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A Dark And Hungry God Arises 13 - Morn [1]

 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:50 am    Post subject: A Dark And Hungry God Arises 13 - Morn [1] Reply with quote

While being a prisoner of the Amnion, Morn Hyland has been infected with their mutagens and left to sit in a cell empty of everything except a sitting couch, a san, and a phosphorus-yellow light that bathes the entire room. Morn's gone through so much already in the story, and now she has to face all by herself the terror of mutating into an Amnion.

Morn is studying the red mark on her forearm where the Amnion injected her with mutagens, and she is gasping through her face mask and shivering throughout her body as she watches. She reflects that the Amnion probably think they're doing her a favor by turning her into one of them. She speculates that the Amnion want to study her distress along with her transformation, and guesses that is why she was given no sedative. She wonders what went wrong with Marc Vestabule's transformation, and fears the Amnion may learn the secret of passing off Amnion as human by studying her. She puzzles over the possibility that her fear is her only protection against being a traitor to her species. She fixates on how the alien nuclear identity of the Amnion may make them immune from fear.

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Such questions obsessed her because she had no answer for the one that really mattered.

Was Nick's immunity drug going to work? If it failed, she had nothing left to hope for except that fear would destroy her mind before she knew what she had become.

On the other hand, if the drug worked she would be no better off. Not really. She would gain only a little time. The Amnion would inevitably notice that the change didn't take place on schedule. Then, because they were careful--and wanted to learn--they would draw some of her blood and test it in order to determine why the mutagen had failed. They might or might not allow her an opportunity to swallow another of the capsules hidden deep in the pocket of her shipsuit. In the end, that was irrelevant. If this facility lacked the resources for refining new mutagens, her humanity might be prolonged for a while; but that possibility was ultimately irrelevant as well. The significant, the damning fact was that the enemies of her kind would learn from her the secret of the immunity drug. By stealing these capsules from Nicks cabin, she had made certain that the Amnion would gain the knowledge they needed to counteract the drug.

To keep herself whole for a few more hours--a day or two at best, if neither this facility nor the warships were equipped to design new mutagens--she'd betrayed her entire species.

She didn't care, did she? Not now: not here. How could she? At any moment, the red patch on her forearm might swell and suppurate, carrying a change as dramatic as a volcanic eruption to every cell in her body. The UMCP had betrayed humankind long before she did. Whether the Amnion learned about it or not, the drug had already been withheld from the men and women who needed it most. Her own treachery only completed the job begun by people who had sworn to protect the human race.

And in the meantime it might gain her a few more hours.


Considering all that she has been through, I'm glad that Morn at this moment chooses to not add to her suffering by belittling herself for only finding temporary solutions. She has indeed done the best that she could do, both in diverting Davies' ejection pod and in acquiring the mutagen immunity pills. Morn recalls her last conversation with Nick, when she realized that the UMCP has felt free to trade off her son and other humans for its own corrupt purposes. She vows to hold a grudge and stop the corruption of law enforcement in human space, and this sense of righteous purpose sustains her spirit enough that she knows she doesn't miss her zone implant control. She clings to her fear of mutagenic transformation, believing clinging to that gear helps her hold on to her humanity.

Quote:
Feverish shivers built into a shudder; tremors shook her muscles as if the convulsion had begun. She might have been suffocating on her own carbon dioxide. For a moment she was so frightened that she seemed to see the red patch on he skin swelling like an infection. It would suppurate and burst; mutagenic pus would seep from the wound, gnawing at her flesh and her DNA until she screamed and went wild in stark simple revulsion; until her horror became as vast as the void between the stars, and all things died--

But then the shudder passed. Her vision cleared, and she saw the truth. The redness around the place where the mutagen had been injected was fading. Her skin was as pallid as the underlying bones--and as whole.

In the Academy, she'd been told what to expect from Amnion mutagens. They were supposed to be faster than this swift as well as violent.

Maybe the immunity drug was working.

What had Nick told her?

It's not an organic immunity. It's more like a poison--or a binder. It ties up mutagens until they're inert. Then they get flushed out--along with the drug.

The immunity is effective for about four hours.


Maybe she was going to live.

For a while longer.


Morn gets a reprieve from dread as she sees hope for a few more hours existing as a human, and I'm glad for her getting this small victory. She knows she still has a chance to take another pill without the Amnion catching on to the secret of her mutagen immunity. (Luckily for her, the Amnion apparently neither believe in strip-searching nor in mandating their human prisoners change to a new uniform. )
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is also an absorbing chapter. I constantly find with SRD's writing that I'm wondering how he is going describe a way out for the character. And when or if he does, it seems to make perfect sense. This is one of my joys for reading SRD's writing.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

StevieG wrote:
This is also an absorbing chapter. I constantly find with SRD's writing that I'm wondering how he is going describe a way out for the character. And when or if he does, it seems to make perfect sense. This is one of my joys for reading SRD's writing.



Yes, I agree. Morn's facing yet another tense time, but she pulls out another small victory as she fights off both madness and mutagens. SRD's writing makes the struggle seem for real, so the victory feels real and satisfying to read about, as well!
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