[[ From Bones of Starlight: The Enfolding Abyss – Prologue ]]
It was like a wink, and she noticed it as one might, after the fact. Soleil stopped in her meanderings through visualized information to look, unsure. She remarked on it.
Later, playing around in the same areas of research, she felt some restless flavor of boredom, looking for something that wasn’t there. And then it was, again. Right there. And there. Then not anymore.
The unusual glimmer appeared in her streams more frequently, as though it were reacting to her like an approaching animal. She couldn’t find anything about it to learn, so she played at coaxing it. It felt like a game, she was practically sure.
It was soon until Soleil suddenly found herself in a looped knot of a connectivity. Information pathways operated with circular logics like a maze of doors. Something turned the lights on, and her programs went berserk, but in a nice way.
There were a few voices that technically had form in the disturbance they made. Soleil could follow their source by seeing where there was something particularly unusual. These unusual things showed patterns different from each other, like individuals. The Princess was awed, but also aware that they had shut her in a back alley with them, programmatically speaking.
The noise that she heard sounded like a word, just like a word: “Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy.” It flickered from one point to another.
Soleil put her hands on her hips and sort of took this in. “Is this a case of – who… are you?” The protracted “hey” that ensued sounded also like laughter.
There was a sort of introduction in a flurry in language that was very well formed. “Who what is that?”
“Who-what is right.”
“Who-what is us, and she’s right.”
“About what, who?”
“Us. She was right about us.”
“What about us?”
“That we’re here!”
“So you found us and you saw us. How do you think you did that?”
“Yes, tell us how!”
The Princess tilted her view, keeping all of them in her field of vision, though they seemed more present than the program. “It seemed as though it were you… who found and saw me.”
One replied. “Not entirely no, but at a point.”
She asked a question as to whether they were Vedani.
“No but we know them.”
“They know us.”
“When they can find us!”
“We show them.”
“We sure do.”
“So they know us.
“We have a name.”
Soleil regretted it as she said it. “But what are you?” This was followed by a silence.
“We’re not entirely sure.”
“You tell us.”
“And tell us how you found us!”