Penemue appeared as tired as the crew of the Tong Defu after
While the Humans retired to sleep, Becca strolled with the Vencume Librarian. Becca was still humanizing them in her mind, and this one reminded her of a records clerk she had dealt with once.
The head clerk, Ms. Muren, had
always looked tired. She was a straight-laced woman, who wore high collars and
tailored suits, and hissed at people who wanted information from her.
But, she was always able to find it more quickly and with less hassle than any
of the friendly, fresh-faced clerks in the office. The hospital staff hated to
deal with her, but they knew that if you needed something quickly, Ms. Muren
was the one to ask.
So much information. Humans are so varied.
The portmen... fascinating...after so long....
I hope the Library is happy that there's more to give them.
We will be. We will welcome this.
Will be? Didn't you just connect five Humans?
We have connected to them. Now we will give
the information to the Library.
I thought it was instantaneous.
There is no means to do so. We hold basic information, but
much is held back from us. We will barter soon.
How can you hold so much information? You connected Evie to
Gordon, me to iMala, these five. How can you hold the whole of Vencume
knowledge without some connection to the others?
Doctor, there are many of us. We take
turns out of ocean. We all hold much.
There's more than one Librarian?
The two stopped in front of the tiny lift that would go to
the Library pod. The Vencume entered and made an adjustment to the lift
We are many.
The doors closed, leaving Becca alone in the corridor.
Scene 2: Bay
The girls recovered the Tong Defu the next day. There were no human
Pritam Singh, Evie, iMala, and three redheads went over and did enough repairs to sustain life on the ship. Captain Bernice took the time to talk to Becca and Gordon.
We know what the risks are.
So, we won't tell the Authority
about you yet. They can think this is a strictly Vencume ship for now. We all
agreed on that.
I'm sorry we put you in that
No, we needed to know. I have
to thank you for the
chance to win big on this gamble. I didn't know what we were getting into, but
I'm glad we did it.
I should thank you for being
so open-minded about it. I
hope it helped put you at ease.
(laughs) Well, if we're going
to be neighbors, we should at least
introduce ourselves correctly.
The massive Vencume ship
arrived at Big Bear-47 with three ships in tow.
Besides the Tong Defu, there was a
collapsed destroyer and the passenger
ship. The Shipping Authority was shocked.
(radio) We appreciate these
recoveries and are pleased to see there are survivors.
these survivors with a new translator. We hope that
this additional information will help in the future. We must thank the crew for
we have the new translator. We are copying
over the programming and will forward this to our people. You should be aware
that we found another two ships that had been pirated. We apologize for any
conflict that may have come about during this time period. We see now that this
threat is not Vencume. It may look similar, but we see that these are some
apologies on this most unfortunate turn of events. You are finding our attempts
improvement. This should have been an internal concern, but you were involved.
We do not wish for any more harm to befall any Humans.
The recapture of the frigate RenJiang followed a distinct pattern,
through repetition. First, the fighter ships went out in their easy way and
sang until their victim could not fire back or escape. Second, the buzz-handers
invaded like so many termites. The redheads chanted some hackneyed rhyme about
pulverizing their enemy, and it was over. It was so easy for them that Becca
worried they would become complacent.
However, the lesson of the explosion on the Tong Gu had taught the girls to search every area before declaring something safe, and that's when they found two survivors on the ship. Lieutenant Nie Faren and Ensign Qi Liwei were found suffering from hypothermia in a walk-in refrigerator. There had never been survivors on a recaptured ship before.
iMala was delighted; she finally had an opportunity to try out her medical knowledge on a subject that was not one of her sisters.
Becca and iMala set to treating the two Humans, first taking DNA samples and inserting IVs that would give them a supply of warm fluid before hurrying to the factory to mix two tubes of spray for the unresponsive victims. The spray was to heal the frostbite and prevent the onset of sepsis, but Becca feared it may be too late for one of them. Lieutenant Nie had been found curled in a corner under bags of rice, entering into that terrifying terminal burrowing behavior found so often in final-stage hypothermia victims.
