Monday, September 21, 2009

Gardens Of The Sun, Part Three, Chapter Two(ii)

The gig’s cabin was a fullerene shell perched on top of its motor platform, a claustrophobic closet with no room for seats or couches. Loc stood next to the pilot, with Berry Hong-Owen crammed in behind them, all three strapped into the webs of their crash harnesses and bulked out in pressure suits, globular helmets screwed on, as the frail craft arced halfway around Mimas in a free-fall trajectory.

The little moon was a ball of dirty water ice just under four hundred kilometres in diameter that had frozen all the way down to its silicate core soon after its formation: its ancient, unmodified surface was pocked and spattered by a chaos of craters of every size, like a boiling sea instantly turned to stone. Peering out of the gig’s slot-like window, it seemed to Loc that he was plunging headlong past a vast pale cliff printed with a random jumble of inky crescents and clefts and staves: slanting shadows cast by blocks and boulders, shadows cupped inside craters, shadows curving around crater rims. He’d patched a slow-release dose of a local smart drug, pandorph, before putting on his pressure suit. Yota McDonald had turned him on to it. It was cleaner and more effective than any of the military smart drugs they’d used back in the good old days before the war, when they’d brainstormed political and strategic scenarios for a government commission. It sharpened his perceptions and quickened his thoughts and gave him a crystalline god-like perspective, a necessary edge that would help him deal with Sri Hong-Owen, and it had the useful side effect of overlaying his usual anxiety and fright at being fired like a bullet across a hostile moonscape with a calm, semi-detached interest in the spectacular scenery unravelling beyond the gig’s window.



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