Ready for another? Here’s Chapter 47: Epistle.
If you’re just joining Biotech Legacy: Long Fall, you can find all of the preceding chapters right here at the Oktopod Blog.
The previous novel, Biotech Legacy: Stars Rain Down, is currently available exclusively through Amazon.
And here we go…
Jack and Kai scaled Amiasha’s central stalk in leaps and bounds. They flung themselves up the wall, grabbed hand-holds, and flung themselves again until they finally reached the access tunnels half-way up its length.
When they marched inside, the automated weapons that lined the walls saluted Jack and welcomed him home, and he proceeded quickly past to the cradle chamber.
The lights in that room seemed to be glowing with a renewed vigor. “You’re looking healthy,” Jack said warmly. “That’s good my friend, because you’re going to need all your strength and more.”
The ornate cradle waved open like a tropical flower and Jack slipped easily inside. It came down around him and hugged him close, then a legion of electric eels bit into him from all directions and the mind link blazed to life.
The difference from their first meeting was drastic. Amiasha was pleased to feel him again, and the Yuon Kwon’s presence radiated out like a warm campfire on a cold winter night. The creature was mature and strong now, able to stand on his own without a pilot at all.
Amiasha didn’t need one, but sometimes he missed them. Jack did a decent job of filling in.
He looked across the city that had grown and changed so much in the past half-year, and there was activity everywhere as the people of the Arkangel Compact hastily prepared.
“You’ve heard the plan?” Jack asked.
“Yes,” came Amiasha’s cavernous reply. “It is necessary. We adapt.”
“You sure do,” Jack said proudly. “So, are you ready to contact your sisters and brothers?”
“We must try,” Amiasha rumbled. “But I lack hope.”
Jack could relate. Hope had become a very rare flower. It was out of season. “How does this work?” he asked.
“I howl. Chera Aum-Samaraya will answer.”
It wasn’t always clear if a Yuon Kwon meant he was doing something, had done something, or would do something in the future. Either verb tense wasn’t really their thing, or Jack was just a bit dense.
Then he felt it happening and he understood. It was like reaching out a hand that just kept stretching further and further over thousands of kilometers. It was a construct of pure electricity, but somehow also an extension of his nervous system. His mind was being stretched around the Earth.
A few seconds passed by and then a connection approached. Jack felt it a moment before it touched, and then the link expanded.
“I am Elkellian, and I speak for Chera Aum-Samaraya. I meet you in peace.”
Amiasha didn’t answer, and Jack felt awkward. “Um,” he said. “Vigil here. Amiasha Aum-Samaraya is on the line. Pleased to meet you?”
He probably would have slapped his face after that if his own arms had been easier to find.
“Yes,” Elkellian said, and Jack could taste something in the connection like disgust. The rest was concealed.
Jack stumbled onto script. “Listen, this planet is going to become very inhospitable in a bit over seventeen hours.”
“It’s already begun, human. Talis Aum-Samaraya has already fallen to your kin and the Nefrem horde.”
“Fuck,” Jack said all too classily. “We have to leave. Now.”
“We concur. You seek a temporary truce?”
Jack had a terrible urge to overreach. He fed it. “I’m seeking more.”
Annoyance greeted him from the other side. “What more do you want, human?”
“Alliance,” Jack said. “Our chances are better together. You’ve fought the Adversary before. You know what we’re facing.”
Elkellian couldn’t completely hide a feeling of shame and self-doubt. He said, “The enemy is great… but we must follow separate streams. Will you accept the cease fire.”
Jack assented and the line snapped dead. His focus splashed backward, and he felt like a shapeless ghost floating about the city. “I had to try,” Jack said to the Yuon Kwon.
Amiasha said, “You try badly.”
This wasn’t a good time for Jack to explain the delicate art of negotiation, nor make excuses for why he was so completely terrible at it. “When can you be ready for lift-off?”
Amiasha hesitated. All Yuon Kwon seemed to exhibit the same deficiency, as challenged dealing with time as a small child struggling to do arithmetic. He said, “Days.”
“No days available,” Jack said. “We have hours. Can you somehow do hours?”
“I am unsure.”
Jack could feel his panic rising. The tap was busted, and panic was filling him and splashing everywhere. “We don’t have any other choice, so you have to try. You will try?”
Amiasha said, “I will try well.”
“Do you need me to fly you?”
“No. I will fly. I adapt.”
And at that, Jack beamed pride out to the young vessel. Their chances sucked, and everyone would probably die in a flaming wreck, but at least they were going to try well.
Jack felt Amiasha going to work, readying tired and atrophied muscles for the climb ahead, and he bid the ship farewell then slid free of the cradle. The cortex chamber looked different from the inside, and it took a few long seconds for Jack to get his bearings again.
Kai was sitting on the floor with his legs crossed, and his spine as straight as a skyscraper. He seemed to be rather annoyingly relaxed, all things considered.
Jack said, “The New Union already threw in with the Nefrem, and the Western Oikeya are going down.”
“Slightly faster than I would have anticipated,” Kai replied. “Assuming the Nefrem take command of the attack, we have roughly four hours. This is going to be tight, Jack.”
“Getting that impression,” he said. “The Eastern Oikeya aren’t throwing in with us. They’re planning to go their own way.”
Kai didn’t look surprised, but he never did. “They will,” he said.
“Sure,” Jack replied. “I have to deliver the news. You coming?”
“I must prepare,” Kai said.
When the interrogator didn’t move, Jack realized that this was the preparation he had in mind. “Each to their own,” he said, and sprinted out into the city beyond.
After this is Chapter 48: Basilisk, possibly tonight but more likely tomorrow.
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