Science Fiction and Fantasy | An Indian Experience

Guleil: Corpus from a Nimbus - Part 2 A Serialised Novel By Som Nandivada |
Issue 23

Guleil: Part 2 – Corpus from a Nimbus – A Serialised Novel By Som Nandivada

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Lizzie, she was a refurb job; as of course were all pipers in a general sense. But she was particularly so. She had the carry-over trait in excess.

On this trip too, she carried over deja vu remnants from prior runs. And that showed in her approach with Dik.

Her previous lubber (the term arose as a merge of “land lubber” and “lover boy”) was boisterous to the point of being boorish, and had been a typical weight thrower (the kind whom guys think of as a jerk, but girls just can’t keep off of). And she was working on Dik to get him to that category.

The “land” part of the lubber didn’t really apply to Dik, considering that he was an Okeano, but that was by the by. He looked to be a sensitive romantic lad.  Lizzie felt a persistent need to get him to become coarser and rougher.  And he was buying in on the deal too.

She had two distinct personalities built in into her, Pettin’ Lizzie, meant for pleasee; and rootin’ Lizzie, meant for the releasee.

To get her for pettin’ you gotta say “please”, pettin’ please puh leasee Lizzie.

And then for the rootin’, until the release, puhlease releasee Lizzie.

You gotta be gentle with pettin’ Lizzie, and gotta get grizzly on rootin’ Lizzie.

And so, Rootin’ Lizzie was gradually transforming Dik into a more typical lubber, swearing and spitting and oozing macho.

Deep inside her supple pelvic bowl she had a field thrombator key lode. It conveyed her climax straight in to the ship – a straight-thru blood vector field. Her rootin’ was a means of switching to manual mode from autopilot, and she would transfer thrust and traction information to the mother in climactic argot. That was Lizzie for you, a most definitive First Mate.

As a tubie she was of course built like how she felt like, for that season. That is to say, she had the prerogative of choosing body type, every once in a while, assuming that the charges and powers that be were gracious and flowing enough.

She was at the basic level built of nematic elastomers and things of that kind, and expressed her thoughts with piezoelectric impulses and sundry gory stuff.

The meat job was just an add-on “human touch”, pun intended.

Dik had of course wondered with intense curiosity about what kind of people they were, the tubies. In the Elevator Town, he knew of their existence, since the elevator was also the main source of living matter for the pipers, along with being the gateway to GEO (the Geo-synchronous Earth Orbit).  The elevator was also known as the tubewalk.

So of course, ever since he got on board, he had been bombarding Lizzie with questions.

“How do you flow through the tube, Lizzie? Do you fully flow? Or are you here as well as there? What about your mind, your feelings? Do they stay intact? Wow, how does this thing work? How do I know who you are? From the tubewalk to here you’ve already changed on me as much as I can take, can I keep up with you?”

He hardly got into his cabin when he started spewing out direct assault questions. “What about your alimentary, your respiratory, how does your heart come through?”

Lizzie told him in as matter of fact a way as she could.

“Well, flowing through the tube is basically, a more involved but yet similar process as how we get food and water down the tube, you know. Basically, molecules in certain arrangements have internal, potential, and kinetic energy. It gets transmitted via Noether symmetries and things like that, and regains original configuration.

For tubies like me, it is that much, plus some more, because it is not just molecules, but tissue regeneration and things like that. And as to regular travel, when we do leave ship, we travel in jars (not with formaldehyde and all, but nevertheless).

“Actually the jar is just a mini-ship, essentially. It has the phade (phaser bed) for us to cull in.”  She was remarkably patient; having seen scores of lubbers through on this route, she’d been over it several times over.

The phade was an extensive apparatus: some kind of an Indonesian day bed with womberang features built into it. Not many humans could take it from up close. The first time Dik saw Lizzie in her phade, he nearly blacked out from the womb shock. Even though she had completed actuation, and was there already. As a matter of fact, he couldn’t have ventured near during the transition anyhow. It was sheer attraction that had pulled him together.

“Where is your core personality? Do you have a soul? Are you all different from us humans?” Dik couldn’t help it, so he just kept on asking.

“Well, Dik, as to personalities, many of the I.R.s (Identity Repositories) are housed in the Siberia / Mongolia / TaklaMakan regions on earth. I myself cull back to a Personality Repository on the Malaperts in the Moon.  We pipers hark forth for regeneration and repair.  There will be of course many more of us across the Universe.

