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[personal profile] wonder_city
We have heat! It's amazing how grateful one can be for singing steam radiators.

All the Pretty Little Horses

The door chimed, and this time, before I could acknowledge it, the door popped open and in rolled one of the alien Hoover suits.

"Excuse you," I said, deciding to get up, wanting the advantage of height. My dog had abandoned me for whatever hiding place she'd found this time.

The Hoover hesitated, swiveling its hair dryer toward me. It said, in the 50s machine voice, "Unclear transmission."

I crossed my arms and stood with as much hipshot attitude as I could muster. "Well, you sure aren't Joshua."

"You may address me as Joshua if you wish," it said.

"I'm not buying this 'We are all Josh' shit," I said. I noticed a few little differences in this Hoover from Joshua's Hoover -- a subtle metallic weave through the breathing bag, a very slight difference in color. "You can at least introduce yourself after busting in here."

"Our names are private," it said. Although I couldn't read it telepathically, I could certainly perceive an aura of what I chose to perceive as annoyance. "You may address me by whatever misnomer you prefer. Clarify your first transmission."

"I was telling you that you were being rude," I said, deciding that blunt communication was the way to go with this Hoover. "And I think I'll call you Fluffy."

"Ah. In the future, you will perceive that humor does not translate," Fluffy said.

"Oh, I knew that," I said. And neither does politeness, apparently. "What do you want?"

"Our peacebringing efforts are not working with adequate speed," Fluffy said. "We require your powers. You will cooperate."

Although humor doesn't translate, I couldn't help mocking its machine voice. "CO-OP-ER-ATE," I said. "No, it just doesn't have the same ring."

Fluffy apparently had decided to ignore anything I said that it didn't understand. "My family is now in charge of this mission. We require your cooperation."

"What exactly is your glorious mission?" I said. "No one has been able to tell me."

"That is why I have been tasked to be your liaison in place of the one you call Joshua," Fluffy said. "Your world is excessively turbulent. Your people are reaching out beyond the bounds of its orbit and of your solar system. We bring peace to newly developed worlds so that the dimension your people call Psychespace does not become cluttered with your unpeaceful transmissions and interfere with our movement through it."

"Peace through force," I said.

"However necessary," Fluffy said. "We will only interfere for one of your generations, but we will educate your telepaths and others with similar abilities so they can maintain the peace."

"I doubt you'll manage on this world," I said.

"We have successfully pacified hundreds of worlds," Fluffy said.

"How many of them did you pacify by killing everyone?" I said, fists on hips.

"That was unnecessary," Fluffy said. "If they did not accept peace, then they destroyed themselves with their unpeaceful transmissions."

"I begin to see that by transmission you mean speech, thoughts, or bullets," I said.

"You will cooperate," Fluffy said, its aura of annoyance increasing. "We have studied your transmission archive and have identified the individuals with whom you have familial connections."

"You will not fuck with my people," I said, my stomach twisting in a knot at the thought of these fucking vacuum cleaners taking up my mama or my sisters.

"We have no need of further acquisitions," Fluffy said, and something blinked on its hair dryer.

I felt the telepathic screens on my holding apartment fall for just a moment. If I'd been prepared, I suppose, I could've grabbed someone's mind on Earth and told them where I was. But I hadn't expected the exposure, and the sudden influx of the shipboard human minds -- as well as the weird pressure of what was probably thousands of Hoovers -- brought me to my knees.

There was an agonizing psychic ripping sensation nearby, and for a split second, through all the psychic noise in my head, I could feel Ruth. She wasn't conscious, but I'd know her anywhere. And so help me, I recognized the feel of the place she was in on the other side of that bleeding dimensional wound.

The Hoovers had stuck her in the psychic dimension I'd been slowly exploring for the last decade or more. It was just a pocket, but it was stuffed with a bunch of other minds that I didn't have the energy or attention to focus on beyond Ruth. I didn't feel any way out before it sealed back up and my apartment's shields came back up too.

"You fucker," I spat, wiping my face where the involuntary tears had started to run down as soon as the shields dropped. "You shit-sucking sockfucker." I crawled slowly to my feet. "I will see every one of you passive-aggressive imperialist weasels in hell for this."

Fluffy said, "You perceive the reason for your cooperation."

One mistake a lot of people have made with me is assuming that because I'm a fat girl, I don't move fast. But I have spent a long time with not a lot to do but work out and swim, and I am lightning when I put my mind to it, which I did, right then. I had one hand wrapped around the neck of Fluffy's hair dryer and the other bunched into the breathing bag, and I ripped those things sideways with all my might. There were one or two pleasant rending sounds.

"Cease! Stop!" Fluffy squawked.

I lifted the Hoover over my shoulder -- it wasn't much heavier than my mama's Hoover at home -- and walked to the door, which opened for me. I threw Fluffy down as hard as I could on the deck outside the door, and it bounced on the metal floor, pieces clattering off it. It squawked wordlessly.

"You don't come back in here," I said, careful to stay inside my shields. "You send Joshua. Or no one at all, by preference."

I stepped back inside and let the door shut.

I cussed and cried and even screamed for a while, and smashed a couple of plates against the not-glass of my view of Earth. If Ruth was captured, I was utterly screwed. So was the Earth. So was the whole human race. I couldn't think of anyone else who had the ability to stop this fucking huge ship while it was outside of Earth's atmosphere.

I finally settled down and extricated poor terrified Floribunda from my closet. I cried with her on my lap some, and finally settled into the kind of flat vagueness I get after a psychic thumping like I'd just had. My dog tucked her head under my arm and shivered.

My music started to sink in through the exhaustion after a while, though, and I tuned in just in time to hear Sister Rosetta singing,
Everyday (everyday)
Everyday (everyday)
There are strange things happening every day.

If you heal right through the lies
You can live right all the ties
There are strange things happening every day.

I thought, slowly, There's one person who I know feels the same way I do about Ruth, and I have spent considerable time inside her head.

And then I thought, even more slowly, Tomorrow. I'll take that right up... tomorrow.

And Sister Rosetta sang me to sleep.

Date: 2013-02-19 09:47 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
FLUFFY. And Sister Rosetta! Aww yeah.

Date: 2013-02-20 02:59 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx

I'm thinking of doing an extra post to consolidate the soundtrack of Renata's captivity so far in one place.

Date: 2013-02-20 03:05 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore

Date: 2013-02-20 01:34 am (UTC)
auronlu: (Takei the Fabulous)
From: [personal profile] auronlu
I desperately need to start from the beginning again and read this through, but the "I'm not buying this 'We are all Josh' shit" sent me howling loud enough to wake up the cat.

Date: 2013-02-20 03:00 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
I am glad that went over as well as I hoped! The second big SF reference was a little more obscure, and I couldn't think of how to make it clearer.

Other way around for me

Date: 2013-02-27 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't know the "We are all Josh" reference, but CO-OP-ER-ATE has to be the Daleks.

I still remember seeing three of them.

D1: e-rad-i-cate
D2: a-ni-hi-late
D3; e-lim-i-nate

all together now. EX-TER-MI-NATE!!!




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