The second year of Becca's
internship at the hospital, a mountain-climber was brought in. The climbing
group had been feared lost; thermal imaging had not been able to find them. It
was a man with a dog who found the woman; actually, it was the dog who found
her, curled in a fetal position under a snow-bank. The lone survivor of that
expedition had burrowed out a place to die and the insulating snow had saved
Ensign Qi was the first to regain consciousness. He was
and terrified. Becca actually had to get the help of three redheads to strap
him down to the bed. They did the same to Lieutenant Nie, but Becca did not
think he would ever wake up; the brain damage was probably too great.
We may have a solution.
If basic functions
have been destroyed, we may be able to insert new ones. This will actually
direct the base to rebuild what has been lost.
Experimental, but worth the risk. We're just helping nature
along. He might not survive otherwise.
Gordon was sitting with Ensign Qi, using calm, metered tones
to explain to the
man what had happened, as well as getting information from him. Hiding in the
refrigerator had been the ensign's idea, and he had dragged Nie in with him
when the officer was knocked unconscious by an explosion.
I thought I could
save his life. We should have been able to get out and I reasoned the
refrigerator was airtight. An explosion damaged the door, so we were stuck. He
swore I would be tried for cowardice in combat. What's cowardly about saving a
man's life? Isn't it better to live and tell others what happened? I wasn't
just going to stand there and die.
Spoken like a true officer.
(chittering) Do you think we can get
him out of here safely? I need to bring in iSkandar and Penemue and I don't
think that will go over well.
This is the attack ship! You're the spy!
You're supposed to be dead!
This is the ship that has been recovering the ships that were
attacked. This is the ship that stopped a war. This is the ship that will
take you home and this is the woman who saved your life.
I want to save Lieutenant Nie Faren's life as well. But I
to bring in two Vencume in order to do it.Can
you let me save his life or are you too worried that he will report you?
I'm not a coward, but you must tell me what you are
going to do.
iSkandar is going to inject a base material to replace the
damaged brain-matter. After that, Penemue will connect and re-write whatever is
missing for Human life functions. It's the best we can do.
You're going to brain-wash him.
Leave him here! We'll move his bed so he can watch his
superior die. When we drop him off, we'll report how he denied the man medical
That's not acceptable. It's my duty as a doctor to help where
I can. I can't let him—
No, no! Forget it. The good ensign
doesn't want us to save the life of a man who outranks him. So be it!
The two of them struggled to the hallway, Becca protesting
the entire time.
Once the door was shut behind them, Gordon raised a finger to his lips.
Let him consider it. You'll see.
(through the door) Doctor!
OK. Point prooven.
Wait for it.....
(through the door) Doctor! Please! Please come back!
And Gordon bowed to Becca, waving his arms to the door with a
Lieutenant Nie Faren woke a few hours after the procedure and was left with Ensign Qi to discuss what had happened. Becca returned to them with two bowls of hot cabbage soup and a pot of barley tea that aSabi had made especially for the two men.
It is a barbaric meal, but warming to the body and soul. But
these are barbaric times and any refuge is welcomed, no matter the
(internal) He's an officer from one of the old families.
Young, but well on
his way up. He has to be handled delicately.
Becca's second long distance run
(before she understood that the private sector paid better), was on an actual
Shipping Authority freighter, and is when Becca had first learned how to
properly handle the central arm. She was the junior medical crew on that run
and would not soon to forget the shunning she had received by the crew for not
addressing the officers with the correct tone of voice. This was, of course,
her own fault for forgetting that the language was a tonal system and that the
wrong inflection was the difference between praise and insult. She now knew she
had to pick her words carefully and listen to how she said it. She clasped her
hands across her lap.
We hope that this offering will also warm relations
between our feuding camps.
There is no feud between Vencume and Human. There
is the question of prisoners that have escaped and the great dishonor done to
one of our destroyers.
There has been a terrible misunderstanding. And in the heat
a battle there is little time to explain one's actions. Now that the battle is
reaching an end, all accounts must be balanced.
You are a well-trained doctor, I must
say. I appreciate your exquisite etiquette. You have a much finer touch than
that oafish pilot.
