Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Kviye scooped up the smaller pebble-sized pieces into one hand and the larger ball into the other and resumed setting them into place.
“How do you even know they’re supposed to go in there?”
“I don’t,” Kviye answered as the first pebble crossed an invisible threshold and jolted slightly before stabilizing in a floating position. “I can hear you rolling your eyes, you know.”
Valyen merely snorted in response.
“Remember a couple of years back?” Kviye continued. “Those half-starved Wentries that spent four months flying barely above light speed before they reached us? Everyone knew their subspace skimmer was busted yet nobody knew how to fix it.”
Valyen straightened up at this suggestion. “There’s no way this hunk of junk is part of a skimmer.”
“Maybe a primitive one. That’s not the point, do you remember who fixed it?”
“Yes,” Valyen answered, her voice dropping, but then she smiled. “Those Wentries were so mad you started rooting about in there. For a moment I thought they might tear you limb from limb, or at the very least toss you right out of the ship.”
Kviye snorted. “They weren’t too happy with me. Until they realized I fixed it. I was just there to help you out, not really looking to go off on my own.” The whole time Kviye spoke, Valyen watched her hands intently at work, fingers moving and manipulating without any discernible pattern. One of the pebbles started to float away from the group, but Kviye’s left pinky shot out and shepherded it back into place. “I was looking over your shoulder as you fiddled with something and it caught me out of the corner of my eyes, the heaviness these things emit that you can’t quite put a finger on. It was also somehow different that time, almost as if it was upset.”
“Oh stop it.”
“I’m serious. I know it makes no sense but that’s what I felt. I can’t tell you what I heard or what I saw because the answer is pretty much ‘nothing’. When it pulled me, and I followed, I forgot all about you and all about the Wentries. The only thing that remained was that black ball and that whine it sent to the back of my head. I could feel that the shroud around it was darker and somehow knew that I could stop it. So I lay my hands on it and adjusted it and I can’t even say if those were my hands, let alone if I was moving them. And through the haze I heard the distant shouting and then a hand roughly tore me away but by that point is was all done. The darkness had thinned and I returned to the ship. Good thing that it started making all the right noises and the Wentries kindly opted not to kill me.”
Valyen, somehow even paler than she normally looked, shuddered. “I never liked these things. Some deep space dark magic bapa zhaga stuff.”
“Maybe so, but face it, from what we’ve seen, you can’t run a subspace skimmer without one. And without a skimmer, how am I supposed to take to the stars?”
“The stars, Kvee, just take a moment to think what you’re talking about here, what kind of precise calculations and what kind of specific knowledge is required here. You can’t fly a skiff across the continent without crashing if you don’t have years of training and what are you going to go on? Feelings?”
Kviye bit her lip as a particularly finicky dark pebble refused to find a place for itself, but after a few moments of concentration, she whispered “yes”.
“You can’t take a ship to the stars with feelings alone.”
“Well, not alone, it’s feelings and these little things.” And as she finished speaking, Kviye felt through her fingers a bit of resistance, a sensation that spread up her arms and through her whole body, as if for a moment she had been locked in placed, and when she pushed herself out of the stupor, she knew she could let go and she removed her fingers to leave the little pebbles orbiting the larger ball, all suspended within the open chamber of the device.
“I’ve certainly never seen them do that before.” Kviye couldn’t remember the last time Valyen looked so perplexed while looking at something ostensibly mechanical. A faint hum emanated from the long-extinguished device and a smudged display came to life.
“Me neither.” The panel displayed a few words she didn’t recognize, written in that intricate script that the ship’s systems used, but as far as she could tell, everything, whatever “everything” was in this situation, was functioning as it should have been. “Looks like it’s working.”
“And how did you make that conclusion, more feelings?”
“I’d call it more of an ‘educated guess’ and it’s gotten me this far, so why stop now?” Kviye got up and rubbed her hands on her pants. “Let me just check if dad’s picked up any commissions for today.”
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.