I believe I shall leave my heroes here for now. It is a good place to pause, even if Perrin is discorporeate. His consciousness has to contend with the other discorporeate owners, in code. Chishiki's terraforming programs are wildly out of whack and the new and quite suddenly formed oceans will change a lot of things.
Perrin IV and his daughter Jessica have an enormous job ahead, of course. Alissa doesn't want to come down from Station and pretty much everyone is happy with that.
Legal Machine 8 is quite miffed at all of these irregularities.
Mom and FireDrake One's romance continues. Haraklez looks up from her bench and says 'go away, don't bother me'.
Kyrus, Werfas and the Basin Rats are finding out that the older warbirds are far more intelligent than anyone thought and the Old Man is teaching them.
Terence needs to find out what happened to his brother and his family and he doesn't know it yet but the new Font of All Knowledge is going to want to send him and Agador back to school.
Biomats have been ripped up and the sea is full of heavy metals and toxins that haven't had a chance to sink. There are no good mechanisms in place to filter the water. People have to avoid getting rained on because all this free-floating water is so toxic, it makes 'acid rain' a reality, depending on whether the compounds in the water are water soluble and present in the new clouds.
The water is still being stripped out of the planetary atmosphere and onto the moon as ice, as before, so throwing it back down manually is still necessary.
My next project will be a short graphic story.
This is my first attempt at the title page and it is only inked, not yet coloured. I will likely start another separate blog for this project with links from Eclipse Court and Kyrus to it. I'm hoping my art skills are up to it. I've never tried this before. Cheers!
There was suddenly a profound silence, both
on the moon and the planet below. All
the shooting stopped. The planet seemed
to relax and the geysers blowing millions of gallons of water into the
Without the superheated steam overloading
the atmosphere, here and there drops precipitated out and with a roar that
overwhelmed even the wind, the water fell out of the air and everywhere there
was a hot rain.
Rain was too gentle a word for the water
falling. A deluge perhaps. A waterfall
yanked out of the sky to crash onto the sand below. Darcy and the others didn’t have time to do
more than cover their heads before they got hit with a storm that was wilder
than anything they’d ever seen, and then in a handful of minutes, it was
over. The clouds had fallen down and the
sun shone in a completely empty blue sky.
“Succession witnessed.” Legal Machine 8
said. “All personnel under long term,
multi-generational contract with Perrin Thurmontaler III please review and
The new Font of all Knowledge, who looked
very much like his old father, stood with a girl… a young woman, who had fought
with him to overcome Perrin III. “All
Immoderates, stand down. Return to the
garage here. Per.” He turned to where Kyrus’s image was fading
as the Great Hive reorganized. “Per, I
understand the lawsuit and I reviewed the data.
You are – all of you – co-owners of this planet and we have to meet to
discuss what is to happen to it and to all of us.” Kyrus’s image shrank till only
his shoulders and head showed.
“We will call you, Xanadu,” was all he said
before Ilax apparently caught him and the image winked out.
“I’m pleased to meet you,” the CEO said,
and sat down on one of her fallen pieces of luggage, as Mom came limping
through the veil, holding Station’s main brain carefully in one of her claws.
“And I you, Per Indux,” the new Prime said,
using the Galactic gender neutral formal address. The CEO smiled at him and let him raise her
to her feet. He indicated the young
woman next to him. “Per, may I present my daughter, Jessica?”
She shook hands and they smiled the company
smiles at one another before Jess turned to her father. “While you see our
guest settled, I can speak to the Captain of the Marines, and the heroic
machine that saved Station for us.”
“Please do.” He offered the CEO his arm and
escorted her past the smoldering throne tipped sideways on the floor. “My
father’s funeral, for this body, must be arranged and his legal status as a
discorporate entity in the planetary network has to be fixed.”
Terence stepped out of Mom’s open hatch,
shaken, rumpled, nauseated and still managed his best bow, sweeping his much
abused top hat from his head. “Prema,
ah, Per,” he stammered at the new Heir.
She smiled at him as she tucked Station into her pocket.
I am certain we shall be properly introduced later. There’s a huge amount of damage we have to
fix and I am certain I shall need your assistance, especially speaking to these
new owners that we had no idea were there.”
“Per, I shall certainly do my best.”
The Immoderates, in their combat suits, set
their floyalni, or flyers just inside
the veil, nervous and uncertain of how to proceed. The shuttles popped their hatches and two
units of marines trotted out to confiscate their guns so they didn’t shoot the
wrong individual and herd them into the Station itself.
“Tech I shall request linkage with your
brainseed to finish my trial records,” Legal Machine 8 said and the armed
shuttles withdrew their guns and the hatches hide them away with a faint click.
Darcy sat up in the warm puddle, dazed by the sheer weight of water that had fallen on
him. All around others were groaning and
rolling over, sitting up, re-settling their filter masks.
“What’s that sound?” Someone asked. There was this odd, hissing, swishing thundering noise
and Darcy shaded his eyes from the glare of the sun, squinting.