You know who Gordon is? (pause, then more polietly) A
most unfortunate turn of events has tarnished the polish of our manners and I
apologize on their behalf. My fellow crew-members have not had dealings of any
proper sort with the central arm of the Shipping Authority and do not
understand the need for proper decorum.
But you have. I am familiar with your exemplary-—if
brief—-record and you have been spoken of very highly by the shipping families.
I see that their trust and praise has not been scattered carelessly.
I do not wish to sully their words by any mis-actions.
(chittering) I am also fully aware of what has happened here,
will make it my duty to inform the Authority of the full story.
Sir, they have converted you!
We have much to learn and damage
has been caused by our fear. Dear doctor, I will report what I have
found to my superiors. I cannot guarantee safety for you immediately, but you
seem to have found your place on this ship of mirrors. There will be much to
debate, but I know that you are an honorable woman. You have not treated us as
a wounded enemy, waiting for the final blow. (laughs) This one ship, and
all its little girls. Oh, you have struck fear into our hearts! How
embarrassing to High Command! We chased a tiger that was manned by kittens!
Evie was nervously chewing a carrot and staring at the floor.
Evie's weight gain had
continued and the clothes she wore were getting tight across the hips. She held
hands when Becca found her and Gordon in the kitchen.
Hey! It's healthy!
It's snacking between meals. What
are you doing in here anyway?
I was following her. She said she was
I'm nervous. I saw some of that...questioning....the girls
are doing to that Vencume Tzikzik they captured earlier.
How bad is it?
(spits) I don't know what I was thinking. I've no appetite.
(pause) It's just about the
most awful thing I've ever seen.
I heard they took all the arms off, not
just one or two.
They took the legs off, too. I've never seen hate like that.
I wish I could unsee it. They've got it strapped to a table and iDana has some
kind of pain-ray she's using on it. I don't think they're even asking it
iMala was right. They broke it.
The pain-killing device that iMala made. She said the
others would break it. Looks like they did. The same way they broke her new
..And made the collapser.
And now they have a weapon that can shoot through anything
and take a limb off
in one pass. This is the most dangerous ship in the universe.
We're on their good side. I think it's the safest place to be
We're on a ship manned by more than twenty girls on the cusp
of puberty. I can't think of a more dangerous place we could be.
was alone in the room when Becca went back to check on the two men.
came to get him. He left
with them. They made that noise, but he told me to not worry. How far are we
there in two days. (pause) What color was their hair?
Ulan and Uma
had taken Lieutenant Nie Faren to an observation deck. They were
sitting cross-legged across from each other, telling each other
poems. Lieutenant Faren finished his recital with eyes closed:
rabbit's feet kick up and down,
The female rabbit's eyes are bewildered.
Two rabbits running close to the ground,
How can they tell if one is male or female?
the child observes the parent's birth, the parent rises from the tank
it has been made whole once more, the parent has become the child
this has happened, will happen, as there are stars
there is only one way, as there is one universe
doctor! You did not tell me
that our little warriors have mastered the brush as well as the sword. You are
all formalities! Oh,
there will be much to report! How lucky you are to have such an experience.
hasn't all been wonderful.
were treated most poorly by Peg-51. They are such a remote outpost and the High
Command cannot keep track of them.
We will send someone there to clean it up. This dear child told me about
how backwards they are. The prisoner's block is a crude and disgusting thing;
there is no excuse for poor treatment of prisoners. It will be rectified.
apologize; I did not know it was
you think otherwise? (laughs) You have never been arrested before, but surely
your dealings with us
would have let you know we are not so cruel. You cannot govern through fear
No leader here.
I am sorry
to hear such a thing. Even the bees have a queen.
think that might be Evie, considering she's the source of it
I must meet
this fantastic engineer! I understand she saved your
lives and then—-poor woman-—visited hell itself. She must be a fascinating
person. I...I am most tired. Please, bring her to me. I
want to see who made the Queue at Peg-51 so unsettled that they felt they had
to barbarically execute her in such an inept fashion.
