Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ω dead time in crepus-space

Subjective time in Crepus-Space will rarely be in agreement with a conventional clock. In extreme cases, a hiccup may seem to last an aeon, while getting a four year old human to sleep may take an instant. There are also some unnerving emotional effects: one may suddenly feel murderous rage towards the edge of a blanket, or perhaps fall profoundly in love with a smudge of earwax. Gravity too can be elusive and strange. Heavy ear syndrome is not uncommon. Also lip-flop. One’s left arm may feel like lead, the other like bubblewrap.

But the minor inconveniences of Crepus-Space are more than made up for by the astonishing speed at which it lets one travel.

As we near Elixesse, I will take the opportunity to describe the two who travel with me aboard the Ørn.

Jelonet, a near-human of Heptuna Prime, spends the vast majority of her time closeted in her suite. If she was of Earth, she would be immediately diagnosed with OCD, but Jelonet assures us that her behaviour is species-specific and entirely normal.

In the patterns of her bedding, Jelonet finds an infinite fascination. Into the walls of her living quarters, with a pin, she carves marvellously intricate, microscopically-detailed designs. She has borrowed my Crowley Tarot deck and reads her fortune as many as twenty times a day. She decorates her suite with femto-objects [or femtobjects] she has netted from space, and which neither I nor Robert, nor The Ørn itself, can see.

Jelonet appears human - but her skin is a little too white, her eyes a little too violet, and her physical presence just a little too unearthly. The Ørn is as mystified as I how two species could have independently evolved so similarly at a distance of many light years. We wonder if this is a case for panspermia.

Heptuna Prime does not have a space-faring civilisation, yet Jelonet designed and constructed her own vessel, escaped the planet’s atmosphere and promptly foundered in low orbit. The Ørn sucked her ship into its voluminous hold minutes prior to her inevitable demise.

After her rescue, in those first days, we worked full time restoring her health and deciphering her language. She is a breathtakingly beautiful creature and, shortly after her recovery, she and I discovered that our bodies were sexually compatible. A relationship flared like a supernova, then steadied. Currently, we are close companions and colleagues who share each other’s bodies when circumstance allows.

Yes, I mentioned Robert. Yes, Robert. Who dwells in my real-world car-port. He is my third companion.

He more or less lives in the hold, emerging only when there’s some piloting or advanced cogitation to be done, or when his body requires gravity to prevent the weakening of his heart or the degradation of his bones and muscles.

In the hold, he has set up an austere zero-gee living area. The Ørn has offered to install some proper amenities, but Robert has politely refused - as is his way. He spends his time analysing and repairing the Ørn’s contingent of lesser vessels as well as what remains of Jelonet’s eccentric home-made ship. The Ørn has a special place in its heart for Robert and from time to time, just for him, it produces a wreck from the inscrutable ur-space where it seems to store half the galaxy’s ruined [and perhaps confiscated] space vessels. [I will speak of this incredible ur-space another time.]

The Ørn has received and analysed data from the swarm of micro-probes it launched ahead of us towards Elixesse Quaternary. The swarm numbered in the millions and scattered itself across the Elixesse system in the hope of garnering information on the plight of the Mineral Entity.

Only half a dozen struck paydirt, but that was sufficient. Through them, importantly, we learned the identity of the threat to the Entity. We acquired vocalisations - recorded by micro-probes embedded in the hull of vessels – and from these the Ørn deduced the invader’s language.

A single probe penetrated a data cable and transmitted a great deal of societal and strategic information – including visuals of a life-form so bizarre as to be barely credible...

An individual of the Urograffin consists of a clear elongated dome. About a metre in diameter, the dome is set upon something resembling a gnarled black tree stump with many highly motile roots extending from its base rather like tentacles. The flexible earthworm-like tips of these roots afford the creature an ungainly, yet effective means of locomotion.

The dome is of course not the plastic with which we are familiar, but a strong transparent substance chemically conjured from the limitless imagination of evolution. Within it floats 144 small spheres, in ceaseless motion, just a little smaller than ping-pong balls and with no two of precisely the same hue.

The balls are suspended by currents of air produced by a ring of moist grey anus-like mouths set in the flat top of the ‘trunk’. The Urograffin exhibits an astonishing degree of control over the placement and movement of these spheres and with them it effects communication – a language, but also a means of expressing subtle changes in emotion. To the outsider, the ball movement might seem entirely random, but on occasion extraordinary formations may be observed. Cuboids. Toruses. Ellipsoids – enhanced in beauty by gorgeous arrangements of colour.

As I reviewed the footage of a Urograffin pilot, I saw its balls display a perfect spectrum - from deep burgundy to violet. A writhing line moved to form a spring-like form or helix of remarkable beauty. As humans have poetry in their language, so the Urograffin artfully expresses himself with a subtle orchestration of his balls. Harmony of colour expresses harmonious emotion, a disharmonious combination expresses disharmonious emotion.

It is a pity that a civilisation of such unique organisms has such devious intent – for it seems, from the evidence of the micro-probes, that the Urograffin are indeed responsible for the plight of Elixesse Quaternary

A subtle alteration in the ambient lighting alerted us to a change in ship status. We had emerged from Crepus-Space and soon would be encountering the extraordinary Urograffin ‘face’ to face

1. the starman succumbs to my will
2. the starman is summoned to elixesse quaternary

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