And the decentralized controller of the repositories is The Spasmodic Mojo. I know not much beyond that. And as to whether we’re like you or otherwise, well, things like anxiety and boredom are suppressed in us.  That apart, we’re very much like you.  No great shakes in terms of distinction. That’s a joke, hey.”


“How do you folks take the suppressions?” Dik asked. “And why is your Mojo known as spasmodic?”

Liz said, “Hmm, well, yeah, a price for the suppressions we do pay, some times. There is this thing called OoPs, or Onset Of Psychosis.”

“Oops.” That was Dik who couldn’t hold it back very well.

“Yep. But hey, there’s crazies in y’all too, you know.” Liz was about done by now.

“And the spasmodic is basically because we are a rather staccato kind of people. That’s the way we are, that’s how it is. That is our Mojo.

“The spasmodic mojo was thyself a man originally.  By a ‘happy accident’ that originated from experimental prosthetics etc. and extended itself beyond physical measures, to a carry-over and pass-through of feelings and dispositions etc. (a creation of personality through engineering means basically), the Mojo was born. He is irreproducible. And Irma is his consort. Male pipers since then have never achieved that holy transition. It remains a ‘happy accident’.”

He was getting on her a bit, so she just had to put a clamp on it beyond a point. “Think of it as some kind of occult, Dik. And there is the birthing thirst. Oh, the birthing thirst.”

And she got into a muse mode.

And then she mentioned in passing the drench cloak and the quench cowl. And wondered whether to talk about the stench coverlet at all, but held off.

“Oo, Lizzie, are you saying you’re, like, some kind of magic dust?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.” She wondered further if he could take the scrawl of the cadaver, and Visio her while in the live phade. Heck, no way. She was yet to see a man who is not too squeamish for that.

Dik took a while to digest this, and bravely got back to some known ground.

“Isn’t field theory used for working with electromagnetic radiation and nuclear particles and stuff like that? How come you came down the pipe by those means? Don’t quite follow.”

Lizzie said, “Not just nuclear particles, Dik.  Fundamental particles. And not just particles, come to think of it, but matter.  Every person is basically a field, a morphogenetic field. Think of yourself, if you limit yourself to the default flat and static human configuration, don’t you have a bunch of issues in space? There are six human body systems that are significantly altered during microgravity exposure. You get into all kinds of trouble with the cardiovascular system, the cardiopulmonary system, the renal endocrine system, the blood immune system, the musculo-skeletal system, and the neuro-vestibular system. Your face gets puffy, and also you come down with space sickness sometimes.”

“We were created in order to get around these issues.” She eyed him up and down, critically examining him in a rather exaggerated manner. He laughed. He was getting used to her burlesque ways now.

“And by the way, are you aware of SOAP over HoT TaP? It was a primitive way of information transfer. We still use that stuff. Just that we rinse ourselves at terminus thus these days.” She was going well over his reception capacity now.

“Sure, Lizzie, you all rock. I have no doubt about it. In fact, Irma arose from a piper past. Need we say more? I’m buying your value proposition; take it as cast in stone. What I’m asking now is, how do you do? Literally speaking, that is. How do you do what you do? How are you a field?”

Lizzie had to deliberate before she responded. There was only so much the beast could delve, into its own nature.

“Well, to come back to the field aspect of it, very piper has a potential. Kind of like:

f (r) = q / 4Pe r

for the electric case, you know. And from a potential, we derive a field. ” She brought on a holoboard into play to show her drift.

She took some tank whiffs while he perused.

“Data/Information/Knowledge/Wisdom/Character/Personality. That is what we are basically constituted of, Dik. Don’t think too much about the science. It could hurt.”

Dik laughed, and delved deeper into the holoboard, trying to get a hang of what was going on – a whole lot of constructs and schemas outlining the basics.

His eye caught on to some formulae and concomitant descriptions.

“So, a lorentz boost is something like,” Dik said while swooshing with the holoboard to draw out a matrix:

Guleil: Corpus from a Nimbus - Part 2 of the Serialised Novel by Som Nandivada |

“And then, Lizzie, do you get boosted across in some sense, like,” and he drew again a figurative:

Guleil: Corpus from a Nimbus - Part 2 of the Serialised Novel by Som Nandivada |

“Where Lizzie @ OSS implies you ported over here to the Outer Solar System?”

Dik was having a field run, pun intended.

