Posts Tagged tanukis

[scrap] Matanky.


It’d be weird for people to come down out of space and live on big rocks.  You have to remember it was the other way around.  They escaped the rocks and started roaming free.

They say it was just one rock to start with.  Which is silly if you bother to look at the timelines—they say Earth was the first, but I can think of at least half a dozen rocks with longer histories.

Like this one I was stuck on.  Axmic had a massive and boring history behind it, about as massive and boring as the place itself.

The gravity is all wrong.  It wasn’t the natural gravity, which would have been ridiculous.  But that only made it worse somehow, that people had sat around a table and come up with a consensus and the lot of them had decided, they’d chosen, to make gravity just a little higher than standard.

It’s not just a question of my own mass—that’s easy enough to change—but the way you interact with everything else.  Nothing’s unusable, but everything is just a little heavier than you expect. Everything’s… just… off.

And here, because stuck here.

They said it’d be at least a week to investigate.

And Axmic was old-fashioned enough that I actually had to be present for it.

I hate planets.

I want off this rock.

[scrap] Matanky.

The little human from Traff’s Γ7 was trying to sell me a new spaceship, and doing a lousy job of it.

“I need a decent observation deck,” I said, looking over the ugly beige ship he was trying to sell me at the moment.  “Does this even have one?”

“Oh sure, sure,” he said, and I suspected maybe his translator was missing something. He took me through long empty hallways, and into a tiny space about the size of a wiring closet and pointed to a small screen.

It only took half a second of awareness to see that the screen was not, in fact, a viewport, and given the way he failed to pretend to sustain the illusion, proudly turning the screen on to show a moderate-resolution view of wherever the spaceship’s mounted camera was, I knew I had not been understood.

I brought up a picture and tried to show him what I meant.  He responded by tapping a few buttons on the pad below the monitor, which immediately changed to display the exact same picture I showed him.

“See?” the little human said, beaming.  “Observes anything!”

[scrap] Matanky.

The transit drive was humming.

The transit drive, of course, shouldn’t ought to hum.

The correct sound is a rush, like roaring wind just about to lull.

The hum, a bit louder now, was far from the idea of lulling.

I turned my eyes away from the starfield, which was appearing to jitter as the Lyra started to shake.

And it started to jolt.

I ran through the narrow cramped halls of the ship, metal clanking with each step, hoping to reach the engine room in time.

Animal instinct said, away is probably a better direction to run.

Animal instinct knotted my stomach.

I don’t have to worry about animal instinct if I don’t want to, I thought, panting.

The clang-clang of the metal pathway redoubled with the clank-clan of metallic feet.

I can be strong enough to survive an exploding starship engine.

My fists clenched with the sound of metal scraping metal as my body continued to change.

I can get there faster so I don’t have to.

My roboticizing body moved faster, and when I reached the overlook, I just hefted myself over the railing and jumped down.

I sensed heat, and more dangerous radiation.

Energy shields too then—not a problem.

And then I thought, looking at the ailing engine… “Troubleshooting, really? Not a chance.”

I’m a computer now, I’m not going to stop and think.

There was too much radiation interference for me to connect to the diagnostic over the wireless, so I ran to the nearest console and punched the port, changing my paw to interface.

I didn’t think.  Thinking was way too slow.  The Lyra’s diagnostic routine hit my processor and I processed.

—And it was hopeless.  The Lyra hadn’t isolated the problem’s root cause and neither could I.  That generally meant a full-blown failure—irrecoverable.

Diagnostics only gave me a few seconds before the whole thing went bang.

Stop thinking, stop thinking, stop thinking…

Safety protocols for an exploding spaceship—check, check, check.

Internal alarm.

Safety protocol for an exploding spaceship traveling at FTL speeds: I believe the full text of the procedure would be something like “Don’t be silly.”

C’mon, shapeshifter, think—

stop thinking stop thinking stop thinking

Index of what remains after a spaceship blows up while in transit: assorted subatomic particles and intense radiation of a rather exotic sort.

So be it then.

The Lyra turned into an explosion of blinding hyperplasma the instant after I did.

[scrap] Matanky.

Started writing about my tanuki character Matanky at Rainfurrest, which I went to with his name on my badge. It seemed like everything I had to write about him was broken spaceships.

Drifting again.

Seems like it always comes back around to drifting.

I sat squeezed into the tiny S-Cape pod. The tiny, non-functional S-Cape pod.

I was glad, again, to be a shapeshifter, and thus someone to whom things like needing to breathe air are technically optional.

The tininess wasn’t really an issue either; I could get smaller if I needed to.

Of course that wasn’t on my mind; I was watching the debris of the Lyra spread in various directions, swimming in a cloud of dust.

It always comes back around to dust, too.

You wouldn’t expect, after so many centuries of space travel, that a modern spaceship could fall to something as simple as dust—but the floating remnants of my ship proved it.  Just a small cloud of dust with just the right reflectivity to make it through the shields and just the right particularity to damage the system beyond repair, and just the bad luck to hit me.

After a long enough time, all the probabilities tend to become certainties, and the improbabilities quite likely indeed.

So me, in the S-Cape pod, watching the blasted remains of the seventeenth or possibly the nineteenth Lyra.

Over a wide enough space, the time tends to flatten.

Whether or not it was Lyra XVII or Lyra LXX, it still hurt like the first time.

And I was once again alone in the cold and the dark and the diamond-studded universe.


It always does come back to drifting.