Day 47. 113 pages, 51,209 words.
Her rounds finished for the time being, Predericon returned to her cabin and sat facing the block of enhanced stone.
She’d installed a new floor in her quarters that was tilted to be parallel to the gravity plates’ new orientation. It effectively lowered the ceiling but there was still room to stand, and it was nice to have a place that was horizontal, even if ‘horizontal’ was just something her inner ear believed in despite the preponderance of evidence. It was a bit disorienting to step into her room after an extended period in the ship proper, but she considered the effort worthwhile.
Gyden had not installed a plate in her own room. But then, she didn’t spend as much time in it as Predericon did in hers.
Predericon frowned at the block. It was a basic piece of outer-hull shielding, of the fabricated and replaceable artificial stone the academy used to provide basic protection against radiation and debris on the ships they loaned out to research teams. She’d salvaged it from the wreckage when they’d settled, and was now in the process of carving it with a set of subsonic scrubbers. Gyden insisted the noise made her teeth ache, so Predericon mostly worked while her colleague was out of the ship.
This wasn’t exactly her contribution to the research effort, but it was part of it. It was a visual aid, a way of focussing, and of tricking the mind into processing data while meandering around the subject.
Her frown deepened. It still wasn’t right. Of course, sculpting was slow going when you were grinding away at a piece of industrial gorite with a set of conduit cleaners, but it was taking shape. And she wasn’t at all sure it was the right shape.
She looked at the fuzzy, entirely insufficient images she’d captured with the Speed’s Virtues (Curiosity)’s sensors before they had boiled in their casings. Then she closed her eyes and tried to remember what she’d seen with her own senses.
It simply wasn’t possible. It was insane, and now she was trying to carve a sculpture of it, to help pass the time while she worked on more advanced hypotheticals. She opened her eyes.
On the left side of the block, the rugged barren flatworld called Cursèd. On the right, the moon they had dubbed Lelhmak’s Moon, and a couple of similar bodies, melded but emerging from the gas giant around which they now revolved. And in between…
Well, that was the problem, right there. In between, amidst great folding and swinging slabs of rock and ice and burning gas, streams of matter spiralling in out of nowhere at all, and a near-vacuum environmental envelope turned suddenly vast and ravenous, the left became the right. And Predericon had no idea how to even start with that, because the shapes she had seen had no equivalents in spatial geometry. The physics she’d seen at work had no equal in anything she’d studied. And she’d studied some pretty exotic physics.
She stood up, and crossed to the right side of the sculpture. She donned her magnifying hood, picked up the smallest of the scrubber tubes and the molecular manipulator, and leaned in. There, on the cracked-but-smooth surface of the two-year-old millions-of-years-weathered little moon, she’d carved out a scale replica of the Speed’s Virtues (Curiosity) in her tiny shattered crater of ice.
We are here.
This much, at least, Predericon knew.