The Whisper of Damkina Part 74

April 29th, 2019  |  Published in Whisper of Damkina  |  3 Comments

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“It’s a bit of a blunt tool as well,” Kaine said. “It can’t make you do anything. It just makes you more impulsive and prone not to think things through. If it’s supposed to be a weapon it’s a clumsy one. You couldn’t be sure you wouldn’t just make the targets attack you.”

“Which is pretty much what nearly happened,” Niobe said. “Most of the panic and paranoia is aimed at them right now… if it is them… that’s where this whole daft kidnap one of them to try and negotiate came from.” She tutted thoughtfully. “It probably is but I hope the authorities are considering other vectors.”

“I think so.” Kaine rubbed his temples. “Commander Aw said they were and I think she was being truthful. Still at least it is easily fixed. It could have been a lot worse. Imagine a world where all self-control was gone.”

“Wasn’t that pre-dip Earth?” Mark asked drily.

Amanpreet snorted at that. “I don’t really think our ancestors lacked self-control… we just see things better in hindsight so it looks that way.”

“What happened,” Prima asked. “You’ve mentioned the dip before.”

“Oh, well, humanity kind of had a bit of a general collapse about five hundred years ago,” Amanpreet said. “Not quite total collapse of civilisation bad but close. It was bad enough that the human population had dropped from nearly nine billion to just over half that and we were just starting to rebuild the global infrastructure when the Ishtari contacted us a hundred and fifty years later.”

“Oh!” Prima said. “I think something similar happened to the Old Coronans long before we contacted them. Something to do with them being a hardtech species. We were always biotech because of our nature which apparently allowed us to avoid the resource problem.”

“There was a lot going on,” Niobe said. “History is complicated and messy and not really a topic for dinner time. Would you like me to send you some history books and videos to watch?”

“Yes please!” Prima said.

***

The next few days passed quickly and mostly restfully. Kaine continued with his treatment, Mark and Krna continued training Prima, Niobe got roped into helping translate and compose the message being sent to the enemy, and Amanpreet finally got to read her book much to her delight.

The only real disturbance was when Midori called in response to their message. The human commander of Talis base looked rather tired and harried.

“Are you okay?” Amanpreet asked when she appeared on screen.

Midori shook her head. “It’s been a rough few days. This brain thing sent a few of my people wonky, fortunately only in the going out and getting drunk when they should be working, and then brawling with their friends on the concourse over petty things like a bunch of kittens type of wonky not the turning into horrible xenophobes type of wonky.” Her face tightened. “Are Prima and Merit there? I need to apologise for my cousin’s behaviour. I never imagined he was hiding such an attitude under the surface. I am ashamed.”

“It’s not your fault!” Prima pushed past Amanpreet to get to the screen. “It’s not even his fault. It was the brain thing like you said.”

“No,” she said sternly. “It really wasn’t. Whatever this is it erodes your self-control but it doesn’t make you want to do bad things in the first place. That was all him and I am sorry for that.”

“I see, I think,” Prima said. “But it’s still not your fault unless you were the one making him think the bad things.”

“Thank you,” Midori said.

“Are things settled down now?” Amanpreet asked.

“Yes, thank goodness,” Midori said. “Everyone’s had treatment and the staff who missed work are mortified. I’m letting it slide – who doesn’t have days when they would rather go out and get drunk instead of working. I’m glad most people who got hit by this just did that sort of thing instead of nastier stuff. Maybe we’re finally getting somewhere.”

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3 Responses to “The Whisper of Damkina Part 74”

  1. torvawk says:

    I love Prima’s enthusiasm for any kind of knowledge.

  2. torvawk says:

    Wait. Biotech. They were gene modifying themselves? Or gene modifying other things to help them? Both maybe?

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Biotech in this context refers to told which are grown or secreted rather than manufactured. The Mez and Ishtari have to go that route that since their worlds are not suited to metal working. Ishtar because any planet with sulphuric acid seas is inimical to metal working and the Mez homeworld because no oxygen. Talis was earthlike enough that they could have gone the hardtech route but they evolved in a way that made them tend towards growing stuff.

      Since hardtech and hyperspace don’t mix all ships have to be biotech. Remember the Whisper is a really big plant grown to be used as a spaceship.

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