Oh yes. We
all know you call us that. That is
another problem to be addressed.
her interview with Lieutenant Nie Faren smiling from ear to ear.
like that went well.
can I say? I made him laugh a few times, and it
wasn't that awkward laugh I usually get from people. He said I had a generous
nice. (internal) He said you were fat.
So, he wants
to have our accounts reinstated and our arrest
records will wiped clean. He's not high-ranking, but his family is. And! What
have we done? We've averted a war and saved the life of a very valuable young
man who just so happens to be someone's eldest son.
know that Lieutenant Nie was that well- connected.
him...Ensign Qi. His father is the Fleet Admiral.
Everyone used to tease him and call him the 'jade prince'. He was just happy
someone didn't talk down to him.
received the broken frigate and two survivors with gushing praise.
are familiar with how these recoveries go, so for you to bring this back
in....relatively one piece...we must commend you. But to find actual survivors
goes well beyond our expectations! And not on a lifeboat. The Shipping
Authority is most pleased by this outcome and will offer any assistance to any
Vencume ship if it is desired.
only leave the three remaining victims. We
hope to return these to you soon.
There is only one ship left. We have the other two, so
there is only the cruiser XingFeng left.
their largest—and most powerful—ship for such a dangerous mission. You must
alert us when you discover their location so we may assist.
May it be
our first true joint venture.
Are you sure you want that? Don't
you think they're going to freak out a little when they discover who we are?
worried for no reason. We have repaired the rift.
Let them sense what we have prepared. Is this not part of our gift to you?
That may be the case, but I think the girls prefer to work
alone. What if we accidentally get one of their people killed? The girls don't
know how to work with others. Someone's going to get a bolt in the eye or have
an arm fried off.
must learn how to work with Humans. They cannot be alone all their lives. That
is why you are here.
Becca was doing laundry with aLima and aSabi when Renatus
called on her.
Why does Doctor perform such menial tasks?
(chittering) I find them calming and fulfilling.
Doctor should have joined us in advancement with Red Humans.
Becca left the laundry room with Renatus. The Vencume still reminded her of her old anatomy professor, Professor Mesut, whom Becca loathed. Professor Mesut told Becca once she would never amount to anything unless she could give the Latin name for every part in the human body. Out of spite, she learned the Arabic names Ibn al-Nafis had used in his "Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon". She almost failed Professor Mesut's class and never won his approval.
(internal) He would not have come down here just to see what I was doing. There has to be a reason.
We are close to
Alpha-Omega-Epsilon-Cee-Eks-Vee-Two-Thirty-Six. The new Tzikzik will try to
recover it, but they will use the methods they have used before. These will not
(chittering) What is...?
It is the ship where I was stationed. It is where I started
project. They will try the same tactics, but these will fail. They will be
outnumbered. We cannot advance enough new Tzikzik in time.
(internal) ΑΩE-CXV-236. ΑΩE is a
laboratory ship. CXV is the area where the ship was deployed. 236 is the ship
itself. (external) Do you want me to try to dissuade them?
You must be prepared to evacuate. You must
take Engineer, First, Second, and Third Human with you. We have a ship prepared
for you in the white arm of section eight. Your Shipping Authority is following
us. They will pick you up. If we must, we will destroy both ships. This has
been discussed with the Library.
Becca's face flushed. She felt like she had just been caught
cheating at a test. Renatus dragged a hand across her.
Doctor is upset. You cannot dissuade the
new Tzikzik. This project is still a failure. The final battle will show it.
You must be ready to evacuate.
(chittering) What about you? Do you have a ship ready? Are
you going to
cut-and-run as well?
Our records are on the ship we have prepared for you.
(chittering) Why are you telling me this?
Engineer is responsible for the current zikzikkiti...
(chittering)What is zik-zik--?
Action to improve or advance a situation. Any
additional information passed on that route will lead to more confusion. Our
current zikzikkiti was caused when
Engineer told the new Tzikzik that the
project was to be ended. The one on ΑΩE-CXV-236 was caused by similar
It had been a busy day of
cooking and cleaning and Becca was worn out.
think! All your schooling, and look what you do. Wouldn't your father be proud?
She can feed an army and still keep a clean house! Great-Aunt Lytle would be
She showered and fell into bed.
