"The Wild Storm - Chapter Eight": Sitting down, Jacob Marlowe begins his story with a bombshell: he is not a human with dwarfism, but rather a member of an extraterrestrial species. His species is divided into five intelligent sub-species - similar to how humans were related to [[wikipedia:hom
- She is incredibly smart, very adaptible, and maybe a little bit crazy. I don't know that any of you could kill her if she decided we were too scary to live.
Appearing in "The Wild Storm - Chapter Eight"
- The Past Doctors
- Cole Cash (On a TV or computer screen)
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm - Chapter Eight"
Sitting down, Jacob Marlowe begins his story with a bombshell: he is not a human with dwarfism, but rather a member of an extraterrestrial species. His species is divided into five intelligent sub-species - similar to how humans were related to homo neanderthalensis, homo floriensis, and so on - and thousands of years ago, his species sent an expedition to space, with representatives of the five races, to seek out life. Life is easy to kill in the universe, and intelligent life rarely evolves fast enough to truly blossom.
The expedition, informed of tool-using primitives on Earth, came here, but the ship was damaged and was forced to make a landing. Their superiors assumed them dead and, because interstellar travel is expensive, never came looking for them. After arrival, some of the aliens decided that they would use their extensive knowledge to assist humans in getting off the planet. This is the vocation Jacob has today. By using the data and material of his people, his goal is to subtly prompt the engineers he employs through the Halo Corporation to achieve technological milestones and get humans to space.
Angela Spica, who is the audience of this story, remarks that the narrative seems simplified. Jacob admits that it is, but says he has told her the story to prove that he trusts her with his secrets. He offers her the use of the Halo Corporation's technology, to improve or enhance her relationship to the technology she implanted into herself, as it is hampering her immune system and causing her to bleed sporadically. All he asks in return is a data dump about the technology she has now, to gauge what data and technology her former employers, I.O., have access to, and then a second data dump when she is finished, to see what she has done. Angela accepts the offer.
After Jacob leaves the room, Kenesha accuses him of leaving out significant parts of the story. Jacob explains that Angie is smart enough, and resourceful enough, that she could kill them all if they made her their enemy. He insists that they can never tell Angie the real reason for the expedition.
In I.O.'s Analysis Division, Jacklyn King takes a break from pestering her underling to receive data - of the three members of the wild CAT they are hunting, they have a positive ID on exactly one - Cole Cash, a former I.O. field specialist, listed as having died on a mission ten years ago. When Jacklyn relates this to Miles Craven, her superior, she adds that after searching every database on the planet, they have nothing on the other two renegades, which leaves only one suspect she can think of - Skywatch, the secret space agency. Craven counters that Skywatch is not allowed to have a covert action team on Earth, due to the treaty between their two agencies, and that he will not take further action without more data.
So Jacklyn goes back to her underling, Mitchell Saunders, and orders him to form a working group, in an Event-shielded room, with no computers, to assess the possibility of hacking into Skywatch's computer database. Mitchell underlines that that's illegal, and Jacklyn orders him to tell anyone who asks that it is a harmless exploration of hypotheticals. Mitchell underlines that based on everything they know, it's also impossible, and Jacklyn responds that this is why she's asking him to check.
In a café in Amsterdam, a young woman named Evi is telling her friend Bram about a guided drug trip she just did with a healer named Shen Li-Men. On the trip, Shen Li-Min seemed to sprout wings, and introduced herself as "the Doctor". Her group passed through the center of a lotus, into a dimension of pink energy, where they saw a mighty metal ship with a thousand identical passengers, sailing on a wild storm-cloud. At the end of the trip, there was a garden, and Shen Li-Men reached into Evi's heart and healed her. It was incredible... except that one member of the group didn't wake up.
In her workspace, Shen Li-Men is standing over the comatose young Englishwoman. She journeys into the woman's headspace, to find her mind intact, standing at the entrance of a tunnel. Curious, Li-Men follows the tunnel, through tableaux of past times when events of singular importance unfolded, each one empty except for a faceless woman in the garb of that time. And at the very back, she finds a machine shaped like a human heart, with a gestating human fetus inside it, guarded by two hooded bipeds with inhuman faces.
One sees and recognises her, which abruptly ends the trip. The young woman admits that it was quite a sight. Li-Men demands answers. The young woman explains that she came to see what sort of person Shen Li-Men was, and that to tell all, she will need Li-Men to open a livestream in London on her phone. Confused, Li-Men complies - and suddenly the young woman is in the livestream, and not in the workspace. With a lazy wave, the young woman walks out of frame, leaving Li-Men with no answers.
Reluctantly, Li-Men calls on the resource she likes the least - the Hospital, a bardo realm of infinite sunlight, manicured lawns, and free-floating stone cuboids, inhabited by people from the past who have held the role of the Doctor. Here, she unburdens herself to these "mad dead old farts", who explain that the identical people on the metal ship are a rarely-seen class of beings called Daemon - and that the Englishwoman is something they've seen before: a unique spirit of the mechanical arts and crafts, personified as a woman, equipped with powers related to the technologies of her time... and whose like is only seen at moments of critical importance. The opinion of the Doctors is that these women function as a planetary defense system.
As the Doctors try to provide helpful information from their long-past lives, Shen Li-Min ponders the strange case of the Englishwoman she knows only as Jenny Mei Sparks...
- This book was first published on October 18, 2017.
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