Things Left Mostly Unsaid (00)

This series needs an introduction, but there isn’t one yet.

§00 — He stared grimly at the ‘object’ – if that’s what it was. Some would call it one, of course, though without much conviction. There was an illusory unreality to it.
“It means nothing to me,” he said. “I don’t recognize it at all.”
“Are you sure?”
“For sure, I’m sure,” he insisted. “It’s not the sort of thing you’d forget.”
“I’d have thought it was exactly that sort of thing.”

“How can you say that?” he asked, surprised. “It might have been made to be unmentioned.”
“You think it was made?”
He reconsidered. “It came from somewhere.”
Whatever it was, the exchange had been glitched by it, and disconnected.
“If it’s an artifact,” she said, with firm confidence, “it’s not ours.”
“We being?” he asked.
“Anything you can identify with will do.”
“Unless ‘artifact builders in general’.”
“That’s thinkable?”
He paused to reflect. “I guess it would be bold to say ‘yes’.”
“Heroic even,” she said.
“So talking about unthinkable artisans means talking around them.”
“If that’s the trajectory you’re on.”
“Consistent avoidance turns into an orbit, almost inevitably.”
“Continually missing something,” she agreed. “But that’s a trap, surely? You’re stuck to it.”
Yet stickiness kept its distance. The entity repelled contemplation. Its formlessness suggested no alleviating simplicity. The impression it made was elusive, hinting at immense bulk twisted into itself, or withdrawn into obscure dimensions.
“I really don’t like it,” he said childishly.
“No one expects you to.”
“Could we hand it over somehow?”
“Who’s going to take it?”
“We could just leave it here.”
“Be realistic.”
“Okay then,” he accepted. “What’s the next move?”
“First priority has to be not screwing this up,” she said. “We need to take our time.”
“Take it back, you mean?”
“If we can do that,” she concurred. “It’s not clear.”
They retreated from it slightly, as if by instinct. There was no sign of movement. Still, it indicated some kind of motionless shifting. Alternative patterns suggested themselves. Distances wouldn’t be changing much, apparently.
“How long do you think it will take?” he said after a while.
“As much as it’s able to, would be my guess.”
“We could use some expert assistance.”
“Spare us the happy thoughts.” If there were experts it would be an entirely different situation.
He’d been correct about the trajectory. It was like an orbit. The inclination to see more, without getting closer, produces circumspection automatically. Of course, neither was in any hurry to approach it, if that was even possible. Passive contact-aversion might not have been its primary property, but it appeared to be. The effect was repulsive. An inescapable thought was generated that it might somehow sting – very badly.
“Do you think we get out of this?” The remark was spun ironically, as if lifted from a movie.
“Why wouldn’t we?” The game was distracting. “There’s no need to exaggerate its malignancy.”
He tilted his head towards the thing, as if that was argument enough.
“I doubt it’s even hostile,” she said.
“Doubt how much?”
“It’s not done anything so far, or – at least – so far as we can tell.”
Everything was hidden in the qualification, and not deeply. To scrape at it would have been too crude.
“There’s no obvious end to this,” he said.

January 28, 2020admin 3 Comments »

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