~Plant growth on a human body.
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The Endling Cult gathers in June, just before the rainy season. Nobody really knows where they gather, or why, or how it is that they know where to go, exactly. Their journey is as mysterious as that of the migratory birds they study, and every bit as long.
So when Maila blows in from out of the wasteland, it comes as something of a surprise. This is the first time in anyone’s memory that an outsider has been allowed to tag along for the journey—and stay for the gathering.
She has been called here to repair one of their own, a venerable ex-secutor that they call ‘the Col.’ Though the endlings have no leaders or governing bodies to speak of, it is often necessary for elder secutors like the Col to watch over their proceedings. Few are old enough to command the respect of their peers. Fewer still can keep the peace when tensions run high.
Maila would like to be honored by the summons, and to some extent, she is. The pressure of being trusted with such a high-profile repair job is enough to make her hands shake. But the truth of the matter is that there isn’t much the endlings need to worry about, around her. Not because she’s privy to the cult’s secrets, but because she has no hope of ever understanding them.
The hum of conversation fades. Maila looks up. The Col waves a delicate hand overhead, and it’s like a switch is flipped. All eyes are on them.
The Col’s speaking voice is slow and methodical, their voice modulator rattling around the synthetic edges of their words. They introduce her to the crowd and explain the reason for her intrusion.
The endlings simply watch her. Maila gets the feeling that she’s supposed to say something. She begins to speak, but pauses. Then, as if by some invisible signal, the crowd carries on. The dialogue continues without her.
Maila can’t keep up with it, even if she wants to.
Theirs is a Devonian language of clicking, humming, and static bursts. When the Col speaks, now, she feels it more than she hears it—a thrumming in her chest, like thunder rolling through a valley. MarkOS sounds almost musical by comparison, his human voice chopped up and intercut with what sounds like radio feedback.
They all talk over one another, but there is no crosstalk. Their cybernetically-altered brains hold onto each and every incoming signal. With mechanical speed and precision, they dissect its meaning, commit its contents to indelible machine memory, and articulate a response. Maila only perceives the exchange as white noise. With each passing moment, her brain has to choose what to keep and what to forget—a decision made unconsciously, and without her permission.
Much of the conversation happens beyond her senses entirely, in the exchange of phytochemicals and electromagnetic pulses. Fungal mats entwine their threadlike fingers with one another, deep beneath the earth. Optical implants keep watch over the crowd’s shimmering heat signatures. Leaves open their stomata to exchange water for carbon dioxide, and maybe some other things, too. The air itself comes alive with conversation.
MarkOS occasionally pauses to interpret for her, but his explanations are clumsy, and they usually raise more questions than they answer. She knows that what he chooses to tell her barely scratches the surface. In one mechanized breath he can deliver an argument that Maila would struggle to explain in an hour. Add a hundred secutors to the mix, and the discourse mutates rapidly from moment-to-moment, concerns raised and settled in mere minutes.
On one hand, there is the slow language of rocks, mountains, and plants. On the other, the cryptic secutor pidgin, spoken only in hushed whispers and frantic radio bursts. Both are languages she barely understands.
reyes visits thos skitties... what are they up to............................
im making up microsocieties in my head as usual. and listening to a lot of the album Reality by Wolfgun. Apart from the usual Mechanical Screams of the Damned in the Mechanicus soundtrack, I really like the more pensive tone of Reality. catch me in the dirt about 'Mars' and 'Our Kind.'