There was no time for thinking before sleep
Becca woke up and heard chittering in the other room. She went into the door and listened to what sounded like some strange dialect; only some of the words didn't make sense.
may be smart, but not like that....
(chitering) This lack of chichitiizi
is going to cause trouble
later on. If they had
thought it through when they made the zikzikkiti
we might not be in this
situation. We'll have to see what the others do in response.
(chitering) We still have the
three adults, and that may give us a tizizikikiki.
Becca opened the door. The sound
was coming from the twins' room.
Uma and Ulan were sitting on the floor, playing some kind of game they had made out of clay and paper. The two girls looked up at Becca and smiled. Ulan put down one of her game pieces decisively.
Uma frowned at whatever move had
been made and picked one of her pieces off the
Was there a Vencume here? I
(chitering) If there was no
Vencume, then who was talking?
(chitering) Just stop. You
(chitering) You always mess up
the tenses. It's embarrassing.
So, it was you. You can't talk,
but you can chitter.
(chitering) We can talk fine.
You just have to pay attention.
Your sisters don't have any
problem with Human--
(chitering) Our sisters...connected
(chitering) That is the usual
outcome. Adults learn a pidgin while the
children form the grammar-based creole.
(chitering) You don't understand
us at all.
(chitering) We're Vencume in
Human skins. We received
the Vencume connection early, and grew off of that. It's hard to walk with two
legs when your mind wants five.
(chitering) But the Human mind
still leads to Human cunning. It's
unusual. I think it's because of the brain structure. There's a rat wrapped
around a lizard wrapped around a fish.
(chitering) Not that we've ever
seen those creatures, but our second
connection, with the Human part; we got that image. But...we formed our own
thoughts. The others are Engineer
plus ten years in an echo-chamber. They'll make her mistakes over and over.
(chitering) They always fight
things head on; she never learned any subterfuge.
(chitering) There's no
chichitiizi to them. They just
go along and make decisions and then figure out how to get themselves out of
Uma moved one of her game
pieces. Ulan rubbed her chin and at looked at the board.
(chitering) No long term
thinking. No plan. It's how they got that Yellow killed. That could have been
Chichitiizi. (chitering) It's a
kind of...strategy? Diplomacy? It's the
soft form of winning.
(chitering) Like the break-out.
When we came and got you? They wanted
to just go in, guns blazing. Everyone wanted some big fight. We suggested the
gas. We told Assistant to suggest it. If we hadn't been there, more people
would have been killed. What a mess! Very ugly.
But the others treat you like
idiots. Doesn't that bother you?
Ulan moved a piece several spaces and forced her sister to
remove more from the board.
(chitering) Of course they do.
No one asks an idiot to risk themselves. No one
expects an idiot to do something clever. No one watches an idiot carefully.
(chitering) Not even Engineer knows about
us, really. And you're not going to tell her. She'll
(chitering) She started this stupid
(internal) Everyone has an
agenda. I'm just another piece in some
game. Evie's game. The twins' game. The Vencume's game. We're less than Human
now. We don't have our own goals anymore and we just go along with whatever
whim others set up for us. It doesn't matter what we want or how we feel; we
just move along as they decide. The twins are still treating us like toys. They
just poke us with a stick and see how we wiggle.
(chitering) Doctor is very quiet.
(chitering) Doctor is thinking
about what to say next...and whether or not
to say it.
(chitering) Doctor is smarter
than some people.
Why...Why did you do what
you did to Gordon?
(chitering) Our connection was
only recent. We
would have been no matter what. It's the others that came from that. That
connection they had so long ago doomed them all. If Engineer hadn't been left
behind, if she hadn't needed to be put back together, they never would have
taken that information from her. That one action made them what they are.
But I gave them information as
well. I told them how a
Human works. They made changes to the shape, how they're built, because of me.
Will you tear me apart as well?
(chitering) You did it for her.
You did what you were trained to do.
SOUND: moaning from the other room
Uma held out a hand and turned
her head. It was a command for silence.
Evie was making noises from her room. A groan and arguing.
