The Abandoned Station

The Abandoned Station

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Found in Translation

 

The cooker was broken again, but at the moment it didn't matter.

It was hot out and in. There wasn't much difference between, with walls like thin paper being the paltry divide.

Almost like you could just put the grubs in the pot and wait, it'll heat up all by itself if you put it on the floor.

Shoun felt the energy build up beneath her seat, and it took a spin on the dials to let the pressure out the sides. Terribly wheezing and burps of dirty air escaping out the vents and flooding the room with an ancient stench.

Still amazed it held up.

One day a pipe will kink or a bolt will pop and the whole thing will send me to a whole 'nother level, Shoun thinks.

And keeping this nauseous balance wasn't even her job.

Shoun is trying to read ancient languages and raise them up like the corpses were acting out their lives right there on the mostly cluttered counter.

But first it was time to feast. She dipped the cooked grubs in the vinegar and either ate through her mouth or the pressure cork under her left limb (if she held her breath, obviously).

Consider what these long-dead civilizations ate. The sort of nutrients they found in the flora and fauna around them, plus the endless buffet of the light from their nearest star. Consumption and usage of energy bridges time and space, something all life must embrace or cease to be anything at all. 

Shoun has found familiar and bizarre recipes and anecdotes in all her light-years of research. The familiar bringing her closer to those that wrote the accounts, the bizarre making her fervently curious to find something else about the entities and areas that would explain their dietary choices.

She belches as the grubs settle in her tract.

Issues with workflow, she thinks to herself, as she cues up the next translatable line, after a good few minutes of comparing with little luck.

LINE UP THE SHOT.

It felt like the worst possible demand, with poor grammar as well.

PRESS A TO JUMP

Advancement.

HOLD A TO JUMP HIGHER.

Augmentation.

Wipe the sweat from your brow, don't make it so personal.

How these people/entities/accumulates taught themselves reflected in their abilities.

They make more of what they are.

Thoughts and matter compilations.

They propagate like cells.

Moving out and along.

Sharing knowledge in the first form. The second and third and on and on is where the complexity lies, and sometimes blends towards the truth.

Shoun refuses to bend to her own box of medicated secrets. The connections to the past had to be weakened, sedated, but not destroyed completely because that would be ridiculous.

Even in these lesser forms of slowed thought, the words push and pull.

Climb the wires to get there and back again, but make sure they're not fusified (much).

The moment I turned the bolt into the nut four times to prop up the wall was when I created stability and difference.

Changing the energy resource management title cards to replace the entire staff with a series of cactus plants.

This is what Shoun knows is going to be stared at and thought about when her tongues and bones are beyond at rest, are nothing more than eerily glowing green dust.

The seat is getting hot again, and she can't tell if it's her or if it's the outside.

Damn my legs I should just replace them, Shoun thinks.

The assistant manager (or something title-ish like that) would be by. In another long tick for assessment. Shoun wasn't concerned, she'd put in the time when no one else would/could, and would be allowed to absorb the assistant manager (or something title-ish like that) into her lower tract without any fear of reprisal. Not for another three half ticks for sure.

When the trance wears off, the terms are screaming at her visual wavelength again.

THE FOLLOWING WARRANTY IS VOID IF ANY OF THE CONDITIONS BELOW ARE MET.

Their bodies will fall apart and not be protected at certain times. This central network attempted to control all but understood its limitations at the distant ranges of time and space. You cannot always be rescued if you stray too far from the initial contract.

Shoun is getting tired, double tired, focussing and wrenching the definitions out. It's not the heat. It's the sadness of the message. Entropy in its legal heart, again and again.

Another water of glass to clear her throat and mind.

A hiss of sparks and a hilarious pop that sound like a gondar's death rattle.

Then the left wall just melted from the heat, and it wasn't just because of the plasma build-up. A long-tailed hilick was spinning in the rotten red-orange-yellow lake, something obvious caught within its belly.

Shoun hisses and clicks, trying to calm it. No dice, no quarter, no fun.

Then let's change the rules.

Shoun clears her vocal passage and tries to make the words flesh, in the way she was freshly learning.

THE STOMACH OF THE PLASMATIC HILICK IS MADE OF SOFT MALLEABLE MATERIAL, MEANING ITS CONTENT CAN EASILY PASS IN AND OUT OF IT, CONTAMINATING ITS INTERIOR UNTIL THE CONTENT - IF STILL LIVING - BURSTS VIOLENTLY THROUGH THE SKIN.

And within seconds it was so, a familiar limb bursting through the belly of the hilick, followed by the head-body of the assistant manager, breathing raggedly and wiping flesh and offal from their visage.

The two of them communicate with quaking sign language and the assistant manager is truly thankful and Shoun is moved to sympathy because no one deserves to be swallowed by a hilick on their first stop on a monumental journey across the many spheres in this common line.

They exchange protein strands to solidify their bond, and Shoun almost spied something like amusement in the way the assistant manager leafed through the completed files.

THE SPECIES LEFT CAREFUL INSTRUCTIONS TO INTERACT WITH THEIR FOUR ATTAINABLE DIMENSIONS.

FIVE CHANCES TO CONQUER THE EXTENT OF THEIR KNOWN REALITY, WITH THE RISK BEING SENT - ACCORDING TO THEIR BELIEFS - TO THE PLACE OF GAMOVER OF THEY FAILED.

The white hot enzymes, entrails and whatnot from the hilick are falling off the assistant manager's shell and dripping onto the already burning floor. Steam is slowly filling up the room and Shoun is tempted to break down another wall for the remainder of this shift.

"Oh no", the assistant manager says aloud, breaking the unspoken rule of remaining unspoken.

"What?" Shoun asks, forgetting herself by following along with disruptive verbiage.

But the way the assistant manager's face starts to melt, clearly having not prepared themselves for the heat in the next level exterior, Shoun had little choice but to make a faithful recording of their last poetic line  - "I think my... warranty... is running out." and consume all but the eye-stone.

Then there is the journey back to the tribe to jockey for the now open position herself.

What she has found here and the descriptions of green fields, towering castles, and the holy device to rule them will have to wait a little bit longer.

 

It didn't work for so long we thought that's how it worked