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18 August 2017 @ 10:31 am
_Ghost_ part 3  
 

He heaved in a breath. It's not me, it's not me. I can breathe.

He focused on breathing . . .

Then the pain and constriction went away. Only the residual pain of the fight remained, spiking as the Evil fem shoved up to her knees and searched Ausone's belt pouch and found his knife. The sharp stone cut the ropes around her wrists and ankles.

She stood up and looked around. "Son of a syphilitic camel and a mangy hyena. 'An empty area away from the few Neanderthals on Corsica' my precious ass. They stole my ute!" Her hands were on her hips as she looked around at the scatter litter on the floor, but her gaze swept back to him regularly, and finally stopped there. Studied him.

"You don't have any shields at all, do you?" She winced and . . . all of her aches and pain disappeared.

***

Who the One Hell is this boy? I'd barely realized the flapping thing running at me was a boy in a grubby white shirt ten sizes too big for him when he screamed—and that was a psychic scream the like of which I've never heard. Blasted through my habitual privacy shield like it was tissue paper.

She scooped up a discarded dinner box and poked the heat button. Strolled closer. "You look pretty underfed. What are you, eight or nine, maybe?"

Tears on his face, and he's damn near fetal. He felt all of that fight. Felt what that scream did to me. A strong Oner, or maybe a Fallen magician. But how did a child come to be stranded here?

She stopped a few meters away as his eyes started darting around, looking for a place to run. Rael kept her mental shield as soft as she dared, her head still throbbing from the waif's scream. The boy's scream. She was pretty sure he was a boy. Starved and cold. Desperate. Powerful. huddled in the corner.

"Are you hungry?" She put the box down on the concrete floor and slid it toward him.

He wiped tears from his cheeks and eyed the box, looked back at the door like he was about ready to run for it.

She sat down and reached out for the box. Popped the lid. Steam rose, rich beefy smell.

That caught the boy's attention.

She pulled out a strip of ersatz roast and nibbled at it. Shifted and nudged the box his direction.

He snapped out a hand and snatched the box. Crammed food into his mouth, darting quick glances her direction.

Rael tried to dig out memories from her recent disaster . . . were those men Neanderthals? I couldn't hardly see around the pain . . . that last guy . . .

She looked around. He was still laying on the floor, but his eyes were open and he'd been silently creeping for the door. He met her eyes, sprang to his feet and bolted out the door.

No, that wasn't a Neanderthal. So are there Cro-Magnons here too?

And . . . did my scrambled brain try to turn their yells into English . . . or have we got a marooning from somewhere with both magic and a history similar enough for the language to be recognizable?

She looked back at the boy as the last scrap disappeared down his throat. "Hello. I am Rael. What's your name?"

He glanced doorward, back at her, down. "Ghost."

"Where are you from? I live in Paris." Anyone from an Earth that's split off in the last two millennia should recognize Paris.

The boy flicked a glance out the door. "Volsk." A bit guttural.

Russian influence? I never really studied the dead languages. "Is that a big town?"

He eyed her suspiciously.

"Were you born there or did you come from somewhere else?" Generations ago, perhaps? "Are your mother and father from Volsk?"

That received a glare. But there was calculation growing behind those eyes.

"Why did you and your friends attack me?"

The pale child watched her, wary . . . testing me? "There are these horrible people who come around sometimes."

"Horrible people?"

"The Evil Ones. They're like the Vikings in the history books. Loot, rape, pillage and burn. Then they go away for awhile."

Vikings? History books? Yes, marooned modern humans. "From another town? Has this been going on for long? Years?"

The boy's brows drew together in puzzlement . "Forever. A century at least. They like to rape the daughters of the last group. And their daughters. Especially the girls with the power. That's what everyone says. M'mom was one. She couldn't even stand to look at me."

"The grannies said we use to trade with other tribes, but the water came up. Now there's only the hundred villages and the Evil Ones."

"Evil, huh?"

"The grannies say their grannies said they weren't always evil. They bring stuff, they always did. Tools, books. They taught us how to speak like Oners . . . what?" He pressed deeper into his corner, hands covering his ears.

Trying to not hear me, not feel my emotions.

She tightened her mental shield. "Sorry."

Oners. Action Teamers. A century. I'll bet the entire population of Corsica is at least Halfer. And some are going to be like this child who knocked me on my butt with a single mental scream.

