Cerebrum

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cerebrum
ˈsɛrɪbrəm/
noun
ANATOMY
The cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the human brain, associated with higher brain function such as thought and action

"You will not believe a word of what I am about to tell you. Everything I say will sound ridiculous. I'm going to tell you anyway, because it still makes for a good story and I'm the one on stage with a mic. But you won't believe a word of it, and that's fine. The proof I'll give you right at the end, in one single moment that'll make each and every one of you a believer."

I took a breath. We were into the third day of the grand tour, and the pace was already starting to drag me down. We'd wake on the plane, which had already taken us to a new location. A short ride later and we'd be in position, ready for Cal to jump us back to Locque. Sometimes we had a venue pre-booked, thanks to some early scouting work on his part, but most of the time we were going in cold, targeting union meets, or open-mic nights, or even just public spaces and parks where there was something for me to stand on and shout. I'd deliver my piece, to audiences of varying attention spans, then Cal would jump us back out, live on stage, leaving nothing but a swirl of blue sparks in our wake.

Then we'd get back on the plane and go to the next place, its sub-orbital flight getting us there in an hour or two. And we'd start over. We were managing five destinations per day. My voice was starting to croak.

Having to leave right at the end of the talk was the killer - I never got to see the reaction, or take questions, or gauge whether we were hitting even a tiny portion of success. For all we knew, the audiences might think we were nothing more than a novelty magic act.

I had to vary the length of the talks, depending on where we ended up. Sometimes I could keep going for twenty minutes without being confronted. In other places they'd try to get me off stage as soon as they realised what I was peddling. In the more public areas we had to watch out for cops - with Cal around we could jump out at a moment's notice, but we still didn't want to take any chances. Getting separated would be bad news.

We were somewhere in the northern hemisphere, though my sense of place and geography had honestly been shot for months. Jumping dimensions really did a number on my concept of space. I was surprised I still knew up from down.

The crowded bar was rowdy; everyone drunk as skunks and violent to boot. I kept it short and Cal jumped me out moments before a bottle smashed into my face, narrowly avoiding a repeat of what had happened in Zhangao.

Back on Red we were standing outside on a chilly tundra, the ground frozen beneath our feet and nothing much to see in any direction. Turned out the people had chosen not to settle out here, unlike on Locque, so the place was entirely deserted. On the plus side, the jet had been able to land right on target and was already waiting for us with its staircase extended. Marv stood in the doorway.

"How'd it go?" he shouted at us above the noise of the whirring-up engines.

I shrugged. "No idea. Just like the rest."

"They threw a bottle at her," Cal noted.

Marv grinned. "That good, huh?"

"You seem very chipper," I said, climbing the stairs into the plane and slumping down into a seat.

Marv had drinks ready for us. He was getting good at being a one-man welcoming party every time we jumped back. I'd talked with him at length about whether he should actually come to Locque with us on each jump, but we decided it'd only add a complicating factor. If Cal had to keep an eye on two of us and coordinate jumping us all simultaneously it could be considerably trickier than just me. I still wasn't sure whether it had been the right decision, though, and I knew he didn't like it.

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