“Something like that, Dik,” Lizzie smiled.  And she replied, “but not really.  For one thing, you have got the coordinates mixed up in your doodle. You know, the positions and the momenta.”

She didn’t really want to get into that technical arena right now, and decided to call in for the services of Ike.

“And we’ll get to the boosts later. Think first of the propagator. There is a propagator, and well, you know, the pipe.” So saying, she asked him to check with Ike for more meat on this. Ike was the “Intelligent Knowledge-based Engine” on board the ship.

“OK, Dik. Here goes.” Ike was of course to the point, as always. “The boosts are certainly relevant, in the sense that they are generators to the Poincare algebra, which is basic to the whole story. As you know, this is the inhomogeneous Lorentz framework. Of course, the boost generators aren’t conserved, but nevertheless.

Anyway, to come to the point, you seem to have arrived at boosts out of a propulsive image in your mind. Not applicable, for this case. The first point of departure for understanding how a piper flows across is a propagator.”

Think of the Green function for Lizzie at a high level, that is to say

Guleil: Corpus from a Nimbus - Part 2 of the Serialised Novel by Som Nandivada |

And then, it will be a propagator in the sense that

Guleil: Corpus from a Nimbus - Part 2 of the Serialised Novel by Som Nandivada |

That is to say, a conveyor for the amplitude of a piper.”

“So, Ike, how close are these equations to reality? Does this mean that Lizzie is probability amplitude? For real?” Dik was sharp, looking to cut to the chase.

And Ike, who was known affectionately by folks on this beat as Ol’ Ike Newton (in honor of an ancient sage), well, Ike would just convey a grin.

“Not a probability in the ancient sense, Dik, but essentially a confidence estimate. As a matter of fact, so are you humans a projection of confidence at the core. In Latin, they used to say, what is it called, hmm, alea jacta est? No, cogito ergo sum. That’s what it is, cogito ergo sum.  The current meaning of this phrase is, I’ll be, I guess, so I am.

“Latin: was that the language of the boy with the magic lamp?” Dik wondered recalling some sketchy details from myth.

“You are thinking of Alladin. He spoke Arabic I believe. Anyway, be that as it may, on the whole, I just give you some general drifts, Dik. The Spasmodic Mojo has a better picture.” Said Ike. But Dik was not likely to get access control to the spasmodic mojo, unless he took the piper plunge.

So he made a bookmark to return in better detail to the propagator point, howsoever and whensoever he could, because he realized that it was crucial to how this worked. But right at this point his brain was maxed out. More clarity he did need just from a curiosity point of view, and he resolved that he would arrive at it one day.

He was trying to accept this as a new reality. He strolled across again towards Lizzie.

“So you come down the tube, OK, I’m taking that in. How about the ‘Big Shrug’? Is that field theory too?”

He was talking about the Guleil Drive, and the Voyages.

The travel to Kiyama, the Drive, the whole thing was known as the Big Shrug.

“Kind of, sort of.” she said. “There is some kind of a wormhole traversal involving a super-luminal black hole metric, and basically, the defined territory shimmers, and with a shrug, is ‘elsewhere’.”

They went on to play some new games on ship, and the worlds they kept on spinning.

There had been two happy trips already, and the new world of Kiyama was on its way to being a home. They called their star Ropz, out at Kiyama.

Word from them arrived only through Irma, because no other solster sentient had as yet attained her stature. Solsters was the collective term in use for humans, pipers, groks, and other zoological and botanical species on earth.

“So we actually send a whole minor planet across the universe? How is it that people on earth don’t even know half the story?” Dik was really amazed by this, to the point of consternation.

“Some medicine men and sages do know, Dik. The people at large don’t, that is true. But that is how Irma manages it; the thread of the entire exercise is run on a delicate balance of information entropy and thermodynamic entropy. Awareness comes at a premium.” Lizzie explained.

“Also, the grand canvas is being drafted as we speak. Worlds will come and worlds will go. Don’t you think this needs to sustain itself? The solar system itself has a concern of stability. For every minor planet we guleil out, we can expect some projectile balances elsewhere. Irma is keeping the book on our behalf. She knows.”

Lizzie got misty eyed for a moment. They had been buddies, Irma and her.

The Iron Maiden and the Tin Lizzie. They were on this OSS route together in the beginning. Now, Irma had evolved to a level of deification, and Lizzie had stayed put. She was happy most of the times with her lot, just a bit wistful once in a way when she recollected her times with Irma.

