Day 58. 133 pages, 60,439 words. Part Two finished.
The researchers couldn’t decide on what to do next, and what was the best course. There didn’t, in fact, seem to be a best course.
“Can we – excuse me, you – use elements of the Flesh-Eater’s interface to communicate with the Elevator?” Gyden asked Predericon. “The platform might have more robust sensors and be able to tell us where we are. It’s unlikely she can communicate with local systems, if there even are any – because if she could, they likely would have come here by now. But at least we can share some information.”
“Even if they’re immobilised and unable to get here, there might still be other ships or settlements like ours, functional but grounded elsewhere in this system,” Predericon agreed. “Setting up a communications network with them would be useful.”
“Of course, tuning into the comm line of a dead Flesh-Eater might just alert the Elevator to our presence,” Lelhmak said. “Or the Demon, if it’s managed to access those systems.”
“So we take the whole setup off-base,” Gyden suggested. “Predericon could scavenge enough parts from our comm system to set up a tight-beam connection using the Flesh-Eater as a transmitter. We sit away on the ice a sensible distance from the Speed, and transmit without revealing the location of the ship.”
“Leaving aside the possibly unwarranted confidence of that plan,” Predericon said, “isn’t it going to be immediately and painfully obvious to the Elevator or the Demon that the chances of us having survived out on the ice for two years, with exactly the items needed to fashion a communicator out of a handy Flesh-Eater head we happen to find, is basically zero, and that we have to have a base of operations somewhere relatively nearby?”
“Yes, that will be obvious,” Gyden said, “but I don’t know that we have any reasonable alternatives.”
“Let me see if I can get any more information out of the Flesh-Eater,” Predericon said, “and work through some data and interface scenarios on the computer before we commit to a course of action. It might not even be possible to retrofit it to reconnect with the Elevator, let alone any other ships. We only connected it to this one by direct interface.”
“Two days,” Lelhmak said, holding up his fingers. “If nothing’s happened by then, I’m going back to sleep.”
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark. Sorry but I ran out of time today but I got a bunch of main writing done.