||[Aug. 26th, 2006|08:10 pm]
momma's little boy was a honkie shaman
|||||twenty four oz.||]|
|||||Sunn O)))- Dylan Carlson||]|
(author's note- one day I will assemble this journal into some sort of order, right now it's all I can do just to make myself write, let alone keep to a chronology or plot) So if you were expecting a follow up to that last jawn, or any of the previous, solly cholly.
I don't know what was the scarier part of the sentence that was the first said to me today at the shop, "You're working on the Shkadov", or "with Trevarance today."
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love my life. I even love Trev as much as a man can love something that isn't completely sold on the idea of not eating him in a pique of frustration. I do get scared though when I'm working on the thing that exemplifies our very namesake- something that moves, if not lifts, stars. A lot rides on it, the least of which is hardly the trillions of beings that depend on this star and its retinue of planets, moons, and asteroids for their way of living. No, it's actually more the losing face for the tribe I worry about. We botch a job like this and it looks very bad. The next civilization or coterie of civilizations that can't get it together to migrate to another star or is just too lazy to, might just opt for mass uploading, or decide endenturing to the Bankers isn't too high of a price to outlive the life of their system. I worry about all that- making the Tribe look bad.
Well, no. Let me be honest, sometimes I just worry they're going to send me home. That they're not going to find any use for the softest, most frail of all the family. The one who can only see in one spectrum of light, the one whose body still needs a rigid sack around it in vacuum, the one who, even when he's inside the ship, has got to have his atmosphere just so, or he turns funny colors and uh, dies. The one who isn't used to applying gravy to his food with a air hose. About the only thing they don't laugh at me for is my ability to play the court with any gravity at all- and that, they don't know I was never actually any good at when I was on Earth. But they build with me, I with them, and today, they've got me on the Shkadov.
The Shtick, for that's what we call it, spans further than the unaugmented eye can see. It curves away in both directions, making it like the universe's largest dressing room. If I could actually view these ends, I'd see an infinite regress of me in my little pod.
Right now I'm doing something that sure seems like a robot could do, which is verifying the structural integrity of the sail. We get reports from the sail itself, (and it's not that bad of a conversationalist) but we like to be thorough, so out here I am, checking for holes with everything from lidar to magnetic resonance to my own baby blues. I couldn't actually see where a hole starts, but with the pressure this thing is under, it wouldn't take long before it would rip to the point where I could.
Trev buzzes me on the skreebox. The first time he says whatever's on his mind, it's completely undistinguishable from granulated static.
"Come back, Teethirteen."
The second time: "SHWOCK (crhshshswrdgg) LONG (bshshshs) THERE!?"
"Say again?" I really wish he could find a keyboard to fit his claws and just send me an email. I really wish there were still keyboards and email.
Third: "(in a voice half-machine translated)How long are you going to take fucking around out there?" The machine's good, I dunno why Trev doesn't use it more. Actually I do, he doesn't need to with anyone but me. And this is what really irritates me about astroengineering- everyone in the Tribe views it as ridden and rife with such common sense topics that they breeze through conversations with the speed of a trip through one of our nihiloports.
"Trev, three things:
1. I usually can't hear you.
2. When I can hear you, I can't understand you.
3. When I can understand you, I usually don't know what you're talking about."
A slight pause. The cultured tones of m-translated provolved reptilespeke: "Earthboy, you still got all that garlic in your creche?"
"Is it still flavorful when fitted rectally?"
He's still using the machine translator, so he can't be in that bad of a mood. So:
"Get fucked, hammerskin. I'm almost done with this section. What do you want me to do next?"
"KHHUSSHH (gargle) corpuscles."
"Recoat the ..."
"ARGLRGHEGE (brrp) CORPUSCLES!"
I think what he's trying to say is to make sure there's a honey-colored layer of the material on the outlying edge of the sail, accreting and converting stellar dust and radiation into the living scab that makes up the sail. But I can't be sure. Last time I made the mistake of not being clear we were out here way past quitting time busting up a grown over layer of this stuff. It sets fast and grows faster. If you're going to push a star (ok, so we're not actually part of the lifting crew on this jawn- but we actually do more jobs like this than we do coronal mass harvesting), you need a big sail, and if you need a sail that size, you're not going to get it welding it piecemeal. A little life will go a long way here, so what we're really looking at is something a few million years evolved from what covers up your skateboarding bobos. What momma used to kiss and make better, now moves your solar system.