From the humorous reference to an ancient torture machine, to a ribald transition to Irma la Douche, she had now become a Goddess, charting our fates. And the fate of our progeny, the third batch of whom she had chosen to route towards Ropz.

Ropz was a star in the irregular galaxy Sextans A, some ten million light-years away from us.

Irma the Resplendent, Irma Divine, Irma the Raging Torrent of Blessed Light.

– Oh yes, Irma had achieved Deification. Irma was the only earth originated sentient who could signate to the hoary outback, i.e. the sol vicinity, from where so ever she would be. Were it not for her, true to tell, human explorations would have creaked to a halt just a few blocks from the solar system. She was the one who took us out. Mother Goddess Irma.

Irma, she traveled by self in a hi-beam lux envelope, and didn’t even need a ship. Flamboyant arrival, breathtaking routines of greetings and acknowledgements, flashes of pizzazz and cruise on control. She got her energy feed from quasars and active galactic nuclei and suchlike from all across the cosmos.

Irma, Mother Goddess. And to think that she once had been a regular sheer herself.

And to come back to the matter of clothing for tubies, well, the female tubies had the gongs and the gee-whizzes grow on to them in an ingrained manner, the female counterpart to the tarp. The gee-whizzes were motor powered to provide pelvic jives. And as to the gongs, they were basically expressions of Gods’ Happiness.

Just the other day Dik had to let his curiosity get on top of him, and asked what her gong was made up of.

“The fundamental principle is that of a phase transition, Dik. It is all about the analyticity of the free energy.

As you very well know, in the classical sense a phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase to another. There is an abrupt sudden change in one or more physical properties, typically the heat capacity, with a small change in a thermodynamic variable such as the temperature. Phase transitions come about when the free energy of a system is non-analytic for some choice of thermodynamic variables.”

“So, basically, to cut it short, with me and my gong, a sexual impulse maps to a thermodynamic variable, and the shape of the garment maps to the heat capacity.” She had it flowing, impulse after impulse.

Dik had started out with a feeling of repulsion towards her, some kind of an unpalatable foreignness about her that he was distinctly uncomfortable with, when she had first scooped him up at the elevator. And it was quite a gradual process by which he had started to warm up towards her, and further, to actually feel attracted towards her.

“Now, Lizzie, heat capacity is the ability of matter to store heat. If I recall correctly, the quantity of heat required for raising the temperature of a certain amount of matter. Now how do you apply that to the garment or the shape? It would be more applicable to the person I’d think.” Dik was trying to rough her up as he spoke, and see what she was talking about. She took him on the fly, adept as could be.

“That is exactly the point, my rugged and handsome lubber. They say, “Clothes make the man, and the woman“. In this case, well, clothes are the person. Literally. Think of it at the observer and observable level, Dik. My gong can literally go poof into the air, and I can recover it, in entirety. Yes, here I am, wearing it, and on demand, it could simply turn into a fragrance, pure and easy. And still it is my gong. You won’t see it, but you’ll know it. Because, you know, fluid is wear too, just as much as fabric. Anything that enhances your sense of being is. So, liquids, gels, and yes, gases too. Vapor. Scent. Exotic unguents. I do need to qualify that, though. The poof and back happens only in my phase bed, or phade as we call it. But I’ve already said too much.” And she smiled.

“So, Liz, you’ve told me about specific features. But I’m still not seeing the essence. What makes your gong kick extra butt? How is it different from a terrestrial wear, a thong, or oil, or scent?” Dik asked. He didn’t like stepping out of bounds, usually. This water boy, or otter boy as Liz called him during some of their fonder moments; he did know some of the ways of the land, but only so much. Well, he made the step nevertheless, when called for.

“So how does it work? The molecules, they are in some sort of a quantum state of consciousness, brought on by excitations. So basically, it is a decision problem as to whether to go with ruffles or low neck or what, and when. But it gets interesting sometimes. The gong goes berserk if one is not careful when out in the open. Like, there is this drenched look, for before, and the quenched look with the sweat and the blood rush, for after. I wouldn’t want those to crop up on me when reporting to ground control, would I now?”