"Well. That explains why the reception committee looked a whole lot more like humans than Neanderthals."

 
 
 
matapampamuphoff on August 18th, 2017 03:36 pm (UTC)
Now that I've got that start down, I really need to work over _Flying_ and then get to work on _Last Merge_ so I can start kicking stories out the door RSN.
(Anonymous) on August 18th, 2017 08:49 pm (UTC)
Wine question
It amazing what thoughts occur while I'm swimming up and down the lane....

What would happen if either accidentally or on purpose, active Wine of the Gods was added to Methanol ? (as in "wood alcohol")

I thought of four possibilities:
1. The Methanol kills the Wine

2. Nothing - The Wine is still in any normal alcohol it started with, but it doesn't use the Methanol. If ingested, the Methanol still acts, but it's possible the Wine would heal or counteract the Methanol's effects.

3. The Wine *can* use the Methanol to propagate, but it still doesn't eliminate the Methanol's effect (although again, it might heal the effects as, or after, they occur)

4. Alcohol is alcohol, and the Wine happily uses it, and pretty much acts like normal Wine.

*Now flip and swim the other way*.....

Daqref
ekuah on August 21st, 2017 04:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Wine question
My guess is that the von Neumann nanites will use the methanol.
Pam has written somewhere that structural components of the machines are made of alcohol. And if the solution they are suspended in runs out of alcohol they will digest themselves.
Now normal Ethyl alcohol (the stuff you want in your drink) is stuctured CH3-CH2-OH (C2H5OH). Not really usable as a building brick.
So I'm guessing that the alcohol is somehow chemically 'build' into the nanite frame. That means there wont be a C2H5OH floating around but some CHx-OH structure sticking out of the nanite.
And this CHx-OH formula is also fits for methyl-alcohol (CH3-OH).

Secondary, methanol itself is as (or less) poisonous then normal alcohol (ethanol or ethyl-alcohol).
It is the metabolic products that are more harmful.
Ethanol is metabolized first into acetaldehyde (the cause of headache and hangover) and then later into acetic acid (the acid in vinegar)
Methanol on the other hand is first turned into formaldehyde (disinfectant and biocide) and then quickly into formic acid (causing nerve damage)
muirecanmuirecan on August 18th, 2017 11:29 pm (UTC)
OH my somebody is going to be hoisted by their balls to the roof tops when Rael gets back. ::Hmm:: I wonder if a prayer to an fallen god would succesfully snatch one through a powered gate. :D

mbarker: Me typing?mbarker on August 19th, 2017 12:16 am (UTC)
Or, given the number of power users who haven't been trained, do they have their own collective consciousness, and you can raise a god from their people by praying...
matapampamuphoff on August 19th, 2017 12:48 am (UTC)
No way is she going to yell for help. She is going to track those brutes down and get her ute back.

_Then_she going home to find out if anyone who knows about this left after the rebellion on Granite Peak for her to kill.

_Then_ she's got to figure out what to do about somewhere around 5K powerful,feral, untrained, Oners.

Well, Okay. _First_ she's got to get Ghost registered, clothing purchased, the concept of soap and showers, tooth brushes . . . no, the small shorts go inside the long legged pants, try again. And remember, no matter how mean the men who are coming look, Do. Not. Scream.

Yes, there will be humorous moments.
muirecan: Withersmuirecan on August 19th, 2017 01:33 am (UTC)
Heh. True
ekuah on August 21st, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC)
Why didn't use..
... Rael slice to get out her binds?
matapampamuphoff on August 21st, 2017 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Why didn't use..
Because you need to be careful to not cut off your fingers which is a bit difficult while trashing around in a fight. She was doing well enough to not be desperate enough to try it. Once she'd had a moment to catch her breath, she no doubt would have, if a quick search hadn't turned up a knife.

Edited at 2017-08-21 06:19 pm (UTC)
ekuah on August 21st, 2017 08:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Why didn't use..
I know it is your story, but as an outside reader it would be more believable to mention, that she was still too shell shocked (from that screaming) to concentrate on her magic.
I mean she can slice a whole engine block, even when drugged.
She could have made short work of her attackers.
She IS a former dancer of the One.
And I bet that there is a whole course in princess school, about magically mopping the floor with surprise attackers.