Weaver Cellestis: Banixia
I look at the gift in the box on the table with a lump of trepidation mixed with excitement churning in my stomach. Throwing up seems like a viable option right now. Perhaps screaming really loudly, or jumping up and down and cheering wildly? I’m not sure. Outbursts like that aren’t the norm in Banixia. Outbursts like that are for Glitchers.
Instead, I remain calm, focussed and entirely in control. Ordered and in keeping with the world around me. Coded. In line with The Program.
Finally managing to drag my eyes upwards to look at the Lady in front of me, I take in the non-regulation gown, the quirky hat with the little cogs that she said were part of her last Robotic Companion. The thought occurs to me that perhaps Lady Voice is a little funny in the head, perhaps on the verge of her own Glitch? The thought is quickly banished and locked away. This woman has given me an opportunity. In return, I will give her the respect she deserves, or at least the decency to overlook a few... differences.
My eyes drop back to the box. There’s an arm bracer thing, designed to cover my whole forearm, and inlaid with a matt surface. When I pick it up, it seems to respond to me, to my thoughts... it’s warm and I feel it pulsing – a computational hello from your friendly neighbourhood... what is it?
“A Utili-pad. You’ll find it very useful”
Her voice is clear and musical – cuts right through my thought processes and I can’t help but pay attention. For a brief moment though, I wonder if the device in my hand would be better as a wristwatch. We have the technology after all...
Lady Voice smiles.
“Naturally Gifted. As I’ve always said. I never choose a bad egg.”
I’m confused. She gestures at my hands and the device seems to have taken a new shape. A wristwatch. I allow myself a smirk at this small triumph and fasten the watch to my wrist. I’ll figure the rest out later.
The second item is a boiler suit – though not a regulation khaki one. This one is the exact same shade of grey as my eyes, with black piping and decals on the cuffs. The material gives the impression of being soft, but as I pull it on, rough filaments brush my skin, telling me that the fabric is in fact, reinforced. The best part lights up once its on and fastened. My house symbol, the weaver on her web, sits proudly upon my breast and glows a gentle blue.
I suddenly curse inwardly. She’s had it made fitted. I don’t have much of a figure – my profession requires us to be built like coat-hangers. And with my red hair, pale eyes and boyish shape, I’m not exactly cut out for fittedanything. Joy.
Finally ready, I look over my shoulder at the door behind me. Through the haze, I can see out into the beyond. Out into the pathway that will lead me to strange new places. My first task is to find people who will work with me. Other Wardens to travel with. Safety in numbers with a focus group of people from other worlds that I can study more intently. I turn and know I’m ready. I know I might not come back. I know the risk I’m taking. I know that right now, my family are being moved to Upper Banixia to lush new apartments and careers as tailors to The Speakers and Those That Code – the Eidolon Masters...
I stop, alarmed. I seem to have forgotten something. Something important. Spinning around, I feel relief course through my body and the sudden business in my head ebb away as I focus on his individual strand of code.
Paree tilts his head, causing a few rivets to creak and groan quietly. The quiet hum of his fusion core puts me at ease – the single entropic force in this very structured narrative of a goodbye. I prefer him to the Lahndahn, Lady Voice’s old RC. He doesn’t call me a cant like Lahndahn did. I never was sure what one was, but it sounded thoroughly unpleasant.
“Do take care Madame. Remember the code I taught you. There are more in your utilipad should you require them.”
He dabs at his optic sensors with a handkerchief, and again I feel that pull of the Glitch. The urge to run over and wrap my arms around Paree. To tell him I’m scared and excited and thank him profusely for his help and tutelage.
Instead, I quietly thank him for his service, and Lady Voice for her patronage, and tell them to expect me back as promised.
The doorway beckons, enticing and surreal.