A Quantum Mythology

A Quantum Mythology by Gavin G. Smith

Book: A Quantum Mythology by Gavin G. Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gavin G. Smith
grizzled.
    ‘Believe me, I hate him more than you do.’
    Talia looked up at him. ‘He killed part of me, the greater part of me, the best part of me. Sleeping, her in my mind, mine in hers … it was just the best thing that ever … better than any drug or fuck.’ She looked up at him. ‘Even with an insect.’
    Vic was about to ask her if she’d ever had sex with any other insects before he realised she was teasing him. He was coming to the conclusion that he didn’t understand pre-Loss humans. He certainly couldn’t keep up with them.
    He sat down next to her and awkwardly put his two right arms around her. He’d seen this move in the pre-Loss media he’d assimilated. Though, as he understood it, it required some sort of communal room projecting two-dimensional moving images to be truly effective. He was gratified when she moved closer to him, leaning against his armoured thorax.
    ‘You’re really uncomfortable,’ she told him, but she didn’t move away.
    ‘Has anything weird ever happened to you?’ Vic asked, mindful of what Scab had told him to do. He felt more exasperation over the experiential ’face link Scab had downloaded into Vic’s neunonics.
    Talia pulled away from him and stared at him as if he was mad. ‘No, this is perfectly fucking normal! All the girls in Bradford curl up with a giant insect and watch starless space of a Saturday night!’
    ‘Well, I don’t know, do I?’ Vic said in frustration. He got the feeling she was making this more difficult than it had to be. ‘I don’t know what’s normal for you. We have a queen, workers and warriors, and that’s it. I grew up in a hive. Humans have, like, five sexes alone, and every one of them is different, and weird, and really fucking difficult!’
    ‘Five sexes? Really?’
    ‘Some of them are fashion genders.’
    ‘In my day we had two, maybe three, max.’
    ‘I’m sorry I can’t relate to you.’
    ‘Look, this sea of fucking weirdness … I mean, there are no aliens, only uplifts …’ She gestured at him. ‘And you’re hitting on me. It’s just … everything’s been so weird, for so long, and it’s not going to get better, is it? Because you’re planning to sell me.’
    ‘I’m not,’ Vic told her. ‘If I could, I’d send you back to your own life, but I can’t.’
    ‘So you’ll be nice to me? We can be friends, right?’ She cocked her head to one side in a way that Vic found very attractive. Every bit of facial and voice-analysis software he had was telling him he was being manipulated. He didn’t care.
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘And you’ll protect me from him?’
    ‘I can’t.’
    ‘But you’re like a giant insect killing machine, aren’t you?’ she asked. The manipulation was gone. This was desperation.
    ‘You don’t understand …’ Vic was growing less and less sure of the benefits of his human psychosurgery as time went by. He was becoming more intimate with shame than he really wanted to be.
    Ask her how the weirdness started , Scab ’faced to him.
    ‘How did the weirdness start?’ Vic asked.
    ‘Why do you want to know?’ Talia demanded suspiciously. ‘You’re communicating with him somehow, aren’t you?’
    ‘What? How’d you—’
    ‘I’ve seen you do it before … Oh, Christ, he heard me, he’s going to fucking kill me …’ She was so terrified that Vic thought she was about to be sick. ‘You fucking bastard!’
    ‘Look, that’s not what he cares about. Please, just answer me.’
    ‘I’ve always known I was different, special …’
    The first thing that stood out, not her feelings. Vic didn’t like the sense of impatience he was picking up from Scab’s ’face.
    ‘Something specific.’
    ‘I was held by some sick crime boss—’
    ‘Why?’
    ‘Something happened. We were bloodletting. I was with a boy. Others had said my blood was odd. He drank some and … something happened.’ She shook her head violently. ‘I don’t … I can’t think about it … I don’t know.

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