Fantastic Children 2 Ch.21
Chapter 21: Clearing Skies
Pollux was gone.
Castor fidgeted. He had spent the last few days under constant supervision, finishing his project and being displayed to all the visiting executives and dignitaries by Doctor Mellert.
He had felt that something odd was going on with Pollux, but hadn't had the time or opportunity to analyze the situation. And now, where he usually felt the presence of his twin, there was a frightening void.
Pollux was gone.
Castor could feel him out there, somewhere, but far away, and altered somehow. Could he be dead? Could Pollux actually have taken that final step that he had considered so often?
Pollux had always been weak, too weak to survive. Castor had learned to be strong to protect both of them. Pollux had been soft, so Castor had turned his own heart to stone. Pollux had been timid, so Castor had become hostile. Pollux had been miserable, self-loathing and ridden with guilt. Castor had learned t
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.20
Chapter 20: A Scattering Regathered
If not for the shielding wall that protected the landing pad from the wind, it might have been dangerous or impossible to start the helicopter. Once the engine was running and the rotors safely whirring, it would be simple to fly, Cooks thought. The wind was blowing in the wrong direction, though: it might take more time to reach South America than he had planned on. Cooks had a friend in Chile. Hadn't seen him for years, but he was still pretty sure he'd be able to land his helicopter on the ranch quietly and depart from there with some forged identity papers. A cop always knew where to get forged papers. Of course, getting there was the tough part. Cook had a map of Brightwater's fuel dumps, and expected to have to make several stops.
"How far does this thing go on a tank of fuel?" he suddenly asked Pollux.
"I have no idea," Pollux said. "You're the pilot."
"You're the genius. I just took a few
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.19
Chapter 19: Daybreak
"Wake up, Tarlant!"
Soreto was pushing at his shoulder, calling his name urgently. Groggily, Tarlant opened his eyes and looked at her. There was something different. She was...smiling. He sat up and rubbed his eyes.
"You did it," he said. Above the sound of the wind he could hear the choppy, static-filled transmissions of the research stations, and a projected green field glowed above the control board, sparkling with bright flashes whenever snowflakes were driven by the wind past the aura of warm air the robots radiated.
"There's some tea for you, there," Soreto said, lifting her own mug. "It might still be warm. Belle brought it out. What did you do, threaten to feed her to the penguins?"
If he had been Soreto, Tarlant wasn't sure he would have risked drinking anything Belle brought unexpectedly, but Soreto's mood seemed so much improved that he said nothing. He tried the tea. It was not exactly w
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.18
Chapter 18 Falling Darkness
As the work on the Atalanta proceeded, Hasmodai felt himself less troubled by thoughts of the team and the mission. Random thoughts that brought his former colleagues to mind tended to provoke more anger and resentment than guilt. He remembered every rebuke, every act of disrespect, every time one of them had hurt him or failed him. Then, he let thoughts of them go completely. There was no room for those people in his life now.
If Pirya had not been there, Hasmodai felt he would have loved the Atalanta with all his heart. The ship needed him as much as the woman did, and it was beautiful and full of potential. It offered him challenges that, unlike the challenges of the outside world, he was always capable of handling. He explored every room, he examined every system for possible enhancement, he even reassembled Poromet's generator, though only from curiosity, and with no intention of ever activating it.
But in the presence of Pirya, Hasmodai felt
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.17
Chapter 17: Alien
"Yeah," said Belle. "Right."
What did they think she was, stupid? Belle supposed that it might be a sign they were forgiving her that they would try to play this sort of prank, but seriously.
"It's the truth, Belle," Flo said. "Haven't you wondered at all? About the technology? About about "
"How about the spaceship?" Kalie asked. "And the robots?"
"Please." Belle rolled her eyes. "We didn't go into space, did we? And the robots are lame. In Japan, they have a robot now that can take you out on a date, order dinner, flirt with you, and kiss you goodnight. Your robots just do machine stuff. They can't even talk. Why don't you have super-powered androids, if you're really advanced aliens?"
"We don't make human simulacra on Greecia, for various reasons," said Flo. "Our robots are useful, practical utility machines. Surely some of the equipment you saw at the Rugen Institute"
"Well, yeah, but that's a science place.
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.16
Chapter 16: Crossing Lines
The walrus didn't even look up as the pod silently flew by over its head.
"Sorry," Belle said miserably.
"It's fine. It's better to follow a hundred false leads than to risk missing that one time "
The scouting flight was going much better than Soreto had feared. Belle kept her eyes open and her mouth shut, for the most part. Now, when Soreto was dazzled and worn out from the glare of the sun on ice, Belle still was managing to pick out dark spots and movement.
It wasn't her fault that all of those spots had been seals and walruses and oddly, tourists. Where had all the tourists come from so suddenly? Surely this was the wrong season.
They passed over yet another enormous iceberg, both examining it closely. They flew on.
"I never want to see another penguin in my life," Belle announced.
Soreto made an annoyed sound. "Helicopteragain!" She took the pod under water. For a frozen desert, Antarctica seemed to have a lot
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.15
Chapter 15: Embraced by Water
Pirya had awakened from suspended sleep many times before, but it had never been this blindingly, sickeningly awful. She collapsed to the deck, her legs too weak from the stasis to hold her, cold and wet with the remains of the preservation gel that still clung to her clothes and hair. Supporting herself on trembling arms, she struggled to cough up the slime that remained in her lungs.
As she did, she felt the touch of a hand on her shoulder, and a voice speaking to her, frightened, earnest and repetitive. The accents and intonations were so strange that she didn't realize for some time that it was speaking in her own language, and the words it spoke over and over were, "I'm sorry I am so sorry "
She turned her head for a look at the man, and suffered a jolt of fear. Through her blurry vision, she could see that his head reached little higher than where her knee would have been, had she been able to stand. He was one of the little Eart
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.14
Chapter 14: Widening Ripples
The Atalanta was even more enormous than it had appeared from the wreck. Hasmodai sent a probe into it with the scanner, but if the ancient vessel had a matter transference system, it was deactivated, broken, unrecognizable or undetectable for some other reason. There seemed to be a number of hatches, some sealed over with ice or other encrustments. Hasmodai finally was forced to warm one of the smaller airlock hatches enough that the ice released when he activated it. The task nearly depleted his considerable energy reserves, but he was able to enter the airlock and seal it after him, and the inner hatch opened smoothly to admit him to the ship.
It was easy to forget the difference in scale between the people of Earth and those of Greecia until it was brought to your attention by comparison. The ceilings were vaulted, impossibly high, and though he had stepped from the airlock into what was clearly just a corrido
Fantastic Children 2 Ch.13
Chapter 13: Bei Nacht
Night, when the ocean rocks me
And soft starlight
Lies upon its broad waves,
Then I free myself completely
From all endeavors and all loves,
And stand still and simply breathe.
Alone, alone, rocked by a sea
That lies cold and silent with a thousand lights.
Then I must think of my friends,
And sink my gaze into theirs,
And ask each, silent and alone,
"Are you still mine?
Is my suffering a suffering to you, my death a death?
Do you feel of my love, my misery,
Even a breath, even an echo?"
And the sea quietly blinks and rocks,
And smiles: no.
And from nowhere comes any answer or greeting.
He was alone.
Hasmodai sat aboard the remains of Dumas's ship as the water rose. Eventually it would cover him. A hundred years from now, someone might come across the wreck, and find his preserved, frozen corpse, still sitting here, gazing in wonder upon the Atalanta.
After thoroughly savoring the romantic tragedy of this sc