Servant Of The Band
Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
5751 White Gold Dollars
|Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 3:24 pm Post subject: The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 28 - Chapter 19
|Morn awakens from sleep feeling nauseous and clammy as she slowly realizes she is waking up because Nick turned off her zone implant. Nick is complaining that it's taking her too long to respond to her surroundings.
|Of course. He thought she was blank with catatonia, not immersed in sleep. He expected to see a difference in her as soon as he switched off her black box.
Even now, while she was dying, she couldn't afford to let him guess the truth. She forced her eyes open.
"That's better," he remarked.
Her eyes refused to focus. They were too sore, too dry. But blinking didn't help. Her eyelids rubbed up and down like sandpaper. The pain in her throat--or the smell--made her feel like gagging. Her mouth stretched wide, but she was too weak to retch; too empty.
"You stink," Nick said like Angus. Exactly like Angus.
He had her zone implant control.
A thin sigh that should have been a wail scraped past her tongue.
"You've been out too long. You're thirsty and hungry, but what you need first is a shower. You smell like you've got five kilos of shit in your suit.
"Here. I'll help you get up."
She felt the g-sheath loosen and pull away as he un-sealed it. Then he took hold of her arms and pried her upright.
The shock of transition would have been strong enough to unhinge her mind, if she'd been strong enough to feel its full force. Fortunately he was helping her in more ways than one. His support got her to her feet--and when he said "shower," she heard "water." Her need for water galvanized her, despite her weakness. Past the blur of his face and the blur of the walls, she fumbled toward the san.
Without touching her, he pulled open the seals of her shipsuit. Then he pushed her into the san and turned on the jets.
She gulped at it, swallowed as much as she could get into her mouth. The jets sprayed life at her. It filled her eyes, eased her throat; her body seemed to absorb it before it reached her stomach. After a moment so much of it had gone into her shipsuit that its weight pulled the suit off her shoulders. The stained, rank fabric clustered around her boots. Water ran inside her and out; it washed her flesh and her nerves. In a short time, it restored her enough to realize that if she drank too much at once she might make herself sick.
Nick had come back. He'd switched off her zone implant control, thinking he was bringing her out of catatonia.
Captain's Fancy must be done decelerating. She wouldn't have been asleep long enough to get this thirsty and hungry, to foul herself this badly, if the ship hadn't finished braking.
Or something else had happened.
She needed to be awake. She needed food and strength.
Nick's voice reached her through the food and spray. "Don't go to sleep in there. I'm in no mood to wait around"
He didn't sound impatient.
So, Morn removes her boots and shipsuit to shower, and an alarm buzzer warns that her shipsuit is clogging the shower drain. She moves the suit, finishes showering, steps out and dries herself. Then she dons a clean shipsuit that Nick brought for her, and walks to her cabin's main room to find out what has been happening.
Nick tells Morn to sit down and eat while he relates recent events. As she samples the oatmeal and coffee, he tells her they're coming towards Thanatos Minor slowly to accommodate the wishes of the human in charge, a man called the Bill. He explains that the Bill has Thanatos Minor heavily armed and can call in the Amnion if he feels sufficiently threatened, and can also count on assistance from humans doing business with him.
|Without transition, as if he were still on the same subject, he said, "Morn, I want you to make love to me. No zone implants, no lies. I want you to show me what you can do when you aren't cheating."
Alarm jolted through her so hard that she dropped her spoon. It clattered on the floor, as loud as if it were breaking.
"If you can make me believe you want me enough," he finished, "I'll let you go."
Oh, shit. So that was it. For an instant she shivered on the verge of weeping.
Then her dismay turned to fury.
Raising her head so that he could see the darkness in her eyes, she said, "In that case, you'd better switch me off right now. You'd better kill me. The idea of touching you makes me want to puke."
For some reason, her vehemence didn't disturb his calm. His gaze met hers and skittered away; returned, fled again. His cheek twitched, and brief hints of blood stained his pale scars. Yet his physical repose remained complete. His smile was soft, almost forgiving. Triumph or defeat had carried him past his doubts.
"Then I'll offer you something else," he said peacefully. "If you'll make love to me with your whole heart--just once, so I can find out what it's like--I'll let you talk to your brat. Hell, I'll let you see him. You can spend the rest of the day just holding his hand."
Davies! she thought in a storm of suppressed dismay and grief. A chance to talk to him, see him--a chance to do what she could to keep him from growing mad--a chance to defend the legacy of her father.
Straight at Nick, she said, "I guess I underestimated you. You're starting to make Angus Thermopyle"--suddenly that name was easy to say--"look pretty good."
For an instant, the small spasm in his cheek turned his smile into a snarl. His tranquility held, however.
Surely Nick is up to something! He produces Morn's zone implant control box from his pocket, explaining he needs it for self-defense now that he knows Morn hates him. Then he toggles the intercom to order Mikka to connect them to Davies' cabin.
Davies quickly asks if Morn's there and what is happening. Morn's afraid to speak, fearing what malice Nick has in mind, but Nick tells Davies he's given Morn permission to talk to her. Davies warns her not to say anything in front of Nick unless she feels it's safe. After Davies insults Nick as being garbage, and Morn warns Davies against further insults, Nick proceeds to tell Davies about what a scummy illegal Angus has been, and what a pathetic zone implant junkie Morn is. When Nick alleges that Morn wouldn't abort Davies only because she didn't want her zone implant discovered by the ship's medical computer, Morn tries to argue. In response, Nick activates her zone implant to make her feel hot, then cold, and then has her gag herself until she pukes.
Then Nick informs them the Amnion defensive Tranquil Hegemony is blocking their path to Thanatos Minor and Billingate, and that the other Amnion defensive Calm Horizons is coming up fast behind them. He lets them know that he's made a deal to send Davies to Tranquil Hegemony by an escape pod. Then he can get credit for repairs and get his ship fixed up at Billingate in peace. Nick then instructs Mikka via intercom to disconnect communications with Davies, and leaves the cabin while Morn is still gagging. She can't stop gagging herself until he takes the zone implant control out of range.
Here, I confess I start to become tired of the contest between Morn and Nick. Other than the information about what the two Amnion ships are doing, and the plan to send Davies to the Amnion via escape pod, this chapter felt like "filler". You could clip it out of the book and keep the plot quite intact.