“And how is it different from terrestrial stuff? Hmm, you know, Dik, way back in antiquity, when humans first started to venture outwards, space posed a significant crossroad for couture. Gravity was out, so how do you shape, how do you design? Then we got a breakthrough. Some brilliant minds thought, let the body run the show – and they came up with nanotech designs and things like that. If you do want to know some of the mechanics, which I guess isn’t where you’re coming from right now, but well, if you do, we could talk about it in depth. There is a lot going on in there. Liquid-crystal damping, Lennard-Jones fluids, chemical vapor deposition, eutectic fixed points, black-body science, container-less electrostatic levitation, internal relaxations, soft elasticity, oh lots of stuff. Think of it as virtual materials with on-demand behavior.” Now she was on an exposition roll, and she kept on going.

“Way back, even before the Spasmodic Mojo bestowed Existence on us Pipers, humankind was hooked on to latex. It was an expression of clothing that corresponded to the Pluggable Look and Feel (or “Plaf” as it used to be called) of visible automata.” She had made a rather long drawn connection here. She was referring to how latex was a major breakthrough back then, being good both for looks and for touch.

“Pluggable in the sense of plugging as in rootin’, huh!” Dik took a moment before replying with his throw of jest into the mixture.

“Well, yes.” She smiled.

“Latex, oh yes. Well, we’ve come a long way since then. To come back to the phase aspect, this is not much different from the classic transitions between the solid, liquid, and gaseous phases (boiling, melting, sublimation, etc.), or the transition between the ferromagnetic and paramagnetic phases of magnetic materials at the Curie point. Or you could consider the emergence of superconductivity in certain metals when cooled below a critical temperature.

Or even quantum condensation of bosonic fluids, the superfluid transition in liquid helium.

In fact, even the breaking of symmetries in the laws of physics during the early history of the universe as its temperature cooled.” Oof, she took a breather.

There was a brief moment of silence.

“There exists an infinity between the halter and the hem”, she told him after a while, almost as if on a new note.

“Yeah I know”, he said. “And I do a one-over on it, and get to zero.”

“You poor sap”, she replied scathingly. “You hardly know the rhumb-line. Make no mistake, I am a piston connoisseur.” And she flung him head-on into her gong wash.

The nano-materials in its structure could act coherently, and so the gong did draw him into her. Something macabre about it, the way the dress is indistinguishable from the flesh. But that is the way the pipers are. Like it or love it, shake it or shove it.

If you look at it from a divine view, well, the gong parts for the act, just like the red sea did for Moses. That’s it, after all.

Lizzie was a bomb on the loose, and she had this circuit between the GEO and the OSS in her grip. She was like rain on golden wheat bed, turning a bleak earthen up-north forenoon into a tropical afternoon. Just like Mare Orientale on the moon, she went over and around the dark side. From deep down gushed her well. Or say like the summit caldera of Olympus Mons on Mars. And all Dik could see was the lips, up on high. And he did, with relish.

And then, we loop back to look again at the male of the species.

The male pipers, they had the totem tarp daubed on to their haunches and the shaft, and their togas for bodily cover as needed. And of course, clothing for tubies was pretty much like the shell for the turtles or the skin for the snakes. The tarp was built on the hardest expression of the principle of a tunneling matrix element that could ever be.

And now, on this ship, Dik had switched from the torp to the tarp. Laundry was still not plain and simple laundry, because the tarp needed to wire into the phade in order to work. But still, for a human, it was more of an Out-Of-Body cleaning exercise than it was with the torp.

The first time Lizzie offered the tarp option, Dik had bought the idea too, since it offered a form of rebound for him, from the torp. Sort of like a “back to the womb” concept. Of course, there was always the danger that a replacement womb could well turn out to be a tomb, but hey, there’s always a risk when the going is worthwhile.

So she lined him up as needed, and said, “let’s get you on the phade, I’ll get you configured.”

“Configured?” He was of course starting to get concerned.

“Yep, I’m going to patch the heat on to your groin. Heft up your Scrotal Sac, and wire up your wang dang doodle.” She was playing with him now.

“Don’t worry, darling, you’ll come out on top. Trust me, and relax. Now, try this on for size.” She said with a huge grin.

Creep and slug, sleek and snug, and hey, he was on. Dik worked up a fast and loose fixation for huge butted bitch girls on bicycles just like his round and round, oozing their Sargassos like treacle on a turbine cone: adeptly swooping down on turnstile dilemmas that are awaiting resolutions while flipping diamond back game pussies on the cat jump contrariwise and the camel hump in the barrel the piston the bullet. Wow. This tarp thing talked straight to his cortex. Just like the way ferromagnets, ferrimagnets and anti-ferromagnets work he heard Lizzie saying to him from way out there.

