I closed the house up for my absence - I did not expect this to take more than a day, but one never knows - just as Papa slipped onto the plane. “Your sister will need this,” he said, handing me a package. The handwriting and the aura both belonged to the priest from the old neighborhood. I nodded to him as he slipped out again, and I prepared to make the transition myself.
Following the trace my sister had left, I got pulled into the eddy the containment squad created when they rezzed in above the ships. The thing that held sister and her mates at bay was a blend of the scientific and esoteric, and I saw why Father Bert had sent the salt and holy water. Belt-and-braces sort he was, I wouldn’t have put it past him to bless the salt while he was at it, as well. I tossed the Divine Saline kit to ‘Chen and started my search for the lady in distress.
It did not take long, as she was the power core for the artificial city. I found her by following the source of energy, just as Bloodwing had taken off for his ships. Damned if he doesn’t keep showing up like a bad penny. Fine, Council would have to deal with him later. I had to help here if I was able.
She did not look about when she heard my approach, but asked, "Why have you returned? Were the ships destroyed?"
"No, Qlippothic...not just yet..." She turned in shock as my voice did not match her expectations.The atmosphere in this section of the city was rapidly depleting, possibly due to her dwindling resources. I hoped she was concentrating her living support system controls around the crew. However, with the loss of the air, I would need to link to her to continue conversing with her. I had not tried this with a self-aware non-organic person before, but there was no time like the present.
Positioning myself in the left side of her field of vision, I touched her shoulder [let me help?]
[No, get to safety; I need to do this myself.] But the glow of core flickered, showing how low her reserve was.
[I can provide energy to make sure your task is done.] Without waiting for an answer, I positioned myself behind her, wrapping my arms around, placing my hands at the connection points above and below her core. [We can do this and still get you home.]
[I cannot return, I will only have enough energy for the task,] she said. [The Wormwood comet must be destroyed.]
My response was simplistic, but true, [It will, no worries; where there is life, there is still hope.] Then I initiated the full link for energy transfer.
Mother Magma, was that a shock. The sheer volume of information this lady held would fill the libraries of several continents. As I got over the surprise at the amount of information, the next was the order. I was used to the random jumble that organics use for memories, but the information here would not be lost to a random neuron firing. It would just be lost because of her sacrifice for a land that where she no longer fit. I finally settled into the link with her, and opened the energy channel.
Linked with her, I saw all the data she had collected. The path of the comet, maps of the debris fields, the gravitational pull equations for each of the planets, moons and stars the comet would pass… and I saw she had never played billiards.
I set up the shot in my mind, and linked with her the way I was, she followed the track, seeing the forces interact, checking my numbers as the path continued. The available usable energy, balanced with the weight of the city, and the power applied all at the beginning without further guidance.
She argued for the briefest of eternities (nanoseconds? What odd terms she used) but we could not come up with another alternative that would provide the city with enough momentum to cause a significant course change in the comet's path without causing more destruction to inhabited worlds. I understood her need to see this through to the end, but the reality would be she would not survive long enough to see it, and her knowledge must be preserved somehow. She disagreed, stating the knowledge she held was too dangerous to be kept.
The time was fast approaching when we would need to give the city the final push. [I will stay, go and make sure the others are prepared.] Though she would not be aware, she still argued she should be there for the destruction.
Calculations sifting through my consciousness, I concentrated on giving her the energy she needed, when she needed it, for this would be the ultimate hustle of fate with a cocked hat double – and no chance for a re-rack.
I poured everything I could into the link; we sent the city on its collision course, and she released the remainder back to me. I opened a rift behind us and let the city push me through.
I was still linked with Miss Qlippothic.
The link to the city was dead, but her body had not released the grip on the chains.
Halfway through the transition, I felt her ripped away from me. I lost her in the void between my transit points.
As I collapsed on the floor of my office, I realized what an idiot I had been. I had linked to the house in Harborside. Never mind the Foundation building had been destroyed and the land claimed by another; she had ties elsewhere. Before the accident she had been a resident of the Cay, but that base was gone as well. She would be in Caledon, somewhere, I had to find her...