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[Fiction] Ibizan Chronicles: Face of Transcendence


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So this was the face of transcendence from humanity.

My fingers traced over the mural, noting the energy pattern of the quantum-charged paint with my ability to perceive quantum energy and enhanced sense of touch. I have incredibly keen senses except for my hearing - I am almost deaf - and can perceive things that no one else can.

My fingers 'saw' the face of Divis Mal, particularly his blazing emerald eyes. It was a nice touch on the artist's part, and I suspected that Mal must have sat for this, or the painter had access to a quantum-charged picture of him or a really good memory. The quantum was centered in those eyes, drawing the viewer towards them. It definitely radiated personality and presence.

"You like?"

I turned to face the Pantheon member known as Arachnia. She is quite beautiful if you get past the fact that she was an arachnid, because your average bottom-of-the-garden spider isn't coloured a strong cobalt-blue with rainbow glittering edges from her crystalline carapace. Her eyes are remarkably human - large, almond-shaped and the most incredible blue-violet I've ever laid eyes on. She's always been a little quiet about her and her husband Copperbelly's past, but I strongly believe that they were instrumental in the defeat and exile of the Harvester fanatics like Leviathen and the Apothecary.

Interestingly enough, she is a Marvel and he is a Portent. But other people's archetypes are none of my business unless they affect the chronicles.

"It's very lovely," I replied, allowing myself the pleasure of 'tasting' Christine's vivid colours. Crossing sensory boundaries has always been a pleasure of mine.

For the curious, she 'tastes' like iced blueberries and rainbow-coloured ice cream.

I could detect some concern over the gestalt from Slider, who was using her own extrasensory abilities to 'watch'. Jenny has always been cautious, though I really can't blame her. We lived on the edge for almost ten years. *It's fine,* I assured her and everyone else. *I think she just wants to talk.*

*She's the epitome of Teras,* Psyche complained over the link. *It's bad enough asking for these people's help, but do we have to socialise with them?*

*Oh, move to Yoopee City then!* Rumble retorted. *I'd sooner kiss a spider's arse than go back to the Tainted Lands, thank you very much!*

"For a gestalt, you are certainly argumentative," Christine observed mildly, her contralto voice - very weird coming out of an arachnid - sounding quite amused.

"Lady, we ain't a hive-mind," I reminded her wryly.

"I've noticed," she drawled in reply. "I must say, the blonde twins never shut up, do they?"

"My kids are like that," I agreed. I'd never pegged Christine for having telepathic powers -

"Lord and Lady, you were a Dungeons and Dragons fan when you erupted, weren't you?" I asked, putting two and two together.

Arachnia laughed. "You are good!" Her face sombered again. "I'd heard a few Yoopees - pardon the phrase - had managed to be cured of the sterilisation drugs, but I'd never thought to meet one of them. Strange things happened, right?"

"I ended up nearly deaf," I confessed, "and the four or five others... Well, they're dead. I think my perceptive abilities stopped me from going nuts."

"Rumble and Argent seem perfectly fine..." Arachnia was clicking her lower mandible like I would chew my bottom lip.

I paused for a moment. "What's your definition of fine?" I finally asked.

"Sane. Healthy. Whole."

"They're all of that..." How could I confess that they sometimes seemed so damned alien to me? Again, Christine read my mind - despite the psychic shields on it.

"Second-generation novas are always strange to us," she said quietly. "It's no shame on us or them. Perhaps your children would like to speak to Oracle and some of Bounty's children? I think it'd do them all some good."

*I've got no problems with it,* Slider said over the link. *Given that Argent and Rumble have never met any of 'their kind', I don't think it'll hurt them.*

Psyche started to protest, but we all voted against her. I think Todd and Tabby were only too pleased to have peers to socialise with, and Lady knew we could use any influence and friendly feeling we could get. We were all sick of fighting and fleeing.

Arachnia nodded. "Good. Cala Llonga is where the children live."

I felt Slider open a gate for the children - Atlas was going with them and I alerted Arachnia to that - and then she quietly withdrew from the link onto her private one with Andre. I guess they wanted a little private time, and neither had detected any threat from Arachnia.

I was probably getting played a bit, but I could hardly argue with the results. One of the Pantheon was willing to talk to us and be friendly, if only for the sake of the children. Todd and Tabby are both immune to drugs and just about anything short of Mal on this planet, so there wasn't a hell of a lot the Ibizans could do to hurt them. Convince them, yeah, but most of us in the gestalt were coming to think that Mal was right. Psyche was a diehard until the end, but with her past, it was only to be expected.

Of all the things that I have done, forgiving a woman who worked for the organisation that rendered me sterile and almost deaf was the hardest. But I never forgot. We never did.

"You're still very thin." Arachnia must have sensed my thoughts and where they were tending. I gave her a grin.

"Have you ever tried welfare-mush?"

"Thankfully, no. I live on light and air alone."

"Breatharian, huh?"

"No, common sense. Raoul tells me that 'welfare-mush' - remind me to remember the name - is something he wouldn't feed his dogs. Why eat when you don't have to?"

"Huh, good point. But you don't have nine other people telling you to do so."

"No, I don't, but Rick insists I sun-bake every day."

I looked at the face of Mal. "Funny how no matter we evolve, we still have many of the same things," I observed quietly. "I mean - we're both kinda bitching about food and our loved ones here, and I'm a Yoopee, and you're a Terat. Not exactly the sort of thing you expect an enlightened being to do."

Arachnia smiled her version of a smile. "Just because we are no longer human doesn't mean we are incapable of emotion," she pointed out. With those words, she left me staring at the mural and thinking about the so-called truth.

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