here.

I made chocolate chip oatmeal flax cookies. And now they are gone, surprise surprise.

I found this article on weight loss really interesting.

 

And, for Midnite Moving, this looks kinda interesting as well.  Mostly because it helps solve the problem (by reframing what’s possible) of how George moves electricity around his body when he doesn’t have, you know, organs.

It’s early, but I think I’m going to go for a walk.  And….. I did go for a walk.  The weather is quite pleasant.

Alien baby names

Some are traditional.  Some are suggested by that prankster Michel.  Some Kima just likes the sound of.  This is not the complete list, and each of the first few names I’ve written some backstory for.  The number is the number assigned by Kima.  Not all the babies are going to make it; a number of them who would normally get et and reabsorbed by their mom are allowed to develop, with occasionally weird and sad results.  W means watermorph and G, T, O indicates who dad is.

 

1 – Pharos WG aka Beaky.  He’s the biggest

2 – Kima Jr. WT

3 – Lumpy WO

4 – Rivergrass WG

5 – Zosime, later Cutshine WG

6 – Panops WT

7 – Gyorg WO

8 – Lara WG

9 – Peleas WG

10 – Phokas WG

11 – Cauchemar WO

12 – Bellerophon WO

13 – Friday WG – she’s melanistic, which is unprecedented.

14 – Hydra WG

15 – Bonnie WG

16 – 16

17 – TRex

18 – Spectrum

19 – Apex

20 – Star

21 – Polydorus – 0

22 – Nereus – 0

23 – Pudding – 0

24 – Neophytos – 0

25 – Aesklepios – 0 AKA Kleppy

26 – Evangelos 0 – AKA Evan

27 – Glykeria – 0 AKA Sweetie

28 – Spyridion – 0 AKA Spiro

29 – Nicoleta – 0 AKA Nico

30 – Zinovia – 0

31 – Aglaia – 0

32 – Stelian – 0

33 – Luca – 0

34 – Borbala – 0

35 – Pelagia – 0

36 – Elefteria – 0

37 – Temair – WG

38 – Graunch – WG

39 – Seawolf WG

40 – Tide – WG

41 – Orca WG

42 – Thisandthat – WG

43 – S01E01 – WG

44 – Corafae – WG (this is a pun – a coryphee is the lead dancer in a a ballet chorus)

45 – DeltaV WG

46 – Blue

47 – Mireille

Brigitte

Denis

Sparrow

Euclid

Stentor

Leonidas

Harry

Genie

Carita

Plenty

Vaslav

Goodgrief

Halloween

Yaya

Pietro

Paulo

Joe

Vic

Leo

Carlo

Tony

Francesco

Shotgun Bob

Mel

Strowler

Sansabri

Cuir

Spielberg

Benthe

Transversal

Torsion

Tension

Compression

Shear

Bending

Quanta

Tracer

Tomasz

Robin

Mason

Jas

Satraj WG F

Ivy

Menlo

Etazonia

Kojo

Incantare

Tengerész teng gay ress – means Mariner

Vonzó

Avantaj

Straylight

Rejtett pron. Raytett Hidden

Lelkes pron Lelkesh, keen

Hullám pron Hoolam wave

Captain

Kalyptra (veil)

Kiborion Chalice

Ráðgjöf – rowthjyeuf

Doofus

Umpteen

Elif