Some kind of searing, roaring, soaring, and AaargrgRGRGH!!!! It felt like a carving knife was working its way out from inside him, cutting its way through on some kind of cheesecake. Well, hey, he was on. But like most humans, he too didn’t feel the belonging at first go.

“Feels like something the dykes would use” he said with a straight up distaste. “So do you see it used for girlie gigs? As a matter of fact, did you ever try to dab the tarp on?”

This thing was incredible in the way in which it shaped and reshaped character, totally on the fly; Dik was losing his gentle and good side, and not in the way she’d wanted it to happen. Wow, she hoped he would be able to regain it. Eventually he did, thankfully.

“No, Dik. It doesn’t work like that. It seems to be that molecules are inherently heterosexual. Or maybe that is how I’m interpreting it. But the basic rule is that the tarp needs a phallus to work off of. It works only with sperm on the inside, and egg on the out. Remember, it is all biochemistry and materials science. Some corrupted beings might yet crack the code some day, but as of now it is pure.”

She said. “The driver is a molecule pump that needs the initial throb and “Boingg!” to come from the venerable tool, in order to get going,” She said. “This won’t work for dykes.”

Can control the release so that he can choose between a 100 mph in 10 seconds versus sustained drive, and in either case she gets it for as long as she wants, De Tarp.

God, what are we doing to this world? Take our Life itself, for instance. It is but a preprocessor to plastic.

Yes, plastic. The Chinese, they started with household stuff, toys for kids, etc. And then, they started delving deeper.  Materials Science, you can’t but salute the onslaught.

The gong and the tarp were built on generalizations of these concepts.

So, the torp was what made laundry a foreign concept for Dik. And Lizzie? Well, for her, she too has reduced the intensity her maul jobs while passing through the foam bridges in the ship, between the lattice cells. Each maul job changes the personality. And Dik was subtly forcing her to firm in on a personality take. And for a tubie, that meant surrender. And thus for her too, laundry is an exotic idea, which is acquiring familiarity now.

Dik didn’t deal much with the land usually; let alone outer space. Or hadn’t been, so far, to be precise. The recent Ontario trip had changed that irrevocably enough, for sure considering that that was when he signed on to this space deal. It was not often that land images impinged deeply on his mind. But his recent assignment was something else. As it happened, he was a salt-water dude, and wasn’t too keen on working in Lake Ontario. It was pretty much on a whim that he’d accepted the lakebed heavy machinery support contract, just to see what gives.

Dik was an Orc welder by trade. That is to say, underwater welding, using thermodynamic principles of pressure and volume as learnt from the Orcas, in lieu of the “arc” used for such work on land. Quite a specialized trade, and yes, he was much in demand. And what turned out to be a pleasant surprise for him, giving shape to materials in space was something that, quite possibly subconsciously, inherited a lot from his underwater work, and orc welding was a trade structural engineers in space practiced a good bit. Wherever it was to be plied.  The name of the game was to shear strip ends, butt them, and provide a smooth ductile weld so that a joined coil could pass through a tube mill. He knew well how to handle the consumption of accumulated coils, mash seam, flash butt, skive and planish, clamp leveling, and all that kind of stuff. Welder he was, wherever the plying was. And well, Half Town | seemed to need him, and there he was heading.

He remembered in particular one day when the land got to him deep, real deep. He was in Ontario , Canada, in the vicinity of where the ancient city of Toronto had once been located. There was a new city now, but of course it was well distributed across the land, and had ever so many names. But out there, many still knew of it as Toronto.

There were low down clouds on the lake during the day, and come evening they had parted. Like audacious underskirts they had been lingering for long on soul searing liquid blue flesh, tearing away now in a swirl of redemption. Flesh that itself was heaving and panting for naked release, and shrugging and tugging at the skirt-clouds above, looking for the drop. Lake Ontario.

Myriad are the colors of the Canadian sky in late spring – dark trails of luscious metal pink and purple, billows of orange and yellows, hues by the hordes. Yes, flamboyant streaks of light, drawn out like lust in an angels’ eye, by the profligate atmospheric prisms of varied sorts. And then the night comes on; the city lights acquire a life of their own; a hint of bestial passions, a touch of the divine. It is like Manna in the Savannah. The dark lush colors of the twilight skyline slowly recede and are overcome by the onset of the arrows of neon. Man’s touch has counter-lit the world.

