Contents Updated

For readers new and returning, the table of contents for Bones of Starlight: Abyss Surrounding (formerly The Enfolding Abyss) is now updated to the current 75+ sections of book 2. The link always exists at the very top of this website.

My previous “bunch of new stuff” update was at 50, so add another quarter to the count. Please enjoy. More is on its way – this story is far from over.

Bones of Starlight: Abyss Surrounding, Book 2

77 \ 165

Toller awoke to the sound of footfalls in the hold. He’d used cargo straps to secure his blanket-wrapped self into a niche for a nap. Leiv, source of the noise, switched on the lights. The boy loosed the strap hitches and stretched. “Where are we?” he asked.

The tall man came over to sit next to the boy’s sleeping spot. “We’re back in Expansion 6 by Genoe, where I can pick up my ship. Do you feel like going back to Joe’s in Dalmeera? You’re welcome back at your old job, and I can bring you there. Wendel also said she can keep you on if you want, but it’s more dangerous and harder living.”

“Like, flying out of a volcanic eruption dangerous, or escaping from a violent kidnapping kind of dangerous? Hard living like… fighting other kids for bets until you have to leave a city when the betting kids start to turn on you?”

Leiv nodded and shook his head at the same time, making a garbled sigh. “If you’ve had enough of that, then you’re welcome to take your leave of it. Any which way is fine to us. Do you know what you want to do?” His smile was frank and kind.

Toller undid his blanket burrito and stood up, folding his blanket for stowage. “I’ll stay on board with Wendel and continue the piloting lessons.”

“Okay, go join her in the co-chair when you’re ready. I’m going to manage the linkup.”

76 \ 164

UIXTR XKCD: What do you think of the rolls of grey foam?

AELRN LKCD: They’re a great combination of budget and performance. We can utilize this effectively.

UIXTR: Do you have enough of it?

AELRN: Enough of it for a while; a little goes a long way when we’re using it in strips. By the time it’s all been incorporated, we’d better have progressed our stratagem.

UIXTR: Sounds groovy and feasible in every way.

AELRN: Yes, doesn’t it? Speaking of groovy and feasible, what did the two humans think of the Palace?

UIXTR: From my perspective, the omni-point projection was seamlessly crisp. They found it hypnotizingly beautiful, if I listened to their tone expressions correctly – struck dumb, but not senseless.

AELRN: That sounds just right. I’ll relay your feedback to the technical crew.

UIXTR: What are you doing next right now?

AELRN: I’m going into my Garden.

UIXTR: How is your Garden doing?

AELRN: It’s becoming incredible, but I don’t want others to come in yet.

UIXTR: Sounds exciting.

AELRN: It is unbelievably so.

75 \ 163

Wendel and Leiv were lying together on the inflated-sponge bed from underneath the Skyfather cannon. The custom-fit mattress took up half the gunnery, big enough for them to spoon. “You’re letting Toller sit in the captain’s chair alone?” His hands traveled over her front, with hers on top of them.

“Yes. He’s staying there till I get back, except for trips to the toilet. He’s learning how to wait sitting. He can also study the controls, which he can name all of while I’m watching, and just after I pointed them out. We’ll see how many he remembers when I get back.” Wendel spoke in a dreamy, amused tone. “He knows how to call us for emergencies.”

“I think you’re a good teacher with a good student, and this is a great idea.”

“Just like it’s a great idea to spoon first,” Wendel said as she turned over to kiss him.

“You never know what might happen,” they said together.