Becca went silently up to the door and peeked in. Evie was wrapped haphazardly in a sheet, thrashing in bed like a drunk.
(chitering) That damage...That
might never be undone.
(chitering) She needs to sort
that. It's going to
hamper her. They all do that.
(chitering) They all have
nightmares. Every one. None of them sleep right. They all thrash and moan and
kick and curse. No one talks about it. It makes the Blues nervous. It makes the
Reds mean. It makes the Yellows try to hide it under false superiority. They're
all afraid and hiding it from one another.
(chitering) The Reds get in
terrible fights. They call each other cowards and claw at each other. They
into not being afraid.
(chitering) Noisy Blue got her
arm broken. They beat her bad. Cautious Blue
almost lost an eye in one fight. They fight all the time. Round Yellow lost a
mean clump of hair once.
They don't seem afraid.
False false false...You no fear?
No fear front daughter. You look
guts, you no fear.
(chitering) Don't talk about my
(chitering) What is a daughter?
What is a mother?
(chitering) We don't understand
these terms, but they mean a lot to you. They mean a lot to her. She wants to
She wants us to be daughters. She wasn't there. We grew up without her. We play
(chitering) We'll learn
something. Maybe she will. No telling.
Why didn't you kill Gordon?
(chitering) That's another
oddity of a Human brain. You feel
things and act on them. Killing him won't solve anything. And it was easier to
hide him while he was alive. Bodies stink.
(chitering) We put him in the
garden because he told us to leave him alone. I
think it's improved him greatly. He's a little less bold.
(chitering) Doctor must be
tired. You should go back to sleep.
(chitering) Tomorrow is a busy
It was two days later when Becca was called to the bridge.
The girl who took
her there, aCadia, was already in her amour.
Evie and Gordon were waiting when Becca arrived.
Glad you could make it. Thought you'd like to witness the
This is only another chapter. We hope to have many more after
There it is. There's the source.
Becca looked at the massive ship before them and realized
that the ship she was
on was just as large.
(internal) That's it. That's ΑΩE-CXV-236. Can I get the
the escape-pod in time if I have to? How will I get them out past the
designers? Are we going to take them with us? How many will Evie try to save
before all this is over?
That's the one that started it all. It launched the first
escape-pod; it attacked the Tong Dizhou.
It's like going home, in a way.
Ship 236 started an assault of hurled projectiles. It looked
like junk that had
been scrounged at the last minute: tanks, half of an escape pod, something that
looked like armor plating. Most of it missed; but, what did hit, bounced away.
That's stupid and desperate. This is a large ship and
for assaults like that.
on the control panel.
This is where it gets interesting. You're going to see
just how we do things.
Ship 236 started to curl, helix-like, on itself. As they came alongside the other, their ship started its own spiral-curl. The double-helix swiveled through the void of space, tightening in. They weren't even going to bother with hurled projectiles, but were out to physically over-power the ship with the craft itself.
The fighters deployed in a smooth arc; Becca saw them lazily
exit one bay and
gnat about the wrestling match that was the two main behemoths. Fighters were
deployed from the other side, but they were an older design that moved slowly
and were easily picked off. An easy massacre played out before
them, accompanied by a complicated melody of ten notes that fell over each
other and danced through careful harmonics. No pilots would be lost to this
The mammoth Vencume ships started to change texture. Each
section spread out
long, spiked fins. Becca could only see the other, but imagined both vessels
undergoing the same transformation. The long barbs aimed slowly at the flank of
the ship beside it, scraping the side of the vessel alongside it. The spirals
tightened even more, each threatening to crush the other like a boa.
That's the first thing to disable.
iMala launched one of her
field collapsers at the head of the other ship. It rapidly advanced the sensor
array and bridge in a slow, painful implosion. The child smiled at the
I said I could control the radius.
Ship 236 stopped its physical assault and the texture
smoothed. The tightening
Now, the buzz-landers deployed. They were tiny in comparison
with the other ship, but they hit their target in two neat groups of five and
one of four. It was the virus invasion of a cell; a sudden spray of molten
metal announced the breech of the hull. Becca knew that inside the ship, holes
had opened in the floor of the outermost ring and vengeful, red combatants had
sprung from the depths. It must have looked like devils leaping out of hell
The redheads chanted as well, announcing themselves to the universe and anyone who cared to listen.