The first thing he saw was that everything
was wet, flooded even. The river was full, overfull he thought. Water lapped almost to the bottom-most field
of lifeweed, over the grassland where he’d cleared the lizard predators, muddy
and brown and roiling and full of swimming, drowning, bobbing lizards, swaths of
biomat ripped loose, plants ripped up by the roots running over… there.
There was water.
It was dirty, muddy, sandy and probably
toxic, full of garbage, but the sun glinted off it blindingly white and further
away it was blue. The sky was a different blue, the horizon was blue. His eyes
watered as the sun glanced off the tops of wild waves higher than… higher than
anything he’d ever seen before… like the old fantasy recs of Earth. Waves with white
and foaming heads throwing themselves… it looked like they were throwing themselves
around as, for the first time, there was a planetary ocean. The hissing thumping, moaning and creaking
noises were the waves, pounding on the shore for the very first time.
Perrin shrieked but it wasn’t a frightened
sound, it was a warbird’s fighting scream.His hands shot out and grabbed the end of the chain of light locking
Glass Mountain to him, just as a mazer bolt from the real world smashed into
the shield and spalled into code, Kyrus’s armour flashed into red-hot and he
screamed in pain, but refused to let go.His skin reddened and the Great Hive flowed over his gauntlets, drawing heat away. The roar of their wings changed and water poured out
of the air and washed over him, flooding, boiling into steam.
Hara and Kyrus and Werfas threw their hands
out into code and seized the chain wound through Glass Mountain, straining from
reality, through code, to the moon and the shield around Prime.Hara and Kyrus slashed at it while Werfas
grabbed and snatched gaps in the woven code. It frayed and cracked as the Emperor roared and wrenched Prime’s shield from side to side, smashing into
cliffs of security code.
*Let go, you ancient asshole!Let Glass Mountain go!You’re under arrest!*
*Arrest me? You natural born, unenhanced
peon! This is mine, you are mine!I own
all of you!*
The planet shook and the mantle groaned,
water shifting and sloshing in the basins. People not in code lay flat as they
could sheltering screaming children. Warbirds tried to run, bushdragons burst
out of their cracks in the rock into the foggy air.
In code a pair of gigantic cats, each
ridden by a person, bounded up to where they struggled to separate Prime from
Glass Mountain and tumbled off to fling their help to Werfas. The man who
looked like a younger Perrin folded his hand around the cable and cried, *I am
Perrin the Fourth, and Heir to the man currently resisting arrest! Inheritance Over Ride CODE 12-2Beta-475-Lamda-Echo-Omega-1!”
Ilax hit the shield with everything he had
and his sword point drove through the shield, cracks radiating out from where
he bore in with all his strength.
*No, you aren’t going to win,* the old man gasped and his shield and chain glowed blue/white with heat.
The chain where Perrin the Fourth grasped
it, changed colour and texture, melting away from his hand to the
disintegrating shield, wrapped three, four, five loops around the young Perrin’s
forearm and shone gold bright and shining new.
The shield fell and the Emperor held Perrin
by the upper arms, just above the elbows but the old man still fought, his exoskeleton
creaking as he brought his own hands up to lock them around Kyrus’s neck.His own flesh was too weak but the powered
network whined and Kyrus, though he didn’t let go, began to choke.
An outraged cry from one of the ice-shards
on the moon, where the Immoderates still fired into the ice field; *You aren’t
going to hurt my friend Homa’s great-uncle or grand-brother or… I don’t LIKE
you and I’m an owner too!*Alissa
reached out and grabbed the bones of Perrin’s medical exoskeleton and shut them
down; began ripping them out of his failing flesh, sparking and twinkling to
flee into the dark corners of the garage as if they were cockroaches.
Perrin stopped, his hands fell away from
Kyrus’s throat and he choked himself, coughed once, twice, then he smiled and
his mind fled into code as his old body died, hanging from Kyrus’s gauntlets.
*THE OLD FONT OF KNOWLEDGE IS DEAD. LONG
LIVE THE FONT OF ALL KNOWLEDGE.*
In code, Prime and Kyrus loomed over their
support. On Hinnemon every one who had
the strength to help sat or lay where they were. The Great Hive all along the
canyon and up to the Milari mountains shaded people. The Nadu in their domes,
the Hippifrei in the shadows of their saddles, guarded by the ribs of their
Prime paused in his relentless lightning
strikes, his fists glowing brighter than the white sun in the sky, knocked
aside Kyrus’s mandering of a sun-spear and enclosed himself in a shield once
more, cutting everyone on Xanadu off from Glass Mountain. Everything run by the machines stopped. Hospital equipment paused, went to back-ups
that were no longer there, and stopped.
Pumps failed, filters shut. Lights went
out. The vehicles rolled to a stop, the hover-carriages sank to the ground,
while the horses reared and fought to pull the suddenly inert weight behind
“You… upstarts. You aren’t Gregori and you aren’t Petra! You aren’t Nadia or even her feckless
husbands!” He raised his fists over his head, clearly visible inside his shield. “I don’t have Station to drop the moon on you
but that will not stop me!” The ground, world-wide, trembled as he drew on
Glass Mountain’s full power.
