Doesn’t everybody wish it could all be Rum and Leather? (p. 155)

Of course Sarasti gets to stay behind.  Of course the expendables get to go into the horrific electromagnetic deathtrap that is Rorschach.  We’re all crammed into the shuttle looking like fat people trying on too-small sweaters, but at least we were moderately shielded, like a turkey wrapped in tin foil that was about to go into the oven.  Outside, I could ‘hear’ the photons race by, making a low humming.  I smelled the burnt formaldehyde of Rorschach’s electromagnetic field before my head started feeling it.  I could feel the waves of EM massaging my brain, eyeballs, everything.  As we drew closer, I started to taste the minty molded cheese of the ship’s radiation, just swimming up to meet us.

Sometimes having mixed up senses the way I do—tasting UV, smelling supersonic, et cetra—was more of a curse than a blessing.  You don’t have to have extra senses to know that Rorschach was a minefield that was going to serve you up cooked and scrambled, courtesy of the chefs radiation and electromagnetism.  Robots can tell you that much, and robots don’t have to taste it.  That was another fallback to the program.  It would be one thing if radiation tasted like rum and the EM smelled like peanut butter or maybe leather, but no.  The brain has the funny little quirk where it makes bad things unpleasant.

As we drew closer and the magnetic field intensified, a wave of black and white checkerboard started to wash into our little entry plug.  It was like we’d sprung a leak and were being sunk by static space.  With things like sight and sound, the extra made It tough to tell what I was actually seeing and what would make me seem like a nut if I reacted to it.

Keeton and the Gang were chatting about something, but the ocean of photons outside made it impossible to tell what about.  Bates slid the inner door open and commanded us to duck.  I wanted to laugh at the uncoordinated display, like infants being asked to do gymnastics.  The drones scuttled by and moved into Rorschach, and what came next was a series of stills from the cameras.  Mostly of Bates scanning ahead to make sure there were no whooping squid-monsters waiting around the corner for us.  Ultimately, she deemed it “safe”.  It was time to go.

“Oh…okay, come on…down…” she said.

“Not to fast,” something was off, she seemed almost out of breath.  Or maybe it was the EM cutting our signal.  “how are you feeling?”  Better safe than sorry, I guess.

“Fine.  A bit—odd, but…”

“Odd how?” Keeton probed.

“Mild disorientation.  It’s a bit spooky in here,” major understatement.  A little spooky would be finding a ship adrift, beaming out a distress signal, that you can’t seem to establish comm. with, and when you finally manage to board there are no signs of life.  And that’s a human ship.  That would be a little spooky.  “Must be Grey syndrome.  It’s tolerable.”  She continued.

Keeton looked at the Gang, the Gang looked at me.  I just shrugged.  What was I supposed to say?  Let’s go get ‘em team!?

“It’s not gonna get any better, the clock is…clock is ticking, people.  Get down here.”

We got.


So, I chose to do the original entry scene from the point of view of Szpindel.  I chose to use his character because he was my favorite and I was always fascinated with his extra senses thing and the fact that they weren’t just “I sense radiation, check my Wuju meditation, it helps me sense”.  I loved the fact that his brain could only interpret his extra senses in the frame of the normal five.  I also enjoyed that the scene wasn’t too bogged down in dialogue, so I didn’t have to copy it down.  This scene was also great because it didn’t focus on Szpindel too much (an intriguing thought when it occurred to me) because that gave me more license to do what I wanted with him.

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