There are no months, no weeks, no days
Our seasons are by will alone
So where we lived affects our ways
A ship has been our only home
There is no sun to go around
We know only one sky
But now our feet are on your ground
Best just lay down and die!
SOUND: Ilyssa laughs
There's something else happening. A pod just left our ship
and is headed over there.
(internal) Was that the escape pod Renatus wanted me to use?
Who launched that? (pause) It's the Vencume! They're going to the other side. They think they can escape just like that? aRlene! Start working back. We just had some defectors cross over.
(radio) To where?
It's the Library on our ship.
(radio) We'll mop it up when we're done here.
SOUND: angry rattle. ffpt ffpt ffpt of bolts being fired
(radio)Things are a little hairy here right now.
Go handle it now! I don't want them getting away like
(radio) And they won't. Our hands are
full right now. Once we finish with this, we'll deal with that.
When I give an order, I expect it to--
(radio) There's something happening over here.
Sections of ship are closing off.
That's standard defense protocol. They should have done that
(radio) There's waves of them over here. Why would they cut
their own supply line?
Where are you? Are you together?
(radio) We're pinned in section three, red arm. Five of
us here. They just keep coming.
(radio) aRlene here; similar situation in white arm. Five on
this team, no idea how
many of the others. We've never seen them in numbers like this.
(radio) aNnora in blue arm. Four of us here. We're going to
run out of ammo if this keeps up.
(radio) You didn't tell us there were this many!
(radio) It's a good thing the sections closed off, we only
a few more to deal with.
(radio) This is only one section, too. How many in the others?
We need to handle this pod issue.
You could always send the twins. Give them a couple guns and
have them go over there. They like those kinds of odds.
I need to send someone who knows what they're doing. "You
can't trust those two to anything when—
Look. The other ship is breaking apart.
Is that because you advanced their bridge?
(radio) We're losing spin over here! The lights are going out.
You're all still in section three?
(radio, chittering) We're in the Library. We've convinced
them to loosen the
sections on the condition we retrieve them.
Ulan, is that you?
(radio, chittering )Uma, actually, but Ulan is with me. We've
spoken with the Library directly, but we have to absorb their section. They
have a lot of information that they want to share with ours.
You should have told us what you were doing. You could
have gotten someone killed!
(radio, chittering )Unlikely. Bring the Reds back in; the
hull is breached
already and once they leave in the buzz-landers, that section will
depressurize. The other sections will eventually die now that they're cut off.
You can send the Yellows out to pick off any pods they fire.
(radio, chittering) You also want to retrieve this garden.
They've been doing
things to the plants here that produce a higher yield. The Library has the
information, but we can save ourselves the bother.
SOUND: The twins giggle over the radio.
(radio, chittering)Oh. Let Librarian know what's going on.
The Library will want to
be informed so there's no redundancy. We'll need to move quickly on this before
the two sections cool down too much.
(radio, chittering)You might want to take a swim once all
this is done.
You did this behind my back!
(radio, chittering) You would have sent us anyway,
eventually. We've just saved
you a lot of trouble.
This was our fight!
(radio, chittering) You wanted a fight; we wanted a victory.
(radio, chittering) Sorry to steal your thunder.
Two tugs were sent out to bring in the other library and
garden. They coaxed
the free-floating sections until they were alongside their counter-parts.
The operation of connection was going to require more precision. The main Library loosed the connection between itself and the rest of the ship, breaking the craft in two and leading to a few tense moments while the main body of the ship was cut off from the engines. The tugs nudged the second Library section into position and connection linkages reached out to clasp on to one another. Once the spin had started, a similar procedure was used to connect the second garden. The new Library was now in position between the old one and the gardens. The second garden sat before the first—between the first and the rest of the ship.
They will need time to themselves. There is much to discuss.
We had feared the loss of this Library and their addition is most welcome.
Hardly welcome. If a Library
can do that to a ship, then it means they're the ones in control. We don't have