Jericho Bone: Seeds of the Deceiver

By James Lafond

Seeds of The Deceiver 

Circa, 73,000 B.C. 

Biology had such severe limits, not the least  of which was dependence upon void breaching  technology to span the unthinkably vast space  between the stars and the gravity wells which  played host to orbital habitats. As a biologist he  knew this oh so keenly, sensed, quantified, and  qualified this soul shivering dictum in his every  gross part, as if his being, down to the very  individual cell, understood its dependence on the  Others and their gracious gift, the greatest of which  surrounded him in this poignant instance. 

He and his mate were in actuality twin symbiots born of Green, and hence ultimately her  children. But so were they the children of this void spanning conveyance, a womb which had nurtured  them as surrogate mother for the mind-numbing  term of their journey, a journey which had ended  when this body was young; a body that should be  replaced before final approach. 

After the seeming infinity of life within the  Void Spanner this last brief sojourn in the gravity  well of Blue had been close to perfect and endlessly  fascinating. There was however, things missing, things missing within. Biology replicates along an  evolutionary arc and the autonomous matrix in  which he now planned had suffered magnetically.  Even the plasma core had suffered corruption due  to radiation.  

The well itself posed hazards. Six orbits  around the small violent star—so he was informed  by his mate, she being the astronomic functionary—was all the Void Spanner could  tolerate, ancient now as it was. Currently they had  been languishing in a deteriorating micro-orbit  about Blue for 72 or its orbits about the star,  shielded somewhat by it and its moon. Being the  meteorologist she understood these things and  dutifully recorded them upon her portable codex. 

As the final orbit remorselessly deteriorated  he clustered all the closer to his twin, his symbiot,  his soon to be mate; the mother of their colony;  their world. The layers of her wonderfully  gelatinous membranes caressed one another as  they slid together beneath his gross touch, made  tolerable for her by the amniotic plasma in which they nestled.  

She gurgled her soothing acceptance as they  prepared for their final reproduction and he, as the  male, began the sloughing dance, the sensual  flaying of his consort. As willing as she was there  was hesitation. This would be their last dance in the  amniosphere. Future reproduction would have to  occur in some like medium on Blue, which they  knew to be non-saline water. As the spawning symbiot it was his duty to make certain they  avoided entry into the vast saline aquariaspheres  that bathed Blue so furiously.  

Such was her concern with the lethal unknown as the astronomical, chronological, and  soon to be meteorological half of their union, a  union infinitely more vast than any known to have  been extant within Green at the time of their  departure. 

He was the spawning partner. 

Breach of habitat was his responsibility, her sacred trust in him. This gross kinetic duty was  made the more worrisome by two factors.  

First was her damage. As the larger of the  two she had—in her enveloping posture within the amnioshpere—suffered more from the radioactive hull breech. The Void Spanner had cleansed the  plasma but not before replicable damage had  occurred. As the biologist it would be his duty as her mate, once a suitable reproductive medium was  accessed within Blue, to minimize, erode, and  ultimately erase these replicable corruptions in her  design. 

Most worrisome of the two factors that  concerned them was the volcanic ignition below. It  was not known, only extrapolated as a possibility, that Blue might be geologically active. Green had  not been, was old; fertile yet old and in need of  escaping for a younger habitat if sentient life was to be preserved in the silently hostile void.

The orbit was no long tenable. Debris cloaked Blue in a refractive cloud. According to his  projections, wonderful, welcoming, temperate Blue  was about to be plunged into a constant state of  shrouded winter. The best habitation zones were in  the immediate vicinity of the destructive eruption.  

Furthermore, the codex and amniotic functions of the primary insertion capsule were  even now being retarded by the debris as their  close orbit degraded further. 

He wiggled free of her membranous embrace, her grasping slough of desire rejected as he took charge of their deteriorating situation. 

What is it my active half? came her worry through the amniosphere. 

He tried not to exude too much worry, but  failed, and the amniosphere quavered with his  emission, We must board the contingency capsules and seek linkage according to available means. 

The precincts of their womb quavered with  her shrill emission, No Spawner, no! I require you, I  do. 

The amniosphere was draining and a break  in their communicative emissions was imminent as  the Void Spanner prepped them for separate  insertion. The Planners on Green, those on intimate  terms with the Others, rated their separate survival  at an unremembered fraction of their likely joint  insertion. But in the case of a disaster of this  magnetiude, the slight possibility that one of them might survive through reproduction according to  indigenous means, had been considered preferable  to certain extinguishment of the light-years old  hope that they represented.  

He released his hooks from her docks and  caressed her membrane with his. He barely had  time remaining to impart his final instructions to  her, and was therefore overcome with a sense of  profound loss as he resisted the temptation to  reduce her summary pre-marooning brief by a  single thought, We are to enter separately into  tropical and sub-polar regions in the hemisphere occupied by the only near-sentient life. They are  mammalian according to the surface probes— bipeds. We must put aside our distaste for such a  form. I am the biological symbiot and will seek the  shelter of the long valley of the southern land mass.  You, being our chronologist, are to seek shelter in the  farthest corner of the northern mass which is already  glaciated to an extent. The indigenous forms should  be the most resilient in the face of what comes. Blue  is being plunged into a glaciating state. 

Her anguish could be felt as a chill of a depth  that he had never experienced, even in the void, as  their amniosphere drained and they were parted  forever by their mechanical surrogate and plunged  separately into an alien world…  

…The atmosphere billowed and roiled, the  light of the angry dwarf star barely admitted to  witness their painfully separate descents…

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