The Metataxiearliest post first | most recent post first
The whole point of taking this assignment was that I'd be left alone. Who would ever need an anthropologist specializing in pseudoscientific and purely fictional impossibility on a simple trade route? The only reason I was hired was to fill the mandatory "research" position at the absolute lowest rate they could find. Which was fine with me! What could be better than paid berth on a safe and predictable route that allowed me to read and sleep as much as I liked? The pay was crap, but with nowhere to spend it it still added up.
The statues (likely not alabaster but impossible to confirm until we get a sample) were, yes, unexplainable.
"Because who could carve them so high?" asks Captain Reema. "This is completely beyond what any known past civilization could have possibly achieved!"
Captain Reema obviously has a limited understanding of history. The Floating Barons of Chyon 9. The Dream Expenditure Committee of pre-historical Rottweiler. Pim, the Wonder King. I could go on. But there certainly was an atmosphere of incredulity around these statues, glowing white in the moonlight. A whole royal family of them -- a king, and queen (impossible to judge gender assignation through their stylized forms), four lesser attendants, and two more smaller, twisted forms on the outer wings.
Together they formed a mountain range taller than the Hamdurian Ridge. The shoulders of the smallest of them existed well outside the atmosphere.
"Can you take us closer, captain?" I asked.
"Wow. I really don't remember those being there before."
Alabaster statues, bigger than skyscrapers, loomed above us, taller than the thunder clouds.
"We're outside the lightning, Captain, but--oh! What's this?"
"Hold us in place, Ran Pleasing. And get Anthropology on the line."
Ran Pleasing pulls some levers. The speaking tube lowers down.
"Runa Secret Tradition, report to the bridge."
"Runa Secret Tradition, REPORT!"
"... uh, oh... what? Is that the speaking tube? I've never gotten a speaking tube announcement before. How does it work?"
"Speak into the tube? It's got a funnel on the end."
"Keep talking! I'm sure it's around here somewhere..."
"Runa Secret Tradition we have a situation here. We have need of your expertise."
"That's right. It's the reason you're here. It's a Däniken event."
"Ran Pleasing! Report!"
"Readings are all over the board, Captain. The lightning might have scrambled everything up--"
Leftover sparks fire intermittently across the bridge.
"Altitude?! Any thing we're about to hit?"
Storm clouds still fill the windows. Which is a better sign than mountains.
"Mountains captain!" says Ran Pleasing. "Registering three nine five niner. Taking us up and around."
The Metataxi jerks to an abrupt incline. Paper and coffee cups fall.
"Take us out of this storm while you're at it, Ran Pleasing."
"Aye aye, captain."
"See? I told you the new doping would be great in lightning!"
Even on the bridge, I had to shout over the storm for Rita Pearl to hear.
She looked at me nervously, face lit up by the blue spark lightning just outside the windows.
Nope, the lightning was no problem at all. If anything, it liked the Metataxi. It was almost as if we were generating the electricity ourselves.
"Captain," Rita said. "Your hair."
"What? Is it funny? Whoah! YOUR hair! It's standing on end! And, there's a little drip of blue light at the end of your nose."
I reached out to touch it.
"Don't touch it!" Rita screamed.