Mom had resumed her run, with her forward screens modified so she could detect sandsheets, giving things shown onscreen a peculiar purplish outline. “So, Mom, weren't sandsheets part of your database?” Terry found himself leaning forward, peering out as if he could see the camoflaged hunters.
Her audio sounded almost prim “No, Terence. My data-bases only included flora and fauna of Xanadu, not Hinnemon.”
“I wonder if it was a planet-wide predator or if it was eradicated to make that continent safer for humans.”
Eshmaeel shrugged, ran a hand over his smooth scalp before wrapping the new sarband, he called it, over his head. “They really don't like water. We're getting close to the canyon.”
Terry peered around. “The canyon? Only one? How can you tell?”
Davood looked a little smug, still with all his hair. “There's more plants.”
The plain that Mom ran over seemed completely desolate to Terry. There were plants in amongst the rock outcroppings that Mom was now tapping across at high speed, but they seemed very sparse to his eye. There were orange and maroon stalks with wildly blue flower spikes, bulbous, fleshy green/brown melon shapes with nipple-like rows of pink nodules all around their tops. At least the clumps of green grass looked normal to his eye. Everything else looked like it was drawn by a five-year-old with only five colours of crayons.
“How do I tie this?”
Eshmaeel laughed and took the hopelessly mangled coil of cloth, snapped it straight, rolled an edge and wound it around Terry's head, with the front flap over his head and the back flap covering his neck, drawing the trailing point across under his chin, tucking it tight. “Your veil goes over that.”
“Thank you for synthesizing the clothes, Mom.” Terry said with barely concealed poor grace. If she could synthesize Lainz clothing why hadn't she made him clothing more like what he was used to? Though he did grudgingly admit that the hat and the waistcoat would probably not have worked as well. Even his cravat filter was nowhere near as heavy as the desert filter veils.
“It looks like we'll be coming up on the off-side Rim,” Eshmaeel said. “Mom can you manage crossing a very deep canyon? It would add days to our trip if we went around on this side.”
“I can cross any canyon,” Mom said. “I have just informed Lainz when we shall be arriving.”
“Can you get the women back on video?” Terry asked.
“I believe that they went off to work on several things when we lost contact,” Mom said. “I understand it might not be polite to call again so soon.”