“In this world of nightengale- there are emotions that run high and spirits that are ground low. Never mistake- never forget- and never forgive this world that bore you a thousand persecuations. ”
That was the last thing my lover said to me before they were shot- before they were felled by a well placed- well directed- well timed bullet to the back of the head- in the middle of a crowd on a hot winter’s day. But that is the past- and I have no need to life there- not anymore- there is something that my head should be doing- but I can’t remember quite what it was…
Another shell of energy lobs portside jarring Gess awake. A moments disorentation passes quickly- and she mutters another curse to herself for denying a contingent of piolets. She shakes her head, quickly calling up the thickener for the suspension tank that she is in- and closes her eyes- this time determined not to lose consciousness.
Like that held any truth in it at all.
She feels the suspension thicken around her- moving from a molasses to a jello- and smiles full toothed- bearing her teeth like that low and vicious animal- like that animal she has trapped inside of her- that she is about to release from her body- from her ship- on the Traditionalists.
She feels her fears and terrors swell as she slowly lets herself go- she knows how ugly with will be- and is at once glad that she is a renagade of sorts.
Those in her ship will be fine- nightmares in their heads- but fine. And those outside her ship- they will not make it to the next sun- they will terrorize no more children- cool no more suns- and burn no more planets.
“Gess!” A voice calls- echoing tinny thorugh the suspension- she must have lost her ears up some time ago- his voice seems desperate. She pulls the animal back into her skin- sends the silent signal for the suspension to thin- and opens her eyes.
There is a rather tall man on the screen- but… something is wrong with what he’s wearing… There is something wrong with the man too.
“Ronen?” She whispers. “Isn’t that a Traditionalist ship?”
“Yes… I’ve been trying to talk to you for over an hour.”
“You have?” She asks.
“Yes.” Ronan replies. “I thought I knew you better than this. I know that I’m not your first Flexive- but you need to open up to me a little bit more. You know that I bend regulation probably as much as you do.”
You have no idea- she thinks.
“So who’s on the screen? And why are they in a futurist uniform if they’re on a traditionalist ship?”
“Gess! It’s your brother Thom. What’s wrong?” He asked. “He’s been in posession of the ship for a long time now- I think every other Muse knows it.
Do you ever listen to pings?”
The ice of her secret clutches closer to her bossom- and she becomes again conscious of her nakedness- in front of her brother- her foul brother and the secret that they share. Gess turns away from the screen.
“What does he want?”
“He wants to know why you’ve been attacking him.”
“He’s in a Traditionalist ship. He should know the consequences of that.”
“His Muse says you’ve been ignoring her pings the whole time.”
“Well- isn’t that nice? I was a little distracted. I always filter out enemy pings.”
“Ronan- we’ll fight about this later. Just turn off the damned head-up and get me out of this fish tank.”
There is an audible click as the heads-up turn off. Gess relaxes as the fluid drains out of the tank. The side hisses, and folds down- she grabs the near-by towel and wipes herself off before getting into her space suit. “Will you come do a closed circut EVA with me?”
Ronan doesn’t understand the significance of the request- that is obvious from his face- but he consents.
He’s never gone on an EVA with Gess before- her need to touch ever inch of the ship suprises her- as does her distaste with the ship flying non-regualtion distance.
“No one follows regulation like you do- not anymore- regulation has been pretty much ignored since right after I became a Flexive.” Ronan says.
“So you don’t care too much about regulation? You wouldn’t mind if I was breaking it?”
“No- I don’t think I would really care all that much.”
“So do you know why regulation went out the window?”
“Not really- something about they changed qualifications for Muse-hood.” He says.
“Well- do you know when I became a Muse? Do you know who my mother is? Do you know how hurt she would be if she learned that I don’t qualify for Muse-hood anymore?”
“No.” He looks offended. He looks nearly wounded. “Will you tell me?” He asks.
“I became a muse over 600 years ago. My mother is Lady Superior- and don’t you ever forget that. And I don’t qualify for muse-hood anymore- I can’t get pings- I don’t fold the octive or stack rainbows through space. I feel the ship- I feel space- but because I dont feel space the same way as others- I have to rely on regulations.” She confesses.
Ronan is silent for a time. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Because by regulation you’re supposed to turn me in.” She says. “You don’t understand how much I still live with the regulations in my head. And you can’t imagine how diverse the Big Black used to be- with all the styles of flying. Everyone thinks you need a piolet or a muse to get across space.” Gess says. “But I’m not a Muse- and I get across space just fine- in fact- don’t I have some of the fastest transport times?”
He nods. “But then why are you in this war? Don’t futurists want to do away with the regulations.”
“I know.” She smiles. “It doesn’t make much sense does it? But I was hoping that they’d be willing to open up avenues to people like me- to legalize other forms of space travel. But that beautiful idea has gained absolutely no traction at all- has it?”
He shakes his head. “I never realized how close minded we still are.”
“No one does-” She sighs. “Not even me.”