Darkship Revenge – Snippet 17

Mapping the world

I woke not knowing what time it was, with Erin complaining.  It was her “I am wet” complaint.  It’s amazing how in a very few days I’d come to know her range of sounds.  The wet cry was not a full throated cry, like the one when she was dirty or needed food.  Rather it was a low, rambling complaint, as though she were muttering in her sleep.

I said “Light” and the light came on, as it had been programmed in most of the house.  For the first time it occurred to me to wonder where the energy for this part of the house was coming from, considering the stripped condition of the house above.  Then I nodded to myself.  Of course father must have had a backup power source for this place.  If he hadn’t, someone who helped run the rest of the house – housekeeper, butler or manager – would have noticed the power consumption and initiated a search for where it was going, thereby risking disclosing the secrets father would like to keep secret, including but not limited to the fact that he’d lived for over three hundred years and was one of the dreaded mules once created to administer entire countries.

Possibly, too, this part of the house had some sort of emergency power supply, since I had the vague idea that it had been meant as a safe place, where Father could ride out a full attack on him.  Wars between the Good Men for various purposes, including trade advantages, hadn’t been unusual in the three hundred years since the turmoils.

I changed Eris, and put the used diaper down an incinerator chute, wondering if it would in fact get incinerated or if that system was now disabled and if it was just falling into some place below, from where no one would retrieve it. Not that I cared much either way, it was just an odd feeling not to know which systems I could count on.

Eris went back to sleep almost immediately.  I had no idea what time it was.  The only thing approaching a window in the room was the repaired place where I’d once smashed a chair through to create an impromptu exit.

I looked at it, amused that it had been inexpertly repaired.  I suspected father had had this place built long ago and the workers who’d built it assassinated.  So to repair it without being discovered he’d likely have had to do it himself in the scant time between my causing the damage and his death.

Then I remembered my idea.  I set Eris down in the nest of blankets and slid into the chair behind the desk with dad’s link, the one that had kept all his secret projects, reports of his prisons, and who knew what else.

To begin with the link gave me the most immediate information I needed.  It was in fact five in the morning.  Outside, the sun would be shining still pale, and veiled, from behind the clouds.  How pale and veiled depended on the season, which I tried in vain to calculate before looking at the calendar in the link’s memory and finding out it was November.  So the sun would be very pale and veiled indeed, I thought, as I started poking around the link, trying to find my way.

The last time I’d used this link or its predecessor, I was looking for something very specific, to be precise where exactly my father had hidden my husband.

Now, while my husband was still hidden and I could not find him, and a forlorn, attempt at calling him, just now, with Kit? Brought no answer, I didn’t think I could find the location in my father’s files.

In fact, since my father had been dead for two years or so, I couldn’t find the answer to any current problems in his records.  It was not his records I wanted.  It was recent news which I wanted to search for any mention of a triangular ship, and any reference to anyone arriving from space recently.  In addition I’d like to know if any of my old friends were still in power and could lend me help.  I presumed Jan Rainer, of Sea York Seacity was still alive, or had been at a recent time.  But whether that meant he was still in control of anything, I couldn’t know, and I didn’t also know if Fuse could even understand the concept of a Good Man’s power.

So I slid in front of the link full of determination.

I’m not a programmer or anyone who can bend computers to her will.  Of the two of us, Kit was better with that.  I’m simply good with machines, and because of that could, sometimes, with much effort, alter programming and make things work the way I wanted them to.

Daddy Dearest’s system proved a pain in the behind.  In truly paranoid fashion he’d hidden all his records behind multiple passwords.  Fortunately I now knew enough of his past to crack those.  Not that I did it at first.  What I didn’t expect and only a truly insane man would do is that he also had locked all the search functions of the link behind multiple passwords.

While floundering around, trying to get the link to do what I wished, I activated something, which projected a hollo onto the desktop.  I took in sharp breath at the sight of it.  I’d seen it before, much faded and discolored and in small format in the house of a man in Eden.  Or rather in the house of one of two mules who’d stayed behind in Eden, with the bioed but human mule servants.  The rest of the mules had continued their voyage to the stars in the interstellar spaceship tragically named Je Reviens.  That Mule, Doctor Bartolomeu Dias had been the one who’d decanted Kit and, truth be told the one who had saved Kit’s life before he was even born.  He’d served as a sort of surrogate father to my husband.

The hollo showed him as a young, tanned man of Mediterranean looks, short but muscular with dark curling hair and dark, smiling eyes.  He was leaning on a tall, red-headed man who, except for hair color and the fact his green eyes were perfectly normal human eyes, was a dead ringer for Kit which made sense since this was Jarl Ingemar, the originator of the genetic code Kit carried.  I wasn’t so stupid as to think I knew Jarl.  But his personality had been accidentally superimposed on my husband’s for a brief time, when Kit had been given a cutting edge treatment to restore brain function after an injury.  I wondered sometimes if parts of him still remained in Kit.  Then I wondered if the treatment they’d given Fuse was of the same kind, and wondered what personality they might have given him.

Leaning on Jarl from the other side was another young man, also much shorter than Jarl, and also vaguely Mediterranean.  Dark hair, and blue eyes, a lithe build and a more-pretty-than-handsome face.  The young man could have been my brother.   Which he was in a way, since he was the originator of the genetic code to which I’d been built, even if they’d somehow managed to gender-shift me.

At the time this holo had been taken, they were very young.  Even though mules aged slower, and it was possible that they’d looked this young over the next thirty years or so, I knew they were young from the attempted insouciant poses, the white suits which looked like they were the somewhat expensive but not tailored, the kind of clothes that young bureaucrats would wear.

I assumed this had been before the Fish war, the first war between the land nations and the Seacities which, in collapsing society and destroying much of the world, had first catapulted the bio engineered young men into power as Bio-Lords, the same young men who would, after the turmoils, rule under pretense of natural humanity, as the Good Men.

Not for the first time, it occurred to me that these bio-improved men had been given everything, or at least everything that the bio science of the time could give them.  They’d been made superhumanly intelligent, agile, strong and healthy.  Other talents had been heaped on them depending on who had built them and for what purpose: Simon seemed to have been a naturally good actor, like I was an instinctive mechanic, for instance.