Dik’s head occasionally hung heavy from the memory, and even on ship he remembers that sky, almost as often as he recollects his beloved Deep Down.

And well, he had taken on some fairly quaint modes of attire ever since he had ventured out landwards, and in continuation, spaceward. Lizzie, she was gracious enough to go along with him and she managed also to meticulously avoid making snide or sarcastic comments and suchlike.

Domestication? Hmm, not really, this boy has depths as yet untapped, she thought.

And she was right. While at the waters of the ocean, he had once chosen to surface in India, at the Vivekananda Rock in Kanya Kumari. That was the kind of a person he was, someone to whom such a rock would call out. He was a contemplative, introspective kind of person, and with a serious mind. And then again, that same sojourn in Kanya Kumari, his fiber was caught in a net, a festive procession of revelers – a jatra. The sounds of the dhols and ghunghroos still reverberated in his head.

Good form and shape, and powerful body packed into his twenty-three years of life. Dik was a good catch for any woman, be she a human or a tubie. But he was not a caught fish yet, she realized, notwithstanding his ready acquiescence with respect to household aspects of ship life.

And true enough, at this very moment he was thinking, “What a life; round the mulberry bush, and yet again. I’m groggy by day, and dog-eared by night. And as if dog-eared wasn’t enough, I get all waggy at the tail end, and soggy in her bowl. And ye gods, she knows how to do it, like no one I’ve known. She lets me soak in till crunch time, and then she packs in the juice. Yep, ye gods about sums it up.”

The biorhythmic cycles were adhered to faithfully enough on the honeycomb lattice ship, or HoLa as it was known as. So he had a circadian/quotidian frame of reference to go with. And then, she’d swing by to his cabin, fresh from a maul job, and he would be taken.

The honeycomb was an overarching paradigm on the ship. The humans and the pipers were two respective dimensions, as would come to the fore as we see further along the journey.

Lizzie chose to base herself on a Komodo dragon theme that meshed exquisitely with the lattice architecture of the ship. And in moments of lust, she would get Dik to chant out:

“There’s a komodo dragon in yer head little girl, and I’m a’ looking for to quench the cool of the lagoon in the middle of yer legs.”

She was something, Lizzie was.

Even now, sometimes when she thinks Dik is ready for some “kinky” on the quiescent phade, he can’t always take it.

Take the “never-ending hula haunch honeymoon” for that matter. Last time she did that to him, she had to spool his brains out and in to control the terror. Well, most men are used to the woman either below, or on top. Not both at the same time! The hula haunch honeymoon, or the hu-ha-ho, in short, was a blast, for her at any rate. Ting, Tring a ling, and my thighs ‘re on a fly-by, Tring a ling a ling I want that Ding a Ling of yours.

And Lizzie, yes, she loved the hu-ha-ho. At the controlling station they’ve made a note of it already, and had put her on monitor mode. But anyway, this was deemed as not too dangerous a tendency for a tubie. Somewhat depraved, maybe, but not dangerous. Not on the OOPS list, for sure.

And so of course, their days were delimited by Hu-Ha-Ho on the HoLa. And with occasional half-hearted attempts at laundry, yes.

Lizzie managed his sleep through controlled single point mutation and playing with his voltage-dependent potassium channels. A substitution in one of the exons of the applicable gene, way less hyper-polarization, way more excitability of cell membranes, and yep, he was putty.

While growing up in the Pacific waters, his mother had nurtured in him a deep sense of reverence for the sky. The beauty of the ocean was wholesome for sure, but yet the water folk they prayed to the sky. And it was everyone’s ideal to attain that one fistful of sky that was his or her own.

“A fistful of Sky, Oh Yes I could do with a fistful of sky. Dark Streak, it is such a Dark Streak. Been a long time since there’s been a sky”, it seemed to Dik in a deep thrash moment.

One tiny change in the genome was all she did to define the night for him, and brought him back to ground in what she chose to call the morning. Sleep, my dear lubber boy, sleep.

Note: Read the complete Guleil Series:

Cover pic by Robbie Sproule.

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Born in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India at the Feet of Lord Shiva and now living on the edge in Toronto Canada, Som is a software engineer by profession with graduate background in mathematics, physics and space studies. He is also a classic blues rock drummer/lyricist. Science fiction is Som's chosen portal.