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Hygiene was instilled in Pylo when she was a very young girl.

It was honestly necessary. When not properly restraining one’s self or leaving one’s messes to fester could be an ecological disaster.

So she knew the familiar sting of pores and oviriticuli having been burned down to the roots. It made her clumsy and dull in her native tongue. But there had not been anyone to talk to directly that could appreciate the full breadth of communication.

And by the time they reached the next stop it would all be grown back.

Now it was time to get into position for the next burn.

“Right so let’s see... first stop? Is... hmmm”

Tunie hummed and buzzed in the sparse vapors and out gasing from Pylo’s immolated tissues while the freshly cleaned crewmember began to fulfill her role as ‘guide’. Pulling scraps of notes to herself in a multitude of forms and instruments.

It was an eclectic medley of tools to be sure. Spanning more time then some civilizations and habitats had even existed. But preserved nearly pristine by their travels with Pylo.

Here was a little wiggling strobing orb. Full of scintillating flakes and wriggling jelly. Pylo idly stroked the surface till it warmed and began to glow then reached out with her voice on the aether and began singing.

A small song, a short voiced tone that would fall off rapidly into indistinct buzz.

And then from the little orb records, impressions and maps began to sing their way back, echoing Pylo’s voice laden heavy with the answer to her queries.

That finished she turned to a cube, it was sturdy, robust and had weathered impacts, dents heavy acceleration and even one or two times being left in the sanitation spray! She unscrewed a pair of hexagonal nuts, noticing the taste of tungsten with her fingers, to remove the protective plate and access the anode and cathode of the serial port.

Next she grabbed a heavy cylinder of metal with what pylo suspected were miracles inside. It required a different touch. A heavy and rhythmic shaking, moving back and forth along its axis, the spongy feel of resistance inside it letting pylo know it was building to wakefulness. Then once a green light flared at one end she flipped it around and jammed the cylinder into the port on the side of the cube and waited for it to feed the cube.

While waiting for the sturdy little cube she pulled towards her what looked like a perfectly featureless clear quartz cylinder, very similar to the ones she'd bought blank in bulk from the terrans. This one had to be placed into a machine that spunn it rapidly shining a high energy laser through it and onto a sensor. From the output port wafted the aroma of aerosolized nucleotides, courtesy of the adapter she never bothered taking out last time she used it.

It required a different kind of posture to understand and digest the information, but it was a relaxing and almost comforting ambience.

Pylo loved every tool that had survived working with her.

But in particular she liked the genetic adaptor for the crystal reader. She'd gone through some pretty big troubles to acquire it dɪnæni purk ago Travel time.

It was not strictly that she was sentimental, her instruments were used as she found them convenient, those that broke, wore out or became unresponsive went into the archaeological artefact pile for later sale as curiosities or ancient relics.

This also earned her love of the sturdy little cube, The damn thing had been with her since she started traveling with tunie and had yet to give out! One time when her sister got stuck stranded without a ship in some cranny of the reef. Supposedly the same model of canner cube only gave out after lunthununɪdoinoi purk of trusty service!

Lunthununɪdoinoi Purk!

Pylo could scarcely think of how long that would be aboard Tunie. It was enough time to have the reef wiped clean and built anew!

Or she liked to think it was, the reef was actually very huge and she probably did the math wrong somewhere.

Either way

Finally the cube gave a confirming light and the little thing began to shake and wobble as it floated in front of her.

Pylo yanked the cylinder free, whose green light had dimmed to yellow and then red before going dark. Flipped the cube port around and then with a little pin prick to get the right shake on the tip of her tongue jabbed into the coppery pulsing tingle of the machine.
The lethargic buzz, click, whine, twist, buzz of the old canner cube swam into life as her own mind shifted and pulled up a song of rhythm and counts. Of things either true or false as sparks and rushing through her synapse faster than any chemistry could provide.

It turned raw data to meaning and thought, and with a twisting of currents along her flesh converted thought and requests back.

[​IMG]And so did Pylo read her trade notes, navigation logs and general manifests and market predictions.

Of course technically Pylo could probably just have used one of the data store holds in Tunie’s Mid-core and a simple interface device to do everything she was fiddling with here (and taken significantly less time without having to downshift so much from reading arcane genetics).

But That would have involved keeping the router network up and running.

And Tunie’s motiles kept cleaning them up and storing them in the scrap metal stocks whenever they made a sweep.

Finally after pylo had run her various reviews and updates of the massive trove of records across the adhoc instruments and storage mediums she was ready.

“Okay Tunie, ready for plotting the course?”


“So we are coming up the loop? The burgandy kelp place, or whatever. It’s on a outreach lots of crossroads and a very diverse market but not good arbitrage We should be able to get any rare bits there but nothing for a lucrative deal. I’m thinking after we should probably sweep through two canner wheels and a grove? Then maybe one outreach or even an uplift to swing past on the loop back?”

“↺◈ ◶◴◬⑉? ◴◵ ◶↻▃⌒↻ ⌒⌒↺↹”

“Okay fine we can aim for two outreaches and swing back around to check if maybe the last uplift actually got themselves going? Hum... That will be bringing us close to a cache right? One from my eldest sister or from my mother?”

“▁▁▃▁ ◍◷↻▁⎌⎌◍⇜▅ ▃▂▁ ⎌?”

“The one that packed me that nice comb you love so much is eldest”

“!!! ↺↺↺ !!!”

“Yes I know, but if it’s from my mother it’s gonna be choke full of pollen giving me updates and probably demands that we divert to one of the reunions”


“If you are sure... Yeah I guess we can go that way, and then we can even check in on Topeolus. If we are lucky we will have something in fashion to trade for a bit of city magic... If we are really unlucky someone finally blew the place up but we can still sift the wreckage and offer relief efforts as our outreach”


“I think we will be fine even if the place is in the middle of the war at the time, It will be obvious well before our approach and we can just go around and skim the outer reaches, and that should finish us off as full a schedule as we can trust without updates”


“Oh right, the Terra delivery to their colony... Uh right I guess we can hit that right after Topeolus, or its ruins or whatever. That feel safe as a course solution?”


The gentle push of acceleration began to build up. Slowly straining on Pylo. To hold herself against it she reached out to grasp the hook holds with her various distils. The clouds of random knick knacks pooling into the bulk heads.

And so they were under way.

However it didn't last long. The expanse here was much too dense for moving at full speed, lest Tunie suffer dangerous levels of ablation on her feathers.

“Mmm I wonder what they serve at the bars in Red Weed”

Tunie did not have much to offer to that, but Pylo suspected there was a weary disapproval being nurtured somewhere in her big friend’s massive body.

Ah well the lazy part of the trip was over.

Now to get to work on the chores.

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Morgan J Heacock
Author Works