34.1 \ 216

This was the first nose-to-nose meeting called since the one after Draig’s induction. Utilization of this extreme-security linkage was a sign of the times. The guided-random location choice combined with time-sync en-route procedure was an expensive huddle, but one which may be necessary in utmost emergency. The current state of affairs had yet to approach that level, but now is the time to make sure the system is in place for this maneuver.

They’d been addressing individual action items for a while, with a few shifts in support focus. There was a rapid-fire efficacy to this form of high-pressure proximity. Discussions at a nose-to-nose resulted in immediate implementation, with personnel at attention and each General’s effective circles ready to mobilize.

Something about this instance was out of anyone’s control, and a little out of control. There was a current catching them all that General Claymore couldn’t fight, despite a mounting pile of internal objections.

Journal Diagram

During the making of this trilogy, one aspect of my process has been using diagrams to illustrate for myself patterns or motions of thought and action, to discern rhythm or structure of how certain story turns feel. It can be like a sieve through which details flow, or a puzzle mat that hints at how they should fit together; these separate steps that make the laying-down or connection of ideas easier, like tiling. The most concise and real explanation is the final product. Here’s another one.

33.5 \ 215

Yykth raised a hand to gently interrupt, and redirected focus toward Chrysanthe. During the next musical measure, the mekani disappeared. No sound nor sight of it anywhere. The song played on, as people stood, stunned and silent.

In a landing crouch at the other end of the facility, the mekani reappeared with Chrysanthe inside. Both sets of arms then raised in triumph! The children clapped and cheered wildly, while their guardians were slower to break into congratulation.

Bassel tugged at his mother’s clenched hand. “That’s the thing humans can do with Vedani stuff, that Vedani can’t do with Vedani stuff!”

“Did she become invisible, or…” Mirya hesitated.

Listening from nearby, Daniel Renaud dropped into the conversation. “Like translocation… but without an inter-g travelgate.” Yykth nodded from her angle, gauging the degree to which they were impressed.

The accompanying guardians knew they would soon discover reasons or purpose. Right now though, their magnificent children deserved congratulation. This kind of discovery was the tentative mark of an alliance: something peoples could do together, that they couldn’t do without each other. Some were well aware of similar events that occurred during Aquari and Dragon contacting, which cemented functional relations. Not just a discovery of idle preoccupation; not a show for mere entertainment; this was no small thing.

33.4 \ 215

Chrysanthe was assisted to an entry hatch in the dome of the mekani. She climbed in and walked to the platform like she knew exactly what to do, which she did. She had driven the discovery experiment, in that one glorious heist which had been instantly forgiven. She’d figured it out after getting just enough of the information. An admirer of the Scion Princess and an avid dancer, those were her two gymnastics inspirations as a matter of attitude and style. She snapped her fingers at the motion sensor to start the music, as they’d planned. This was her song: Absolutely Gorgeous.

You’re absolutely
G-O-R-G
E-O-U-S
Gorgeous!

A line pattern glowed on the young girl’s suit, the same which began to glow on the body of the mekani. Surrounding support scaffolds were moved away. Chrysanthe pointed her toe, and the mekani pointed its toe. A series of stretches and rests followed this, all moving in tandem synchronization. The giant robot was nearly soundless, except for controlled exhales at the joints that sounded like the breathing of a big tortoise.

Don’t need you to tell me,
You just have to show me –
Every time, you blow me
A-way-ay-ay-ay!

Onlookers sighed when Chrysanthe and the meka executed their first pirouette. This chamber was huge, but it wasn’t infinite, and it was only then that the walls seemed near. The movements of Meka-Chrysanthe were light as air, and not one bit clumsy. Daniel, her father, had moved to the front of the rail, and was actually beaming. “She’s a gymnast,” he said with unconcealable pride to the people next to him. “A really good one.” He was right in guessing that there wasn’t enough room for a full routine in here, but her medal-winning moves were translated with the point precision of a little girl who weighs next to nothing.

“This machine is very powerful,” Mirya said soberly, looking at Yykth from one side. The Vedani adolescent nodded an acknowledgment with all seriousness.

Catching the tone, Daniel aired his next thought in subtle accord. “It could do practically anything with her inside it.”