Glass Mountain, tapped into the planetary
core, linked to the mantle floating on that core, shrieked as Prime ripped the
water out of the rocks and sand in the ocean basins. Geysers of water blasted hundreds of feet
into the air as he clenched his fists, squeezing the liquid out of the world.
It began to rain world-wide and the wind
howled louder than Glass Mountain; the terra-forming programs struggled to
compensate, struggled to keep the biological mats in place. The Hippifrei drew the bones of the grass,
the dust of it out of the sand and clamped it down on the plains.
The zon in Milar wove their mandery into
the rocks struggling to hold the mountains in place as the tsingy cracked and
avalanches threatened. The Nadu tumbled out of the domes in the shade of the
cliff, on hands and knees, and threw up every trick of weather control that
they’d researched for a thousand years, to blunt the teeth of the wind.
The mats ripped up, were pounded flat by
the rain, were ripped again as the sand rippled. In the badlands hoodoos
cracked and fell, shattering like a field of mushrooms flattened.
On Xanadu people lay where they’d fallen,
or crawled away from houses or statues, things that rocked and fell. Funnel clouds full of rain and terran plants,
trees uprooted, pieces of oaks and elms and walnut smashing through the
Lollipapera trees fell, Thunder Thorns
shattered. The driest ground began to
crack and aquifers blew from deep out of the ground.
“I’ll give you water,” Perrin snarled and for the first time there was enough
water that the ocean basins, from space, shone blue and white.
Kyrus’s gauntleted fists smashed into the
outside of Perrin’s shield, his armoured fingers dug into it despite its
sparking and he and his warbird wrenched the owner, and his throne, into the
“*Mom! MOM! MOM! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? OH
SHIT ON A PAG…*” Terry cried out in every mode he could as Mom lunged forward out of their hiding place,
grabbed Station out of Prime's hand and bounced straight up the wall and broke through a ceiling hatch to outside.
*Don’t bother her now, Terence, she’s busy.In fact I am stretching my capacity to speak
to you right now and she has none left.*
*What is she doing? Why did she?*
*She’s a Medical Machine.Her first priority was saving injured and wounded persons. Station was being wounded by Prime so her rescue function over-rode. She’s committed to running and keeping us all safe, now.She can’t really bounce unless she’s really
careful, she could almost jump right off the moon with the --- ((*&^^* A
burst of static, then another.How were
they interfering with a brainseed?Wouldn’t that just scramble the brains in
which it was embedded? Oh. Mom wasn’t just running, she was dodging EMP rounds,
designed to disable mechanical persons.
*Leave Mom alone, Terry,* Alissa said
tartly, as if she were a much older person. *She’s busy.I’m helping…* She lay, eyes closed. He could
barely turn his head to see her in the pinlighting in the cabin as Mom
flattened, skittered under an ice bridge, tried to go paper thin and become part of
the enormous sculpture of something that looked like a badly proportioned
warbird with a spear for a beak, but the Immoderates were too close and Terry
could see, through Mom’s screens, as two of them slowed and raised their
weapons. Those anti personnel masers would target Mom even through the
A dozen more glittered against the black
sky, their suits reflective as the ice.They
all had things that looked like strap-on gliders, but powered, in the faint
lunar atmosphere and their weapons shone black against their suits. Like gigantic hornets.
*Mom!* She jolted as if startled and her
motion forward skated her out from under the ice and into a maze of rainbow
crystals. *Ice is almost invisible to their masers.They’ve got something a lot more recent than
Emp throwers and lasers!* He was babbling.*I don’t know their weapons… I’m…*
*Carter-Boze MP751s* Agador said. *Known to
troops as ‘Imps’*
*EXCUSE ME AGAGDOR THAT’S NOT HELPING RIGHT
Mom dodged at such high speed things in the
screens blurred for a second, the cameras unable to keep up.Right over them a blocky sculpture of a
sailing ship cracked and burst into a shower of tonne sized spikes that Mom
curled into a ball like a pill bug and rolled. *MOM!*
*Shush, Terence, please.*
*They appear to be using Carter-Morris
DP14s as well,* Agador continued. *Explosive rounds.*
*I DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW THAT!*
*This is Legal Machine 8. I am on standby
to continue the trial once we have order restored. Marine Captain Kumon, are
our personnel safe?*
*You have permission of the court to assist
the appellants in their attempt to apprehend Perrin Thurmontaler the Third.*
*Apprehend him?I can’t apprehend anybody!” Terry struggled
to calm his breathing and wild heartrate, struggled to let Mom alone to keep
*Tech Terence, this is Station.I have no physical access.What is going on?*
*Are you damaged, Station?* He could just
see the sphere that was Station tucked underneath Mom, clutching in one of her
*No, Tech. What is happening?*
so glad I can’t hear any of that outside.In slow motion, all around them sculptures
were coming to pieces, blowing up in silence.The bits ranged in size from single crystals, flurries billowing out to
give Mom an ice fog to hide behind once it froze, still in suspension, up to
multi-ton chunks that would have shaken anyone in the garage, or not in a
vehicle like Mom, the horizon jumping as the ground was transformed by new
impacts and froze just as solidly as if they’d never moved.