Author Topic: Esme 5  (Read 5431 times)

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Offline Daen

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Esme 5
« on: October 10, 2022, 04:57:54 AM »
That night, the caretakers gathered together for a kind of ritual that they seemed to perform regularly. It was a ‘show’, or so Sarah had told us. Rust was at my side, holding my hand worriedly. He could sense something was up with me, but he’d yet to ask. Even if he did, I had no idea how I would respond.

There had been exhibitions, back in the Pinos. Demonstrations, really, of the most sumptuous foods and tantalizing scents. The softest and most triumphant music, as well as the most delicate fabrics. But since there had never been sight there; a ‘show’ was a word alien to them. It took me a moment, and a few questions of the others, to understand what I was looking at now. Then, I tried my best to describe things to Rust as I saw them unfold.

Hugh sat on my other side, to explain it to both of us. “It’s called a television,” he said helpfully. “The ancestors used them to send images to many places at once. Back then, they even had specially trained people who would perform for the television, and they’d be seen by entire nations, later on.”

Words formed on the television, which Hugh told me was shortened to just TV. I didn’t recognize them, so Hugh translated. It was a trek through the stars, apparently.

I found the experience fascinating, despite my current situation. Those had been actual people? Who had taken actions, and then the machines had observed them, and sent those actions to be seen by others? Amazing!

The story itself wasn’t bad, either. The thinner of the two main characters, a man with strange ears, was apparently suffering from some kind of sickness. Love-sickness, as it turned out. His friend helped him return home, to some other world beyond the stars, and then for some reason was forced to fight him. Jack watched with great concern, and I had to clarify colors for him, but otherwise he seemed to understand.

“This show was very popular in the old world,” Hugh explained in an undertone. “So much so that Ivy herself would listen to it when she wasn’t working.”

“You’ve seen what they’re doing, though?” I asked, remembering that Hugh couldn’t see right now.

“I have. This is one of the few episodes we were able to restore from the original machines intact. I remember how they both moved, in the fight, and how it ends. I won’t ruin the ending for you. Eventually, when we spread sight to the rest of the world, I hope to be an actor like these two. I’ve got the dramatic personality for it, I think,” he said self-importantly, and I smiled.

Jack let out a gasp, as it became clear that the man in yellow was dead, but I’d heard enough stories to know that the heroes never die that easily. There had to be a much bigger buildup, if you were to do such a thing, and sure enough a few minutes later, his other friend, a healer of some kind, revealed that he had faked the man’s death.

“That’s what mama did!” Jack exclaimed. “To escape the Torgans! They thought one of their other people had killed her, and so she lived!”

There was a rustle of amusement through the group, and I looked over at Sarah. “Did Jack’s mother see this show? Could she see?”

Sarah shook her head. “No, she never got an injection. Faking her death was her idea entirely. It saved her life, but I’m not surprised. Jabiru has always been uncommonly perceptive. She’ll be an important part of convincing the Munga that sight is not to be feared, I’m sure.”

I was about to agree, but then a faint noise began echoing through the hall behind us. I looked in that direction, and saw a flashing red light.

Sarah stood gracefully, as if she hadn’t a care in the world, and moved over to the hall. The show was over, followed by music apparently, and the other caretakers were all suddenly quiet and grim-looking. I followed Sarah, and could hear Rust shadowing me. We went out to the window, but it was too dark to see out now. I tapped her shoulder. “What does that noise mean? Red is bad, right?”

Sarah nodded. “It’s the perimeter alarm. Think of it like a tripwire, connected to things that make noise. It means someone is approaching the Sanctuary. The same noise happened when you first arrived, but I had to see if you knew the code to get in or not.” She hesitated. “I don’t suppose you’re expecting company anytime soon, are you?”

Grimacing, I gave her a tiny shake of the head.

“Then I guess the Torgans have found us.”
« Last Edit: October 10, 2022, 05:08:05 AM by Daen »