With the votes from my patrons tallied, the month’s second update of my various works is here: a new chapter of Ozymandias. In this chapter, Harper is struggling to recover from the bombshell Adrianna just dropped on her. It’s not an easy thing to discover you’re more closely connected to the galaxy’s most infamous terrorist than you ever imagined you could be. Harper’s day is just not getting better, is it?
Then again, she’s not being actively pursued by flesh-eating alien monstrosities, so that’s something, right?
Below is a snippet from Adrianna and Harper’s trip through the alien ziggurat, just after Adrianna has been messing with Harper again. (Hey, she’s got a lot of time to make up for)
For the full story, check out the link above, and enjoy!
Now that was bait.. Harper gritted her teeth, refusing to take it. It was nice to know that their relationship hadn’t changed that much in light of the bombshell that had just been dropped between them. There was still the adversarial air of sarcasm and smug teasing. “If you’ve been lying to me,” she started, then realized she didn’t have much to go after it. “…I’ll make sure it gets added to your list of charges.”
“Innocent until proven guilty, Harper and in this, I’m very much innocent.”
Harper snorted, using it to cover up her grunt of pain as Adrianna helped her off the tram. “We’ll see.”
Unlike the utilitarian airlock, decontamination chamber and hallways they’d been ushered through so far, this stop had been decorated much more ornately; the floors were tiled with hues of brown, black and white to create spiralling and geometric patterns, each individual tile no wider than three or four inches. On the walls were mosaic murals, made from even smaller tiles embossed with pictures to create larger images. The ceiling was a starfield Harper didn’t recognize; the left wall was an eastern view of the Stone Eye, looking onto the great lake or shallow sea the shuttle had gone down over. On the right was a list of text; a list of names, Adrianna said. Above them was a simple epitaph ‘the final caretakers’.
The mosaic that dominated the wall across from the tram was a picture of a blue and green world, the sun cresting the very apex of its curve. The shadows were made from images of deep seas, nighttime skies, caves and dark forests, the clouds from winter vistas, snow-covered mountains or white-capped waves, the glow of the sun formed from desert dunes, bright beach sands, yellow flowers in bloom and on and on, thousands of tiny captured moments creating an entire world.
Adrianna saw it first, but Harper was first to speak the conclusion both women reached. “This isn’t Baheila Osz.” The geography was all wrong. The climate was too, though just a day ago she would have said that was the largest clue, but she’d learned otherwise. Data from the dig teams shows thatBaheila Osz wasn’t going through a natural climate change. If Adrianna could be believed, then this planet hadn’t always been a frozen, wind-swept hellscape. They might have been looking at Baheila Osz before whatever had happened to it, but the land masses weren’t the same. Harper would bet anything that she was looking at the Baheil homeworld instead. A world no one had ever seen before this moment, a world the keepers of this place had wanted to celebrate to their visitors.
“A memorial,” Adrianna guessed. She touched one of the small tiles. It was cool to the touch, smooth and without any imperfections. The small scene of desert dunes wasn’t painted on – none of them were. Each little square had been custom-forged so that the image would never fade or bleach and survive long after the last of the residents here had crumbled into dust. They knew they weren’t going to survive. They made this for anyone who found this place. “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone…” she murmured.