Eon by Greg & Greg Bear & Greg & Greg Bear

Eon by Greg & Greg Bear & Greg & Greg Bear

Author:Greg & Greg Bear & Greg & Greg Bear [Bear, Greg & Greg]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: SciFi-Masterwork, Science Fiction, Travel, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780812520477
Publisher: Gollancz

Chapter Thirty-four

After three separate occasions where Olmy wrapped himself in his isolating net of lights, Patricia decided there was something faintly unsavory about Talsit. Perhaps it was addictive—whatever it was.

They had been flying for at least three days—perhaps as many as five—and while Olmy and the Frant were unfailingly polite and answered her questions with seeming sincerity, they were not exactly voluble. She spent much of her time sleeping fitfully, dreaming about Paul. She often touched his last letter, still in the breast pocket of her jumpsuit. Once she awoke screaming and saw the Frant jerk spasmodically in its berth.

Olmy had half fallen from his couch and was staring at her with evident alarm.

“Sorry,” she said, looking between them guiltily.

“Quite all right,” Olmy said. ”We wish we could help. We could, actually, but ...”

He didn’t finish. A few minutes later, when her heart had stopped racing and she realized she couldn’t remember what had made her scream, she asked Olmy what he meant by saying they could help.

“Talsit,” he said. ”Smooths the memory, rearranges priorities without dulling memory. Blocks subconscious access to certain disturbing memories. After Talsit, such memories can only be opened by direct conscious will.”

“Oh,” Patricia said. ”Why can’t I have some of this Talsit?”

Olmy smiled and shook his head. ”You’re pure,” he said. “I’d be reprimanded if I brought you into our culture before our scholars had a chance to study you.”

“Sounds like I’m a specimen,” Patricia said.

The Frant again made that sound of amplified teeth-grinding.

Olmy looked at it reproachfully and swung down from his berth.

“You are, of course,” Olmy said. ”What would you like to eat?”

“I’m not hungry,” Patricia said, lying back in her couch. “I’m frightened, and I’m bored, and I’m having bad dreams.” The Frant peered down at her, its large brown eyes unblinking. It held out one hand, spread its four slender fingers and curled them again.

“Please,” it said, its voice like a badly tuned calliope. ”I cannot help.”

“A Frant always wishes to help,” Olmy explained. ”If it cannot help, it feels pain. I’m afraid you’re quite a trial to my Frant.”

“Your Frant? You own him?”

“It. No, I don’t own him. For the time of our assignment, we are duty-wed. Rather like social symbionts. I share its thoughts and it shares mine.”

Patricia smiled at the Frant. ”I’m okay,” she said.

“You are lying,” the Frant judged.

“You’re right.” Patricia reached up hesitantly and touched the Frant’s arm. The skin was smooth and warm but not resilient. She withdrew her fingers. ”I’m not afraid of you, either of you,” she said. ”Did you drug me?”

“No!” Olmy answered, shaking his head vigorously. ”You must not be interfered with.”

“This is so strange. I don’t even feel it’s real, but I’m not sure.”

“Perhaps that is well,” the Frant said solicitously. ”Until such time as you awake, we are a dream.”

After that exchange, they did not speak for hours. Patricia lay facing the window, noting that the corridor had changed its character yet again. Now it was covered with lines resembing densely clustered freeways.


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