Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Petra Ewe, Alongtimeinthefuture. while McKenzie lives.

Jesse S. Mitchell

this part from in between parts one & two

She was surrounded by stars.  Bright yellow stars, everywhere, copious and impenetrable, a cloud blanket of total and pure color.  Her eyes hurt as they tried to focus, to try and see the field behind, to pick up patches or fragments of green or tan behind them, her glass windshield in front of her was dirty, smeared, it was hard to concentrate.  There were no stars at all in fact.  It was a solidly brilliant sunny day, hot, humid, and it made her hair frizz a bit more and uncontrollably.  She felt sweat collecting on her brow as she sat in the steel and glass reinforced pod in the middle of  a meadow in Gloucestershire.  It was late spring and all the stars were really just clutches and bunches of golden wildflowers.  A perfect little field.  A perfect little day.  Under a perfect little sky.
Behind her were the last rows of houses of the village and to the side was the trickling Slaughter Brook.  The pod she sat in was attached to a huge and long expandable metal arm apparatus, thousands of cables and lights, wires and routers, electronic devices far beyond the comprehension of the average living human.  Even years beyond us now, still amazing technology.  The best that money can buy.  Or could buy.  Before the funding stopped, the government all but pulled the plug, but the project limps on, basically on love, fed with good intentions.
Inside a small grey cinder block building directly in front of the pod and the wires and lights and arm, sat the only other person on site at the facility today…or any other day, a blonde woman with a serious face, so serious, it never appears to move or to have moved.  Nearing forty-five and tired, with nothing to spend energy on but this moribund project.  She is sitting at the controls, but isn’t attentive, busy reading, headlines, stories, news, fake, manufactured and real.  She knows she is being lied to when she reads the news updates, in fact she counts on it, factors that in.
“Come on.  Hurry up.  It’s hot in here.  I’m sweating.” Petra Ewe sits in the pod, at the piloting controls, and checks and double checks everything, clicking the tab to communicate with the master board in the control building.
“It won’t hurt you for a bit.”
“It’s humid too, making my hair frizz.”
“So, what’s new?”
“What’s new?  Well, for one, our starvation if we don’t get this thing working.  Some results.  Not to mention our reputations.”
“Our reputations?”  The blonde woman chuckles as she keeps reading, absent-mindedly flicking the tab on and off to continue the conversation.
“The Celtic Union is far in front of us with this research.”
“The Celtic Union doesn’t stand a chance.  They simply don’t have the tech that we have, we’ll be fine, keep your pants on.”
“The Celtic Union is taking this seriously.  They are putting in the work.”
As she said it, the machine under her began to growl and lurch slightly forward.
“here we go.”  Petra breathed out, a tiny whisper, giving up on being heard.
And she sat perfectly still, her hands gripping the control bars tighter and tighter, grinding her teeth, and waited.  Waited for the insurmountable force that mysteriously was pooling beneath her and beginning to swell, she knew it would hit soon and then up up up, she would be rocketed up high into the atmosphere on a long almost infinitely expanding steel lattice work of arms and wrenches and hydraulic hisses and hoses.  Another force would then take over, a multicolored intangible gust of energy that would sweep her off the tall sky-scraping pedestal and force her beyond the troposphere and deep into space.  Deeper than anyone has gone before.  (or would, if this wasn’t all a simulation.  Everything preparation).
She waited.  And imagined the blue sky over her head and prepared herself for the cracking away and the way the blue would slide to violet and then to purple. All the colors bleeding through the busted sky as she would rocket up and to the shell thin fabric of atmosphere before breaking out, tearing apart the egg and albumin and hatching out spectacularly in deep dark distant space.  Cosmic child.
She breathed hard.   And she waited.  Not more than two seconds past and the countdown barely moved.
“This thing is still in simulation mode, right?”
“Uh huh.”  came the disinterested and raspy reply over the module’s intercom.
“Because I’m not ready for deep space yet.”  she touched the dark bronze coil of hair on top of her head, gently expanding, effervescently frizzed in the hot humid air.  Everything pregnant.  Everything heavy.  Soaked through with moisture and quivering moments waiting to likewise expand, expand and pop.
New realities.  Answers to old realities.  Able to more easily understand the old and more readily birth the new.   

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