Jul 16, 2019 4:23 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
Permalink

Cloudbank is a beautiful place, from a certain perspective. Blue sky and white clouds above, all around, and misty white clouds below.

Here is an island of solidity in the sea of sky. The wind is a steady breeze, the floating island sitting just barely on top of a dense, foggy layer of air. It's not an especially large island, perhaps two hundred feet wide and three hundred long all told, curved slightly like the back of some giant beast.

The sandy soil is thin, and wears straight through to a porous-looking sort of rock in places. There are grasses and weeds and shrubs and a few trees, plus a few small creatures. Some familiar, like the wild onions. Some alien, like the thickets of not-quite-grass with flimsy, transparent, bulging seeds straining upwards against their mooring.

A songbird casually swoops from its nest and catches one of these seeds in its bill, while something with tentacles and a large gas-bag clings to the island at the edge, nibbling on the alien leaves of something reminiscent of mangroves, a three-dimensional web of stems and flaxen roots.

And then someone else arrives.

Total: 484
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"Oh? Well, whatever you are, I'd better settle you in for a rest and get back to work. Storm's still grabbing at our tail. Unless you know how to sail and feel like helpin' out?"

Permalink

"I'm not familiar. I learn fast but you would have to teach me."

Permalink

He scratches stubble on his chin. "Well, Captain Flint told me to either settle you in or put you to work. So I'd better just get you a meal and a cabin, I think."

Permalink

"All right, thanks so much!"

Permalink

"Follow me down, then. I don't mean to deny ya a proper welcome, but the weather doesn't care what we want. I'm sure you'll get one later."

Permalink

"I understand." She follows.

Permalink

"This way."

The ship is as primitive as it appeared from afar. The only light on the inside is from windows. It's not cramped, but it's very Spartan - plywood-thin doors, almost no furniture, and everything aboard is minimal or lightweight.

"Hope ya like potatoes. Rem!"

Rem is a wiry woman who comes bearing a plate of... Mostly potatoes. Baked, mashed, fried. There's also some nuts and about half an apple, sliced.

"Damn, you look good for a castaway," comments Rem.

Darien laughs, "That's what I said! Her name is Tarinda. Can you show her a cabin after she eats up, Rem? I'm sure the engine needs me by now."

"Sure thing, sir. Nice to meet you, Tarinda. I'm Rem, as you heard." She hands over the food.

Permalink

"Nice to meet you too! Thanks for the potatoes, they look great."

Permalink

She smiles. "Thank you! I'm proud of my potatoes. Grew the chives and made the butter myself."

Permalink

"Nice!" Tarinda tucks in like she's eaten mostly onions for the last several days.

Permalink

Rem fetches a cup of water. "Heh. I'll take your voraciousness as a compliment on my cooking and not as about how hungry you probably are. When you cook for eight hours a day you can't help but get good at it. Most ships' cooks aren't as good as me because they cook for two or three hours and then do other work. I cook or do food prep all day. Dried, jammed, peeled, mixed, mashed, baked, smoked, and cut food sells better than just another boring trade ship haulin' raw onions and rice around. Clever, huh?"

Permalink

"Quite! Do you can it?"

Permalink

"...Can? Can I what?"

Permalink

"Do you put it in cans? How do you store it?"

Permalink

"Ah. Cans. Nah, too expensive. We have lots of glass jars, and some barrels for drinks, and the rest gets wrapped in paper or flatbread or whatever and stuck in the pantry."

Permalink

"And you find places to trade often enough that it doesn't go bad first?"

Permalink

Shrug. "Usually. It's rare we don't find something inside of two weeks. Plus, it's not like we can really do much about it except eat what's gonna go bad soon first."

Permalink

"Makes sense. Do you grow food on board?"

Permalink

"Yep! Well, herbs and medicinals. I mentioned my chives. Hey, what do you do, dressed up like that, and is that a real sword?"

Permalink

"It is! I do swordfighting! Recreationally, I mean."

Permalink

"Huh. You have... Friends who also own swords out there somewhere?"

Permalink

"It'd take a really long time to find them but yeah."

Permalink

Nod, nod. "Of course. Hard to get anywhere in particular in the wide blue sky. Lookin' at it the other way, my psycho ex-boyfriend will hopefully never find me again."

Permalink

"Gosh, I hope so! Good luck!"

Permalink

"I have burly friends and knives now. He's welcome to-" She looks fierce, then sheepish. "...I'd say he's welcome to try, but it's probably better for all concerned I never see him again."

Total: 484
Posts Per Page: